The Podestajesters, a once notable family of swift-footed lizards, gathered around a fresh kill of the rare Panoplosaurus. It was the Shanks Given celebration, a day of charity where dinosaurs donated their excess red meat to the less swift. Squatting at the head of the spicy species laid open before them was the Marypodestajester, a very spry dino for 95. On either side of her were her two sons, the Johnpodestajester, 68, and his older brother, the Tonypodestajester, 74.
The Marypodestajester watched her youngest son nibbling slowly around the studded plates covering the back of the Panoplosaurus.
“Johnny, Panoplosaurus is your favorite nodosaurid and you haven’t even touched your lizard gizzards. Is there something wrong?”
“Leave him alone, ma,” said the Tonypodestajester. “He’s had a tough week.”
“No thanks to you,” snapped his brother.
“Boys, boys, boys. I’ve slaved over this nice corpse of Panoplosaurus. Let’s not spoil the dripping blood. What’s going on here? Tony? Johnny?”
“He stole my secrets!” roared Johnny.
“Secrets?” asked his mother. Her walnut brain played catch-up. Until recently, eating, drinking and sleeping was all she knew. “What secrets?”
They paused while Johnny regurgitated a bone. Tony slapped him on the back for good measure. It was the true sign of a close-knit family.
“I was down at the Babylon Babbling Brook,” began Johnny. “Sure it’s a public meeting place, but every dino babbles. In one ear and out the other.” He looked directly at Tony and seethed. “What’s said at the Babbling Brook stays at the Babbling Brook.”
Tony turned sideways to spit out some gristle.
“How was I supposed to know? I was only there to help the Manaforta and the Rickyprisongates.”
Their mother’s lower double-hinged jaw dropped low, wide open. She was too shocked to hear the contents of her mouth hit the sand with a ‘plop, plop … plop.’
“You were in cohoots with those two louts — those co-louts — in c-c-c-collusion? You do know I have to show my face in the Cretaceous Square. Your father, rest his friendly fossil, would be spinning his grave like greased lightning. How could you, Tony? Especially after all your shenanigans with that Rusky no-good-nick, the Yanukovychnick. ”
“Ma, I was just listening for information on the Donkeykongrus …”
“And he got my secrets!” Johnny shouted. He turned to Tony with a sneer. “I used to look up to you.”
“Tony,” she said with a stern look. “You’re just going to have to give those secrets back.”
“Why not. He’s your brother.”
“I – I don’t know where they are.”
Johnny spit up his food.
“You lost my secrets?”
“Say it ain’t so, Tony.” She held her nine-inch nails to her face.
“You know how it is, Ma.”
“I sure do. That’s what the problem is with these Trumpassic times. In one ear and out the other.”
“But the moolah-moolah is good. Here, have some.”
Tony produced a thick wad of green moolah-moolah. It was the leafy, tender currency of the dinosaur diet, going well with anything.
“Don’t bring that moolah-moolah around my meal,” snapped their mother. “I will not eat T-Rumped up moolah-moolah.”
Tony raised a claw.
“But we don’t know–”
“Ah. Stop right there. What did I say about repeating that Huckabeecyclops mumbo-jumbo in my home? What did I say?”
Tony swallowed hard, waiting for his stomach to settle.
“She only has half a walnut,” he said under his breath. He slowly turned to her. “What am I going to do, ma?”
“Now you ask me.”
She turned to her other son. Johnny’s lower lip tightened over a double-row of razor-sharp teeth. He glared at his older sibling.
“You know where.”
“No, not the Valley of Long Lost Brothers.”
“Get lost,” hissed Johnny.
Their mother’s large, droopy eyes quickly welled up. How had it come to this? The Tyrumposaurus, once seemingly the answer, had now ripped her family apart. She watched as Tony wiped the blood and loose entrails from his chin. He rose from the Panoplosaurus … the fine feast now a hollow memory.
She watched the departing Tonypodestajester and couldn’t help from calling out after her oldest son.
“How much moolah-moolah is enough, Tony? How much is enough?”