The Rogerstone spotted a pair of slow-moving salamanders and scooped them up. He offered one to the Jeromecorsi and they squatted there beside a walk-up, enter-at-your-own-risk Brooklyn Brownstone cave. They were in the Bedrock-Stuyvesant neighbourhood, known to the locals as Corleone Country.
The Rogerstone spit out a salamander leg. Too much protein.
“Everything is going to be okay, Jerome, don’t worry.”
“Did my brother go back?”
The Rogerstone, a trickster dirtier than the Trickydickosaurus, had brought the Jeromecorsi’s brother all the way from his Italiaroma homeland as a bargaining chip.
“Yeah, but don’t worry.”
“He’s ten times more psychic than me, my brother. He thinks the case against us is thicker than poop on a rock.”
“Now I am worried about your brother. He wouldn’t even go out for Caviarraptor legs. Just wanted to go home.”
“That’s my brother. Nothing could get him away from that two-dino town. He coulda been big over here — he could of had his own Subfamily.”
“That’s a lot of poop on a rock.”
“Roger, what do I do now?”
As if on cue, a cloud passed in front of the sun. Chagrin has a shadow. It is the Rogerstone.
“Jerome, you were always interested in politics, in history. I remember you talking about Trickydick back in the day. We were young then.”
“Yeah, I still check out the footprints in the sand. You got four legal dino now. You sure that’s enough?”
“Shut up. I’m telling a story. Ahem … you were around the old dinos who dreamed up how the Subfamilies should be organized, … no rats, no flippers, no weak dinos that would ever break — and it worked.
“Yeah,” said the Jeromecorsi. “It worked. Those were the great old days. We was like the Italiaroman Empire. But this T-Rump Family? I mean, he’s afraid of the Nancypelosi! A Nancy! Fuhgettaboutit.”
“Believe me, I’m trying.”
The two dinos sucked on their slippery salamanders, thinking of better days before the Muellersavus had hunted them down. The Rogerstone spoke very gently, his dirty trick art of finesse.
“The Italiaroman Empire … when a plot against the dino leader failed, the plotters — you, me, but specifically you — were always given a chance to let their families keep their huge nests of moolah-moolah leaves.”
“Yeah, but only the filthy rich dinos. The little dinos got knocked off. If they got arrested and executed, all their moolah-moolah went to the dino leader. If they just went home, ate some bad salamander …
The Jeromecorsi stopped in mid-chew.
“Hey! My words are poison, not my food. Please, finish your salamander. You were saying?”
“Well, the little guy. If they just went home and killed themselves, up front, nothing happened.”
“Yeah, that was a good break. No fuss, a little muss. A nice deal.”
The two dinos looked at each other. The Jeromecorsi gulped. It was a gulp of understanding. He went on.
“And sometimes they went and sat in a hot springs pool and boiled like a frog, kind of like how this whole Muellersavus investigation has been going.”
“Tell me about it.”
“The Boiled Frog Syndrome.” The Jeromecorsi let out a long sigh. “Alright already. Not for nothing, I’m tired of the T-Rump. Maybe I can have a little Boiled Frog Syndrome party.”
The Rogerstone spit out the rest of his salamander. The Jeromecorsi was still chewing on his.
“Don’t worry about anything, Jerome.”
“Thanks, Roger. Thanks.”
There was a loud noise. It sounded like some big, thousand-ton Argentinosaurus banging his tail against the side of the cave. The Rogerstone blinked his eyes open. He’d been dreaming.
More tail banging.
“Come on out, Roger! We’ve got you surrounded!”