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Die Now, Dinosaurs!

A Children's story* by Yitzhak Hayut-Man


(* This story was first told in the kindergarten, at Ayal's fifth birthday party, and was received with great interest. The current version was edited in the hope of interesting older children too.)

It all began when we bought Mother the ancient jeep. An open jeep painted yellow which can drive in the fields. You ask why did we buy this jeep? Why mothers who travel on roads need a jeep that goes in the fields. This is a little difficult to explain, Ayal, but I shall try.

Because of the organizations, Ayal.

There are children who think that the humans rule the world. But this is not so. Those who really rule the world are kinds of creatures called "organizations". No one of you has seen an organization, just as no one has seen a living dinosaur. Nevertheless, the dinosaurs once ruled the world, and nowadays the organizations rule the world. They tell humans what to do and how to act, and not always that intelligently either.

Even Mother works for an organization. And that organization determined that if mother buys a car - she will earn more pay, she must have a car. We told the organization that we already have a car. But it demanded that she has another one, even an ancient one that can hardly move.

So we decided to have a jeep, one that at least can drive freely in the fields. But since this was a second car, and not so necessary, we bought a very old jeep, which was cheap.

You must remember, Ayal, what happened with the jeep.

We all drove, you and I and Mother and granny, to see the dinosaur footprints in the village of Beit Zayit. Did we arrive there with the jeep? No!

Where the road turns in the ascent to Kiryat Yovel, already before the big monster where the children come out of its mouth and slide on its three tongues, suddenly the big gear shift stick of the jeep broke. We had to get out and push our new jeep to the first parking lot.

We arrived at last to Beit Zayit in our good old car, and even saw the footprints of the dinosaurs in the flat rock. You were a bit disappointed. You thought you would see giant dinosaurs, just as those at the exhibition you saw. But even their footprints were impressive, each of their steps was even larger than my step.

The next day Mother ordered a tow-truck which towed the jeep to the garage. But there were problems at the garage too. They said that the jeep was so old that it was impossible to find anywhere a new stick shift to replace the broken one.

When I saw the broken part - I suddenly remembered grandpa Herzel. He had in Haifa store-rooms with all sorts of old parts. Because when I was your age, Ayal, a five years old boy, it was still the British who ruled the country. But everyone knew that their rule will end soon. Grandpa Herzel, who was a radio merchant, and was used to visit the British army camps, began to buy from them all sorts of strange things: old cars, radio transmitters, piles of bamboo sticks, and many more things. He even "bought" guns and ammunition from the British soldiers, in exchange for bottles of liqueur, and transferred them to our fighters. The main thing is that there remained a store-room in Haifa, with all sorts of old parts of cars and of radio equipment of those days. Many years no one touched them, until professor Gordon came to visited Israel.

Do you remember, Ayal, when you were three years old we visited England. There, in the capital London, we met my old teacher, professor Gordon? He was a short man with huge blue eyes and a bow tie.

Years ago, when I was his student, he lived in another house with a large cellar. That cellar was full all day and night with people assembling strange machines.

I never told it to you before, Ayal, but old Gordon was also a magician. He was a professor of a science called "cybernetics", namely like the Kabarnit, the pilot of a ship. Only that his ship sailed in a special sort of sea.

Gordon tried to build a time machine. A real time machine, with a computer and many cables and lights and radio waves and brain waves and what not. To the organizations that financed his work he explained that he was building a vehicle to drive through knowledge, through the world of thoughts. But among us who were building it, we called this machine "the Time Machine". But however much we tried, we never really succeeded to operate it for time travel.

Some years later, when professor Gordon visited Israel, we recalled the machine we wanted to build, and then I showed him grandpa Herzel's old store rooms. Gordon liked the collection of bizarre articles, and we even built together a little machine.

And so it happened that when they asked in the garage for a part for the shift stick of the jeep, I drove to the storage in Haifa and brought from there parts of old cars, and also radio valves and other ancient electronic parts, and the small machine built by the professor from England. I brought everything to the garage, and after sifting through them, we were lucky to find a part which almost fitted. On the same occasion I asked from the repairmen also to fixe the little machine to the jeep, perhaps it would serve us as a transmitter in case of emergency. For I already knew that troubles were attended with this jeep.

