"What's gone with that boy, I wonder? You RAPTOR!"
The old pachycephalosaurus pulled her spectacles down and looked over them about the room; then she put them up and looked out under them. She seldom or never looked THROUGH them for so small a thing as a theropod; they were her state pair, the pride of her heart, and were built for "style," not service--she could have seen through a pair of stove-lids just as well, had steel been invented in the Cretaceous period. She looked perplexed for a moment, and then said, not fiercely, but still loud enough for the furniture to hear:
"Well, I lay if I get hold of you I'll--"
She did not finish, for by this time she was bending down and punching under the bed with the broom, and so she needed breath to punctuate the punches with. She resurrected nothing but the cat.
"I never did see the beat of that dinosaur!"
She went to the open door and stood in it and looked out among the tomato vines and "jimpson" weeds that constituted the garden. No Raptor. So she lifted up her voice at an angle calculated for distance and shouted:
There was a slight noise behind her and she turned just in time to seize a small theropod by the slack of his roundabout and arrest his flight.
"There! I might 'a' thought of that closet. What you been doing in there?"
"Nothing! Look at your hands. And look at your mouth. What IS that truck?"
"I don't know, aunt."
"Well, I know. It's jam--that's what it is. Forty times I've said if you didn't let that jam alone I'd skin you. Hand me that switch."
The switch hovered in the air--the peril was desperate--
"My! Look behind you, aunt!"
The old pachycephalosaurus whirled round, and snatched her skirts out of danger. The lad fled on the instant, scrambled up the high board-fence, and disappeared over it.
His aunt Pachy stood surprised a moment, and then broke into a gentle laugh.
"Hang the dinosaur, can't I never learn anything? Ain't he played me tricks enough like that for me to be looking out for him by this time? But old fools is the biggest fools there is. Can't learn an old dog new tricks, as the saying is. But my goodness, he never plays them alike, two days, and how is a body to know what's coming? He 'pears to know just how long he can torment me before I get my dander up, and he knows if he can make out to put me off for a minute or make me laugh, it's all down again and I can't hit him a lick. I ain't doing my duty by that theropod, and that's the Rex's truth, goodness knows. Spare the tail and spile the child, as the Good Book says. I'm a laying up sin and suffering for us both, I know. He's full of the Old Scratch, but laws-a-me! he's my own dead sister's hatchling, poor thing, and I ain't got the heart to lash him, somehow. Every time I let him off, my conscience does hurt me so, and every time I hit him my old heart most breaks. Well-a-well, dinoman that is born of din woman is of few days and full of trouble, as the Scripture says, and I reckon it's so. He'll play hookey this evening, and I'll just be obleeged to make him work, to-morrow, to punish him. It's mighty hard to make him work Saturdays, when all the boys is having holiday, but he hates work more than he hates anything else, and I've GOT to do some of my duty by him, or I'll be the ruination of the child."
Raptor did play hookey, and he had a very good time. He got back home barely in season to help Jin, the small colored jintasaurus, saw next-day's wood and split the kindlings before supper--at least he was there in time to tell his adventures to Jin while Jin did three-fourths of the work. Raptor's younger brother (or rather half-brother, for there were many eggs in that nest) Sig was already through with his part of the work (picking up chips), for he was a quiet sigilmassasaur, and had no adventurous, troublesome ways.
While Raptor was eating his supper, and stealing sugar as opportunity offered, Aunt Pachy asked him questions that were full of guile, and very deep--for she wanted to trap him into damaging revealments. Like many other simple-hearted souls, it was her pet vanity to believe she was endowed with a talent for dark and mysterious diplomacy, and she loved to contemplate her most transparent devices as marvels of low cunning. Said she:
"Raptor, it was middling warm in school, warn't it?"
"Powerful warm, warn't it?"
"Didn't you want to go in a-swimming, Raptor?"
A bit of a scare shot through Raptor--a touch of uncomfortable suspicion. He searched Aunt Pachy's face, but it told him nothing. So he said:
"No'm--well, not very much. My species is not amphibious."
The old pachycephalosaurus reached out her hand and felt Raptor's shirt, and said:
"But you ain't too warm now, though." And it flattered her to reflect that she had discovered that the shirt was dry without anybody knowing that that was what she had in her mind. But in spite of her, Raptor knew where the wind lay, now. So he forestalled what might be the next move:
"Some of us pumped on our heads--mine's damp yet. See?"
Aunt Pachy was vexed to think she had overlooked that bit of circumstantial evidence, and missed a trick. Then she had a new inspiration:
"Raptor, you didn't have to undo your shirt collar where I sewed it, to pump on your head, did you? Unbutton your jacket!"
The trouble vanished out of Raptor's face. He opened his jacket. His shirt collar was securely sewed.
"Bother! Well, go 'long with you. I'd made sure you'd played hookey and been a-swimming. But I forgive ye, Raptor. I reckon you're a kind of a singed mammal, as the saying is--better'n you look. THIS time."
She was half sorry her sagacity had miscarried, and half glad that Raptor had stumbled into obedient conduct for once.
But Sigilmassasaurus said: "Well, now, if I didn't think you sewed his collar with white thread, but it's black."
"Why, I did sew it with white! Raptor!"
But Raptor did not wait for the rest. As he went out at the door he said:
"Siggy, I'll lick you for that."
If you couldn’t tell, this story is not original. This is the opening of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer with some dinosaurs swapped in. If I hadn’t just said that, it would be blatant plagiarism. Was it blatant plagiarism until you read that? Regardless, it is Monica Marier’s fault for her comment on the #replacemanwithvelociraptor post, asking me to subvert some full-on classic with a velociraptor. I presume anyone who read this far figured it out. Please Comment with what point you figured it out. If you skipped down here in confusion, Please Comment that you cheated.
This post is in no way meant as offense to the late Mr. Twain. It’s meant as offense to Seth Grahame-Smith.