A Night to Remember
Phoebe peered into the dark shadows surrounding the reflection pond near the Central Perk. She narrowed her eyes. "Why did you want me to come out here, Gus? What is there to possibly see at this time of night that you wouldn't tell me about?"
"Just keep looking." Her friend, whom she thought of as something like a Ghost Buster, scratched the head of his collie. "They should show up any second. Believe me, I didn't believe it when I first saw them and I'm not about to tell you without you seeing them first."
"Oh, right. Like paling around with the ghost of Mister Houdini
makes what you see and do unbelievable."
"I heard that."
"I'm sorry, Mister Houdini, I didn't know you were here."
"It's Harry, Phoebes. I gave up formality when I died. So what is it that you want to show us, Gus? I'm too old for show and tell."
"If you two would be quiet then they might...." He paused. Gus looked over as the collie sitting beside him got to his feet and growled. The dog's hairs looked like he'd just received a massive jolt of electricity. "What is it, Virgil? Are they coming?"
Phoebe didn't think that ghosts breathed but she distinctly heard Harry's breath suck in between his teeth. "Oh wood's pussy." She distinctly heard him say and for him that was a very strong swearing.
"There." Gus pointed towards the pond in the middle of Central Park. "Oh my Lord. There're more than there were last time."
Phoebe looked in the direction of his trembling finger and she found herself clutching his other hand. A long snake-like neck raised itself out of the thickening mist near the edge of the pond until it towered over the trees. It was rapidly followed by several more, probing and swaying as if to some unheard music. The first one lifted back its head and made a mournful sound like a lovesick elephant. Several other voices answered it. A leathery creature that never could have been a bird flapped over the heads of the herd.
"Geez." It was the only word that came to mind.
"Now I see why you didn't want to tell us." The ghost seemed to be in shock. "Dinosaurs in Central Park, Gus. That ranks right up there with UFO abductions."
Phoebe turned to Gus; her eyes were alight. "We've got to tell Ross."
"Who's Ross?" The ghost asked.
"He's a paleontologist friend of mine. He'd want to see these dinosaurs. It would be like having his childhood dreams come true."
The ghost considered this for a moment. "Somehow I don't think he'll like these."
"What's there to dislike?"
"Oh, you'll see. By all means go and get him. I haven't had a good laugh in weeks."
"Darn I think I broke a nail."
"Are you all right, love muffin."
"Do you know how long it took to get that nail just right?" Rachel
regarded her damaged creation in disgust.
"Don't worry, love. We'll get this wild goose chase of Phoebe's over with and then we'll get back to the nice warm cave at the museum and finish decorating it." Ross grinned as he turned back to Phoebe and Gus. "Now what was it you two wanted to show me and why did I have to borrow the museum's infrared camera?"
Unseen or heard by Ross or Rachel, Harry the ghost snickered. Gus stepped on an ectoplasmic foot as Phoebe drew Ross forward to the edge of the woods. "There."
"Reminds me of my first snipe hunt. Here, snipe. Here, snipe."
"AROOOOO!" A swaying, bobbing head turned to regard Ross as he froze.
"That's no snipe. Rachel, come look at this." There was a thump
indicating that Rachel like Frasier had just left the building.
Ross fumbled with the camera while Gus and Phoebe attended to Rachel. "Dinos. I don't believe it. Real Diplopoduci and Dimodons." The camera clicked and whirred. "And overhead that's a Pteredon." He turned to Gus. "How is this possible?"
"Something has stretched the barrier between our two ages to an incredible thinness. Take your pictures quick. I have no idea how long it'll last."
"No one will believe these pictures."
"True." Said Phoebe. "But you don't have to show them the pictures. Just study them and use what you see to develop new scientific hypothesis that the fossil record will support."
"You're right." Ross froze. "Is that what I think is coming?"
"Oh, oh." The ghost whispered in Phoebe's ear.
The swaying dino heads swung around and froze in one direction as a
thirty-foot tall dinosaur strode out of the mists and regarded them hungrily. "It's a T-Rex." Ross whispered like an altar boy at his first communion.
T-Rex opened his mouth. "Cluck-a duck." He said. He paused and bent to lift his hind leg to scratch his neck. As he did so, his feathers puffed out. Huge, fluffy white feathers covered his body and his red wattles gleamed in the moonlight.
"Feathers!" Screamed Ross. "Dinos don't have feathers."
"Cluck-a cluck. Tick. Tick?" T-Rex craned his head in their direction.
"Ross, shut up." Hissed Phoebe. "I think he can hear you."
Ross was too far-gone in insulted rage to listen. "This is all a fake. Well, this is what I think of your trick." He ran forward at the bemused T-Rex.
"I told you." Chuckled the ghost.
"Who's that?" A woozy Rachel asked.
"Just me. Hi." Said the ghost.
Gus caught the slumping Rachel again. "You have a sick sense of humor, Harry."
"It's the only one I've got and .... would you look at that."
Ross had run right up to the T-Rex, which was regarding him curiously and lashed out with his foot to catch it on the shin. To everyone's shock his shoe connected.
"Cluck?" T-Rex said.
"Shut-up, you fake." Ross kicked it even harder.
T-Rex had had enough. He lowered his head and roared. Ross was bowled over by an on-rush of fetid wind. T-Rex roared again, proving that in "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World" that Spielberg had at least got that sound right.
Phoebe grabbed Ross by the arm. "Run for it!"
"Help. I'm being chased by a prehistoric chicken." Ross babbled as they fled the enraged dinosaur.
T-Rex brought his head down with his jaws gapping. Phoebe shrieked as teeth flashed towards them. There was a ripple in the air and suddenly the dinosaur was a ghost again.
"The barrier thickened." Gus stopped. Ross didn't. He grabbed Rachel from Gus and fled.
"I hope he got some good pictures." Phoebe said.
"That was the cat's PJs." Harry laughed. He laughed even harder and pointed.
Phoebe turned to look and then smiled. An insubstantial T-Rex was holding the camera in his hands and turning it over in puzzlement.
"Say cheese." Said Harry.
"I repeat you have a sick sense of humor." Groaned Gus.