And last week - as you must remember, Ayal - when it was going to be a full moon, I drove to Tsor'ah. I followed the footsteps of the hero Samson, to look at the full moon and to contemplate about Israelites and Philistines.

But I did not tell you till now how I never reached the place.

On the way, I got stuck on the highway. There had been an accident, and the road was totally blocked. A huge traffic jam formed. Dozens of cars were stopped before me and dozens behind and I in the midst. I could move neither forward nor backward.

But then I recalled what a jeep is good for. I drove off the road and started through a narrow path in the mountains. But then I looked back in spite, at all the hundreds of cars stuck in the traffic jam, and I did not notice that I arrived at a ravine, where the jeep got stuck. I tried to shift it to the special gear of the four-wheel drive, but since I have hardly driven a jeep before, I had forgotten how to do it.

I was alone in the mountains, far from any habitation, when I remembered the little machine. Perhaps I would manage to operate it as a radio transmitter and ask for help? I pressed the various buttons and kept calling: "Does anyone hear me? Does anyone hear me?" while at the same time I also kept trying to operate all the stick-shifts and buttons and levers of the jeep, perhaps I would manage to move it. I was working hard, and so was the engine, and many noises sounded from both the engine and the machine, and smoke came out from the engine. I felt weakness and dizziness and then as if total darkness fell upon me. I felt a strange sensation, as if I was no longer connected to my body, as if I was somehow deep within the mountain.

"Don't panic", I said to myself. "Don't panic. Think!". I concentrated and thought, and a thought came which was actually a happy one. Could it be that after all these years, the machine finally worked - and I travelled in time! So I reached the spot in the mountain that was there before the water in that ravine removed the layers of rock of many millions. I did not move from my position in space, but from my position in time!

So I could understand why was everything dark around me. But why the strange sensation of having no body? Did my body not travel in the time machine?

Then I sensed a little ray of light coming in and the chalk stones above me were thinning. Another moment and all was in light. I thought that I should be happy, that the machine finally worked and I would be the first man to travel to the past - but I sensed a terrible fear. I wanted so much to hold on to something, even to hold the gear shift. And only then I felt I had indeed a hand, and that my hand is grasping something hard and smooth. I managed to press on that thing - and the rush stopped.

I looked at the hand. It was a very strange hand: with a tiny palm and long, long fingers and smooth skin with folds. And the arm above it was very hairy. A hand covered with fur. Then I turned to observe the stick I held in my hand. It was white and smooth - and frightening. Oh my! it was not a stick shift - but a tooth. An enormous tooth, larger than all my head. And to the side of that tooth, I saw more teeth. I discovered I was within the maw of an enormous animal.

Yes, I was really within the wet and stinking mouth of some huge monster, surrounded by huge teeth covered with sticky blood, and around me pieces of blood-dripping meat. Really horrible. How could I not be swallowed inside the maw?

And while I was trying to make my way through the blood and sticky saliva and escape, in jumped a small furry creature, right into the frightening mouth. It was a small monkey, with fur and tail. I looked at it for an extended moment. I observed its paws and its furry hands, and a terrible suspicion entered my head. I pushed my hand discreetly backward and... I felt there a long tail, just like its tail. Only then I understood that I myself have become such a small monkey. Even smaller than you, children.

.

The small monkey put forth its hand, scraping and picking some vermin that it found in the fold between the skin and the base of the tooth which I held, and the horrible monster made some grunts of enjoyment. It probably enjoyed the cleaning that the monkey was giving it. I tried to communicate with the little monkey and signalled to him to jump out and get away from there. To save himself. But he only made angry sounds and provocative gesticulations and pointed at the plentiful vermin between the teeth of the monster.

I saw no point in continuing to argue with him, and took advantage of the fact that the monster opened its mouth widely for him to escape.

I emerged to that world all soiled and filthy and my head dizzy from fear and from the stench, but I knew that in order to figure out where exactly I fell to, I must check out the place. I saw that I was inside a wide valley. The mountains disappeared, and I saw nearby the sun setting in the sea. A sea near Jerusalem!

