dragons


I am tired of trying to write serious stuff. It doesn’t help my present state of mind, or the state of the world. So yesterday I wrote something silly,  more words than I’ve been able to write for at least a week, and today I wrote something silly again, using the same world and characters. I don’t know if this has legs but at least it’s walking.

***

Dragons Are Overused

 

“Dragons are overused, don’t you think?”

“They are the backbone of the fantasy industry.”

“And all that stuff about people riding on their backs! The g-forces would rip humans off within seconds of flight.”

“Well, it is fantasy. And people are very fond of seeing and imagining people riding dragons in their stories.”

“Pfft.” The dragon used the tip of his long, sharp nails quite delicately to pick at something lodged between his long, sharp teeth.

Maynard, the poik with whom he had been speaking, watched with fascinated queasiness hoping that whatever was lodged there wasn’t leftover poik. “Humans will be humans.”

“Lawd, won’t they, though.” The dragon shifted on his bed of ash and straw, craning his neck so he had a better view of the meadowlands outside the mouth of his cave. They were quite nice, as meadowlands went, bucolic and dotted with sheep. He made a tsk sound with his tongue to test his teeth, but apparently wasn’t satisfied he’d gotten what was lodged there for he returned a nail to his delicate work.

Maybe it was sheep, Maynard ardently hoped. “Have you been raiding their habitats lately?”

He smacked his tongue several times and seemed finally satisfied that he’d dislodged the irritant. He huffed and belched a small puff of smoke. “You know very well that isn’t a good idea these days. Too much surveillance equipment out there and jets with nasty armaments.”

“I thought bullets couldn’t pierce your hide.”

“Those heat seeking missiles hurt like crazy, though.” The dragon turned his face away from the meadowlands and laid his head on his folded paws with a disconsolate sigh. “Times are hard.”

“Yes,” agreed Maynard. “Fantasy isn’t what it used to be.”

Maynard himself had a taste for contemporary fantasy, but he’d never admit that to the dragon who, by his very nature, must be heavily invested in high fantasy. At least, that’s what Maynard assumed. Poiks fit well in urban environments, resembling large shaggy dogs as they did. Of course, there were many subtle differences, but most humans didn’t possess subtle perception and never looked twice at poiks. Unless they were fanciers of large, shaggy dogs. Of course, any self-respecting denizen of the Otherlands could shapeshift at least a little. Enough to fool even the rare perceptive humans. Most of them, anyway. Seers would always be a problem, but at least they glowed golden to Otherlanders so were easily avoided.

“Do you suppose my time has come?” asked the dragon, releasing a melancholy and smoggy sigh.

“What do you mean?”

“Am I obsolete?”

“Uhhh…” Maynard wasn’t sure what response would cause him the least pain. Dragons were mercurial at best. No guessing what this one wanted to hear so he turned around three times and laid down on a spare pile of straw.

“I mean,” the dragon continued, clearly not really interested in Maynard’s answer, “several of my relatives have given up altogether and gone into deep hibernation. Some have even allowed themselves to die, which seems excessive, but no accounting for taste. Or strength of character.”

“Mmm hmm.” Maynard scratched his floppy ears with his hind paw.

“As long as I can still fly now and then, snatch up a sheep or a cow or a horse without being observed, life still seems worth living.”

Maynard was relieved that it probably wasn’t poik that had been stuck in the dragon’s teeth. “I can imagine. And how exactly do you manage to fly without being observed?”

“The human mythmakers have invented this marvelous new creature called a yueffo and I can easily pass for one of those.”

Yueffo. At least that’s what Maynard thought he’d heard. “What is a yueffo?”

“It’s an acronym. Humans are so very fond of acronyms. U-F-O. Unidentified Flying Object. Covers a multitude of shapes and sizes and basically boils down to any strange thing seen in the skies. As long as I can surround myself with enough light they can’t really make out my true form and they can’t capture a good image of me on those nasty cameras of theirs. Anyway, most of the time I’m flying over remote areas at night where I can pick off livestock with ease. Although I understand real UFOs only take parts of the cattle and horses they capture and leave the rest, perfectly good meat, behind to rot. Really bizarre behavior.”

