This trip was the pits!
Lost, little Elmer Grant thought this in the darkest corner of his mind as he stomped his way through the busy main path of the zoo towards the restroom.
The curse word he had used wasn’t that bad! He’d heard Daddy say it often even around the dinner table in front of him and his siblings. Mommy would give him looks that she usually gave the kids when she was -shudder- disappointed in them and Daddy would half-halfheartedly apologize, but Elmer knew he was only doing it to get out of trouble. Something Elmer realized he would be in as soon as he got home once his parents found out what he said from stupid, old, fat Ms. Zurich.
“Stupid Ms. Zurich…stupid field trip!” He groused passed his protruding lower lip so that his words garbled together messily. His fists squeezed tightly at his sides like that Arthur meme he was so mad. His friends Logan and Payton used it too, but Ms. Zurich didn’t yell at them! She’d always had it out for Elmer, that had to be the only explanation as to why she suddenly became un-deaf whenever he had laughed out the dirty word when Payton had dared him to.
The field trip started out so good! When his class first heard about it, the cheer they had released was loud enough to break the windows! It was only when they got here that everything started going downhill. They didn’t get to see his most favorite animal of all, the rhinoceroses, because they were all asleep when Elmer had asked. And when they’d had their lunch at the picnic area, he’d found his Mom had packed him carrot sticks. Gross!
This trip really was the pits…
Little Elmer threw open the bathroom door with huge, melodramatic huff, as if it were the door that had offended him majorly. He side-stepped the bigger men as several of them passed him by on their way out, their presence caused his anger to retreat momentarily within himself. As soon as he felt like he was alone, the annoyance with his teacher and so-called friends lit back into him like a truck. He slumped over to a urinal and yanked down his zipper. As he finally began to do his business, he started imagining that the urinal cake within was Ms. Zurich’s face.
“Take that, you big, stupid hag!” He seethed rather loudly through his teeth. “You’re always trying to get me in trouble for no reason and never when it’s someone else. And you took us on this dumb zoo trip! It’s all just…STUPID!” He rolled his right hand into a fist and hit the wall next to the urinal, putting all his frustration with the day into the motion. After realizing the cathartic feeling that washed over him when he did it, he repeated it a few more times, adding for emphasis following each one:
“STUPID, STUPID, STU-PID!!”
The last time his fist hit the wall, a shifting noise groaned behind him. The sound startled him so badly he ended up spinning away from the urinal without totally finishing and a little pee dribbled on his shoes – all to the music of his somewhat high-pitched, girly scream.
It quickly dawned on him what he just did and, even though he was sure he was still alone in the bathroom, just in case he decided to remedy his blunder with deeper, more manly:
“I mean, shit!”
Then Ms. Zurich’s holier-than-thou voice came to mind and it made him feel guilty all over again. So, even if she wasn’t here with him in this most embarrassing moment, he decided it was probably better to go with a much cleaner:
He paused to let his correction take full effect in the empty room before quickly zipping himself up and shaking the urine off his new sneaks. When he felt like he’d gotten enough of the liquid off his footwear, he at last turned towards the source of the sound. He should have found himself looking directly at his reflection in the wall-length bathroom mirror behind the sink counter. Rather than that, he was staring down what seemed to be a stairwell that travelled into a void of inky blackness.
A…a…a secret passageway?
Little Elmer stood in place for a minute, just staring at this open passageway. He swapped his glance back towards the urinal. On the right side upon the wall where he’d been smacking his fist, a small, square panel was now indented. He must have blindly pushed by mistake during his tantrum.
Looking back at the newly uncovered staircase, he cocked his head this way and that way, unsure of what to do. The indecision didn’t last long, though.
There were stairs – stairs were made to be walked up or down.
They appeared out of the wall. That wasn’t supposed to happen. He wanted to find out why they’d been hiding back there.
It was as simple as that.
Without a moment’s hesitation at the top, he began bumbling his way down loudly into the darkness. He shouldn’t be gone for very long. Ms. Zurich would just have to hold breath until he got back.
About halfway, he decided things were taking too long and started scooting down upon his bottom like he sometimes did at home. The stairs were made of wood and old enough to be splintery, however, so he got up again within a few seconds. He was badly wanting to whine out if he was at the bottom yet, but without Dad or Mom around to hear his question, would it even be worth the waste of breath? He didn’t think so.
His attention wasn’t in front of him, as he his attempts to peer into the dark around him took up all of it, so when the stairs did end, he lost his footing and almost twisted his ankle missing the last step. He managed to regain balance though, so not much harm was done. He patted himself away of any dust that had managed to stick to him during his descent.
