If you give a dragon directions…

I couldn't come to class yesterday. Why? Well, it's a long story. All right, I'll try to tell you, but you won't believe me or he'd have gone to your house.

Dragons in Bed

It began when I woke up that morning. I was lying in bed, dreaming about taking a drive in a brand new Ferrari when my alarm started screeching in my ear. I moaned and whacked it a couple times before I finally shut it off. Then I tried to sit up, but I couldn't. When I looked to the foot of my bed, I found myself face to face with a dragon. It was shimmering red with maroon stripes and had maybe a six foot wing span. He (at least, I assumed it was a "he") was perched there nonchalantly examining his scales in my bedside mirror. "What on earth are you doing here?" I wondered out loud, convinced that I was still dreaming.

The dragon cocked his head at me, his emerald eyes glinting. I wondered if it could understand me. Then, to my surprise it replied "Why, I was waiting for you to wake up, silly. And now here you are." With that it ruffled its wings a little and hopped to the floor. "Well, are you going to sit there all day?"

"No . . . um, what do you want me to do?" I asked curiously, sitting up in my bed. At this point I was going over what I had eaten the day before, trying to figure out what spoiled food was causing my present situation.

"For starters why don't you get dressed," it answered, and then it ran out my door.

I did not hesitate to do so; after all, I couldn't stroll into the psych ward in my underwear. Then as I headed to the living room, I spotted it patiently blowing little smoke rings while lounging on the couch. It caught sight of me and leapt off, wandering into the kitchen. "I'm starving," he remarked. "What do you have to eat?" It started going through the fridge.

I walked up to the fridge and slammed it shut, almost catching the dragon mid-rummage. I draw the line when my hallucinations start pigging out on my limited snack stash. "What are you doing in my house?" I demanded. "You shouldn't even exist, much less be taking all of my food."

"Oh, now that's not a very nice thing to say! I have every right to exist . . . it's a free country." The dragon began chewing some beef jerky that it had somehow managed to snatch before I was able to shut the fridge.

"Actually," I began as I snatched the bag of jerky from the dragon's grasp, "What I really want to know is if you are the result of that tuna sandwich at lunch or the month-old ham I had for supper yesterday… though I suppose it's pointless to try to get an answer out of my own delusion."

"Hmph." The dragon chomped down his last chunk of jerky and licked his claws with a thin, black tongue. "Deny all you want, but there is some part of you that knows I am real, or I wouldn't be talking to you right now. In any case, rest assured that I shall be departing soon enough, so you can deliberate on it later."

"Okay. Now how about my first question: What are you doing in my house?"

He proceeded to explain somewhat hesitantly, fidgeting with his tail. "The truth is I got lost. I was hoping you could give me directions." It ruffled its leathery wings again. "Could you tell me how to get to Florida?"

"I guess," I replied. Then I asked, "Why Florida?"

"I have a movie shoot tomorrow night that I have to get to. It is of the utmost importance that I get there on time, or I'll lose my job. It's very difficult for a decent dragon to find work these days. No one believes in us."

I sighed and pulled out a dusty road atlas from behind a bookshelf. Laying it open on the kitchen table, I began to plot a course to Miami. "It's probably easiest to follow this road here." I explained, pointing to the closest south-bound highway.

"Hopefully there will be plenty of cows along the way. Otherwise I'll be famished." The dragon chuckled.

I eyed up the tiny dragon. "Cows? You hardly look like you could finish a chicken."

"I was only joking. Oh, dear, look at the time! I've got a long flight ahead." The dragon slipped off his chair and trotted to the back porch, sliding open the door with a foreleg.

"Hey- Wait-" I stuttered, completely confused.

"What?" The dragon perched on the edge of the porch and folded his wings.

"You broke into my house . . . and now you're just gonna leave?" I finally asked.

"I most certainly did not break into your house!" The dragon replied indignantly. "I came right in through the front door. After I rang the doorbell. And it was an emergency. Would you not have done the same thing?"

". . . I probably would have gone to the next house."

"Yes, yes, but this is the only house I could ask for directions from. No one else here believes in dragons, therefore they can't see me." The dragon turned and spread his wings. "Very well then, since it's obvious I'm not wanted I'll gladly be on my way."

I struggled for words. "That's not what I meant. . . I've never met a dragon before. I was just curious."

