A day in the life of a dragon
|A Writer’s Cramp prompt:
Use the following words in your prompt
Up on Dragon Mount
The peanut went down wrong, which made me cough up a bellyaching, throat-scratching spew of gemstones. We dragons often do that, you know. The heat and pressure inside our systems equals the perfect conditions for making lovely rubies, sapphires, and even diamonds, creating a “sparkle ejection,” as my mother used to call it.
I let the stones lay where they fell. They’d add another layer to my comfy bed. Nothing scratches better than the edges of a bed of gemstones. Take my word for it.
Luckily, my coughs had let out no fire and brimstone. The peanut hadn’t had the chance to slide that far down my windpipe. But, my spasm of wrong internal direction took me by surprise. Dragons are supposed to be tough creatures, resilient, vigorous -- immortal – almost.
We’re not, you know. So as I sat there, tail wrapped underneath me to firmly anchor me in position until I could regain a full and easy breath, I trembled a bit, worried that I’d inherited bad genes.
You see, I didn’t want to end up like my poor papa. He choked on a sip of tequila, which somehow detoured as it gushed downwards – not into his drinking pipe, as it should have, but further on directly into his chimney vent. Poor Papa. The explosion that followed made him famous in the dragon kingdom. Mothers still caution their young saying, “Drink slowly, dear. Remember what happened to Singularity.
Yep, I suppose you’ve heard of him. Everyone has, even those not in the dragon family. Singularity. was my papa. Gone these many years, leaving behind only a cave full of books and other treasures. Oh -- and me.
My mother didn’t fare much better either. I’m sure her misfortune was because she mourned my Papa. No more than two years after Papa’s bad experience, Mama took a wrong turn and banked into Mt. St. Helens, just as it was erupting.
Mother dragons talk about my mother, too. “Look before you flap, my child,” they say. “Remember what happened to Beautiful Dreamer.”
Now I’m the only one left in my family. I doubt if anyone talks about me, but then, of course, they might if I’m not careful enough about eating peanuts, one of my favorite foods.
I dropped down on my jade throne, the product of a recent trip to China, and breathed in and out -- big puffs of heated air accompanied by a rather noisy cascade of flat notes in the key of A minor.
When I was able to control myself, I picked up my book and returned to my nibbling. I foraged deeper into the wrapper, dug up another piece of peanut brittle and sighed heavily.
It was a lovely foggy day outside my cave. The air was full of moisture and blessed silence. I scanned the page about young princes and their hobbies, let out another puff of warm air, and read on.
The day was full of promise. Anything might happen. I kept an ear, my right one, the one that heard the farthest distance, tuned to the outside. Mother used to say that I had the best hearing of any dragon she’d ever known.
It was because of my enhanced hearing, and perhaps the special effects of sitting on a jade throne, known to be extra, extra lucky, that I heard the sound of a climber.
My cave was at the peak of Dragon’s Mount and, therefore, lured many silly young fools. Most of them provided suitable entertainment and a meal now and then. But none of these adventurers had been a prince. It was only a prince that could serve my needs. Didn’t humans know that? Didn’t their books tell them so?
I listened a bit, noting the level of the fellow’s climbing. When he finally reached the point where I stored my pile of phosphorous, I set down the peanut brittle and my book, and, stretching all parts of my reptilian backbone, I ventured toward the door.
Dragons have excellent eyes. We can see a goat from miles above the ground. We can also tell a prince from a pauper with a one-second glance.
Like the many before him, this climber was only a peasant. I yawned and thought about turning away, returning to my book, but the man saw me and called out, “I have a treasure for you, oh, Mighty One.”
Praise and promise. How wonderful. He did seem a good sort for a mere commoner. I took wing and flew down to join him.
“I’m writing a book,” the man said, bowing low. “It’s a book about dragons. Would you mind answering some questions? I've brought you a backpack full of books,” he added, like that was a suitable bribe.
I released a puff of warning, cocked my head, and lowered it so I could inspect his selection.
Nothing of interest, but the man smelled tasty. I opened my mouth with a grin, inhaled to increase the saliva, and took a step closer.
It was at that moment the man reached behind him and pulled out a sword.
Fools are every bit as delicious as new books. I picked up both, leaving behind a slug of melted sword, then returned to my chambers.
The peanut brittle was the perfect dessert for my feast -- at least it was until a peanut went down wrong. My coughing spell brought up innumerable gems and a single collarbone.
“Careful,” I said to myself, then reached for my book and continued to read about adventurous young princes.