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    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
Submitted by Dave Free on 20 March 2007 - 9:55am.

The first thing Jeremy heard as his head came out of the water were the shouts of his parents.

“Jeremy! Elena!”

He gasped for breath and then called back, “Over here!”

Elena’s head popped out of the water next to him. She tore off the mask and gasped for breath. The sun had set some time ago and it was now dark. A bright light suddenly hit Jeremy in the eyes. It was their dad’s spotlight.

Dad called again, “Jeremy? Elena? Is that you? Are you alright?”

“Yeah, we’re fine dad. We’re great! You’ll never guess what we found!” Jeremy started for the edge. Elena, still short of breath, followed without speaking. The spotlight disappeared and the engines of four-wheelers could be heard as Mom, Dad and Madison drove from the rim of the bowl down to Jeremy and Elena.

“What’s going on?” Dad said as he pulled up and shut off his four-wheeler. “Where did you find the bones?”

“You told them we found the bones?” Jeremy asked Elena surprised.

“Well we did,” Elena responded, “and do you think they would have believed the other?”

“What other?” mom demanded.

Just then there was splash in the pool. The entire family looked up but it was too dark to see. Dad reached for the spotlight. Jeremy jumped up and caught him by the arm.

“Don’t, you’ll scare him!” he whispered in an urgent tone.

“Scare who?” dad replied confused but sensing Jeremy was serious.

There was more movement in the water. The family strained to see what was out there. Jeremy left his dad’s side and took a step down into the pool.

“C’mon Fuji, it’s alright. C’mon boy, they won’t hurt you.”

“Jeremy David who or what are you talking to?” mom said in a concerned tone. Elena lifted her finger to her lips to encourage her mom to be quiet, then she mouthed the words, “It’s okay.”

Jeremy took another step into the darkness. There was more water splashing.

“C’mon on boy, c’mon. That’s it. Good boy.”

The splashing grew louder. Jeremy came back into view.

“Mom, Dad, I’d like you to meet Fuji,” he said. Almost on cue, the dinosaur stretched out its neck and its head came into view right next to Jeremy’s.

Mom screamed and fell backwards off the four-wheeler. Dad grabbed for the spotlight but fumbled it onto the ground. Madison’s eyes opened wide, but she just sat quietly and stared. Jeremy put his arm up around the dinosaur’s neck to try to calm it.

“It’s okay!” he called over the commotion, “It’s okay. Its just Fuji.”

Elena jumped up and helped mom as she scrambled backward. Dad now had a grip on the spotlight and was about to turn it on.

“Dad, don’t please! You’ll scare him!” Jeremy pleaded. “Look, he’s not going to hurt me.” Jeremy reached up and rubbed the end of Fuji’s beak with his free hand. “See, he likes me.”

Elena now had mom back on her feet and was inching slowly forward. She tried to assure her parents. “Jee’s right. It won’t hurt us. It looks meaner than it is and it’s an herbivore!”

“Well, actually it’s an omnivore.” Jeremy added without thinking.

“An omnivore?” Elena turned on him. “Jee, omnivores eat meat!”

“Just small mammals,” Jeremy said innocently.

“Jeremy, we’re small mammals to it!” Elena pointed to Fuji exasperated with Jeremy. The dinosaur snorted and bobbed its head lifting Jeremy right off the ground.

“It’s okay, boy. It’s okay. She didn’t mean it,” he tried to calm Fuji down.

Dad put the spotlight down and cautiously took a step toward Jeremy. “Are you trying to tell me that, that,” he pointed to Fuji, “is a live dinosaur?”

“Yep!” Jeremy said proudly, “isn’t it cool?”

“The bones, they—?”

“Came to life!” Jeremy finished for him. “Look it’s an ornithomimus. Everybody back up and I’ll have him come out of the water so you can see him.” The family didn’t have to be asked twice. They all took several steps back from the water.

“It does what you tell it to?” mom asked incredulously.

“Kind of,” Jeremy replied, “I fed it some apples and it wants some more, so it follows me around and I think it likes me.” Jeremy stepped up out of the pool and took a few steps from the edge then he turned and held his hand out to Fuji. “C’mon boy, c’mon out.” There was a tremendous splash and Fuji leapt out the pool landing on the grass next to Jeremy. The entire family gasped. Jeremy proudly patted Fuji on his massive leg muscle.

