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The Night I Saw a Dinosaur

It was the summer of Jurassic Park and I was driving drunk. I had left a party in Zebulon, NC with my friend Derrick. I made the choice to drive rather than Derrick because we had both been drinking and more importantly, it was my car. Besides, the possibility of horribles that accompany drunk driving did not outweigh, in my mind, the certainty of horribles (jealous girlfriend) that would occur if I did not get home.

I took all back roads for two reasons: (1) so as to reduce the likelihood of crashing into and killing other drivers; and (2) so as to greaten my odds of encountering the cops. I was driving carefully, but it was dark and I was drunk, so of course I didn't see the 'Bridge Out' sign as I sped on towards the Little River Bridge.

I noticed the bridge was out when Derrick screamed. Bright orange barricade came into distinct headlight range. I slammed on the brakes, also screaming; "fuck," I believe it was. Anyway, we made it. The truck spun and ran aground in a soft southern ditch, but we were safe and the vehicle was undamaged. Our heart rates, however, needed some cooling off, so we both climbed out into the humid summer night.

It was quiet despite the river noises that were sounding off around the corner. Cicadas, spring peepers, bats, bullfrogs. We decided to walk the hundred feet or so to look at the river and the downed bridge. There was a half-moon that was not producing enough light. It was a world of shadows and black water. An owl hooted. A mutual panic (at what?) began to rise in our hearts. The imaginary sounds of slithering snakes and giant snapping turtles rising slowly from great depths began to echo through the night. It was the summer of Jurassic Park. A dog was barking somewhere. We rounded a little bend and were at the river. Derrick screamed.

Rising above the treeline, over the river, was a crane or steam shovel in perfect half-moon silhouette. But for a second or three, it looked exactly like a dinosaur. For a eternal split-second, it was a dinosaur.

So Derrick screamed. And then I screamed. And we both ran back to the truck and collapsed and giggled and made fun of one another about who was more scared.

Not much of an ending, but that's what happened the night I saw a dinosaur.

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post #396
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April - National Poetry Month 2008

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