Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," dragon-friendly since birth! Keep your doggone springer spaniel. As for me and my house, we will follow dragons!
In the weeks leading up to the 2009 Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm, I found myself searching for special ornaments I could wear for my extremely important position as Leader of the Mountain Tribe. Little did I know that my most important ornament would be a dragon named Big Red.
One of the bad things about being important at a festival is that I didn't get any pictures. So you'll just have to conjure Big Red in your imagination. I will help you:
* He is about the size of a lemur.
* He is very bright red with sunshine yellow on his belly and around his eyes.
* His tail is about three feet long and curls around itself. It too is bright red with yellow spines.
* He is extremely kid-friendly because of his big, wide eyes and kissy face.
* Like all good mascots, he doesn't talk.
How I Got Big Red, Version One:
One afternoon I went to the thrift store to find costume components for The Spare. I saw Big Red hanging in a special spot among the stuffed animals at the store. I went over to him and said, "I'll be right back for you."
When I finished shopping, I went back for him, but he was gone.
Man, was I ever disappointed!
I went to the checkout line. The man in front of me was in the process of purchasing about 100 stuffed animals. The clerk had already filled three bags and was beginning a fourth.
Putting two and two together, I asked the man, "Did you buy the big red dragon?"
He just smiled. Couldn't speak English.
The only foreign language I speak is hillbilly, so I was momentarily stumped. Then I made the "money fingers" and said, "Big. Red. Big. Red." I held my hands far apart and then made some hissing noises.
The man caught on. He said yes. He took his bags to a nearby bench and began to rifle through them. Lo and behold, he extracted Big Red. I got all excited and said, "I will buy from you."
He just handed Big Red to me and started to walk away. But I caught up with him and tried to give him more than Big Red cost. He wouldn't take more than the sticker price. He gave me change. (Money is the universal language. So is kindness.)
And so I left the store, carrying Big Red on my arm, just as I would at the festival, and just as I always will at the festival. I will never go to Spoutwood without Big Red.
How I Got Big Red, Version Two:
It was a dark and stormy night. The wind howled in the trees, and a dreadful feeling of foreboding stole over me as I stood at the portal of the Almost Home Dragon Shelter. Mustering my courage, I grasped the gargoyle-studded knocker and pounded on the door.
A troll of fearsome aspect answered my summons. "What do ye desire, mortal?" he boomed.
"If you please, o mighty troll," I answered, "I wish to adopt a homeless dragon."
The troll snorted as only trolls can. "We don't just hand out dragons to any mortal who asks!" he bellowed. "Prove your worthiness, stinking human!"
Trolls have adapted to the times. This one had a state-of-the-art Macintosh laptop, fully loaded with all the latest upgrades. I called up "The Gods Are Bored" and scrolled through until I found some of my peerless writing about faeries.
Another good thing about trolls. They're quick readers. He perused my efforts and looked me up and down. For a moment I thought he was deciding how to cook me. A chill ran down my spine.
"What need have you for a dragon?" he inquired.
"Mighty troll, I need a dragon to lead the Mountain Tribe at the Spoutwood Fairie Festival, to be the Tribe's mascot and spokesdragon. Therefore, sad to say, a fire-breathing dragon is out of the question."
"ALL DRAGONS BREATHE FIRE, IDIOT MORTAL!" he shouted.
(I thought I was done for at that point.)
But then he took me to a poster board with the pictures of all the homeless dragons currently residing in the shelter. Of course none of them were purebred dragons. All of them showed some sign of muttiness. You know ... forked tongues made of felt, pasted-on spots, bean bag butts. Since I could never afford a purebred dragon, none of this bothered me.
"Do you have one with personality?" I asked.
"ALL DRAGONS HAVE PERSONALITY! BAD PERSONALITIES! THAT'S WHY THEY'RE DRAGONS!"
Another dumb question. Might as well throw myself at the troll's mercy.
"Okay, do you have one that wouldn't incinerate cute little girls in fairy dresses?"
The troll grinned. "That would be Big Red," he said.
An attendant brought Big Red from the kennel, and it was love at first sight. Yes, Big Red is a mutt. He has plastic eyes and really cheesy fabric in his mouth. His wings are made of the same cheap, cheesy fabric ... and they could never lift him off the ground. But that tail. That tail. It swings and sways, it curls and hugs. It is as prehensile as any New World monkey's.
I said to Big Red: "You can't breathe fire on mortals if you come with me."
He responded by hissing out a little cough of steam, as if to say, "Whatever. Just spring me from this dragon pound!"
So I filled out the paperwork in triplicate. The troll called my references and the vet I use for Decibel the Parrot, and I was cleared. Big Red came home with me, where he immediately hopped into the suitcase, trembling with delight at the thought of being prominently displayed at a Fairy Festival.
Ending to Version One:
This is one of the cutest stuffed dragons I've ever seen. The kids at the festival adored him.
Ending to Version Two:
Big Red doesn't eat like a horse. He eats horses. Please send me any horses you have that you don't need.
I promise I'll post some pictures some day. In the meantime, there's a little footage on my Facebook that shows just a bit of Big Red. And a bigger bit of Anne in her element.