“That’s the price, Mags. I won’t take anything else.”
Magisaur tightened his dull red lips over his sharp, sharp teeth. “I have told you before. I do not know the gift I gave; my dreamer rejected me before that part of the story became clear.”
The butcher shook his head. “Not good enough. I guess you don’t get your steak today.” He slid the rack of meat back behind the bookcase and wiped his hands on his bloody apron. “Come back when you’ve decided to share your backstory.”
Magisaur lifted his head to look down at the little man. “It would not be wise to deprive a carnisaur of his dinner.”
“You can pull that on the new releases. I know better.” The butcher shook his head. “Now get out of here, Mags. I got other customers to deal with.”
Magisaur stalked out of the bookbutchery. He growled with every step, pausing in an auspicious pool of sunlight to let it glint off his crown as he glared at little boy with a green, writhing t-shirt. The boy eeped and hid behind a rack of science fiction jerky.
He continued down the street, allowing his steps to resume their normal royal pace. His purple robe swished behind him. The road was crowded with shoppers today. Birds fluttered from stall to stall. Mothers called for their children. Dragons slumbered in nooks and crannies.
A woman with a rather large halo took up the pace beside him. “Brother Magisaur.” She offered a respectful nod.
The dinosaur sighed. “Saint Regina the Lesser by Third,” he answered.
She smiled broadly, revealing teeth as red as lipstick. “It is refreshing to my soul to see you here. I have longed to pass the time with another holy one.”
“I beg your pardon, blessed saint. I am no holy one. I merely offered a gift in Bethlehem, to the One who gave all for me.”
“But a great and mighty gift!”
The great royal lizard shook his head. “I do not know, my lady. I do not know.” He glanced at a nearby building. “I beg your pardon, but I have arrived at my residence.”
“Of course, Brother Magisaur. Perhaps I may visit you?”
“Not today, my lady. I thank you for your attentions.”
The haloed form bowed to him. “May you never be forgotten for your service to One who was so poor and lowly.”
Magisaur watched as the saint floated away down the street. He grunted. Yes, he was a mighty beast, but why did everyone assume that he knew what he gave? Many of the rejected superheroes did not know their own origins. Why should a beast like him know what gift he was to have given?
And he didn’t really exist anyway. Not in history, at least. He was merely a rejected figment of some child’s imagination.
He picked his way up stairs far too narrow for his scaly feet, finding flat 5C. He stuck out a single claw, sliding it into the keyhole and shaking it until the lock popped loose. The door creaked open, and Magisaur stepped into his royal residence: two bedrooms, one bath. With a roommate.
Si looked up from the counter. A pile of fresh-chopped veggies sat beside him. “Hey. I just finished prepping the marinade. You get the meat?”
“Alas, the butcher asked a price higher than I could pay.”
Si’s face fell. “Oh. Well. Hm.” He looked at the veggies. “I could chip in, I suppose. What did he ask?”
Magisaur allowed the edges of his mouth to droop down. “They wanted to know the gift I gave the Baby Lord.”
“Oh. Oh, I’m so sorry. I… Look, I’ll throw the veggies into the fridge. They’ll keep. I’ll run out and get you one of those pizzas you like.” Si scurried around the counter, sucking in his prodigious bulk as he went. “I’ll be right back, all right? Don’t worry. It’ll be fine.”
The door was shut before Magisaur could answer.
He glanced to the piles of food. They could wait.
He sulked into his bedroom and circled around a nest, roosting in it. He lowered his head and shut his eyes. A rumble started deep in the back of his throat.
What good was it being known for something that you could never share? To be known to be the giver of a good gift… but to never be able to share what that gift was?
Of course he was rejected. What could a dinosaur ever give the King of Kings?
This is a Barrelbottom Tale.