Dinosaur by Hilda Friday

When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there.

That was the first thing he saw, the blurry purple and green outline of the dinosaur suit, half bent over near the lower corner of his bed. He next realized, yes, it was his bed, he had gotten home last night, to his mild surprise. His third thought of the morning was the sudden and simple urge to lunge for the trashcan that was thankfully only a few feet away, and throw up violently into it.

When he finished, the dinosaur was still there, watching him purge himself of everything he had absorbed the night before.

“Damn you,” he muttered, turning his back on it to shuffle his way to the bathroom.

“Damn you,” he repeated to himself, wondering at what point last night he had gotten inebriated enough to let someone push him into the Barney suit. He recalled a flash of a dream, where the suit had come alive, forcing him to dance over and over again to some shitty music that in his fevered dream state he had perceived as classical, but now waking he realized must have been German EDM.

Wet from his cold shower, skin stinging slightly from intense scrubbing, he wandered back into his bedroom. He had begun to focus on the day ahead.

The dinosaur, of course, was still there.

When he had been a child, he hated Barney, with the same hate that sommeliers bestowed upon Franzia; a disgust for something perceived to be cheap entertainment. He would groan if he saw Barney on TV, roll his eyes at Barney merchandise in stores, and once upon a time, his little brother had come home from school with a Barney stuffed animal. The next morning the trash can outside was a few ounces more full.

But later, he entered college, and what was cringe-worthy before then became a mark of pride, a chance to laugh at one’s self and defy rejection of harmless fun. He bought a minion onesie. He borrowed an orange tutu from his ex-girlfriend. Eventually, one day he entered Walmart, and deep in the soulless, overbright aisles of that capitalist purgatory, a purple and green dinosaur suit stared into his eyes.

He couldn’t resist. He picked up the suit, walked to the cashier, checked out, paid, and only once he made it out of the doors, out of the air-conditioning and stood in a bright, hot parking lot with a mass of purple cotton in his arms, did he feel shame.

He wasn’t thinking about this now, of course. At the moment he was sloppily shoveling cheerios into his mouth and trying to remember where his last Gatorade had gone. It had probably been consumed the last time he had been hammered. It didn’t matter.