“What constitutes a real UFO?”

“Haven’t a clue, Maynard. They must come from the Otherlands, but I’m not sure which kingdom, tribe, or caliotrope they belong to.”

“Very interesting.”

“Yes. They’re all the rage right now amongst the humans. Always something on their televisions and social media about them. I don’t know how they can make something so remarkable so boring, but they bang on and on about it until you just want to scream with tedium.”

“I’m taking a media break at the moment,” Maynard admitted. “Always another tragedy, always some internecine warfare amongst the opinionated set. Gets tiring.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Mind you, the internet has its advantages. You can say whatever you like and no one knows you’re a poik.”

“Or a dragon.”

“Exactly.”

They fell silent, looking out across the bucolic meadowlands. Large white clouds hugged the mountains in the middle distance. Three bright blue lights emerged from the clouds and zipped across the meadowlands at incredible speed, then up and over the mountain hiding the dragon’s cave.

“Show offs,” he grumbled.

Jun 6
I do have the sweetest cat on the planet: I open her mouth, drop her thyroid pill in, and she swallows it. This morning, she even purred.

Jun 6
Anyone who tells me what I should do is probably full of horsesh*t.

Jun 8
Riding the back of a flying dragon defies the laws of physics, but it’s become an entrenched fantasy trope. And hey, dragons aren’t real, PJ. My own solution to the Dragon Problem was painfully ludicrous, and I’m the only one who thinks dragon-riding is a problem, so I should just give it up.

Jun 8
To think I once got really excited and emotionally involved by beauty pageants.

Jun 9
I suppose it could be construed as unprofessional that I am sitting at my desk popping my gum loudly.

Jun 10
I’m in the process of reinventing myself yet again, always a slow and painful process, but more so because I am so distracted. I wonder who I’ll wind up being this time?

Jun 10
Jawdropping map: The 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook. http://on.mash.to/1s4lz2O 

Jun 11
Bwoogity. I got rid of the Piers Anthony books a lifetime ago. I read them in junior high and thought something was off about them even then. Now Marion Zimmer Bradley is going into the recycling bin. I won’t inflict her on any library sale or Goodwill. Blech. http://tinyurl.com/kqhh9k5  and http://tinyurl.com/cf2uv3a 

Jun 12
A swarm of bees/wasps came in my mother’s bathroom window today. The beeman is on his way. WTF.

The bees had formed a colony in our attic. They are gone now. And we caught the wasp nest just in time. Life is exciting.

The “hilarious” part is that Mom sat there for 20 minutes wondering what that buzzing sound was. Flies, maybe. Thank God, no stings. We got lucky, considering she’s half-blind. She recognized the danger and got out of harm’s way in time.

The bees were back by evening. The bee man will be returning in the morning and my mom is sleeping on the futon.

Jun 13
The bees dealt with again this morning, vents sealed. Hopefully this will do it. I’m so stressed I’ve got hives. *rimshot* Gotta laugh. It’s a ridiculous situation. Terrifying in retrospect but we bumbled our way through.

Jun 13
Whatever you love has consequences.

Jun 14
Someone egged my car last night. The neighbor’s car next to it was untouched. Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me. It’s a late model banged up Honda Civic and the neighbor’s car is spiffy and new. Such is life.

Jun 14
Dr. John Dee has shown up as a character in so much recent spec fic that he’s practically become a new fantasy trope.

Jun 15
That was fun. I sat on a cloth garden chair and kept right on sitting until I hit the ground. Guess I shouldn’t have let it winter outside.

Jun 16
Mom fell on the way to the door to let the medical transport guy in. She said she was okay and went to dialysis but it scared the crap out of me. Dealing with all this over the phone at work while the neighbors help her is nausea-inducing.

guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt

Jun 17
I was typing in my mother’s insurance company and spell check came up with “trickster.” Which is pretty appropriate now that I think about it.

