Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Henry

Seen on the Metra train to Antioch at about 5 p.m.


When the train finally started moving away from Union Station, Henry stopped fidgeting with his broad-brimmed hat and exhaled with relief. He took comfort in every screech and rumble the wheels made against the old tracks, for they were bringing him and his prize steadily closer to O'Hare, and consequently to escape.

His relationship with the skull had started on a dig ten years earlier, when he carefully chiseled it from the ground and brushed off the dirt of Utah's past. Henry held it in one hand and rubbed his left index finger around the hollow eye sockets, down the protruding nose and over the few sharp little teeth that were still intact inside the brittle jaw. He felt bad for the baby dinosaur; its life had barely begun. It had never had the chance to stalk prey, to rip flesh and muscle from bone, to assert its terrifying dominance over other creatures. And now it would simply become a museum piece, something to be studied and stared at by mere humans.

He brought it back to the Field Museum and kept special watch over the infant. It was cleaned and given a false life in an exhibit next to a much larger "parent" skeleton. Over the years groups of young children poked at the glass in front of it; groups of teenagers ignored it while whispering together during their teachers' lectures. Eventually the museum found a similar specimen that had less pieces missing, so they put that one on display instead. Henry himself packed it away in storage, but he would still check on it from time to time.

Earlier that morning, when Henry was fired like so many others due to the nation's economic problems, he knew what he had to do. He slipped downstairs, rescued his tiny friend, and used his iPhone to buy a plane ticket to Italy. He knew that he would eventually be caught, but that didn't matter. Henry felt that, after being buried in the earth and then trapped in a museum for so many years, the little guy deserved to bask in the sun and see some wonders.

I'm in the burbs tonight for my mom's birthday. Exciting stuff! Unfortunately, I have to get up freakishly early to go back to the city. Lamesauce. In other news, I added another webcomic that you should read to the side of this page called Wighthouse.  My friend Shannon writes it, and it is lovely. Check it out. 

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