"Yes, well, curious or not I still have a time limit. I thank you for your help, but I really must be going." The dragon again prepared to launch from the deck, but then he paused, poised for takeoff. "I don't suppose you could show me the way to that big road you were talking about?"

I rolled my eyes. "All right, come on then."

I grabbed my keys from the kitchen counter and lead the dragon to my car. It wasn't exactly a sports car like in my dream, but rather my dad's old Geo Prism. At least it had a sunroof. "Do you want to follow me? I'll drive as far as the edge of town, but then I really have to get back. I'm already late for class."

The dragon shook his head. "I have to conserve my energy… you wouldn't want me to up and keel over from exhaustion halfway to Florida, would you?" Without even waiting for me to reply, the dragon clambered into the car through the open sunroof.

"Definitely an actor . . . a spoiled actor." I muttered. By the time I was in the car the little dragon had buckled and adjusted his seat as far up as it would go.

"Aren't you forgetting something?" He said as I backed out of the driveway. I looked over and the dragon tapped his seatbelt. "Safety first!" He reminded me cheerily.

Jeez, he's like a miniature parent, I mused. "You know, you aren't exactly what I expected. I mean, if I ever thought I would meet a dragon, I'd never have imagined him to be like you."

"Well, how many dragons have you met?" The dragon was staring distractedly out the window.


"You see, there's the problem. And you know why that is?" The dragon turned away from the window, now taking an interest in the topic. "There are just too few castles in America. It's because of this that I have to make so many business trips, and I hardly ever see my wife and eggs. You know, they're due to hatch soon too."

I was a little surprised at this news. "You can't just live somewhere else? Like, in a cave or something? I hear Mammoth Cave in Kentucky is nice this time of year."

"I wouldn't dream of it. We dragons pride ourselves in our homes… or at least most do. There were some that did live in strange places. But I would never."

I realized I had arrived at the edge of town and pulled over. "Here we are."

"Is this that road I'm supposed to follow?" The dragon unbuckled and poked his head out of the sunroof.

"Well, no, but this will take you to it. Just follow this road for about 20 miles to I-94 and then-"

"Oh, I can't find that from here! You think I carry an odometer on me? I'm not the bionic dragon, you know."

I was getting a little frustrated. The thing was small, but it sure demanded a lot. "Look, I'm really late for school now. I'm sure my first class is almost over already, and I don't even have an excuse form. I can't be your personal chauffer all day."

The dragon drooped and slowly opened his door. "Okay. I guess if I get lost, I can just . . . hitch a ride with someone else . . . if they can see me. . ."

"Yes. Good luck." I started to pull away, but just then a warning light switched on in my brain. What the hell am I doing? SCHOOL? I was talking to a freaking DRAGON! I hit the brakes and backed up beside the now smug creature.

"Back already? Are you lost?" The dragon stood on his hind legs, leaning against the speed limit sign with his forelegs crossed.

"You manipulative little… ugh, I can't stand that look. Get in."

"To the interstate?" He asked, jumping through the sunroof into the seat beside me.

"Fine." I pulled back on the road and then glanced over at the dragon as he settled in comfortably against the window.

"Staring is considered rude in most cultures…" the dragon began.

"Sorry. I was wondering… what is your name, anyway?"

He snorted. "Now you ask. Hardly a proper introduction, but as you don't seem to care… my name is Gyquinius Decontalon."

"Mind if I call you Guy?"

"Seeing as your clumsy mouth can't handle an entire Draconian name, I feel I have no alternative. Ooo!" Guy leaned forward and began punching buttons on the car stereo.

"Hey, take it easy, I just had that installed…"

"Confounded mechanism…"

"You turn it on here-"

"Remove your hand! Of course it turns on there, but why does it refuse-"

"Because you have to TURN the knob, not punch it."

All at once the car rattled with unbearably loud radio noise. The car swerved as I was hit by the deafening wave and had instinctively clapped my hands over my ears. Then the sound receded, and Guy began scanning the stations intently, as though nothing unusual had happened.

"Don't do that again." I said irritably, rubbing my ringing ears.

The dragon ignored me. "Oh, splendid!" Guy finally exclaimed, excitedly clapping his claws and sitting back from the radio.

I raised an eyebrow at him as Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" started kicking up on the speakers.

"Ooh, we're halfway there… Whoa-oh, livin' on a prayer!" I faintly heard Guy muttering along under his breath.

I rolled my eyes. At least it wasn't N'Sync.