Jun 17
Products I would like to see: InstaMan, for all your hefting and moving needs. Just add water!

Jun 19
If you describe yourself as having “clarity and courage” perhaps what you have is “smugness and self-absorption.”

Jun 20
Ironic (and unfortunate) Twitter juxtaposition. http://twitpic.com/e6kxdg 

Jun 20
On the 24 hour Dodger station Mom never knows if she’s watching a replay or a live game, and the she thinks the commercials are also games.

Jun 21
Sometimes I think white people are purposely stupid when dealing with a person with a Latin accent. A lady at the donut shop asked why the whole wheat bagel was more expensive than the others. “It’s 9 grams,” said the clerk. The lady kept repeating “9 grams?” like it wasn’t perfectly clear and making the clerk also repeat herself several times. Finally I turned to the lady and said sharply “It’s because it’s heavier!” That shut her up. I smiled at the clerk & said, “Perfectly understandable to me.” The clerk laughed, gave me my receipt and said, “Thank you for everything.”

I think people do this because it’s a power trip, an attempt to assert (pseudo) authority over someone because of language differences.

Jun 22
Here’s one of our new Patty O’ Chairs. Please note: it is not cloth. It has lovely cushions which I was too lazy to bring outside.

pic.twitter.com/H4hlA1mhkS

And here’s the new bench that goes with the chairs.

http://tinyurl.com/o39ehcr

Sturdy is GOOD. The literature said it will weather to a “nice grey.” And yes, it’s very comfortable and easy to get up from. Mom had no trouble. Nor did I. They are Strathwood Gibranta if you want to look for them elsewhere.

Jun 24
Here’s a thing I don’t get: “My team just won a big game! I’m going to go out and destroy things to celebrate!”

Jun 25
The Rasta Bus I passed three miles earlier passed me as I waited for a light on Main Street. There’s a metaphor there somewhere.

Jun 25
Life is a lot like Faery: once you enter it, you can’t go back. You must go through it.

Which is the premise of one of my novels. God and the fairies know if it will ever be written.

Jun 26
I think I’ve got outrage fatigue.

Jul 15
One of the downsides of having someone in to stay with my mom while I’m at work: snooping.

Jul 16
Min disappeared for hours and we thought she’d gotten out. I combed the neighborhood for her. Finally we heard her scratching from the underside of my mother’s giant recliner. She’d gotten trapped when Mom put the footrest down. All three of us were traumatized.

Jul 16
An epiphany this morning listening to NPR about living with teenagers: caregiving is like living with a toddler and a teenager at the same time.

Jul 17
Trust is a fragile thing, and when you have an unreliable 93-year-old narrator, it’s sometimes mighty difficult to know the truth.

Jul 23
Isn’t the idea of in home care to take the burden off rather than add more stress? Did I miss a memo? We recently received a grant from the VA allowing us 12 hours of help a week but it has problems of its own.

Things could be much, much worse. June was hellish. This month things are looking up. But there are always complications.

One of the nice/complicated things: a very nice, mature, solid replacement to a snooping, manipulative, thievish sort, but with scheduling conflicts. I’m going to ride it out and let next month take care of itself because I’m exhausted and can’t take more time off and because it’s not a perfect world.

Jul 23
Proof that there is a God: http://tinyurl.com/pp7dd9e 

Jul 25
So Mom fell in her bedroom today when she was alone. Not hurt, thank G–, but the neighbor who came over to help took the opportunity to lecture me about having someone stay with her full time. “We don’t have the money. What do you suggest we do?” “Oh, well, it looks like you’ve got a situation,” she said. Indeed, we do have a situation. Mom and I will have a talk tonight about using her medical alert button next time she falls rather than calling the neighbor. I work a half hour away so it’s difficult to get home to her in a timely fashion.

People are real free with the lecturing and advice, whether they have experience with caregiving or not.

Jul 25
I used to think I was a good judge of character but recent events have shown me that may be an illusion.

