By Chase Chapley
In all my years of reporting in New Romford, I have seen some strange things. I have seen Adonis fight a giant mind-controlling squid. I have seen mutated rabbits devouring all the plants in Norwoods. I have seen Ray Denver die and come back to life on multiple occasions, each resurrection coming with new powers and types of skin. I have even had a drink with an alternate world version of myself.
But this takes the cake.
My colleagues and I were walking down a street, which will remain nameless, when heard music coming from a back alley. We snuck back to the small driveway opening between buildings to see what was happening, and there it was: a party. A few dozen people were dancing, as dinosaurs, to salsa music. We were floored.
A woman grabbed me by the arm and invited us to join them. (I will refrain from describing what type of dinosaur she was and what everyone else was.) We reluctantly followed her lead, and then we smelled their barbeque. Someone was cooking chicken, pork, beef, lamp, and vegetables on several barbeques. We hadn’t eaten since lunch, so we couldn’t turn down whatever they offered to us. It was the best meal I’ve had in years. One of the cooks runs a small restaurant nearby, and if I get out of this alive and intact, I know where I’ll be going for lunch for the next few months.
We sat and ate our food as we marveled at the party. The music was energetic, lively, invigorating, and people were dancing the best they could in their dinosaur forms. The children were having the most fun as they clearly enjoyed being dinosaurs.
It dawned on me that they were playing music from a boombox that was plugged into an outlet. They had power. My laptop needed to be charged, so I asked if I could take up an outlet. One man named Tom said yes, and then we got to talking.
Tom told me that of course they were scared. “How could we not be?” he said. “I’m a meat-eater. I love barbeque and bacon and all that stuff, but look at my teeth. They have no bite to them anymore. I’ve turned into an herbivore, and the site of all this meat is making me a little nauseous right now. If I stay this way, then I’m never going to eat bacon again.”
It wasn’t just changing food preferences that scared him, Tom assured me. “I know that’s petty sounding,” he said. “But the way I see it, if we stay this way, we’ll get used to it, and then it won’t be so bad. Hopefully. But the Peace Force always finds a way to save the day, and I hear they’re up there right now giving it to that crazy Queen. We’ll be back to normal in no time. So we basically got the day off. Why not enjoy it?”
That was a recurring theme with pretty much everyone here. They understood the gravity of the situation. One mother kept telling me how her children ran around their apartment as eight foot feathered raptors, scared out of their minds. “We have to take their minds off of this as best we can,” she said. “Make it a little adventure for them. Make it small enough so it doesn’t overwhelm them. So we’re having a party. It beats panicking.”