The air was hot and very humid and huge swarms of mosquitos were buzzing and biting. I looked at the monster from whose maw I emerged and there was no doubt - it was a giant flesh -eating dinosaur. And it was not alone. About a dozen such frightening dinosaurs were lying there, and between them three bitten and bleeding carcasses of grass -eating dinosaurs. The predator dinosaurs seemed pretty sated, and only two or three of them were still biting at the flesh, whereas the others were lying there, as if they were sitting around for a joint dinner, and were opening wide their enormous maws, perhaps in order to cool themselves. I was among a band of dinosaurs having dinner.

And among the huge dinosaurs circulated a band of my new mates - those small monkeys - as at home, without fear. When any of the monkeys tried to take a piece of meat from a carcass, one of the dinosaurs would blow on it a stinking and scorching breath and drive it away from the spoils. Only inside the open maws of the dinosaurs were the monkeys allowed to enter freely and scavenge. There they were welcome.

I obviously refrained from sticking my neck again into the maw of a dinosaur. But when I tried to snub my new brethren by calls and gestures from getting there, they really got angry. They could give no verbal reactions, but their gestures could be translated as: "Don't meddle", "Are you crazy? Do you want to spoil things for us?", as well as "What can we do? That's all we got!". And while I was trying to appeal to the monkeys to refrain from this despicable servitude, the dinosaur from whose maw I just emerged closed it and ground the little monkey that moved there with its dreadful teeth. I haver just been warning him and now he was eaten like an after diner dessert.

I could no longer hold the horror and disgust felt and threw out. How can my brethren monkeys live like this? It was clear to me that the dinosaurs - like other reptiles - are creatures without emotions or gratitude. Creatures with such a restricted brain that they do not remember anything and cannot learn anything.

But what could the little monkeys do against them? Being so small and weak - this was probably the only living they could make. It was clear that as long as the dinosaurs dominate the world, the monkey could not develop, and no larger apes could evolve from them. And certainly no humans, because the dinosaurs will destroy them immediately. Only as long as they serve them in this despicable job, picking and cleaning their stinking maws, they have some existence among the ruling dinosaurs - even if every now and then one of them serves as dessert.

"But", I said again to myself (as there was no one else to talk to), "the dinosaurs must be destroyed! Because if they are not destroyed, how will the little monkeys evolve to apes and over time - to humans? And how will I ever tell stories to Ayal? And how will Jerusalem be built?

What shall I do? Does it all depend on me? How can I change the situation? I am here all alone whereas they - those terrible dinosaurs - are everywhere. Shall I convince the little monkeys? In what language? I certainly cannot explain to them about the building of Jerusalem, or their historical destiny. They are only interested in food and perhaps in games. And who am I to preach to them? Am I a human being who thinks that he turned into an ancient monkey, or am I a monkey who, for whatever reason, dreams of humans, and of the building of Jerusalem?

Nevertheless, I knew. The future of the whole world is dependent on these little monkeys. And they do have several advantages over the dinosaurs, I thought. First, they have good hands which can manipulate things. That is how they scrape a living off the dinosaurs. Second, they can learn a little. If not through explanations and understanding, then by imitation, monkey -like.

And no less important: they have hot blood and mammalian hearts. Yes, they do have emotions. Mama-monkey nurses her offsprings, and the young monkeys obey the elders and learn from them. These revolting dinosaurs on the other hand - they have no memory and no emotions. They lay eggs but leave them. They do not recognize their own offsprings and do not take care of them. They can even eat their little offspring, just like they can eat the little monkey that just now cleaned their mouth from the biting vermin. They have no feelings and no gratitude.

And then came the idea to me in a great force. The little monkeys can learn to eat the eggs of the dinosaurs and thereby to destroy them. The stupid dinosaurs would not retaliate, because they do not even know their own eggs.

The main operation, I figured, should be run tomorrow in the early morning. Dinosaurs - like organizations - find it difficult to move early. They are active mainly from nine to five. The hot -blooded monkeys could come in the morning and enjoy an excellent breakfast of dinosaurs eggs undisturbed. Very nutritious breakfast, with all the proteins of the dinosaur eggs.

