Public Nuisance

The Tyrannosaurus rex opened his fiery eyes and jolted his head off the spongy earth. His neck’s mane of green feathers straightened up on end. The low thumping he heard drowned out the crickets and other nighttime creatures whose songs should have resounded within his black rainforest home. The beats’ rhythms repeated without falter, nothing like the footsteps of a passing animal, and no leaves rustled with them. Nor did the tyrannosaur feel his own heart and veins convulsing with the pulse, though it did pound against his eardrums. If the noise did not match anything he recognized from nature, something alien must have come to the jungle. Yet the moonlight shafting through the treetops revealed nothing unfamiliar.

Perhaps the tyrannosaur’s dreamtime imagination tricked his senses again. With a confused grunt he lowered himself back onto the forest floor and closed his eyes again.

The thumping did not die. If anything it bombarded his hearing with even stronger fury, forcing him to writhe with discomfort on his scaly underside. Shrill cries somewhere between shrieking and raving matched the throbbing rhythm like some strange creature’s song, joined by raucous chattering and hooting. The tyrannosaur pressed one of his earholes against a tree’s buttress root to shut out the clamor, but even he could not block his other ear.

He had put up with more than enough already. He sprang up onto his three-clawed feet, gaped his cavernous jaws open, and roared. Most times when he did that, the entire jungle would silence on his command. This time, however, the cacophony’s loudness only worsened.

Rage burned like wildfire within the tyrannosaur’s soul. His mouth dripped with drool and blood as he snarled. If these noisemakers would not obey the tyrant king of beasts, they would pay for their insolence the hard way.

With his keen sense of hearing, he traced the sound to the east and so stormed in that direction. The ground quaked and plants rattled their fronds with his every stomp. He ripped through branches and vines with his passage, spooking birds off their perches. The tyrannosaur did not like to make so much noise when hunting during the day, but whatever kept him awake this time needed to hear his wrath.

He crashed out of the jungle’s edge onto a black asphalt road leading to a complex of boxy condominiums. Now that vegetation did not muffle the noises any more, the tyrannosaur could make them out much more clearly now. The thumping became techno music, the shrill cries into pop stars’ digitized singing, and the chattering into the voices of young humans.

The tyrannosaur halted and stepped back as his anger cooled off into dread. Childhood memories of his mother falling to the blasts of the humans’ thunder-sticks flashed in his eyes, and he whimpered. The hairy-headed invaders may not have appeared imposing by themselves, but they could wreak damage unsurpassed among animals with their tools and machinery. Not even tyrant beasts were safe from their ravages.

But then, if the tyrannosaur turned back, the noise would never go away. He and all the other creatures of the wild, including his mates and children, would suffer from its torments until the humans tore more of their home down. He could not let that happen. For the good of his species, for the good of the whole jungle, and to avenge his mother’s memory, the tyrannosaur would smite the plundering primates once and for all.

The road passed a security guard’s booth on its way to the condo complex. The tyrannosaur retreated into the jungle’s shadows on the other side to steal past it. No longer did he stomp or tear through foliage, for that would draw attention to the men with thunder-sticks. One of the guards did poke his head from the window to scan outside, so the tyrannosaur crouched deeper into the verdure and held his breath. His heart drummed like the music.

“Must be the Budweiser again,” the guard muttered and then withdrew back into the booth.

The tyrannosaur resumed sneaking until the road opened into a parking lot just outside the complex. The music and raving now rammed against his ear drums with even greater violence, but at least it would mask the sounds of his infiltration. After stepping over the cars and slipping underneath an arched gateway, he tiptoed between the condos until he entered the complex’s central area. The odors of barbecued meat, pizza, alcohol, and chlorine flowed into the tyrannosaur’s snout.

Coconut palm trees surrounded a glowing swimming pool around which a chattering mass of subadult humans gathered. The bipedal apes went around without their shirts, exposing torsos which varied in color and girth. Most either shook their bodies in some kind of dance, embraced and kissed each other, gorged on food from a poolside buffet, or swigged bottles of brown liquid. On the opposite side of the pool, a giant black stereo vibrated with the techno music it boomed out. So these were the little monsters who dared disturb the tyrannosaur’s peace!

He clamped his jaws onto a palm tree, wrenched it out of the soil, and hurled it across the pool. The tree smashed onto the stereo, which erupted into yellow sparks and smoke. With the infernal music finally silenced, the tyrannosaur breathed in a great mouthful of air and released a thunderous roar which bounced between the condos. The crowd of teenagers stampeded away shrieking shriller than panicking hadrosaurs. The tyrannosaur charged after them, snatching them by their swimsuits with his teeth and then tossing them about. Blood muddied the pool red and bodies splatted into the condos’ walls.

The banging of guards’ firearms rang over the chaos. The tyrannosaur turned away from his victims and stomped out of the complex, bursting through its exterior walls, and plunged back into the jungle beyond. He did not know whether the humans would pursue him so deep into his native habitat, but nonetheless he snorted with relief. At least he had taught the human invaders a lesson it should never forget.

Tyrant lizard kings crack down very hard on public nuisances.