There was a drunk dragon on my front lawn again.
The new neighbors had moved in six months ago, at the beginning of winter, into the cavern-and-castle system the ogres had vacated, mom, dad, two kids and an egg, with a pet that they called a dog, I think out of a sense of misplaced irony. And, for a while, everything had been fine. I mean, we’d been living next door to ogres. We were just glad to have the carrion smell gone (fumigated, even. Dragons make good fumigators.)
But once the weather had warmed up, their oldest kid (again with the misplaced irony; they called him Jimmy) had started joyriding and taken up drinking in a big way. Everything they did was big, of course; now take that and multiply it by teenage hormones and rebellion.
My oldest had already gone through the worst of it, and our younger two weren’t there yet; I could spare some sympathy for the Smiths (yes, really. And they were. Smiths, that is, and quite good ones at that). Their fights weren’t any louder than the harpies three doors down, after all, and everyone had had a kid slam the castle gate in the middle of a fight.
But it was a lot easier to spare sympathy when their kid wasn’t snoring a scorch-hole in my lawn. I pulled out the broom and the leather apron I used for cleaning out the incinerator, and headed out to do battle.
“Jimmy.” I poked him below the last ribs with the broom, mindful of the flame-gouts. “Jimmy, you’ve got to go home.”
He blinked at me blearily. “Oh, come on, Mrs. S., can’t I stay here?” Ever hear a dragon whine? Dogs in the next county covered their ears.
“Afraid not, James. You’re welcome to come over for biscuits and gravy when you’re sober, but drunken dragons belong in their own beds. Or down by the waterfall.” This time of year, it could handle him.
He sighed, and he couldn’t have been that far gone, because it didn’t light my lawn on fire. “All right, Mrs. S. Biscuits, really? With the brown gravy?”
“I promise, James. If you’re off my lawn before you set the gnome on fire.”
My brown gravy is the talk of the neighborhood; Jimmy was flying woozily for the waterfall before I’d finished, calling back over his scaly shoulder, “Sorry about the table, Mrs. S., I swear I’ll pay for it.”
I poked the remains of the lawn table my husband had made, and thought wistfully of ogres.
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