John Emerson’s Toy by James Van Pelt

The foot-tall T-rex peeked from under the kitchen table. It ducked its toothy head down to scratch, cocked his gaze at Raymond and Bethany in their recliners, before lumbering to the bedrooms.

“It misses John Emerson,” said Bethany. 

“He’s at college. We should have junked his toy weeks ago.”

“It was his baby present.” 

“We’re not the Castletons. That Stegosaurus roams their backyard, like a scaly racoon.”

“Their son died.”

“John’s in college. I’ll recycle it.”

Bethany stiffened. “No, it’s not hurting anything.” In the bedroom, the T-rex cried out, a tiny roar that said, “John Emerson, pick me up.”

James Van Pelt is a full-time writer in western Colorado. He’s appeared in numerous magazine, been a finalist for a Nebula Award and been reprinted in several year’s best collections.  His latest collection, The Best of James Van Pelt came out in November, 2020, and is available at  James blogs at, and he can be found on Facebook.

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