I don’t know, I’m a god damn pteranodon

I just blu-tacked my pteranodon to my monitor. If this were a euphemism I’d have already called an ambulance.

It’s not a euphemism. It’s a two-inch tall plastic pteranodon. I don’t know why I’ve suddenly blu-tacked it to my monitor, and now I don’t have long to find out, because I’ve just returned from my boss’s office, where I quit my job.

The pteranodon gazes levelly at me, or at least as levelly as pteranodon can gaze who is permanently posed in a wings-out, gape-jawed, waiting-for-Ray-Harryhausen-to-call-action stance.

Are you, it shrieks cretaceously, absolutely sure about this? Raark.

‘Sssh,’ I say. ‘I’ve got all these emails to look at.’

I look at the emails. The pteranodon looks at me. It has no choice.

It’s just—

‘I’m not listening.’

Yet here I am talking, caw.

I look up from the emails. ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’

Yes you do, screech. Just look at you, sweating, edgy, openly anthropomorphising a plastic dinosaur during work hours like a common nine year-old. You think you’ve made a mistake, graaa raark, don’t you?

I pick at a bit of nothing on my desk. ‘Actually, pteranodons aren’t dinosaurs, they’re pterosaurs. You see, dinosaurs fall into two groups, saurischia and ornithis—’

You think, insists the pteranodon, that you’ve made a mistake.

I look the pteranodon in its tiny, inexpertly painted, basilisk eye. ‘I don’t know,’ I say. ‘Maybe. But it’s done now, isn’t it? The decision’s made, so I hardly need a plastic party favour talking smack about it.’

Hey, you put me here, scrawk.

‘And I could easily replace you. Look, this drawer has three other plastic dinosaurs in it and a paper crane my friend made out of a headshot of Kevin McCloud—’

I’m not a dinosaur, preek.

‘“Preek”? What the hell kind of made up crap is “preek”?’

Oh sure, because you know what sound pteranodons make. In the wild. Here in Parkville, in 2013, in the wild. Preek.

‘I KNOW ALL KINDS OF THINGS, YOU TINY PLASTIC PRICK. I’m clever. I haven’t made a mistake. I’m not leaving this team of dedicated health workers in the lurch, because there are loads of people who could come and write their vital online psychological interventions. It’s totally okay and not at all selfish and cowardly for me to quit now. I like me.

‘And someone else will definitely employ me. Almost definitely. You’ll see. When I leave here with my specific plan to write something and then something else and then five book deal and then something something massive success and buy a castle, and you’re a gargoyle blu-tacked to one of my lesser crenellations, you’re going to look back on this churlish doubt of yours and feel,’ I say to the plastic pteranodon stuck to my monitor, ‘very foolish indeed.’

I sit back triumphantly in my swivel chair. The pteranodon stares at me. Jaws agape.

What the hell are you talking about?

‘What?’

I was asking you, says the pteranodon, if you thought it was a good idea to stick a toy to your monitor.

I look at the pteranodon.

You share this desk. Someone called Jane uses it half the week.

‘Does she like dinosaurs?’ I ask.

I don’t know, says the pteranodon with a sigh. I’m a god damn pteranodon.


Originally published in the King’s Tribune.

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