The Best of Times Short Story Competition

Autumn 2018 Results

Dragons on Drugs

Copyright © Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan 2018

Dave sat in a cave. It was a pretty bloody nice one. The sandstone floor was smooth and covered with a huge red Persian rug. The corduroy couch was massive. It had no back, so perfect for a long chunky tail to dangle through. Dave leaned back against the grainy stone. It was slightly damp but that didnít bother him on this summer day in Sydney. He could hear the faint sound of the surf and smell wafts of coconut oil and salty air. Next to the couch was a small table upon which sat an antique lamp with a purple light shade. He looked closer. Wow, bro. There was a wheel of brie, some dried apricots and some cracker biscuits. Choice.

Dave couldnít believe his luck. This cave wasnít on any Lonely Planet guide book. Heíd just stumbled upon it on his travels to the North. What a day he was going to have hanging out in this comfy cave, dining on cheese and bickies. He stretched his legs and kicked off his jandles. Out came the rolly papers. Then he fumbled around in the nylon back-pack for the ganja in the aluminium foil. He put the items next to the cheese. Soon he had rolled a huge joint - a dragon sized joint.

Lighter. I need a lighter, he thought. I could breathe on it but it might singe this beautiful rug. He was just about to try and breathe a miniscule amount of fire onto the joint when a rotund looking dragon wearing a purple velvet smoking jacket ambled through the opening.

"Hello bro," said Dave.

"By Jove man, what on earth are you doing?" said the tubby scaled creature, whose name was Ferdinand.

"Just stopping overnight bro," said Dave stretching his legs and wiggling his six chunky toes.

"What? This is not a communal cave?" said Ferdinand, raising his scaly green lip into a snarl. †"I do not live in a communal cave. You must be one of those obnoxious water dragons?" said Ferdinand.

"Whatís a water dragon bro?"

"Ones who are smuggled here on a boat."

"No bro. I didnít come here by boat."

"Where are you from then?"

"Across the sea, bro."

Ferdinand looked down his nose and adjusted his glasses peering closer.

"Well I can hear that but where." He sniffed the air.

"Bondi Bro."

"Bondi. Thatís not across the sea. Itís across the bridge."

"No bro."

"What do you mean, no bro?"

"Bondi is across the sea."

"Usually if one says theyíre from across the sea, it means theyíre from another country."

"No bro, thatís overseas then, not across the sea."

Ferdinand threw his clawed fingers in the air.

"Help me."

"Sure bro but could you help me first? I need a lighter bro."

"Youíre a dragon. You breathe fire. Why would you need a lighter? And why would I have a lighter? Iím a dragon too."

"Iíve got this joint bro. I want to smoke it bro."

Ferdinandís eyes grew wider. "I say, old chap! What a rum turn of events! Why didnít you say?" He pulled a box of matches from his smoking jacket. "Here you are."

Dave lit the joint and sucked hard passing the slightly salivered reefer to Ferdinand. Ferdinand wriggled down on the huge Chesterfield across from Dave and sucked hard too. Then he took another suck.

"No double sucking bro."

"Golly gosh. Whatever do you mean †- no double sucking?

"Itís polite to just have one suck unless youíre smoking alone."

"My dear fellow. Youíre in my cave. I hardly think you're qualified to say whatís polite."

"Yes bro Iím in your cave so show a bit of hospitality, aye."

The dragon blew the smoke out and few sparks came out singeing the antique lamp.

"That is strong stuff," said Ferdinand coughing out some more smoke.

A body is flung into the cave. Itís a male, wearing red speedos. It lands face down.

"Did you order Uber Eats bro?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Did you order some Uber Eats bro?"

"Iím not eating that. Itís.. itís raw."

"Raw is way better for you. You get all the antioxidants and vitamins and enzymes bro."

Ferdinand starting laughing, his green scales tippled down his body as the deep dragon laugh rolled out.

Dave took another toke.

Ferdinand got up from his couch grabbed a cracker and cheese and ate it before flipping over the body.

"Thatís the PM, bro," said Dave.

"The PM would never cross the bridge," said Ferdinand.

"It is. Itís him. Iíve seen him on the tv, swimming and that."

"This is not the PM."

"It is bro."

"Itís not. This is our local member."

"Oh. Looks like the PM. Is he dead bro?"

