Fiction


Rutherford


Photo Credit: Canadian Stories
Here we go again, another bunch of onlookers to stop and stare. Why do they all feel the desire to gawk at me? Is it just idle curiosity? Or is even one of them remotely interested in what I represent? None of them seem to care enough to find out why I am here.

“Look at the plastic dinosaur.” “Not very scary looking.” “Too small to be ferocious or scary.”

Their words floated back to me on a light breeze of wind as they drove off in their little car with the top down. I would have laughed if I could. Their knowledge of dinosaurs appears to be very limited. By the way, I am Rutherford. That’s what the guys who assembled me called me. I guess it’s as good as any other name so I’ll stick with it.

I wish those young people could have seen my kind way back when they were in their prime. They were something to look at then, quite an imposing sight I can tell you. Mind you, they weren’t beautiful. Oh no! They were rough and powerful, with tough leathery skin, and probably would have looked pretty scary to those puny humans. Gosh, there were more than 700 species altogether, of all shapes and sizes. And it wasn’t always the biggest one that was the fiercest either.

Ahh, they had such freedom then. They roamed the earth to their heart’s content, leaving huge footprints behind them wherever they went. They moved leisurely among the vibrant green plants and tall trees, breathing unpolluted air, eating lush plant growth and drinking the pure fresh water of rivers and other sources. Sometimes territorial fights would break out, causing injuries or deaths, but that was simply the nature of the beast. Then came the ice age or some kind of big disaster, whatever it was that killed them off. If any of them survived the disaster itself, they probably couldn’t find enough food or clean water anymore. The poor things were doomed.

Now all that’s left of them are bones buried deep in the ice and the earth. Bones, sometimes even a group of them, are discovered from time to time by archaeologists, geologists and paleontologists. Scientists study them in an attempt to learn as much as possible about them. Did you know that Alberta has one of the largest and best preserved deposits of dinosaur bones? Funny, but it’s hard to picture these enormous animals stomping all over Alberta back in prehistoric times.

Now there’s just me, a pile of manufactured plastic bones cemented together to keep me upright, standing here to represent those majestic creatures of long ago.

“Hey, Mom. Look at the cool dinosaur over there.” “Yes, dear. I see it. It’s advertising a new theme park that’s opening soon.” “Can we go? Please?” Hmm, perhaps being a constructed creature won’t be so bad after all. Just think of the many species of animals I am representing. Me – artificial little Rutherford.

© 2017, Fay Herridge
Published in Canadian Stories, Dec 2017/Jan 2018 (93rd Photo Story Contest)

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