The Starving Activist is the sometimes-home for words. AR Neal (that’s me) finds them, cultivates them, and leaves them here. Enjoy.

Grammar Ghoul Press Challenge #8: Illustrious Pasts

Hampton's leathery wings rustled. He was thoroughly irritated but did his best to ignore his colleague and heckler. As he opened his beak to continue, Farnsworth interrupted for the third time. "Dr. Hampton --""-- What is it, Dr. Farnsworth!" Hampton's exasperation was evident."I hate to interrupt but can you take a moment to explain the general anatomy of the skull. You say this is the upper torso of a human that was found in a dried lava flow off the Pacific Rim. The first preserved evidence of these 'humans' --" Farnsworth punctuated the word with his claws and continued, "-- but what we see here seems incongruous with the few remaining texts we have found. Could you give insight?"Hampton took a deep breath and looked over his reading glasses at the expectant faces of the master thesis students who waited expectantly for his response. This was supposed to be his grand moment in front of them, his minions, his last graduating class from the History department before he gained tenure and could stop teaching to move more deeply into his research on the ancestors of his people. And Farnsworth was ruining everything. "Obviously the texts were incomplete. As we all know, much of our history vanished when the human race was eliminated from the face of the planet by catastrophic techtonic and environmental change." He paused to pace the hall and dramatically turned with a sweep of his wings. "But here we have the proof, Dr. Farnsworth!" The outburst worked as intended and Farnsworth leapt back in surprise. Hampton continued with more gusto. "This torso fossil will put our esteemed university at the forefront of historical research. For centuries we have been tracing Pterodactyl evolution because for so long we were under the impression that our kind had gone extinct as humans were gaining prominence. But here we are, aren't we? There had to be a tie between us and them. And --""-- that is the missing link!" Farnsworth screeched.Hampton's wings sank as the students crowded around Farnsworth, who offered his theory on the evolution of humans. He cleared his throat and the furor settled for a moment. "Ehem -- ah, Dr. Farnsworth, I believe you asked me to explain the anatomy?"Farnsworth adjusted his monocle and gaped a smile. "I think I understand now, Dr. Hampton -- this poor creature had not yet developed, or re-developed, a wing structure but does show the signs of a powerful beak coming in. Isn't that right, Dr. Hampton?"Hampton folded his wings, lifted his chin, and attempted to look like the eminent scholar he was. After all, he thought, this is my discovery and Farnsworth can't take that away. "Quite right, Dr. Farnsworth." He gestured toward the bottom of the fossil. "Now, why don't you enlighten our students on what you think about that mid-section." He let his colleague have a moment in the spotlight and daydreamed of his own future.

Have I mentioned how much I adore Pterodactyls? Pterosaurs in general, actually. So this week's Grammar Ghoul prompt was right up my alley and I hope my 486 words have done justice. Poor Hampton -- let us hope he gains his tenure. Anyway, click below to link up!


Scribe's Cave Picture Prompt: Keeping Up Appearances

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