I’m writing a story for an anthology. For some reason, I was assigned a humorous dragon story, so that’s what I’m writing. I thought it would be fun to do a companion piece to “The Dragon of North 24th Street”, which I wrote for the final issue of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s FANTASY Magazine, and which I reprinted in my collection THE KING OF CHEROKEE CREEK.
Here’s how this one opens:
The Dragon of Sullivan Hall – excerpt
by Marian Allen
They say there are more Irish in The United States of America than there are in Ireland herself. I couldn’t say, for you can’t count many Irishmen before they start standing you to pints, and you can only down so many pints before you start seeing double the Irishmen, and then it’s all over. But take it as a given. Or, as they say in the lawyer shows on television, let us so stipulate.
While we’re at it, we might as well stipulate that there are dragons in America. And why should there not be, I’d like to know? If America can contain creatures as fabulous as Irishmen, why should she not also contain dragons?
As a matter of sober fact (if I may use that expression, given my first paragraph), America does contain dragons, although all of them are immigrants, as is only reasonable.
There are many places in this vast land where a dragon may nest and go undisturbed from one century’s end to another, but some dragons prefer to to be around people, where they amuse themselves by eating one sock of a pair, shorting out wiring, hiding cigarettes in teenagers’ desk drawers for their mothers to find, and generally making nuisances of themselves, if not worse.
One such dragon was vicious female named Neef.
Now, another thing I’ll tell you for nothing is that dragons come in a variety of sizes, like dogs. You have your Standard size, which looms over villages and darkens the sky when it flies above. You have your Miniature, which might live in a cave or down a well, and which battles knights for a living. And you have your Toy, which tends to be foul-tempered and aggressive. I’ve heard there’s a Teacup variety, as well, which people with more nerve than sense use the way other people use safety matches, but I haven’t seen any, myself, so I’ll not be swearing to that at this time.
Neef was of the Toy size, but she was nothing you’d want to play with, and truer words than that were never spoken. She looked like a green lamé lizard and, at the time I’m telling you about, she was about the size of a … well, of a chihuahua, since we’re talking about foul temper and aggression.
Dragons, as you may or may not know, are long-lived creatures. If they aren’t immortal, they’re no further from it than your nose is from your chin. Nevertheless, they’re born, as all creatures in this vale of tears are born. Neef, when this story takes place, was a mere 160 years old.
Ah, I can hear you asking, “When does this story take place, then?” And I’ll tell you: in the year of Our Lord 1968. “And where does this story take place?” Where else but Kentucky?
To be specific, it takes place in the basement of a dormitory of Eastern Kentucky University, and it takes place there and then because of the arrival of a certain freshman–or, if you will, freshwoman.
I think that’s funny. Do you think that’s funny? I think that’s funny.
Jane will recognize some of the incidents in this piece, since we were in Sullivan Hall at EKU together.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Take something that happened to you when you were 18 (or 8, if you’re 18 or younger) and outline a funny story from it. Don’t be afraid to change things around.