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art by Jason Stirret

Jimmy Smith Has a Dinosaur

Gregg Chamberlain is becoming more absentminded as he gets older. If not for his missus, Anne, he might forget that they have six feline mouths to feed at their home in Eastern Ontario, Canada. He is proud to have DSF become his fourth fiction sale; the first being a flash fiction anthology that the late great Asimov co-edited with Martin Greenberg and Terry Carr more moons ago than Gregg cares to recall.

"Moooooommmmm! Pleeeeease?"
"No, Billy, you can't have one."
Billy's mom picked up another plate, one of the chipped ones, and started wiping it dry with quick, almost-savage strokes of the dishtowel. She knew what was coming next.
"But why, Mom?" argued Billy. "Jimmy Smith has a dinosaur!"
Billy's mom sighed. Put the plate in the cupboard, reached for another, began wiping it dry. "If Jimmy Smith's parents choose to let him have a dinosaur, that is their decision and they can afford to do so. Me, I really don't think it's proper to let a child have that kind of a pet."
Even if it is "just a micro-sized plant-eater" like that Amelia said.
"But, Moooooommmmm!"
"Don't 'but Mom!' me!" Billy's mom spat. "No dinosaur and that is final!"
Billy scuffed a sneaker-clad foot against a crack in the kitchen linoleum. "'S not fair. Jimmy Smith gets to have a dinosaur, he gets to ride around on his own SeaSkidoo, gets to learn kickboxing with Jackie Chan's clone, go to Mars for summer holidays, to--"
"Oh, for pity's sake!" Billy's mom cried in exasperation. "If Jimmy Smith got permission to jump off a cliff, would you want to go too?"
Blessed silence followed. For a moment. Then...
"Jimmy Smith has a jetpack."
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Author Comments

The title for this popped into my head during one of those half-awake moments in the early morning one day. When I sat down to the keyboard, the rest of the story just flowed right out. Every parent, I think, dreads the day when one of their kids will make a comeback to that traditional sarcastic retort “If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you go too?” I know I never managed to think of a response when my mum said it to me.

- Gregg Chamberlain
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