Note: This is a silly piece written for practice.
by Olivia Hofer
Jay heard the creature before she spotted it.
It creaked in the corner under a desk, hidden behind two boxes. She pushed one to the side with her foot. It was heavy, filled to the brim with parts of a disassembled Tyrannosaurus.
Jay sighed. She'd been told that all AI had been turned off prior to the arrival of the clean-up crew, and that all they were required to do was find the dinosaurs, take them apart, stuff them into boxes and prepare them for removal.
Another creak, followed by a small squeak. "Turned off, my ass," she muttered. She definitely wasn't paid enough for this. Jay approached the corner, pushed the other box to the side and knelt.
Under the table sat a small raptor, its front leg bent at a weird angle, its head cocked sideways. It observed Jay with small, beady eyes, its tail curled around its hind legs.
She hesitated, waited for it to pounce and use its teeth, but it kept dangling its front leg, a miserable expression on its face.
"You were supposed to have been turned off," said Jay softly. She patted the raptor's head, and it showed her pointy teeth in return. "Woha, just trying to help." It cowered and pushed its bottom lip forward as if pouting. A guttural sound emerged from its mouth.
"I'm sorry little guy, but the park is being shut down."
The raptor lifted its leg once more, moved it back and forth as if to draw her attention to the broken joint. "Let me see," she said. She pulled on the small foot and clicked the joint back into place. "One moment." She retrieved a small bottle of WD-40 from her toolbox. She oiled the parts, bent the leg a few times and smiled. "There you go. All good."
The raptor jumped, inspected its leg and nipped her arm with enthusiasm. Its feathered neck glistened in the dim overhead light.
"Ouch. Look, it's not my fault the park is being shut down. Besides, you're not the only one experiencing a dreadful week."
The raptor whined softly, sat on its hind legs and pressed its head against her shoulder. A soft feather tickled her elbow. "My boyfriend ghosted me. Didn't even have the decency to break up with me, and now I'm talking to a robot dinosaur while working minimum wage. At least, you had a good run. I've seen you in the papers. You were a hit. Everybody loved you."
Jay thought the raptor attempted to smile, but that couldn't be. It wasn't made to smile. "It's not your fault people weren't visiting. Turns out no one is interested in perfectly safe creatures pretending to be dangerous when everyone knows they can be turned off by flicking a switch."
The raptor made a noise that sounded like a gasp and ducked.
"You didn't know you could be turned off just like that?"
It shook its head.
"See, I didn't know I could be ghosted just like that. One day he was living with me, and I cooked for him, the next day his stuff is gone, and he changed his number."
She absentmindedly stroked the raptor's head. The skin felt smooth under her touch. It purred. "You like that, don't you?"
It opened its mouth wide, exposing a row of impressive white teeth and a pointy tongue.
"I guess, I got some space at home with Brad gone."
Jay thought she saw a flicker in the raptor's eyes. "And you don't eat much, do you? Or at all, considering you're made of plastic or something."
It clucked much like a chicken and Jay laughed. "I will call you Creaky. Because of your gammy leg." She clapped. "We'll have so much fun."
Behind her, the door opened and slammed into the wall. "There's a time for breaks, but it ain't now."
Jay turned to face her boss. Spotting the raptor, he frowned and approached. “They told me all machinery had been turned off.” He grabbed it by its neck and ripped the head off. The cabling ripped with a sickening crunch, and Jay winced.
He gestured towards the boxes. "Once you're done, go and help Remy over at the museum. I'll load the truck." He wrinkled his nose. "I can't wait to leave. This place gives me the creeps."
He yanked on the raptor's legs before throwing the parts into an empty box.
Jay watched as he trudged out of the room, then turned and looked at the raptor's cabling dangling from its neck.
"Farewell, Creaky," she mumbled and proceeded to disassemble a Stegosaurus.