All I have to do is to show them an example for imitation. I just need their attention for a moment.

It was not difficult to find a few dinosaur eggs about the place. Huge eggs, almost as big as the body of the monkey. I must only point them to the little monkeys. I tried to get their attention - which was a difficult task. I had to bite the bigger monkeys and annoy them so that they would chase me and try to bite me and hit me. And so I would annoy the bigger monkeys, run away and hide behind a dinosaur's egg, and then try to break it. But I'll have to break it. If I succeed, they will taste that it is good and perhaps will imitate breaking the egg. And thus, again and again, I annoyed the monkeys in order to bring them on to the eggs, and there I tried my hand to break the egg. I tried with a stone, and I tried with a stick, but it was no use. The big dinosaur eggs were covered by hard and unbreakable shells, and all my attempts failed, whereas I received more and more bites and blows from the irate monkeys.

The long dark night passed and I was sad and dispirited. And when dawn came, I proceeded again to wake the monkeys, who did not have much to do anyway. The workday of the dinosaurs organization has not started yet, and they were lying almost motionless with closed mouths. I exposed one egg, and pushed it to roll it up a rock. The egg was very heavy, and only with enormous effort I managed to move it a little, but the egg fell and rolled back. Again I rolled the egg up the incline, and again my powers gave out and the heavy egg returned and rolled down. And so I went back to roll the egg up the slope, and again the egg dropped and rolled down, and so again and again.

Yet I did not despair and give up. I tried again and again, and the little monkeys looked at me and sniggered. They quite liked the game, especially each time that the egg rolled down again. But when I rolled the egg uphill for the tenth time, some young monkeys joined me and helped to roll the egg up. Perhaps they wanted to see it rolling down the slope. But this way I managed to roll it up with our joint forces and bring it to the edge of a cliff. Another small push from me - and the egg flew from the cliff, fell upon a rock below and broke. The shell splintered to cup -like shreds filled with the golden yolk. This time I did all I could to bring the older monkeys to chase me all the way to the rock upon which the egg broke. There I had no need for any explaining. The little monkeys jumped upon the cups and licked all the yolk from them, and even licked the remnants from the rock and the soil and then licked their lips and their fingers.

With the next egg it was much easier. Immediately there were monkeys who helped me roll it up the slope, and when it fell and broke, they already ran there by themselves to splurge.

From then on, the little monkeys are learning fast the new trade. After another couple of times there were already two monkey -pioneers who went by themselves to look for dinosaur's eggs, and others joined them to help rolling them up.

Meanwhile the sun rose and the air warmed. I was afraid that the dinosaurs organization would rise to protect their eggs and to disturb us. But soon it became apparent that most of them do not get what is happening to them or that they do not care. I knew that, in any case, since the little monkeys are learning the trick, they could continue with it tomorrow's dawn and in all other mornings, until there would be no dinosaur eggs left, and that other tribes of monkeys could learn from this band. I knew that the fate of the dinosaurs of the world is doomed.

I did not expect gratitude from the monkeys. If they could know my intentions and what is ahead of them, they would surely object and complain. Because once the dinosaurs are destroyed, they will no longer be able to make a living from them and there would be no more delicious dinosaur eggs to crack.

Before the little monkeys stand a long period, much longer than they could comprehend, until the new rulers of the world evolve from them.

And what about me? What is my fate? I too am tied to the body and the fate of a little monkey, and how can I return to the human world? Shall I have to live for millions of years as a small monkey, evolving to ape, and only then turn into human?

.

I woke by the cold of dawn in a jeep stuck in a ravine in the environs of Jerusalem. I managed to start it and to return home. But since then I am sad and feel as if I betrayed my mission: Have I manage to extract the little monkeys from the maws of huge dinosaurs without feelings and intelligence, only in order that a few millions of years later they would choose the maws of organizations that have no human consideration? How can they be destroyed, if they even have no eggs and no balls? And perhaps this is the chink in their armor?

(C) All rights reserved to the Hayut Foundation. P.O.Box 8115 Jerusalem 91080.


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