A Bone To Pick

This is a flash fiction for the purposeful practitioner submission. Thanks to Roger Shipp for the prompt which can be found on Pixabay (it’s an ostrich femur, btw, but If you squint just enough it could be a dimetrodon spine).


Reuben didn’t like to admit it, but the Professor had something masterful about him. It was there in the way he worked. Most paleontologists were ascetic, methodical types, like Reuben. Given a crate of bones, they’d scrutinise each one individually for hours before hesitantly reconstructing a dinosaur carcass. Not the Professor. To observe him going about his business was to watch a perfectly organised chaos, a cyclone conducting a caprice by Paganini. It was almost as though he didn’t need to look as he fashioned a dimetrodon from nothing in the time it would have taken Reuben to unpack his satchel.
Of course, underneath the eccentric exterior, the Professor was a hopeless perfectionist with a cruel streak, too. Reuben could still remember his mentor’s condescending smirk when he’d failed him on his PhD viva.
He watched the Professor now, mentally congratulating himself on a job well done. He was preparing to send his former pupil on an errand, it was obvious. Something demeaning, Rueben supposed, the sort of menial job caretakers like him couldn’t refuse. Reuben smiled, and wondered whether it was time yet to tell the older man about the hidden spine bones.


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