When he felt sufficiently dust free, he looked around himself. It seemed as if he was in an area that closely resembled the mudroom at his house, where he and siblings put their dirty shoes so they wouldn’t make Mommy mad tracking mud in the house. It all was really weird, though. The walls were made of pine trees with wood shavings shedding from their trunks and high up above they curled inward to create the roof. Right in front of him was a high rounded door where light filtered in so brightly, he could not see anything much beyond it. He swore he could hear birds, however, and that piqued his curiosity so much it was teetering on the edge of the unknown.
Without much further delay, he outright sprinted to the door…
…and into wild, expansive forest.
Little Elmer gazed around with wide-eyes and a slacked jaw. It was a lot greener here than it was home. Sunlight streamed through the foliage, making everything go neon like on signs he saw on the Internet of the city Las Vegas.
Beginning to trek forward slowly, he recognized things he’d seen from movies and tv shows he watched all the time. On bushes were tree stars from A Land Before Time like Littlefoot the long-necked dinosaur ate. After a few strides, he came across a deep-set, three-toed print sunk deep into the ground. He walked around as he examined it, feeling like they may have shown something similar on the cartoon Dinosaur Train. And, craning his head back to look up, he noticed even some of the birds in the trees that he’d heard earlier were of a kind he’d simply never seen before.
Lowering his eyes, he stared ahead for a minute. Then a curly, excited grin started to creep up his cheeks towards his ears as he began to realize that maybe, just maybe, he went back in time.
“Oh…my…Gosh. I am…the luckiest kid…in the UNIVERSE!” He cried at the top of his lungs. Responding to his epiphany, he stuck his arms straight out to the sides. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking! We seem to have gone back in time through a wormhole! Welcome to…JURASSIC PARK!” He began to run around like a madman, lips pursed and vibrating as he hummed to mimic the sound of an airplane “time machine” the best his imagination would allow. He zig-zagged till his heart’s content, looping in and around trees at top speed. It felt so liberating!
Elmer skipped and jumped while pretending to be his airplane. As all seven-year-old boys are wont to do, though, he soon grew tired of that game and started searching around for pocket-sized items to take home with him to show off to Logan and Payton to prove he really came here. A weird leaf here, a gigantic prehistoric pinecone there. All he really needed was a great, big dinosaur pet to maybe follow him home.
Elmer thought this as he was bending close to the dirt, scourging around for ancient grubs to add to the growing collection of Jurassic stuff within his bulging pockets. He was so focused on his gathering that he wasn’t paying attention to what was ahead of him again -- a particularly bad habit of his. The tip of his head bumped something hard enough to knock him back on to his butt.
“Ow…” He mumbled, rubbing his hair ruefully for a few seconds before shaking his head and glancing up to see what exactly it was that sent him tumbling. Only, once he saw the humungous, green, scaly, tree-trunk sized foot it didn’t stop there. It kept going skywards, so it beseeched Elmer into raising his eyes up.
Until it arrived at a central point on the butt of some large animal. It stood nearly as tall as Elmer’s own house and it had a girthy tail that hung out towards the boy and lolled on the ground like a gigantic log. A tall, fan-like structure peeked over the sloping back.
Elmer couldn’t help gasping at the sight and this apparently caught the creature’s attention. It slowly turned its head about thirty degree’s to the right to get a gander at what made the airy noise and Elmer found himself face-to-eyeball with a three-horned dinosaur that he didn’t take long to put a name to.
“Oh, my gosh! A TRICERATOPS!” He shouted with joy, scrambling swiftly to his feet and forgetting about whatever came out of his pockets. This was his favorite-est dinosaur of all time! It looked like a rhino but with more horns and a weird hat! Elmer never felt more ecstatic in his entirely life and there have been many moments that rated.
The Triceratops widened its beady eye at this tiny, stringy thing that ran into it jumping up and down and decided it was worth lumbering its great weight around until it had the little pinprick in its full sights. It squinted down at Elmer curiously and bent its beak towards him, taking a great whiff in order to sniff him.
“WHOA!” Elmer laughed as he was sucked upwards and stuck to the beak. This thing was funny!
The Triceratops quickly realized its mistake and gave its nose a snappy shake to get the miniscule being off it. The Triceratops could sense the puny individual was content. From that and because of the thing’s diminutive size, the dinosaur concluded it was not a danger, but was still interested in why it was there. The Triceratops cocked its head. The sight made Elmer laugh more because the way the animal was peering at him made it look almost exactly like a dog.
“YOU ARE SO COOL!” He yelled as loudly as he was able because, being smart for a boy of his age, he figured he would need to for his voice to reach the Triceratops’s ears – wherever they were. “THE WAY YOU’RE LOOKING AT ME REMINDS OF MY OLD DOG, PATTY! SHE DIED! I WILL CALL YOU PATTY!” Elmer tried to remember the manners his mom taught him. The Triceratops might actually be boy like him, or it may just want a different name because Patty was too stupid. It was always good to ask.
The Triceratops blinked. Slowly. Following that, it did nothing.
