My name is John Parker Hammond. I was born on March 14, 1928. What follows is a record of certain events in which I took part between the years 1980 and 1997, on an island I will call… Site B. Site B was not to be a theme park, but a research station. This was where we did the real work.
By 1989, International Genetic Technologies had succeeded in their designs to genetically recreate the dinosaurs. It was an unprecedented accomplishment, the pinnacle of 20th century science; a work to rank with the achievements of Galileo or Einstein.
But it was not all so easy or so simple, as it appeared. One seldom hears the true history of such events. What happened at the place, where the world changed? How it began? What were the reasons? What was the cost?
Chuckling in amusement, the heavyset man closed the book in his hands. He positioned it so that the spine faced outward, and then he placed it back on the bookstore shelf. The spine read, ‘JURASSIC TIME: The Memoir of John Parker Hammond.’
Turning around on his bulky frame, he walked slowly through the dimly lit store toward the cashier’s counter. He scratched his long, unkempt beard thoughtfully, wondering if the rain had stopped outside. When he reached the desk, he looked out the large window to his left and grimaced. The night sky was sparsely illuminated by the streetlights, and the cars drove through the deep puddles which the driving rain left in the asphalt. This rain had continued for the past five days, and many of the citizens of Los Angeles were growing tired of its consequences. Several roads were being flooded, flowers were dying from over-watering, and it was impossible to do almost anything outside.
“I hate this,” the man said to himself. He turned back and began to talk to the cashier, a young brunette woman with wire-rim glasses.
“Think this rain will stop soon?” he asked in a gruff voice. “I’m gettin’ real sick of sloshin’ through muck wherever I go.”
The cashier didn’t look up from her console. She had seen this man many times before. “Who knows?” she said in a monotone. “I’m just as sick of it as you are, Vinney.”
“Oh sorry, didn’t know I was bothering you from your important work,” Vinney said sarcastically. “Seems like all you ever do is type on that thing.”
“I’m a busy woman with a job… unlike you.”
Vinney laughed, making his fat stomach bounce about. “Well, the job part bothers me a bit, but I’m sure as hell glad I ain’t no woman!” He continued to laugh in his loud, obnoxious snort. The cashier struggled to keep her composure.
Take it easy Jill, she told herself. She knew she couldn’t lose her temper with Vinney. It wouldn’t do anything; it never had before. She just wished he would get out and at least try to get a job somewhere, instead of coming to her bookstore and annoying her.
Vinney finished his obnoxious snorting, and Jill sighed with relief as he began to walk towards the door to leave. But then, he turned and spoke again.
“Hey Jill, you read that ‘John Hammond dino park thing’ over there in section N12?
“I glazed over the prologue briefly. Why?”
“Oh man, I never heard such crap in my life! Why isn’t that thing in the fiction section?”
Jill curled her upper lip in annoyance. “Who knows Vinney? There was that accident in San Diego a year ago, remember?” Jill still remembered seeing the huge Tyrannosaurus Rex in San Diego on her TV; the newscast had been projected across the United States. She remembered the huge body, the pebbled skin, the sharp teeth, and the cold reptilian eyes. Just remembering it made her shudder.
Vinney gave a dismissive wave of his hand. “Ah, I remember that. But so what? Sure, they made these dinos, but what else do we know for sure? Who the hell knows if they had some huge factory, and all those patents, and especially if the animals are still alive?”
“I heard that they’re ordering an investigation of the island. I guess they want to see if all that stuff in the memoir is true.”
“Ah, I say it’s just a way for the guy to get money, that’s all. They can go to that island all they want, and they won’t find nothin’. You hear me? Nothin’.” And with that, Vinney opened the door, pulled up his hood, and stepped out into the drenching rain.
Jill put her hands to her head as the door closed. She growled in exasperation. Vinney had come to her bookstore every night for the past week and a half. She was tempted to call security, but she had once before, and Vinney had been so scared that he wet himself. He began screaming that he didn’t want to go to jail, that he was a good guy who was down on his luck, that the world was against him. After that day, she decided not to call security again. Besides, Vinney was harmless. So she did her best to put up with him.
She took her hands off of her forehead and continued typing, putting in the sales for the day. A half hour passed, during which she finished the day’s sales log and started on her mid-term paper for college. She was a senior this year and was planning to become an English teacher when she graduated, which was why she had convinced her uncle to pass down the bookstore to her. It was the perfect job to help her get ready. Jill Bateman was now twenty-six years old and always planning ahead, preparing for the future, and she had been ever since she was young. It was how she was raised.
