“What?” asked the creature, perhaps taking a moment of umbrage at Ernie’s slack-jawed reaction to its presence to breathe. Through nictitating membranes in its eyes.
No. No, days of driving over dead bodies… that was weird. Days of making his own food in restaurants filled with the bodies of the dead that don’t, for whatever reason, decompose or begin to smell—that was weird. This breached some sort of universal etiquette on the amount of mind-blowing weird anyone should put on any one person. Ernie, for the first time in his entire miserable little life, put his back up, stuck his chest out, and got a little mad.
“What do you mean, what? A bipedal… lizard-thing wearing a Flava Flav necklace follows me for three days and then just pops into my car and it’s somehow my problem? MY PROBLEM?! Everyone on the fucking planet is dead and somehow I’m rude for slamming on breaks because there’s a goddamn dinosaur in the back of my car? No. You’re an asshole. No.” Wait, do lizards have assholes, in the strictest sense? Doesn’t matter.
To its credit, the lizard man stood, patiently waiting for Ernie’s tantrum to subside before proceeding.
“Yeah, well,” it said, “ya hurt my back a little. And I’m not a lizard. I’m not really a dinosaur either, unless you’re an ape, still.”
Ernie was, of course, not a scientist. He wasn’t even formally educated, unless two miserable weeks at Adult Education Eckerd College building counted. It probably didn’t. That said, he was pretty sure, from some desultory neuron firings in his lower hippocampus, that dinosaurs became extinct some obscenely long time ago. Like, several thousand years, at least.
“Uh.” Replied Ernie.
“Listen, um, guy? What’s your name? I will, but I don’t really wanna call ya guy the rest of this trip.”
Trip? What, the lizardman was coming with him?
“Ok, good, Ernie. Here’s the deal, man. I’m supposed to hook up with my tribe in Nevada before we head down South. I usually just hide underneath the semis and such, but since your people are all dead, figured I could ride in style. And yer headed west, I’m headed west… probably startin’ to get a little crazy in the head, all this drivin’ over yer people and bein alone. Company might do ya some good.”
Ernie considered that a moment. He was, for lack of a better word, a solitary guy. Not hard to pull off. Most folks tint their interactions with Ernie with a heavy dose of pity. Or disgust. Mostly disgust, actually, now that he thought about it. Anyway, solitude was an easy thing to pull off when you’re a fat video game nerd whose sole, daily physical activity is seeing what foods can create the nastiest smelling shits.
But now that everyone was dead, Ernie was starting to rethink a few things. For one, he’d always assumed that when he got around to losing weight or changing the way he did his business, people would, you know, be there. That they weren’t anymore was depressing in a way he couldn’t quite come to terms with. Or maybe just didn’t want to. That settled it, he thought. I’m going to join up with my reptilian companion. I’m going to get something out of this life before I join the rest of humanity, I’m—
A low, grumbling and horrid smelling flatulence cut short his renewing self-pride.
The lizard-man grimaced. “Nice. Ready to go?”
Ernie nodded, “Uh, yeah. Let’s. That’s… really awful. Sorry.”