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Disclaimer: I promised Nick I would do this, but a fire somehow erupted on my property and I found that too distracting to do it in a timely manner. So let’s see what kind of a story I come up with now.
Another disclaimer: It’s hard to find a picture of a dragon in the Free Photo Library, apparently because they don’t actually exist. So I had to settle for fire instead. I picked the one with blue in it!
I was sitting at home the other day, doing my heroic patriotic part by remaining on the couch (I am but a humble foot soldier against the Invisible Enemy, but I’m doing my part), when I heard a snuffling at the door.
“Hey! Are you home?” I heard Nick say.
“No,” I replied.
“OK,” he said, then, “Wait a minute. I know better than that!”
“Not much better, obviously.”
“Let me in!”
“I can’t. Governor’s orders. No beasts allowed.” This isn’t, strictly speaking, true, but Nick can’t read anyway, so it’s worth a try.
“They said I can’t get the disease. I’m cold-blooded.” He snorted. “Just because I can’t breathe fire.”
“Why do you want to come in anyway?”
“Well, you’re out of luck here. I’m boring.”
He digests this silently, then, at a loss for a clever comeback, spreads his wings and takes off. Not, unfortunately, to fly away home. I hear a thud as he lands on the roof–like an oversized squirrel–then a mad scrabbling as he starts to slide down it. Then another thud as he lands on the ground, not having gotten his wings spread again in time.
I hear my neighbor yell–“Hey, that thing’s in the yard next door again!” His wife answers, “What thing?” and he says, “You know! The one with wings and a tail!”
“Go away, you’re annoying my neighbors,” I say. Without deigning to reply, and having failed at his aerial attack–and a good thing, too, since his attempts over the years are making my ceiling crack–he begins digging vigorously at the foundations of the house.
“Stop that!” I yell. Momentarily forgetting what he was there for, he begins rolling in the dirt he’s rucked up, which is quite a sight, I assure you.
“Look at that–is that thing in heat or something?” I hear my neighbor yell. Nick leaps to his feet, and a moment later I see his snaky tongue darting under the front door. My cat Glamour leaps on it.
“Hey, quit it!” Nick squawks. Laughing, I pick up the purring cat and open the door.
Nick is self-righteous and sullen. “Why do you keep those things, anyway?”
“To keep you away, obviously.”
“It won’t work forever,” he says darkly.
“It’s worked so far,” I point out. Glamour looks very pleased with herself.
“That one looks mighty meaty,” he observes. “Where’s the little skinny one?”
“Esmerelda? She…died last November.”
“She never liked me anyway,” he says dismissively, heading for the kitchen, where he begins crunching on Glamour’s food.
“Stop that! It’s…not a balanced diet for you.”
“You never want me to have fun.” He turns. “Hey, you have a new couch.” He pads over. “I can fit under this one–like this–” He squirms under it until the rump and tail stick out one end, and a wing tip out the side. This gives me the opportunity to tickle the wing as he squirms and squawks, almost dumping me off the couch before he manages to scramble out.
“Are you still bored?”
“I–I’m existentially bored,” he answers loftily. I can always tell when he’s discovered a new word. “Anyway, you owe me a birthday present.”
“Do I now? And how old are you, exactly?”
“I..I–I’m existentially old. I’ve existed for eons.” That was his word of the week last week.
“I see,” I say, nodding wisely. “So you hatched from the egg–when, exactly?”
“I don’t know! Give me a present!” He lashes his tail frantically.
“So that’s what this is all about,” I muse. “I’m sorry, I’m kind of short on presents at the moment.”
“Not even candy? Candy is cheap!”
“Especially not candy.”
He looks at me grievously. “Not even one jelly bean?”
“Certainly not. Jelly beans are gross.”
“Not even…a single chocolate chip?” Drat. He must remember that I always have those on hand.
“Only…only if you sit up for it!”
“I suppose that’s OK,” he says glumly. Groaning as if with immense effort, he sits up on his back legs, bracing himself with his powerful tail and spreading out his wings for balance. Thanks to his snaky neck, he snatches it out of my hand with lightning speed, then drops down to all fours again. Then…”Hey! I shouldn’t have to sit up on my birthday!! No fair!”
“Life isn’t fair,” I observe.
“You’re…existential,” he growls, slinking away down my front walk.