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Finer Cheeses of the Late Cretaceous

by Rudi Dornemann

Dear Moms and Dads,

I am not about to admit that you were even slightly right, but the second half of the summer is not turning out to be quite as terrible as the first half. The difference? Red Freya, who used to lead the tours, forgot to charge her ionic shield before one of her jumps back to the milking era and got bit by some kind of proto-mosquito, so now she’s got a lump the size of a grapefruit on her leg and I get to herd the tourists around while she sits on my stool in the gift shop and looks out at the gray snow in the dino skeleton garden.

It's a long day, because the Motaris are cheap, and only pay us by shop-relative time and have all the tours come back right after they leave, even though it takes at least forty minutes to hop from the kollikodon barn to the remote milking traps -- some days we don’t actually find one with a repenomamus in the harness until the third or fourth try. And if one of those feathered dinos runs by, forget it -- we won't be back in under an hour. Like every zoo back up in home time doesn’t have dome where you can trip over the things. We're not supposed to log more than half our time in eras with carnivorous megafauna or the insurance company will raise the rates, but the Mrs. Motari who assigns the tours doesn’t seem worried.

Me, I like being more in a time where everything’s alive and growing than a time where everything's dead except us in the creamery and the shop, even if it’s alive and dangerous, even if I know it won’t last, at least not in this worldline. I still want to visit one of the no-K/T-extinction lines on my way home, just to see how it all comes out. (And no, Mom2, it’s not because of S'ksth'sks -- I mean, he’s sweet, with his big eyes and the way his crest is always ruffled in the morning, but he can be sarcastic, too, and if I go to his line, I'll have to spend some time with his hatch-mates, and there's twenty-five of them, so I’ll be totally outnumbered, and I don’t think any of them have travelled off-line or have any mammal friends.)

But we can talk about that later. I've got to go now -- the 3:00 group is getting bored with the way the kollikos bump around in their pens -- or maybe they’ve notice that special giant platypus reek.



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