The Dragon was all heart.
I’d been out in the yard, talking to the trees. Quercus was throwing acorns at me, angry that it was getting the limb up rather than the misplaced Pinus next door. There’s nothing quite such a pain in the ass as a misplaced Pinus, they get so big sometimes. We all knew Pinus was going to have to go someday, it was just a matter of time. It still is. That is the way with living things, time is a factor. Dragons live forever, not so little girls.
The hailstorm of acorns and the grim expression Q. was giving me led to me wander out to Hale Brook. After all, Water was my day sign. Riding around on the eagle was exhausting. Muluc did tend to soothe me far more than flight, and a cranky Quercus was more than I wanted to deal with just then.
Something had spoken to me from the brook. It was a crumpled Budweiser can, half filled with mud and hung up on some branches in the water.
“Wow. A talking beer can.” I went over and picked it up. I dumped the rancid water out of it. As I did, it transformed into a beautiful blue dragon wearing a hat made out of red and white aluminum.
“WOW! A beautiful blue dragon!” He was way cooler than Godzilla. Godzilla looked like a guy in a bad T. Rex suit.
“Nice, huh?” He smiled at me.
“Yeah! How’d you do that?” He really was spectacular.
“It was the water. There was some really funky stuff in there, made me sick as all get out. Of course filling me with Budweiser was pretty rude, too.”
“I bet. Now Sam Adams, there was a guy who knew how to brew a beer. Budman was kind of a joke.” Like I said before, no cheap corporate swill for this girl.
“Yes, ahem, well.” He hesitated briefly. “The trolls pointed you out to me when they passed by this way. They thought I might be interested in you.
“Oh?” I certainly hadn’t expected that. After all, I was a total bumpkin on the yellow brick road, a long way from Oklahoma.
“Yes. I’m a binary, too” His tail knocked over a dead tree. “Ooops, sorry.”
“That’s okay.” The tree and I responded together. I took note on two accounts. First, it wasn’t my place to speak for the tree. Second, dead trees could speak as clearly as live ones, unless it had been the fungi that had colonized it talking.
I tried again.
“A binary, huh. Far out.” He’d appeared before me; I was going to let him do the talking.
“I also noticed the Passiflora. I like Passiflora.” He was such a sweet dragon, he had a cheery smile.
“Yes, I first encountered it as a child. It kind of grew on me. Well, not on me, but it’s always managed to grow nearby.” I smiled as I remembered it volunteering at the site in Oklahoma.
“Yes, ahem, well.”
I waited. Suddenly he reared up in his full Dragon glory and blew a rainbow producing stream of flame and water into the sky. His voice boomed:
“WE ARE GODS!”
“Never mind, I just thought I’d see how that went over.” He was clearly trying to communicate with me; he just wasn’t quite sure how. Whereas the hippie had spoken volumes with very few words, the big blue dragon was not one of words, but one of feelings. The thing with the passion flower should have told me that.
The thing was, I could almost get what he was trying help me understand. I could certainly sense how big his heart was. This guy wasn’t somebody Sir Lancelot was going to be poking at. This guy was a total Puffball, all sweetness and sunshine. But the thing about being a god, I kind of understood it. I just wanted for the Dragon to explain it to me rationally. Pretty silly, really. It’s not real rational stuff.
“The trolls tell me you’re curious. You babble about things like String Theory and Shamans and Nanobots. They tell me you’re a scientist, but that you’ve clearly taken a look outside of that rather limited box, you’ve been exploring all sorts of wavelengths outside the spectrum of scientific respectability. So, the Wizard has allowed me to grant you three questions”.
“What the fuck? The Wizard?” Things had just gotten weird.
“That’s two questions. What the fuck is not a nice question, and there’s no good answer to it. The Wizard is a projection, a holographic image, a construct of your ego in the here now.”
Well crap. Sweet as the dragon was, he didn’t screw around. There must be a lot of lost souls wandering around on the yellow brick road, and as I found out after I got to know him a bit better, he had a pretty full life as a beer can.
“What’s the meaning of life?” I thought I might as well just wing it with a final question. As it turns out, that’s a pretty good strategy for life, even if not its meaning.
“She who knows does not say, and she who says, does not know.” He said it with a straight Dragon face.
“Oh, what, are you some kind of koan man?” I'd done the sit down and shut up and stare at the white wall thing, it had gotten me through menopause. I’d done so much contemplating of the sound of one hand clapping I knew the rhythm as well as my own heartbeat.
“The trolls told me you were kind of into Zen.” He smiled again. It was such a nice smile.
“Fucking trolls.” I sighed. "I'm not a very good scientist and the yoke of yoga is none too tight and Zen is fine for moderating the passions, but lately, since I've started doing the channel surfing that includes conversations with big blue dragons, I've been feeling pretty fucking passionate." Even my sigh was laden with it.
“You really shouldn’t talk that way. It’s not nice.” He absolutely, positively was just the cutest and cuddliest and most lovable dragon ever. He looked like he might cry. It was almost painful to Godzilla how nice he was, what with being stuck in the bad T. Rex suit and all.
“You’re awfully darned sensitive for a Dragon. Don’t those scales offer you some resistance to wicked witches?” I’d starting feeling rather like a crone. Maybe the trolls and Goldilocks were right to question me, maybe I was a bad witch. “What’s with the tinfoil hat?”
“That’s four and now five questions.” His grin was back.
I stared him down.
“That’s one of the things I wanted to ask you.” He was still smiling.
“Do you want a tin foil hat? You can stop channel surfing any time you'd like, you know. You carry the answer with you all the time.” He waggled his eyebrows at me, Groucho Marx style. Suddenly the Zen man was doing Goldilocks, the good witch of the north.
“No. I want a satellite dish. Hook me up.” I stood with hands on hips, staring at him defiantly. He stared right back at me. Them Dragons have some badass stare down capacity, especially the cute cuddly ones.
I sighed. “So, how do I get hooked up?”
“That’s six questions. Besides, you know the answer.”
Sound heartless? Not at all. The Zen man and his beautiful blue dragon were all heart. They worked magic helping me get tuned in, even if I did keep poking at them. I couldn't let them get rusty, could I?
Linda Brooke Stabler, Ph.D.