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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 32 page 05


Dinosaurs gather to consider a statistical graph

Dino Toast

by Mark Mulholland

“Brothers, sisters, hatchlings, our existence is ending. Like the fading waters of the smoky marshes, time is draining away. Dry scrub and catastrophe gallop upon us. To do nothing is to wither and perish. But act now and we can save the land. Dinos, unite and do, and together the future is ours.”

— Yes, mad thinking altogether, isn’t it? But here it is. Here are the opening words of the Geo Dino Symposium. Around me the crowd responds and there is a shuffle forward of the gathering. I feel some sort of a coming together, a squeeze to the one direction, and it grows and presses in and then releases a big cheer, with all standing and clapping and flapping at once. And all believing. Oh yes, all believing. All thinking they can actually do it. Actually save the land, their land, as they think it. It’s a laugh. Though nobody does. Nobody thinks it’s mad. That is, nobody but us. And everybody is here, every dino you could get your teeth into. Even us crocs show up. The GDS100 they call it, this gathering. Well, maybe not all are here, not the little guys anyway, no one could go about rounding those up. Like, where would it stop? So fair enough. But a hundred species were invited and a hundred species showed up. Heavy Tail and I have come along. Why not? It might be good for a laugh. And we don’t like missing out.

Seven long days it is to go on for. Oh croc, once it starts, it will never end. Every species has its say. Well, every species bar us; we don’t have anything to contribute. We don’t have much to give to such discussions, we crocs being of the mind that whatever will be will be.

The land is changing, the delegates agree, and we are all at fault. Our reckless, careless, selfish abandon is to blame. Who do we think we are, wandering, breeding, eating, and dumping when and where we want? Don’t we know the cost? Control is the sensible way. Control is the answer. Control is the future. On and on these speeches last. Oh croc, on and on and on. Charts of historical data and analyses are presented. Graphs of predictive progression are discussed. Models of impending calamity are offered. Unprecedented, they say it is, the weather, the situation, the peril. Unprecedented? Like they know anything about what preceded this?

“We dinos are the architects of our own destruction,” one speaker tells us, before presenting details of damaged habitats. After that speech there is a comfort pause and clusters of hushed conversations coagulate, with everyone carrying a heavy, depressed, apologetic weight — everyone except us crocs, we go for a snack and a swim.

Of course, we crocs have our bellies slung to the ground and so have an advantage on other species. That is, we know something they don’t. We know the ground. We feel it. And we know dinos aren’t in charge.