“That’s a good boy,” he cooed to the dinosaur.

“Can I pet him?” Madison asked.

“No!“ mom said.

“It’s okay mom,” Jeremy reassured her, “she’ll be fine.” Then he turned to Madison. “Come over here by me.”

Madison walked over and touched the big wet leg. Jeremy bent down and lifted her up so she could pet Fuji’s snout.

“Be careful Jeremy!” mom cautioned.

“It’s okay mom.” Elena took her mom by the hand and began leading her toward the dinosaur.

“I’m just not sure that petting a prehistoric creature is the best idea,” mom protested.

Dad was now at Jeremy’s side and was cautiously patting Fuji on the back. “C’mon sweetie,” he encouraged his wife, “you may never have another opportunity to pet a dinosaur.”

“That is one experience that is not on my list of ‘must do’ items for this life.” Mom continued to protest but followed Elena up to Fuji’s head. Elena reached up and rubbed the top of his snout. Then she took her mom’s hand and lifted it up to touch the snout. Mom touched and then pulled back quickly. “I touched it, that’s enough,” she declared and began to back away. Fuji stretched out his neck and rubbed the bottom of his snout along the top of her shoulder. Mom froze.

“Look mom, he likes you!” Elena said, “He wants you to rub his snout.”

Mom reached up gingerly and rubbed Fuji’s snout. The dinosaur closed his big yellow eyes like he was enjoying a back rub.

“He really likes you mom!” Jeremy said excitedly. Mom smiled just a little and kept rubbing the dinosaur’s snout.

“I’ll be!” dad muttered as he continued to examine Fuji. “Who would have ever thought?” He turned to Jeremy, “And it know how to swim?” he asked.

“Yeah!” Jeremy replied excitedly. “It uses its tail like a fish to push itself through the water and it pushes off the bottom with its feet.”

“How do you know that?”

“He jumped in after it and followed it through the underwater tunnel.” Elena said, still a little exasperated with Jeremy’s adventure.

“There’s an underwater tunnel?” dad asked. Jeremy nodded and proceeded to tell the story. Elena jumped in with details that she felt shouldn’t be overlooked like her strict instructions to Jeremy not to go into the water while she was gone and how terrifying it was for her to go through the dark tunnel on her own.

“We just made it back through when we heard your voices,” Jeremy concluded.

Dad shook his head again, “I wouldn’t believe it if I wasn’t seeing and touching it,” he said. “Now the question is, what are we going to do with it?”

Madison piped up from where she was examining each of Fuji’s six toes, “Can we keep it Mom?” she asked.

“Sweetie this isn’t a stray dog or a cat.” Dad replied to Madison’s question trying to help the mom. “We have no place to keep a dinosaur.”

“But Dad, I’ll feed him everyday even if Jeremy forgets.” Maddie’s little voice began pleading remembering the commitments it took for Jeremy to get Blue.

“Honey, we don’t even know what to feed him,” Dad replied with a chuckle.

“I’ll bet you could get the guy down at the co-op to order some dinosaur feed.” Elena suggested. The others laughed.

“Probably not,” dad said after the laughter died, “but once word gets out that we have a live dinosaur, I don’t think we’d have one anymore.”

“What do you mean?” Jeremy asked. He hadn’t started begging yet but he planned to if it became necessary.

“I’m sure the government would come take him away as a ‘national treasure’ or a ‘threat to public safety’ or something like that.” Dad replied.

“What would they do with him?” Jeremy replied with obvious concern in his voice.

“I don’t know,” dad said, “maybe put him in a museum or a zoo or something.”

“And do a bunch of painful experiments on him?” Jeremy demanded.

“Maybe--,” dad tried to cushion his response, but mom cut him off. “Then we’ll just have to make sure nobody knows we have him,” She said. Fuji’s snout was still on her shoulder and she was rubbing it gently.

“What?” dad asked incredulously.

“You heard me,” mom replied. “Who knows what they’ll do to this poor creature if they get their hands on him.”

“I don’t want him to get hurt anymore than anyone else,” dad protested, “but where will we keep him? What will we feed him?”

“Don’t worry dad,” Jeremy said confidently. “He’ll stay right here. The cave is a great hiding place. No one will ever know.”

Dad looked at his family and then back at Fuji, finally he nodded, “Okay, we’ll keep him but remember if word ever gets out, it will be out of our hands.”

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