The Tunacasserollus was doing somersaults in the Brettkavanaugh’s stomach. He’d barely picked at the freshly killed carcass sitting before his wife, the Ashleykavanaugh and their two dino daughters, Margaret, 13, and Lizzy, 10.
“What’s wrong, daddy?” asked Margaret.
He gulped, causing him to almost choke on his food. He finally spit out a small bone, the kind dinos have to watch out for when eating out of season Tunacasserollus. His wife took a deep breath. It was a dino-eat-dino world out there and any problem was fair game at the evening meal because a naive dino was another dino’s main course. She eyed their two daughters.
“Girls, you remember the day we went with your father to work and we watched him answer all those boring questions about becoming the next judge on the Supreme Dino Court?”
The two little dinos nodded.
“Well, there are some new questions.” She eyed her husband warily. He wished for another bone in his throat to spit out. Anything for a private pity party.
“What kind of questions?” asked Margaret.
“I’ll let your father answer that.” Her words dripped with gloom and doom. He may be sleeping outside tonight.
“Yes, ahem. It seems there’s this lady dinosaur who says … who says I disrespected …”
“Physically assaulted,” corrected his wife.
“Yes, that’s what she said. Anyway, she says this happened many, many years ago at a party before I was even, uh … judgeworthy.”
“Did you, daddy?” asked Margaret. “Did you assault her?”
“No, of course not. Not then. Not ever.”
“Not last week?” asked Lizzy.
“No, sweetie. Not last week.”
“The lady dino wants us to investigate what happened before we meet with all the other dinos in the Sin Hut to discuss the matter. But unfortunately, there’s really no time to do that.”
“Why not?” asked Margaret. “You told me you’d be on the Supreme Dino Court until you accidentally fall off a cliff.”
“Honestly, Brett. You’re so graphic sometimes.”
He pointed at his daughters.
“When I said until death, they told me to pick a way to die. I was trying to keep it clean.”
“Why the rush, daddy?” Margaret had already decided she was going to be a hard-charging legal dino.
The Brettkavanaugh hated lying to his kids. White lies were so handy.
“Yes, why the rush?” his wife asked.
Scratch the white lies.
“Well, the Grandoldparty dinos only have control of the land for another 40 days and 40 nights and then the Blue Wave will come and drown us all.”
“Sorry, what I mean, girls, is that daddy may not become a Supreme Dino Court judge — unless we push through with this process. In a quick and timely manner. Because like I’ve always told you …”
“A T-Rump dis-tink-shun,” his daughters said together, “could be our ex-tink-shun.”
Ashley could only smirk.
“But you’re the Be Best judge in the land,” said Lizzy.
“It’s just best, sweetie, but thank you. Unfortunately this lady dino may have her say and if the other dinos in the Sin Hut Chamber believe her …”
“Why would she lie, daddy?” asked Margaret.
“She can’t even sleep at night,” said her mother.
“Daddy’s giving her nightmares?” said Lizzy.
The two grown-ups looked at each other.
“Uh, no,” said the Brettkavanaugh. “I mean, not on purpose.”
“What are you going to do?” asked Margaret.
“My hands are tied.”
He clasped his hands together on his chest. They felt clammy.
“What about the Markjudge?” his wife asked. “The lady dino says he was there.”
“Sweetheart, you know the only dino that can ask the Langleyops to investigate is the T-Rump.”
He looked at his eldest daughter who sat there chewing her bottom lip.
“What is it, Margaret?”
“Father, you’ve always told us to do what’s right.”
They mulled that over before his wife broke the silence.
“We know how important this is to you, but is becoming a judge more important than justice? Dinos want to know what happened. I want to know what happened.”
Lizzy sat there mulling over the big word. Justice. And mommy wants to know. The youngest dino’s eyes suddenly lit up with worry.
“Daddy, what if that lady dino was mommy? What if it was mommy, daddy?”