After a long time, Elmer decided it was okay with the name. And he wasn’t just settling because he was too impatient to find a better name and, also, he felt icky for even thinking about possibly having to check somehow for the dinosaur’s real gender.
“OKAY, HI, PATTY!! MY NAME IS ELMER AND I’M FROM THE FUTURE! I CAN’T WAIT TO TELL YOU ABOUT ALL THE STUFF YOU’LL MISS BECAUSE DINOSAURS DIE!!” Elmer screamed all of this at the newly dubbed Patty. Patty herself simply watched as the creature in between her massive paws began chattering away about nothing she could truly understand. But the little fellow seemed happy enough just spouting his nonsense, so Patty figured in her tiny mind it was worth just letting him continue as she went about her business shuffling around the clearing and eating the leaves off bushes. This went on for about an hour – Elmer followed at her gigantic cankles, babbling away about whatever came to his mind; mostly about his family, friends, and school, but it was especially about what happened that day.
“MS. ZURICH JUST HATES ME! IT’S THE ONLY REASON SHE PICKS ON ME AND I GET IN TROUBLE ALL OF THE TIME! MOM ALWAYS TAKES HER SIDE AND IT REALLY MAKES ME MAD!” Elmer paused and genuinely thought about his words for a second. “I MEAN, I’M SAYING A LOT OF BAD THINGS ABOUT MY MOM, BUT SHE’S ACTUALLY REALLY NICE AND I KNOW SHE LOVES ME! SHE COOKS GOOD FOOD AND GIVES THE BEST HUGS! SHE’S REALLY A GOOD MOM…”
Elmer suddenly went quiet. Talking about what he liked about his mom started him missing her terribly. Then he thought of Ms. Zurich and Payton and Logan and he wondered if anybody had noticed his absence all this time? Since first stepping back in time, he felt he possibly needed to head home.
“PATTY, I REALLY LOVE YOU EVEN THOUGH I JUST MET YOU, BUT I THINK I NEED TO GO HOME. EVERYONE WILL BE WORRIED ABOUT ME.” Elmer silenced again. It suddenly creeped up on him that he might be lost. Panicking just a bit, he ran around to Patty’s front.
“UH, PATTY, I THINK I AM LOST. CAN YOU HELP FIND THE DOOR TO MY TIME!?”
Patty blinked. The small creature abruptly seemed distressed. He motioned rapidly behind himself towards the trees where he’d come from. He appeared to really want something back in that direction. Patty stared at the forest, then at her tiny new friend. He’d stopped fidgeting and was now staring pitifully up at her. A new scent was coming off him, too: fear.
Getting a burst of maternal instinct towards the young thing, Patty nudged him. Gaining his attention, she pushed her nose horn forward towards him until he caught on that she wanted him to take hold. Confused, but unquestioning, Elmer obeyed and squealed when Patty lifted him up, up, up, until he was level with her frill. Frightened he was going to fall it took him a few minutes to gather the courage to jump. When he finally did, he clambered up and over until he could slide down to her back, curling up behind her frill where he was protected from the sun.
“THANK-YOU, PATTY!!” He exclaimed. She moaned back him, the first real noise she’d3 made since they met. She began moving, and Elmer rolled about. He gripped onto Patty’s frill for more balance. It felt like riding on the back of a house-sized elephant. She crashed through the trees as she travelled ahead. The rocking motion of her body coupled with the excitement of the day caught up to Elmer and, though he tried hard to stay awake, he dozed off.
What seemed to be just few moments later, Elmer was jostled awake by a rumble and, having forgotten where he was in his sleep, he bolted up screaming:
Only to realize he was still on Patty’s back, cozy behind her frill, and he figured out it was her that woke him up and that she’d halted. He peeked around her frill to see why and saw they were at the door to his time! The relief that washed over him was more massive than he anticipated, and he carefully climbed over the ridge of Patty’s back to slide down her tail with a “WHEEEE!!” He hit the ground, somersaulted, then popped up jack-in-the-box style and running around the dinosaur to her face, wrapping her beak in a ginormous embrace.
“THANK-YOU, PATTY! YOU’RE THE BEST!” He cried joyfully, bestowing a kiss right smack upon her nose horn. The Triceratops startles at the abrupt display of unfamiliar affection at first, but soon relaxed when she sensed the little creature was happy again. Elmer let go and skip-turned to the door. He stopped at the threshold and waved at the dinosaur observing his departure.
“I’LL SEE YOU LATER, BYE, PATTY!” He said before running up the stairs to find himself in the 21st-century men’s bathroom at the zoo. There was the urinal he’d used and there was the indent in the wall he’d accidentally triggered. Recalling his mother’s manner lessons once more, he went over and pushed the indent again. The door to the passageway slid shut with a futuristic hiss after he did so.
Smiling, Elmer ran to the bathroom door to haul it open and went back to his class to tell his friends about his adventure. He forgot to wash his hands.