Oct 29, 2016

"The Dinosaur Fakers" - 2

"Worse than that, even," said Bernhard, tilting his head in the direction of the outraged mother. She was talking to a museum docent, and pointing at Bernhard and Lena. "Looks like we're going to get a stern talking to."
The docent was coming towards them now, a broad phony smile on her face.
"Hel-lohhh, there," she said in a fake sing-songy way that annoyed Bernhard and Lena. Both thought about blowing smoke in the docent's face, but managed to restrain themselves.
"We want everyone to enjoy the exhibit," said the docent. "It sounded like you might have some, er, questions that I could help you with...?"

"Yeah," said Bernhard. "I got a question: Who comes up with this malarkey?"
"B-but, sir!" the docent stuttered, recoiling a bit. "Don't you understand? This is science! We are simply presenting... the results... of the, er, top men in the field of paleontology."
Bernhard chuckled his nastiest chuckle and took a leisurely drag on his cigarette. It was pleasant watching this lady stooge flounder a bit. The small audience of bystanders forming around them made it even more delicious.
The docent was beginning to find the silence unbearable.
"Why, uh... like Barnum Brown, for instance," she went on. "Or 'Mr. Bones' as he is known affectionately. He is one of our very top men. It was his good fortune to discover the T. Rex, you know."
"That the one with the little stub arms?" said Bernhard. "Not very convincing. I like that name though: 'Barnum.' Kind of gives the game away right there now, don't it?"

"'Game'?" said the docent. "What 'game'?"
"Like the showman," said Bernhard. "Good ol' P.T. ... Purveyor of bunk... blarney... and bogosity."
"Sir, I really do not think you are expert enough to determine---" the docent said, searching for some conclusive way to end the conversation.
"I happen to know that your 'Barnum Brown' (and his bogus name) is an intelligence asset," said Bernhard. (In fact Bernhard was bluffing: he only guessed that Brown might be an asset.) "That being the case, how do I know all these 'fossils' aren't just casts taken from various ordinary creatures, perhaps with a horn or claws added here and there in Sculpey?"
A great number of children were crying now. Lena chuckled nastily and took a drag. It would almost be worth getting busted by that plain-clothes dick, if it meant getting to see this show.

"Plus the weight distribution," said Bernhard. "Most of these things would have had some serious lower back issues."
"Perhaps that's why they went extinct!" said the docent triumphantly.
"The only stink is the stench of your lies and misinformation," said Bernhard.
The docent gasped. Bernhard and Lena chuckled as she turned away from them with a look of pert resignation.
"Children," she said, "I want you to shield your ears from all this nonsense. There will always be those who spew hate-filled ignorance. We must learn to separate out the good, reliable sources from the bad and untrustworthy ones."
The crowd began drifting away. Bernhard caught a glare from one of the mothers though.
"What?" he said. "We're doing it a favor. It needs to know the truth."

Bernhard and Lena left the Museum and walked to a cafe. They used their ill-gotten gains to buy Reuben sandwiches and Earl Grey tea.
"Say," said Bernhard, as they sat sipping tea. "An idea has occurred to me."
"Yeah? Whaddaya got? Ya big dummy," said Lena.
"This line of work we're in is strictly small-time. I want a big score. Something that will set us up for a long while. Maybe even give us status, prestige."
"That docent was right about you after all," said Lena. "You're a spewer of bilge-water and nonsense."
"I never even had a bilge," said Bernhard. "Anyway, my point is this: I want in on the Dino Racket."

Oct 19, 2016

The Dinosaur Fakers - 1

Starting a new project here...
This is planned to be a picture book when it's finished, probably printed through CreateSpace or some other print on demand place.
But until then, I will just serialize it here...

* * * * *

Bernhard was standing around on a busy corner, looking for easy marks. His common law wife Lena was keeping an eye out for the fuzz.
A man came out of a shop. He was a prosperous-looking man in a gray suit. He began walking down the sidewalk, in the general direction of the mustachioed con.
"Excuse me," said Bernhard, as he gave the man a good jarring and lifted his wallet.
"Mind where you're going," said the man, without pausing.
"Heh-heh," Bernhard chuckled to himself. It gave him an extra frisson of pleasure when the marks were nasty.
Lena whistled. That was the signal to close up shop and skedaddle.

"What's up," said Bernhard, when they met around the block at a pre-determined spot.
"Plain-clothes dick," said Lena. "Don't look now, but he's coming towards us."
"Shit," said Bernhard. "Do you think he knows, or he's just suspicious?"
"What difference does it make, dummy," said Lena. She reached toward her purse to grab a cigarette pack, but Bernhard caught her wrist in his hand.
"Wait," said Bernhard. "Let's slip in here."
The Museum was having a big dinosaur exhibit. Crowds of people were thronging in and out. It looked like a perfect place to disappear and try to shake this plain-clothes dick.

Bernhard and Lena both chuckled nastily when they got inside and saw how jam-packed the place was. "That plain-clothes dick will never find us in this mob of imbeciles," they were thinking.
Lena lighted up, and offered one to Bernhard.
"Thanks," said Bernhard, letting her light his as well. He took a long drag and relaxed a bit. They had had a decent morning. Not spectacular, but they would live to fight again. Then he paused by one of the exhibits. He began to chuckle.
"What?" said Lena. "What's so funny?"
"Don't you see?" said Bernhard. "This skeleton! Or fossil, or whatever it's called. It's pure balderdash."
"Good word," said Lena. "So you're not buying it?"
"It's bunk, if you prefer," said Bernhard. "Take it from an old bunko artist."

"Mommy, Mommy!" said a snot-nosed little boy standing nearby. "That man said dinosaurs are bunk!"
"How dare you," said the boy's mother, glaring at Bernhard.
"But just look at its neck," said Bernhard. "Sure. 'Eighty-eight feet' long. I'm buying that. And did you catch the numerology there?"
"Numerology?" said the woman. "Come, Taylor. We do not associate with madmen."
"They're having you on," said Bernhard to the lady's back.
"Waah!" said the little boy as he was led off.

"And that teeny-tiny head," Bernhard went on. He was chuckling with something almost like admiration at the audacity of the con. "Pumping foliage down that long pipe-line all the live-long day. Heh-heh. Pump! Pump! Pump! Gotta keep that 77-ton torso fueled up! Sure..."
"It does seem a bit fishy," Lena agreed.
"Fishy?" said Bernhard, gesticulating wildly. "It stinks to high heaven! It's rotten as two-day old shrimp! It's phony as a three-dollar bill!"

"Stop gesticulating wildly," said Lena. "That plain-clothes dick might still be around."