The new dinosaur movie was out on video. They’d seen it in the theater, of course. But it was different watching it at home. They made homemade pizza and popped popcorn and put blankets down on the living room floor. And then, finally they settled in with their treats and pushed play.
The aliens landed and started making demands and threats. “I can’t wait until the dinosaurs come to save everyone,” Charlie said. “It’s the best part.”
“I like the part where the little boy gets to ride the stegosaurus when the bridge collapses,” Marianne said.
“Yeah,” Charlie said. “I want to ride on a dinosaur.”
“My favorite part is when the baby dinosaur warns them about the aliens hiding in the ceiling,” Isaac said.
“I like that part too,” Marianne said. “The baby dinosaur is so cute.”
Charlie threw some popcorn at the television. “I don’t like that guy. He’s mean.”
“Charlie,” Marianne said. “Pick that up. We don’t throw food.”
“Fine,” Charlie said. He made a face at the screen and picked up his popcorn.
Isaac laughed at the face Charlie made. And then the movie was quiet for a moment of dramatic tension. Isaac heard a tapping sound, out in the front hallway. “Is that the door?” he asked.
“Huh?” Marianne said. “I don’t hear anything.”
They were all quiet for a moment. The movie music rose in a crescendo as the alien chuckled at the misfortunes of the sad humans. “I don’t hear anything either,” Charlie said. “Can I please throw popcorn at him? I really don’t like him.”
“No,” Marianne said. “But I don’t like him either.”
And Isaac heard the faint tapping sound again, even with the loud movie music. “I think I can hear someone at the door,” Isaac said. “I’m going to go check.”
“Do you want us to pause the movie for you?” Marianne asked.
“That’s okay,” Isaac said. “I’ve seen it before, and I don’t like this part anyways.”
“It would be better if we could throw popcorn at the bad guys,” Charlie said.
“No it wouldn’t,” Marianne said.
“I’ll be right back,” Isaac said.
He got up and went to the door. He could hear the tapping sound again. He opened the door, and looked around. No one was there. Had he taken too long to get to the door?
He heard the tapping sound again, a little louder. He looked to the right. There was a large black bird pecking at the side of the living room window. “Hello?” he said.
The bird turned and looked at him. It turned its head to the side. Then it spread its wings and flapped them a few times, mostly gliding to the front steps. It landed at Isaac’s feet. “Knock, knock,” it said.
“Who’s there?” Isaac asked.
The bird hopped around Isaac and into the house. “Knock, knock,” it said again. And then it jumped and flapped its wings and flew around the corner and down the hallway.
Isaac closed the door. Then he opened it again. It would be easier to chase the bird back out through an open door. “Who was there?” Marianne asked from the living room.
“It was a bird,” Isaac said.
“A woodpecker?” she asked.
“No, a big black bird,” Isaac said.
“Was he selling worms door to door?” Charlie asked.
“No, but he flew into the house,” Isaac said.
“He can’t stay here. Do you need help getting him out?” Marianne asked.
“No, I don’t think so,” Isaac said.
“Hurry,” Charlie said. “It’s almost to the good part.”
Isaac went down the hall. The only door open was Charlie’s room. Isaac peeked inside. He didn’t see the bird. He walked inside and looked in the closet. No bird. “Knock, knock.” The voice was coming from behind him.
Isaac turned and looked around, then up. The bird was perched on the top of the door, looking down at him. “Who’s there?” Isaac asked again.
“Knock, knock,” the bird said.
“Knock, knock who?” Isaac asked.
“Knock, knock,” the bird said.
“Is that your name?” Isaac asked.
The bird’s head bobbed.
“Do you need help getting home?”
The bird paced along the top of the door, back and forth.
“Are you hungry or thirsty?” Isaac asked.
The bird bobbed its head again.
“All right, Knock knock,” Isaac said. Wait for me outside, and I’ll bring you some food and water.”
The bird glided down off the top of the door, then flapped its wings and flew down the hall. Isaac went to the kitchen and filled a mixing bowl with water. He grabbed some slices of bread and leftover ham from the pizza. Then he brought it all outside.
The bird was waiting on the front step. Isaac set down the bowl and the plate of food. He sat down in the doorway. The bird ate and drank. Finally it backed up and bobbed its head.
“Is it time for you to go, Knock knock?” Isaac asked.
The bird bobbed its head.
“Safe travels,” Isaac said. The bird hopped and flapped its wings and flew away. It quickly vanished into the twilight sky. Isaac took the plate and bowl back to the kitchen.
He hurried back to the living room. He was just in time to see the baby dinosaur look up at the ceiling and narrow her eyes. He sat down and bit into his pizza. It was cold. Luckily, he liked cold pizza.
“Is the bird gone?” Marianne asked.
“Yes,” Isaac said.
“I’m glad you’re back,” Charlie said. “Can I go out and throw some popcorn to the bird?”
“He’s already on his way home,” Isaac said. “I hope he finds his way.”
“Well, I could go out and throw some popcorn just in case he gets back,” Charlie said.
“Why don’t you just eat the popcorn,” Marianne asked.
“I’m full,” Charlie said.
“Then pass the popcorn my way,” Isaac said.
And they watched the dinosaurs save the day again.