Karl Tries to Tell a Dragon Story
Karl appears to be very sensitive to caffeine
but Nedd wonders whether or not Karl is addicted
because his attendance at the coffee shop is intermittent
Karl says, “Nedd, you know the best part about being retired?”
Nedd sips his Vanilla Flavored Monkey Spit Yerba Mate
in his custom made gourd
Karl takes a deep, satisfying swig of something cultivated in a dark jungle
“I got paid to get up this morning.
I’m getting paid to be alive.”
“And lively you are.
Tell me a story, Karl.”
Karl’s pupil size and apparent amplitude of accommodation
seem to indicate that he is ready for such a task
Karl says, “In the year 2011 there was a psychic war.
The Russians started it
but it quickly escalated to American and Chinese engagement.
You don’t remember, do you?”
“No Karl, I don’t remember any such thing.”
Karl says, “That’s cause they mind wiped everyone.”
Nedd says, “Convenient.”
“Anyway it was over in seconds.”
Karl looks out that big window that faces the river
Nedd says, “Who won?”
“Don’t be stupid, Nedd.
Nobody can win something like that.”
Nedd says, “So, this psychic war,
how did it end?”
Karl says, “The Aboriginals of Australia and the Africans shut all the humans down
Pushed the Nasties back to their perspective Membranes
and sealed the riffs.
Course, they couldn’t seal them perfectly. . .
There is still some leakage.”
Nedd says, “?”
“Look at the papers, son.
Things went sideways back in 2011
and have been really wonkers ever since.”
“Is this the story?”
Nedd is trying to finish his monkey spit drink without wincing
Karl says, “No.
Anyway there are worlds where there is more magic and less science
and others with more science.
I want to tell you a story about Casati,
the world of the Bronze Door. . .”
Karl says, “Hush a minute.
Casati is the Land of the Song.
The skies there ring when the sun enters the sky.
A world where dragons and wizards compete and bond.”
Nedd says, “Bronze Door?”
Karl says, “Look, the transition points between worlds. . .
Some people see them as doors.
For the purposes of this discussion let’s say
that there is a door made of bronze that leads to a world
where humans and dragon or drakes
are bonded into teams that solve problems.”
“What kind of problems do they have?”
“That’s what the stories tell us.
This story is from the time when the humans and drakes
were just getting to know each other.
You gonna let me tell this?”
Nedd gets up and goes to the ‘order’ bar for a handful of rum and whiskey biscotti
He drops his monkey spit cup in the recycle bin
Karl whips out his journal and makes a few notes
Looks something up and appears dissatisfied
He finds what he is looking for as Nedd retakes his seat
Karl says, “In the First Age of Xephyr
K’Ree ~ Firedrake Guardian of the Eastern Seagate stretches,
rakes titanium claws across granite and schist
gouging scratches inches deep in the floor.
He blinks wearily in the light of this pewter hued day.
Today is mid-winter
and the human’s will be throwing virgins at him again.
Not that he is particularly fond of human virgins.
In fact he doesn’t care much for humans, virgin or otherwise.
They taste a little too much like pork and not enough like mutton.
And the noise. . . get one of them excited
and they keen in the most piercing harmonics.
It goes on forever, totally disrupting his digestion.
unfurls and stretches his copper wings.
Checks the left tip to see how it is healing.
about thirty seasons ago humans started hurling maidens
and he struggled to catch them lest they be injured by the fall.
Best he could ascertain from human actions
young women humans started out cute and amusing as cubs
but became bothersome and irritating as they grew older.
It seemed the elder humans would select the most annoying cub
and cast her into his den to be rid of her.
Maybe they used the event as an object lesson
for the other nettlesome woman cubs
but one thing was for certain, no-one had asked him how he felt about it.
Unfortunately, the cubs were never grateful
when he saved them from a painful death.
In fact they usually tried to harm him or return to the very humans that had cast them out.
One year they threw the same cub back three times.
K’Ree transported the ones he managed to catch
to the islands of Calabria Beyond the Sea
where the cubs seemed to be accepted by the humans there as deities.
He never hung around to see what these humans did with the virgins
but there was no bones or spore on the ramparts of Calabria
so he assumed the best.
K’Ree has considered moving to other climes
but the mutton that the humans grew in those other places were really toothsome
and his current abode waterfall/cave/den fits him perfectly.
Not to mention the occasional workout with aspiring armor-plated man cub
is often great exercise as well as satisfying.”
Karl leans back
pushes the journal to the middle of the table
and looks very smug
Nedd says, “And?”
“K’Ree the dragon?”
Karl says, “What about him?”
“What happens to him?
What does he do?
Does he stay or does he go?”
“What I told you
that’s the story.”
Karl appears disappointed with Nedd’s reaction
“That’s the story? That’s not a story.
There’s no dramatic question.
There’s no Joseph Campbell arc.
For the love of all that’s holy, Karl,
there’s no plot.”
Some one across the room gets up and leaves the coffee shop
Nedd stares are Karl
Karl says, “Maybe it’s a poem.
Poems don’t have a lot of plot.”