The crunch of snow molded into the cracks of Kurt’s boots as he turned the corner onto Jackson street. He zipped the fleece lined parka up to his chin as the cold January air danced across his clean shaven face.Teddy, his son, jumped from square to square a short distance ahead of him. Teddy wore his trusty spaceman jacket which gleamed like a martian uniform from a bad ‘60’s sci-fi movie in the stark moonlight.
Teddy’s enthusiasm for their nightly stroll was unable to be dampened by the freezing temperatures. The tail of his dinosaur hat flopped from side to side with each leap. The hat was a full body affair. The feet hung down like vines of ivy in front of his face. The front left foot was already soggy from Teddy’s constant attempts to bite its oversized toenail.
Kurt was a meager gentleman. He looked like someone who needed rocks in his jacket just to keep him grounded against the Charmin-strength wind. He was a lanky height of 6’1” which surprised his parents. Neither of them were taller than 5’6”. Much of his height resided in his neck, which, in addition to his bulging eyes garnered him the nickname “the Ostrich” growing up. Kurt still had night whimpers from those middle school memories.
Kurt had aged better than most and was very content as a 40 year old. His fast metabolism allowed him to snack on all the salty treats he craved, like the soft pretzel he enjoyed every Friday or the tubs of sharp cheddar popcorn that littered their kitchen.
Teddy suddenly froze and looked back with a gleeful smile on his face. He shouted, “Dad! People. Inside.” His voice echoed down the empty street with the force of a coxswain motivating their crew team.
The street had a cozy city feel. The quaint houses and apartment buildings lined the block in a cohesive symphony of post and modern architecture. Kurt and Teddy lived just a couple blocks over on the first floor of a walkup. It was a safe, family neighborhood one right out of the Andy Griffith Show. Kurt smiled to himself as he gazed ahead at Teddy.
“I’ll be right there,” Kurt hollered to Teddy. “Make sure you don’t start without me.”
Teddy’s feet emulated a mini-jackhammer as they danced on the sidewalk in anticipation. He had just celebrated his 6th birthday which is when he received the floppy brontosaurus winter hat.
“Alright dinoman, who do we have tonight?” Kurt asked as he finally arrived in front of the classic Victorian home.
Kurt recognized it instantly. This is where the Perling family lived. Chester Perling was the local weatherman known for his consistently inaccurate forecasts and unavoidable bushy eyebrows. He and his wife had four beautiful daughters. Sure enough, they were all gathered in the family room. The blinds were wide open providing a zoo like display for Kurt and Teddy to observe their subjects at leisure. Teddy drew in a deep breath, strong enough to shake the gravel, as he launched into the show.
“This cave family is super special,” Teddy explained into the imaginary microphone clutched firmly in his mittened hand. “They found...they found a golden egg from a dinosaur who’s a Queen.” His unblinking gaze never strayed as he retained a focus well beyond his years.
Kurt’s eyes shifted from Teddy to the house. The Perlings were playing what looked like a game of charades. “Uh oh, do they know it’s the Queen’s?” asked Kurt.
“Yeah, it has her picture on it,” Teddy replied dismissively.
Kurt chuckled, “Oh of course. Well, what’s the cave family gonna do with the egg?”
“This cave family is super special,” Teddy elaborated. “The mom is part magic and can, and can talk to eggs. You see, what she does is...she takes...five hairs from the dad’s head and swirls them in her magic potion. Then, the oldest daughter whispers a secret into the potion and the mom drinks it. Then she can talk to the egg. It’s a good thing this cave family found it.”
“That is lucky. What will happen after the mom talks to the egg?” Kurt asked.
“She’ll sing the Queen dinosaur’s favorite song and the Queen can hear that from anywhere. Then she’ll fly right over and give the family a bow and arrow that never misses as a reward.”
“Wow. Should we stay and wait?” asked Kurt.
“No it takes two days for her to fly here,” replied Teddy matter of factly. “We have other stops to make.”
“Alright, lead the way dinoman,” Kurt beckoned with admiration in his voice.
Just like that, Teddy tore off in a raptor sprint looking for the next stop on their documentary tour. Kurt’s face lit up with a smile as he meandered after Teddy. They made a few more stops on their route. They saw TRex’s playing baseball, shape shifting birds paint selfportraits, and other magical prehistoric phenomenon. All the while Teddy narrated with the confidence of Sir David Attenborough.
Finally they turned the corner and came to the tiny park near their walkup. Teddy bolted for the open gate like a dog greeting their owner returning from war. Kurt perched himself on the fence as he watched Teddy unleash dino squawks of glee while slipping down the icy slide. The park was deserted, Teddy had the run of the place. Kurt grabbed his wallet out of his back pocket and removed a small note from behind his driver’s license. The note was aged and worn along its folds. He gazed again at Teddy as his fingers carefully unfolded the note. Teddy was tucked behind the swings preparing his ambush on the frozen water fountain.
Kurt’s eyes shifted downwards to a note so faded he could barely make out the words. The only lines left legible were, “I’m so sorry. I can’t stay anymore.” He thumbed over these words before looking up at Teddy. Teddy had captured the water fountain and his body hopped up and down in an obligatory victory dance. Kurt chuckled and felt his fingers lose their hold on the note. The gentle breeze snatched it away into the frozen night.