The Tyrumposaurus looked up from counting his pooka shells, noticed the shadows creeping in and groaned. It was time. He had to put in an appearance at the Healing Grounds. It was a peaceful, shady place where dinosaurs went to convalesce after battles, domestic spats and third-degree trench foot.
It had been twelve days since the dust-up in Chadniger’s Dustiest Dustbowl. There were three badly wounded Platooncorps dinosaurs for which the Mediacircustops had been hounding the T-Rump to pay a visit.
Following a three-minute stroll, the T-Rump stood over the first Platooncorps. The dinosaur was missing the bottom half of his right leg. How he hadn’t bled to death was a paleontological miracle. The T-Rump tapped his chin with a claw.
“Lost a leg, did you? Well, you did get to see a lot of the Trumpassic Kingdom. Say, you haven’t been to T-Rump Lagoon, have you?
“I can’t walk!”
“Okay, no need to get upset. I can come back later to tell you how my name wound up on it.”
The T-Rump moved on to the second Platooncorps. The injured dinosaur held his short arms up, covering his face with his trembling claws. The T-Rump tapped his foot impatiently. This dino didn’t even look like he was hurt.
The Platooncorps slowly lowered his claws. His face had been ravaged by a mammoth set of razor-sharp chompers. T-Rump stepped back on his heels.
“Wow! That’s gotta hurt. … What’s the other guy look like?”
“I can’t see!” sobbed the dino.
The T-Rump quickly stepped aside to the third Platooncorps. The dinosaur was holding the claws of one arm to his throat in a choking motion.
“Now, now,” said the T-Rump, “I know it’s been 12 days, but if you’re not going to appreciate my being here …”
The wounded dinosaur shook his head. He took his claws away from his neck and pointed to a deep slash across the jugular.
“Oh,” said the T-Rump. “You can’t talk. Why didn’t you say so?”
Exasperated, the Platooncorps collapsed on his back.
“Okay,” said the T-Rump, “I guess I’m done here. I hope you’re all happy.”
He returned home. Half an hour later a pair of Donkeykongrus dinosaurs paid him a visit.
“Cryingchuck and Nancypelosionyx, what a surprise!” The T-Rump took a peek around them. “What? No Chinese chocolate? How are we going to make a deal without Chinese chocolate?”
“No, no,” said the Cryingchuck, “we’re here because we wanted to bring your attention to something none of your, um … handlers are willing to talk to you about.”
“What? You mean the fake news or news from my favorite Foxsquawkbox?”
The near-sighted Cryingchuck looked down his nose at the Nancypelosionyx, who smiled sweetly and forged ahead.
“T-Rump, we’re talking about empathy.”
The Cryingchuck and the Nancypelosionyx shared a look, then nodded a silent ‘I told you so.’ The Nancypelosionyx turned to the T-Rump.
“Look, they’re having a benefit tonight for the survivors of the hurricanes in Samhouston Hills, the Neverglades and Puerto Rikiricardo.”
“That windy, rainy thing?”
“Right, T-Rump,” said the Cryingchuck. “We pulled some strings and you’re going to be there, seeing empathy in action.”
Two hours later the T-Rump plodded down the path toward the benefit. It was dusk and he almost tripped over her. It was the Sanjuanmayaurus.
“You again,” said the T-Rump. “What are you doing here?”
“Uh, this is a benefit?”
“For Samhouston Hills and the Neverglades.”
“And Puerto Rikiricardo. I treaded water for ten days, remember?”
The T-Rump shrugged.
“Uh, well, you knew what you were signing up for, but when it happens it hurts.” I suppose, he said to himself.
“I can’t believe you just said that.”
The T-Rump looked around.
“Oh, yes you did. I heard it all.”
It was the Fredericawilson, a Packapunchian dinosaur with two large bumps on her head that resembled a 10-gallon cowboy hat. She stepped out of the bushes.
“What are you doing here?” asked the T-Rump. “Sheesh. Hold a benefit and everybody comes.”
“I used to babysit for her cousin’s cousin. I’m always there for them.”
“Obviously. I still didn’t say it though.”
“We heard it too,” came several other voices from the thick shrubs. Five former legendary leaders of the dinosaur world stepped out onto the path. There was the Carterpeanutshells, the Bushfortyone, the Bushfortythree, the Clinton Duckbill and the Obamarus.
The T-Rump scoffed at them.
“I’m doubling, no, tripling down because losing is for … losers. I’ll be sending out a fresh flock of Trollertweeties within the hour. Lies, fake news, lies, fake news. You know the drill.”
But no one was listening. The five former leaders had filed down the path into the benefit, leaving the Sanjuanmayaurus and the T-Rump looking after them.
The Sanjuanmayaurus sighed.
“There go some real dinosaurs.”
“Hey!” the T-Rump hollered. “I should be in there.”
The last dinosaur in the line, the staggering Bushfortyone, turned to him and said croakingly, “You’ve been uninvited, sonny.”
“What?! I deserve to be in there. Hey, look at Santadomingo, here.”
“Sanjuanmayaurus,” she corrected.
“Whatever. I give myself a big fat 10 on how I helped her out.”
“And I give you a one.”
The Sanjuanmayaurus raised her nose and left for the benefit.
“Hey!” shouted the T-Rump louder. “Did you hear that? She just said I’m number one. I’m the best! The best!” His voice softened. “So how come … why am I here … all … alone?”