Just then, she heard the bell above the entrance jingle. She turned from her console, and smiled when she saw who had stepped in.
A woman in a thick, tan colored coat stepped through the doorway, breathing heavily. She was tall and slim; her jeans and top fit tightly against her, pronouncing her figure. She stepped out of the way of the door, took off her hood, and threw back her red hair.
Jill still smiled. “So Anne, you get off early today?”
Annette Montoya smiled back. “Yeah,” she said. “I swear, it’s about time they gave me an early break. I’ve been working my butt off at the restaurant for the past two months!
Jill laughed. “Well, I’m glad you took the time to come to my humble little store again,” she said sarcastically.
“Yeah right Jill,” Anne replied, still smiling. “You’ve got a good college education, your own store, and a good husband. If you’re humble, then I’m just about the most pious person on this earth.”
“Yeah yeah, whatever you say Anne. You don’t have it that bad, you know.”
“But not as good as you, Jill. If I don’t get my rent in by next Sunday, the landlord’s gonna take action. I can’t keep begging him to let me pay it off later. And my sister’s still miserable over her divorce. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to talk to her and she’s bawling her head off.”
Jill shrugged her shoulders. “Hey, I don’t know why Maria is so upset about it. Hell, Tom borderline abused her! I don’t know why this is so terrible for her.”
Anne rolled her eyes. “Maria is just so insecure. She thinks that she’ll never meet another man she can be serious with.”
“Just because she’s a little overweight doesn’t mean she won’t meet anyone.”
“Oh yeah? Tell her that,” Anne replied sourly. Then she walked into the store and began scanning the shelves.
Jill turned back to her console and continued typing her paper. She could hear Anne over in the fiction section; Anne stopped by the store every week to get a new book. Or, as she called it, the weekly escape from her boring life.
After a few minutes, Anne came out from the back of the store. She put her hands to her hips.
“Well Jill, there’s nothing in the fiction section that looks good.”
Huh,” Jill said, genuinely surprised. “That’s a first. Usually you’re in and out with a book.”
Anne looked around. “I would think you’d keep a better stock of weird sci-fi monster books around. I know how much you like them.”
Jill looked at her, raised an eyebrow. “Well Anne, I’m afraid I sold them all to Vinney. I figured he could use them to learn more about his own species.”
Anne laughed. “Oh man, is he still hanging around here?”
“Yep. Annoying the hell out of me.”
“Oh well. Well, you sure you don’t have any new books that might appeal to my thirst for adventure?”
Jill pointed toward section N12. “I just got a book in that Vinney was asking me about earlier. It was written by that guy named Hammond.”
“You mean the dino guy?”
“Uh-huh, it’s a memoir of his work with International Genetic Technologies.”
Anne turned and walked through the store until she reached the shelf marked, ‘Nonfiction-12’. Her eyes scanned the numerous books, seeing the different names.
“Halberg, H.” She said the names aloud one by one. “Hampden, S. Ah, here we go; Hammond, J.” She reached up and took the book off of the shelf. The cover read…
THE MEMOIR OF JOHN PARKER HAMMOND
Anne flipped open the cover, flipped through the first few pages, and reached the prologue. She read it quickly, and then laughed to herself. Jill shouted to her from the cashier’s desk.
“That’s just what Vinney did.”
“For once, I don’t blame him,” Anne replied. “This old guy must be off his rocker.”
Jill shrugged. “All I know is that a T-Rex went on a rampage in San Diego. And people can say what they want, but they found the body of some guy behind a car. He was completely torn apart.”
Anne looked at the book for a minute. She read over the prologue again… and then closed the book and put it under her arm. She walked up to Jill and set the book on the counter.
“Oh, what the hell,” Anne said with a twinge of annoyance. “There’s nothing better to read here.”
Jill scanned the book and gave it back to Anne, feeling slightly offended. “You know Anne,” she said slowly, “I have a lot of books in this store; almost 20,000, to be exact.”
“I’m sorry Jill,” Anne said quickly, tucking the book under her arm. “I didn’t mean anything by it. I just wish there were more wild stories in this place.”
“Maybe,” Jill continued, “if you would broaden your horizons a little, you’d find something else to read. Not some fiction story, but something a little more normal.”
Anne walked over to the door. She opened it wide, the rain blew in slightly. Then she sighed heavily, and turned and looked at Jill.
“I’m tired of normal, Jill.”
And then she turned, and walked out into the pouring rain.