James, the tyrannosaurus rex, opened his eyes and was surprised by how bright it was outside. The sky was as blue as the best summer day he could remember. The trees were as healthy as they were during the wet season, and they reached up with their branches to touch the blue coolness of the sky. The last thing he remembered was running after his prey. The agile dinosaur ran an out route: it ran straight toward the edge of a cliff and then cut at a 90-degree angle to the right to get away. James could not change direction as fast as his prey and ran off the cliff. He thought he must have fallen a short distance, bumped his head, and gotten knocked out. However, the reality of what happened would surprise him later.
James raised himself easily from the ground and looked around. It struck him again how beautiful everything around him was. The only imperfection on the landscape was the skeleton of a triceratops. It lay in the tall grass completely intact less than fifty yards from where he stood. As he looked at the bones, James remembered his opinion that it was always a good time for a snack. He went to the triceratops skeleton and bit at a rib bone. He bit down hard and pulled, but the rib bone did not break or come off.
“What do you think you are doing?” asked the triceratops. Its skull looked back at James. James still had the triceratops’ rib in his mouth. After an awkward pause, he opened his mouth and let it go.
“I’m sorry,” said James. “I thought you were dead.” The triceratops laughed.
“I was napping,” said the triceratops. It got up and faced James. “Now leave me alone before I put my horns in you.” James was confused by what he saw and heard and remained still where he stood. The triceratops made a low guttural sound and walked away.
As James stood puzzled, he noticed some movement at the edge of the woods. He snapped out of his daze and ran toward it. There was a bulky creature walking along the edge of the woods. It had a long tail and a duck like bill. It was also a skeleton. As James got closer, he guessed that the creature was an Edmontosaurus. The Edmontosaurus noticed James and ran. James chased it. The Edmontosaurus was fast, but James was used to hunting these creatures. He knew it would tire after he chased it for a while. He was right. Eventually, it slowed down and James caught up.
“I don’t want to play,” said the Edmontosaurus. James tried to bite him. “Look, man – one of you actually got me, so I don’t really like this game.” Again, James was confused. The Edmontosaurus saw an opportunity to get away while James’ brain was working and ran into the woods.
As James watched it disappear into the woods, he felt a tap on his hind leg. “I’d like to play,” said a Tenontosaurus skeleton. James chomped down on the dinosaur, threw him up above his head, and caught him in his mouth.
“What’s he doing to Walter?” said another Tenontosaurus skeleton who stood near James and his victim.
“I don’t know, Arthur,” said a third Tenontosaurus skeleton.
“It looks like he’s trying to eat him, Fred,” said Arthur.
“Hey, buddy,” Fred said to James, “are you trying to eat Walter?” James looked around at the faces of the dinosaurs around him.
“I don’t think he knows he’s dead,” Arthur said to Fred.
“Hey, buddy; would you please put Walter back on the ground?” Fred asked James. James threw Walter up in the air and tried to swallow him again.
“Why don’t you just tell him he’s dead,” Arthur said to Fred.
“Hey, buddy; you can’t eat Walter,” Fred said to James. “He’s already dead. You’re dead too.” James looked at Arthur and Fred as he continued to hold Walter in his mouth.
“Ask him if he’s even hungry,” Arthur said to Fred.
“Hey, buddy; are you hungry?” Fred asked James. James did not feel hungry or thirsty. He looked at the skeletons of the dinosaurs talking to him. With Walter in his mouth, he looked down at his feet because they were the only part of himself he could see. His feet were skeletons too. He opened his mouth and dropped Walter on the ground.
“What am I supposed to do now?” James asked aloud.
“Do whatever you want, buddy,” Fred said to James. “I don’t think we’re going to play with you.”
“I think his question is existential,” said Arthur.
“Do you mean philosophical?” asked Fred.
“I mean he doesn’t know what to do because everybody is dead and he’s not hungry,” said Arthur.
“I get it: James was a predator,” said Fred. “Hey, James; you don’t need to worry about dyeing anymore. You’re not going to die of thirst, or hunger, or because it’s tool cold, or whatever.”
“Tell him nothing can kill him,” said Arthur.
“Nothing can kill you, James,” said Fred. “You’re going to need to live a different way now.”
“All he needs is love,” said Arthur.
“Well, no,” scoffed Fred. “There are other things. But you need to start with love, James. You need to figure out how to belong.”
“Let’s go and let him get his head together,” said Arthur. James watched the three Tenontosaurus skeletons run off. He had spent his entire life chasing and trying to kill everyone. He never had a friend when he was alive. He never found out how to get one.