People had been shrinking – becoming smaller and smaller – for a few thousand years; while other creatures slowly increased in size and overtook them. Mosquitoes were as big as VW Beetles used to be, and were such a menace that people carried special weapons just to protect against these terrifying uber-insects: a sort of plastic coating, launched on an automatic spear, that then spread out in a trice and surrounded the giant beast, thus preventing gruesome bites, and the subsequent transmission of bacteria and viruses. The mosquito then suffocated. Cockroaches had been harnessed (it had been discovered that every cockroach born loved a certain obscure Finnish composer, and would eagerly offer to carry one’s burdens or fly one off to wherever one wished to go, if one was armed with a music-playing device the size of a greengage plum.) Lizards grew and grew; became as big as Magic Johnson of historical fame; then outstripped him, and ultimately, feeding on the huge mosquitoes (though avoiding the cockroaches – nobody liked cockroaches) took on their former aspect – that of Dinosaurs.
And, as the last feeble senior citizen tottered in his steps and fell, and the race of man came at long last to its inevitable end – a dino, big as a train car but with extra-meaty drumsticks and bouncing, kangaroo legs…sniffed him over with its sensitive snout, and chose what about him it wished to consume…for no beasts really liked to eat humans either; they tasted of many spurious things. Dinosaurs, though, had by now evolved a different diet: they relished anything made of petrochemical derivatives. So the Cinqueterratops who ate DeWayne Grinch snaffled up his white trainers, the plastic tab on the back of his baseball hat, his inner knee where the old one had been replaced; and his communications device, a slick little thing the size of a french fry. And his teeth.
Dinosaurs craved plastic as a matron craves chocolate, and they bounded about the Earth, shaking continents with their thunderous landings, sniffling out landfills, and gorging themselves on plastic bags, children’s toys, polyester clothing, tattered furniture, and so on. Their battles over these treasure troves boomed out over the deserts, the plains; their grunts of satisfaction and possession kept company with the wheeling of the stars. Some grew wings, and flew out over the oceans, landing in the vast turning gyres rich with flip-flops, water bottles, and what-have-you, and eating their way through floating islands big as Texas.
And as they ate, and grew, and looked for more…across China, India, Russia, the USA; all those old names that meant nothing now – a curious thing occurred.
Whenever a dinosaur (and they did not have claws, this time around, but hands like a raccoon’s, dainty and velvet black) found an old computer, or ipod, or ipad, mobile phone – he set to with an especial zeal to munch it down; for it was well known among dino-folk that these items were able to send you on a trip, like mushrooms can. And though any dino loved his life, stomping, bounding, sniffing, roaring into the clear air – he was not averse to a little entertainment. For even a sober bear will gorge on fermented fruit and stagger around for a while like a fool, and then fall asleep, and snore.
A curious fact had emerged, you see: if a dino ate a computer, whatever was in its memory would communicate itself to him, and he would have an Experience of another existence – many existences – not his own. The effect would last until he had digested the meal; and excreted; and then he was back to normal – until the next device came on his menu.
Additionally, his whole skin would participate in the fun: lighting up like a screen, with images moving about it in vivid colors. He made a striking sight, striding about, or maybe just standing still in a sort of swoonish reverie – with colours and pictures playing all over him like Northern lights.
And so no dino could hide his secret cache for long – everyone knew he’d gotten a prize, and would badger and belabour him until he’d given up its location.
This merry party lasted 100,000 years, more or less – not long, really – but it was great fun while it went on. Psychedelic dinosaurs, in all their variety and spininess and poking armature; their refinement, too – for some were delicate, like spiders with 20-ft articulated legs; and, having learnt some lessons from the mammals, some were furry, and warm to the touch, and had melting, sidelong eyes and upturned noses and little tippy-tappy hooves.
And all of them ate plastic; and they thrived; and the females with their black-gloved hands loved to take circuit boards they’d unearthed, and fashion them into Fascinators, and wear them tilted above a spiny eyebrow – even as they thus imbibed the images encoded in said board, and went on a trip as surely as a hippie in those times-before-imagining…
Which really seemed not so long ago; since any PC you gobbled on might have videos in it of Bob Dylan or Jefferson Airplane or whoever…and, of course, all the pcs were full of music; of every stripe.
And so the dinos danced, too, under the fat moon and the red sun, shaking the mountains with their boogie.
And they ate until it all was gone.