Ferdinand took his pulse.

"Yes. Iím afraid he is."

Dave started screaming and stamping his feet up and down. The cool cave warmed with his energy.

"Weíve got to get rid of the body bro. Theyíll think we did it. I donít want to go to jail bro. Youíve got to eat him."

"I certainly am not eating him Sir. Now calm down."

Dave started giggling. The giggling became louder and louder. Then he let out a dragon fart.

"Youíll wake the dead with that," said Ferdinand sniffing in the fart aftermath.

David stopped giggling. He looked over at the dead body.

"Do you think so bro?"

"Heavens above. No. Itís an expression."

"Oh," said Dave.

They both looked over at the pale body in red Speedos.

"I think it moved," said Dave.

"Youíre hallucinating," said Ferdinand, staring at the body.

"It moved. It did," said Dave, "Are you sure you know how to take a pulse bro?"

The body turned over. Ferdinand let out a gasp. Dave screamed.

"Itís a resurrection, bro," screamed Dave. "Jesus is here. Heís raising people from the dead."

Ferdinand clenched his big dragon fist. He was not going to show fear. He was a dragon, after all. Dave sat back on his chair quavering.

"Jesus is not here," said Ferdinand.

"How do you know, bro? This body has risen from the dead."

"He has not risen from the dead. Can you see Jesus here in the room?"

"No bro but how do I know what he might look like now. He might be a lampshade?"

"Jesus is not a lampshade," said Ferdinand.

"I think he is bro."

"Was that marijuana laced with any hallucinogenic?"

"No bro. Grew it myself. Over in Bondi bro."

Ferdinand looked to the ceiling and back at Dave. He let out a large sigh.

"Burn it," said Dave.

"The lampshade? Are you saying to burn Jesus?

"You just said Jesus was not a lampshade bro."

Dave got down on his knees and faced the lampshade.

"Jesus is not a lampshade."

The body moved.

"Look heís resurrecting. Jesus must be here. He must be a lampshade bro. Donít they say Jesus is a light, bro?"

"Probably but he is not a lampshade."

"A lampshade is close to a light bro," said Dave. "Itís opening its eyes bro. Itís a ghost. Let me out of here."

Ferdinand watched the large eared creature sit up.

"Back away now," said Dave. "Weíre dragons. We can burn you."

"Ghosts arenít scared of fire," said Ferdinand.

The body who belonged to a bloke called Tony rubbed its eyes.

"Who are you?" he said. "Is this heaven?"

"Close to it," said Dave." Thereís some pretty choice cheese and bickies here."

Tony looked at the bickies and licked his lips.

"Jatz? They serve Jatz in heaven?"

"This is not heaven. This is my cave," said Ferdinand. "It is a private cave and one where we wear clothes."

"You only have on a smoking jacket," said Tony. "Am I in heaven? Donít say Iíve gone to hell. Itís because of the damn carbon tax isnít it? I didnít think theyíd serve Jatz in heaven."

"You are in Manly, Australia, Sir."

Tony winked at Dave.

"He winked at me bro. He winked."

"Donít worry thatís his trademark. He winks at everyone. Would you like an onion, Tony?"

The colour started coming back into Tony's face.

"Now that is a wonderful idea and I thank you above all for such an idea. Is it an onion you have grown yourself because onions that are grown in this land are delicious especially Tasmanian onions?"

"What is he talking about bro? He sounds like a real goat."

Tony continued, "Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods, we are more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect." 1

"Heís gone into political mode," said Ferdinand. "Must have had a bump on the head. Sounds like heís reciting old speeches."

"It would be wrong to underestimate the strengths of the contemporary West. By objective standards, people have never had better lives. Yet our phenomenal wealth and our scientific and technological achievements rest on values and principles that have rarely been more widely challenged." 2

"Can I burn him bro? Can I please? Heís really annoying."

"No. Not in my cave. If you want to spend the night here take him out and put him back into the ocean."

Dave got up, threw Tony over his shoulder and waddled out through the cave entrance. Ferdinand waited a few minutes and then rolled a massive stone over the entrance. Sitting back on his lounge he cut a triangle from the brie wheel and popped it onto the Jatz. As if they wouldnít have Jatz in heaven, he thought.

1. viewed 29/4/2018...

2. Ibid