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An alarm clock went off. It sounded the waking of the man who slept soundly beside it. Reading 7:00, it blared on and on, continuing its ranting, single tone until the man hit it on the head and silenced it for another day. He rolled lazily over and turned onto his side, looking at the clock so that he could see what time it was, and hoped that by some miracle he could still have some time to sleep. Time did not prove to be that merciful though, and he groaned as he rolled out of bed.

His name was Liam Jacobs. He was a man in his early twenties with a promising career. If, that is, you could call engineering robots for a museum's displays promising. He worked at the museum of nature, and his most recent project was to design a semi-intelligent Tyrannosaurus Rex robot that would interact with the visitors. He had 5 months to complete it, and would be paid a sum of 120 grand. Not a bad sum if you were as young as he was.

Today was the day that he would finally unveil all of his hard work. The day that he could actually move on to something that he thought was worthwhile. It wasn't that he thought making the robot was boring or anything, but he saw it as a bit of a dead-end project. He would complete this, and then move on and be done with it forever. They already had hired staff that would repair the thing when it needed it. He was literally not needed at all after today.

He lurked to the kitchen of his modestly sized apartment and put on a kettle so that he could make coffee. If he didn't have any coffee in him, bad things would most certainly happen. Someone once told him that he was meaner than Stalin when he didn't have his morning coffee, though he was sure that it was an exaggeration. He hadn't killed over 30 million people. At least not yet, he always told himself jokingly. He may have been bitter, but he wasn't void of humor entirely.

Shortly later, with coffee in hand, he set out to the workplace. Specifically the basement of the museum where the robot T-Rex was being held. He bussed there, as he thought owning a car was idiotic. He lived downtown, so there was no real place that he could go that a bus couldn't take him. Plus even though he had the money for it, he was stingy. He didn't like spending money, his father had taught him that. “Always take the right road, not the easy one,” he would always say. On his bus ride today, Liam wondered if building what he called “the stupid fucking robot' was the right road.

He got to the museum and promptly went inside. It was raining out today, as it did everyday. It always rained in Seattle, except for a couple days a year if the city was lucky. He didn't have an umbrella, mostly because he spent all of his time inside, and partly because of how stingy he was. He was inside of the place before he could be soaked to the bone, a victory in his mind.

Walking past the front desk to the museum, he flashed his clearance card to the security guard that stood outside the elevator. The guard nodded and pressed the down button on the panel just beside him to call the elevator up.

“Shitty day ain't it, Liam?” he joked. Everyone knew what was going to happen today, how thrilled Liam was about it, but they liked to poke fun at him from time to time. They were sad to see him go.

“Best day I've had in five months I think, Nick.” Liam sipped at his coffee, and chuckled to himself. “Think I'll buy myself some nice lobster dinner or something tonight, as a reward.”

“Well hey, I don't know if you're done just yet, I heard some noises going on down there, sounded real rough.”

Liam stopped drinking his coffee and looked at Nick with a half believing look. People joked with him quite a bit, much to his dismay, but this seemed a little bit truthful. “Yeah right, don't fuck with me. I worked too hard on that thing.”

“No, I'm serious. No one went down there to look at it though, it happened 'bout five minutes ago. We figured we would wait until you got down there yourself, it being your creation and all.”

The elevator doors opened at that moment, and both Liam and Nick stepped inside. Liam was a little annoyed. “Really? Would it be so hard to send someone like you down there to see if, I don't know, it wasn't being stolen?”

“Well, how could something like that be stolen within five minutes? The thing's pretty big if you ask me.”

That made Liam laugh. It was big, a hulking twenty-five feet tall in fact, and he didn't even know how much the thing actually weighed. “It would have to take a pretty damn big forklift to carry that thing out, I suppose,” he mused. “Alright, we're almost down there.”

When they did get down to the basement, the doors opened to reveal a mess of things that had blocked half on the entrance to the elevator. Paintings and rugs had been unceremoniously thrown about the room, and some were now lying directly in front of them.

“Jesus, someone's pissed off down here,” said Nick. “Better get the billy club out.” Nick pulled from his belt the club that he liked to mention so much. Whenever a little thing had gone wrong a the museum, Nick was quick to reach to his belt and pull out his 'billy club'. He thought the British name for his baton was hilarious, and thus he always called it that. Liam was unsure just how effect his baton would be.

“Put that stupid thing away, we don't actually know what's down here,” he snapped. Nick gave him a grudging look, then sadly sheathed his weapon.

“You know, one of these days I'm going to clock you over the head with it, Liam.”

“Oh I doubt that, Nicky. After today I don't even plan on being here anymore.” If he could help it, he wanted to sort out this particular problem as soon as he could. He took another sip of coffee.

They started to rummage their way through all the debris. The basement seemed like a hurricane had just gone through it. Liam wondered why someone would go to such lengths to wreck everything that was down here. Save for his project, everything was down here for a reason: it was crap. If a painting got thrown down into the basement, it was because it was bad or breaking or both. If a sculpture was put down here, it was because it was defaced by some teenager or cracking in an unflattering way. So if someone came down here to do any financial damage to the museum by breaking things, they were in for a sad discovery. The shocking thing that they found was that when the got to the area where the robo-dino was supposed to be, it had vanished. Hardly out of thin air, however. The area surrounding it was the most damaged of all, as even the walls were not safe from the vandalism.

“Oh shit, that's not good,” said Nick as he went for his baton again.

“Oh, no,” Liam said in a mimicking voice. “Let's wait five minutes for Liam to get here! It's not like the thing can actually be stolen! You're actually the stupidest person I've ever met, Nick.”

“Hey, well it does seem a little fishy, doesn't it? I mean, how did they move the thing?”

“I don't know, but it doesn't matter, it-”

That's when Liam's complaining was cut short by a massive roar that erupted from the back of the room. It was dark, but they could both make out movement; large movement.

“Fuck, did someone turn the stupid thing on?” yelled Nick, trying to raise his voice to be louder than the roars coming from the back of the room.

“I don't know, I guess!” yelled Liam back. “I forgot to mention one thing though. I'm pretty sure it knows we're here and can see us!”

“Well what does that mean?”

“It means we should probably hide, because you know, it is a twenty-five foot tall T-Rex.”

Almost as if what Liam had said was a cue, the robot began to trudge towards the two men, and gradually picked up speed until it was into a near run. At least Liam now knew what had happened to the basement. Now he had a much larger, more dangerous problem. The T-Rex came upon the two and lunged its head at them, teeth bared.

Submitted: May 29, 2013

© Copyright 2022 ChrisMiller. All rights reserved.


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