Someone’s Dragon is Double-Parked Outside"I'm not gong to tell him."
"Don’t look at me!”
"Someone has to."
"Why?" A silence followed the question.
"It's blocking traffic," Redbeard offered hesitantly.
"Then let the traffic complain," Sharpears replied. "A dragon means an elf, and you know how they are when anyone tells them they're doing something wrong."
Redbeard nodded. He did know. Elves all thought they knew everything, and they didn’t like anyone suggesting otherwise. Not even the meter maids, and certainly not a pair of dwarfs with a tavern to run. Redbeard and Sharpears turned back to their work. Three dwarfs, five ogres, a pair of banshees and an elf all demanded to be served immediately if not sooner.
Redbeard kept a wary eye on the elf. It was his dragon parked outside, blocking most of the westbound lanes of Rowan Street, named by some misguided fool in a futile attempt to keep the elves away.
In the rush of work, the dwarfish bartenders forgot about the dragon. A couple of hours later, they were still running drinks about the bar, which was now filled to capacity. The elf, now also nearly filled to capacity, was still on the stool at the left end of the bar, a pint in front of him. Company policy was that no one was too drunk until he fell off his stool.
Redbeard had just served the banshee what he predicted would be the final drink when a troll ripped the door half off its hinges. Redbeard sighed. Trolls always had to make an entrance, but in this case it was more clumsiness than intention.
“HEY!” the huge lump of humanoid rock shouted. After her entrance, she didn’t really need to shout to get everyone’s attention, but that was trolls for you. No sense of decorum. Everyone looked at her as she continued, “Someone’s dragon is double-parked outside.”
Everyone looked from her to the window, though which the dragon could be seen in the lantern-light of the backed-up traffic. Everyone, that is, but the elf. He continued to gaze into his beer.
Redbeard looked from the troll to Sharpears, and shrugged. “I'm still not going to tell him.”
“He must know by now.” Everyone on the block must have heard the troll’s announcement.
The troll surveyed the room, spotted the elf, and stumped across the bottle-strewn floor.
“I SAID, YOUR DRAGON IS DOUBLE-PARKED OUT FRONT!”
At last the elf stirred. He turned his head very carefully, as though it might come loose were he careless, and enunciated carefully, “That’s not my dragon.”
“Nonsense,” someone chimed from the back of the crowd. “You are here, it’s outside. Who else would have come on a dragon?” Dragons would carry no riders but elves, and there was no elf present but the drinker.
“He’s his own dragon,” the elf explained.
Silence fell over the room.
His own dragon? Could dragons be their own masters?
They must have been wondering quite loudly, because the elf said, “He told me so. So not my dragon now.”
“Well,” said the troll, who might be clumsy and uncouth but had a good grip on the essentials of the case, “he’s been blocking up half the street for hours, and the traffic jam is a bit nasty. Go tell him to move.”
“Do it yourself,” the elf said.
“Done that,” the troll replied. “He don’t seem to care.”
The elf shrugged and returned to his beer.
The troll began to get steamed up. Redbeard could tell that, because there was steam coming out of her ears. Experience told him what came next.
Most of the bar’s patrons knew, too. Those that didn’t caught on when they saw the others diving for cover, fingers in their ears.
“Move your bloomin’ dragon, you drunken oaf!”
The shout cracked a few glasses behind the bar, but the elf didn’t flinch.
“How’re we going to get them two out of here?” Sharpears muttered to Redbeard when they could hear again.
“The usual way,” Redbeard said. He stood, climbed onto the bar, and pulled out a large silver whistle. Blowing a piercing blast, he shouted, “Raid!”
Every creature in the bar ran for the door.
Five minutes later, when they had gotten themselves untangled and run off into the night, Redbeard and Sharpears stood looking from the troll to the elf, who hadn’t budged.
Finally Sharpears sighed. He walked around the end of the bar, picked up the elf, and slung him over a shoulder. The elf dragged on the ground here and there, but he seemed to be past noticing. Redbeard gave the troll a sharp nudge in the ribs, then stood rubbing his sore elbow while the troll lumbered across the room and opened the door, tearing loose the last hinge.
Sharpears lugged the somnolent elf to the curb, stepped between two brewer’s drays that had been stuck there all evening, and approached the dragon.
Here he encountered the usual problem. The back of the dragon was well beyond his reach. That was where the troll came in, and she caught on fast enough.
Picking up the elf in one giant stone fist, she deposited him on the neck of the dragon. Sharpears climbed up and fastened the flying harness himself, since the troll might have ripped it apart in the attempt. Climbing down, he gave the dragon a swift kick in the hindquarters, then jumped back between the drays as the beast woke up and turned to see what had tickled his hide.
“Home, you winged lizard,” Redbeard called in his best imitation of a drunken elf.
It worked. To the relief of all concerned, especially a pair of traffic cops who had been dispatched with orders to remove the obstruction to traffic at all costs, the giant dragon spread its wings and took flight.
The dwarfs turned back to their tavern, flipped the sign from “Open” to “Go Away,” and propped the door into place before dousing the lights. The bar was closed.
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2017
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!