It was almost noon. The Hopehicksbagotrix paused at the doorway to the Tyrumposaurus nest beside the Oval Dwelling. She knew the T-Rump would be alone. The Tymelania had moved her nest away, again, since more sordid, steamy details of the T-Rump’s romp with a Pornodactyl had surfaced. His dino dalliances had grown to include the Playbunny Karenmcdougal. Same time, same flogging grounds. While the Tybarron was still suckling.
Taking a deep breath, the Hopehicksbagotrix entered and found the T-Rump sitting up in his nest. The gruesome remains of several Cheezbuggabuggas lay strewn about the place. The Hopehicksbagotrix could tell he hadn’t slept well. The T-Rump had spent the past two hours barking out orders to his Trollertweety fleet for a scorched earth policy against the Donkeykongrus. He was now accusing them of killing the hopes of the Dacadreamers when it was he who had initially ambushed the popular migration route.
The T-Rump looked up from his dripping Cheezbuggabugga.
“You’re late. Where’s my morning report?”
“It’s … well, it …”
“C’mon, spit it out.” As he did with a small bone. It landed at her feet. Normally she’d partake but her appetite had disappeared.
“It doesn’t look good, boss.”
The T-Rump stopped chewing. He gave her the look. That look. Her long tongue was in a knot. She and every other dino in the Oval Dwelling were not allowed to say the “R” word, Russo, in his presence. Or the “K” word, Kayjeebeeops. Or the “M-B” words, Moscovian Bluffs. How could they do their job, clearance or no clearance? Who could blame her for seeking solace in the grabby claws of the Lewandowski, the Robporter and any new Tyrumposaurean dino on the block. She pined for the recently departed Reedcordish.
“Calling Hope back from Dino-Boy Dreamland.”
“Yes, yes. I’m sorry, T-Rump. Oh, I’ll just come right out and say it.” She flashed her nervous grin with shiny, sharp incisors she knew he appreciated. “The Muellersavus has busted 13 dinosaurs from the Area That Shall Not Be Named. They all meddled in your battle with the Crookadillary.”
“Only 13, huh?”
“What should we have the Huckabeecyclops tell the Mediacircustops? Or, as usual, do we just let her wing it?”
“There was no mention of collusion?”
She shook her head.
“No mention of me?”
“Well, then. It’s a great day. For me.”
“But the Mediacircustops are already asking what you plan to do … how you plan to retaliate against … them.”
“Retaliate? That would be the last thing I’d do. It would be admitting that the Putinodon and his ‘bad actor’ dinos had something to do with me whipping the Crookadillary.”
The Hopehicksbagotrix frowned.
“Even though it’s been more than a year, sorry to rain on your parade. So we just sit here?”
“It’s what we’ve been doing so far.”
She tilted her head matter-of-factly.
“Um, one other thing. The Rickyprisongates.”
“Have you been smuggling in his care packages? You know, the small salamanders he likes? The extra juicy ones?”
“Yes, of course. It’s not that.” She steeled herself. “The Rickyprisongates is going to throw the Manaforta under the Priebusunderbus.”
Unfortunately she spoke just as the T-Rump swallowed a huge bite of Cheezbuggabugga. The meat stuck in his throat. His mother had always told him to chew 27 times before swallowing. But he was his father’s son. He quickly turned blue and collapsed on his back.
Here we go again, thought the Hopehixbagotrix.
She leaped on top of him, jumping up and down on his stomach, his face, then his tail.
“Breathe, damn you. I need this job!”
Through glassy eyes, the T-Rump gazed up at her. Such rage, such frenzy. She was a great hire. For a brief moment, he forgot he was choking.
The Hopehicksbagotrix’ walnut brain finally kicked in. She turned the T-Rump over on his stomach and threw herself on his back. The half-chewed piece of Cheezbuggabugga flew out. The T-Rump slowly dragged himself to a squatting position.
“I thought I was going to die, but then remembered I’m immortal. … I can’t believe the Rickyprisongates would do this. I mean, the Manaforta is such a nice guy. He doesn’t deserve this.”
“I almost forgot,” she said. “The Muellersavus has nailed the Manaforta with another fraud charge.”
“Fraud is okay?” Now she knew why the Huckabeecyclops was in private rocks-to-the-head therapy.
“Hope, look at me. Not like that. Like you believe me. We’re all frauds here. That’s the winning formula. The secret of our success. Why else do you think we have a hundred dinos plodding around without security clearance? But the Manaforta. Now he came highly recommended.”
“And he’s in the most trouble.”
“C’mon. The Langleytips bust into his place at the crack of dawn. He deserves a break. Look what he did in the Ukrainia. He had them idolizing that idiot Yanukovych.”
“Then came the Orange Revolution.”
“Nice of you to remember when I changed my hair colour. You are earning your keep. Smart girl. Just one more thing. These briefing notes you bring me every morning. Way too much info. Briefer. Briefer’s better. How else are we going to cut out the bad news? Just think P.D.”
“Ha-ha. Smart and funny. No, honey. Plausible Deniability. Do I really need another disaster?”