Jul 27
Thunder, lightning, and downpour. What are these things?

Rain pouring down, all the windows wide open, and fans going at full blast. We are not use to humidity. It sucks.

Poor Minnie is hiding under the bed. Every thunder strike is followed by sirens. We Californians really don’t know how to drive in the rain.

Turns out the sirens were due to a lightning blast a couple of miles away at Venice Pier. One killed, several injured. In fact, today 9 people were struck by lightning on Venice Beach CA, and a man and a girl hit by a plane forced to land on Venice Beach FL.

Jul 28
I suppose it’s too late to cry, “Foul!” on spoilers for The Big Lebowski, a movie I’ve always meant to see.

Jul 28
Discuss: “All depression has its roots in self-pity, and all self-pity is rooted in people taking themselves too seriously.” ― Tom Robbins

“All” is a bit broad. Some depression has roots in brain chemical imbalances and that cannot be said to be a character flaw. There’s a constellation of causes for depression. Self-pity and taking oneself too seriously may be two.

Perhaps Mr. Robbins is a dick.

Jul 30
My latest Etsy obsession: http://tinyurl.com/n3d9l5w 

Jul 31
The whole “Unfriend a Man” thing? http://tinyurl.com/jvos6l9  I can’t think of anything more boring than being surrounded only by women. Besides, when has reverse bigotry ever solved anything? When has blaming an entire half of the species because of the actions of a few led to anything other than Elliot Rodger? If you want to live in an estrogen-only environment, more power to you. As for me, I prefer a more varied hormonal environment, with give and take and the possibility of dialogue. Keeps life interesting.

Aug 2
Mom’s confusion tonight is too vast for 140 characters but too exhausting for anything larger.

All the perky caregiver advice experts make my ass burn.

Aug 4
A lifetime ago I read Malamud’s “The Magic Barrel” and adored it. Gave me the warm fuzzies. I read it yesterday for the first time since. I barely remembered it and when I was done I thought, “Why did this loom so large in my young imagination?” I mean, I liked the story, but it wasn’t the epic turning point it had been back then. And I remembered it as much more romantic, less downbeat. Could it be that I myself was more romantic and less downbeat? One must draw the conclusion that it is possibly so. Maybe the reason it loomed so large was because for the first time I saw one could be a fabulist and still considered literary, an important distinction for me back then.

Aug 4
I just learned that my cousin, the one who was going to stay with Mom while I had surgery, passed away in her sleep last night. Shock and sorrow.

She was diabetic and had COPD, and about five or so years ago, successfully fought off breast cancer. But when she realized her health had deteriorated to the point where she’d have to go to an assisted living situation, she decided she wouldn’t take her meds anymore. Her independence was everything to her. She wanted that last bit of control, I guess.

She wanted peace. She was done. She wanted to go be with her husband, the love of her life, who passed when he was only 35. She didn’t have an easy life. I hope she found that peace she was after.

Aug 5

To make the week even more perfect I am currently sitting in the jury room at the L.A. Metropolitan Courthouse.

Aug 5
I’ve gotten to the age where when I think back to how long it’s been since I did X activity the answer is often a bit frightening.

I’m also so old I have no shame. I am wearing my steampunk bifocals (reading glasses over my distance glasses) in the jury room. I’d take a pic but, alas, no pictures allowed in the jury room.

However, in a couple of weeks I will have grown up glasses at last and my army of reading glasses will go into the recycler.

Aug 7
Much easier feeling compassion for someone’s life once they’re dead, much harder when confronted with the irritations of day to day living. I guess we always assume they’ll always be around to irritate us, no matter what our head tells us about the impermanence of life.

Aug 8
I am not a responsible adult. Whoever put me in charge of this household made a HUGE mistake.

Aug 8
A death in the family, jury duty, and two days of stomach virus. I am D-O-N-E with this week.

Random quote of the day:

 

“The ultimate dragon is within you; it is your ego clamping you down.”

—Joseph Campbell on slaying dragons, “The Hero’s Adventure,” The Power of Myth

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.