Arlo

“Jakob. Jakob, wake up! Someone wants to meet you!” Those were the first words I heard the day of my eighth birthday. I opened my eyes to see a big, green, dinosaur right in front of me! Of course, I knew it wasn’t real, but I knew who it was- Arlo from the Good Dinosaur. I haven’t gotten to see the movie yet, but it looked awesome! Dinosaurs have been my favorite since I was, like, four.

“Whoa! Thanks, Dad!” I said, grabbing the toy from his hands. It was so huge- like bigger than a dog huge.

“But I didn’t even see the movie yet!” I said, starting to wobble the apatosaurus’s head from side to side a little.

“Here’s the deal, kiddo, you come with me to the office today, and right after that we stay up late to go see the old dinosaur movie for your birthday.” Dad said. I laughed,

“It’s the Good Dinosaur, Dad.” He laughed too. I jumped out of my bed and looked at the clock.

“What time do we see the movie?”

“Well we leave for work about 12, then we’ll catch the 5:30 screening. I know it’s a while, so make sure you pack stuff to keep you busy while I’m working.” He told me. Then he ruffled my hair and left the room. I’d be sure to keep myself busy with my new Arlo toy. And my Nintendo DS.

We took the train into Dad’s New York City office, which is where he goes when he can’t work at home. I’ve gone there a few times before, and it was okay. It’s not the most fun place ever, but Dad makes money there, so I guess it’s okay. I usually stay in Dad’s office with him while he does computer work and I can pretty much do whatever I wanted as long as I was quiet.

We got there, had lunch, then came the waiting, which wasn’t so bad with Arlo. All day I was pretending that I was Spot the caveboy, who I saw in the commercials. I pretended that we were fighting the Velociraptors and T-rex’s who were also in the commercial. We were real heroes, Arlo and me. I pretended to ride on his back like a horse to charge into battle. I was having so much fun, by the time it was time to go, I was so pumped up for the movie! I just couldn’t wait! If I was having that much fun just playing with a stuffed animal, imagine how good the movie would be.

But then we actually watched the movie, and by the time it was over, I had dropped my Arlo on the floor. My dad picked it up and brushed off the popcorn that got stuck on his feet.

“Hey there, careful with that. Wouldn’t want Arlo to get all dirty.” He said, handing it back to me. I held onto it, keeping a straight look on my face.

“So how’d you like the movie? Pretty neat, right?”

“…Uh-huh.” I couldn’t answer what I really thought. It wasn’t bad but… It was kind of… Dumb. It wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be. I mean, Spot was funny, but the rest of it was kind of confusing. Arlo was also a wimp for like, the entire thing. It got really annoying. I mean, he got kind of brave at the end, but still. Before I saw the movie I saw this dinosaur who would stand up to all the big dinosaurs and would go on a big adventure, but they just kind of walked around while Spot bit Arlo a lot to get him to do things.  I couldn’t make my dad upset, though, he seemed to like the movie, and I’ve been asking him to see it for a whole month.

We got back on the train, and my dad fell asleep after a while. I had my Arlo toy up on the luggage rack when his head fell through one of the holes. He was just there, dangling in front of me, like a punching bag… so that’s what I did. I punched him. Not hard, but I did. Everyone else in the movie got to hit Arlo, and after all the excitement built up for nothing, I deserved a hit too. I threw a few more hits in there before my dad woke up. I quickly turned to the window and pretend like nothing happened. After tonight, all I gotta say is Finding Dory better not suck.

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This was an old writing exercise that I did in my creative non-fiction class in college. The assignment was to make up a story about a stranger you’ve seen. I saw a boy on the train coming home from classes one day with a giant Arlo plush, punching its head like a punching bag. I had also just seen the movies a week or so prior, and I wasn’t so fond of the film. It wasn’t awful but quite disappointing for a Pixar film. I couldn’t help but think that kid who was punching Arlo’s head thought the same thing.

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