Take 20 words chosen at random. Put them in a bowl. Draw one and write something about it.
Simple? Maybe not.
There I was, routinely guiding my Parrot Bebop over a nearby enchanted forest, intensely watching the camera feed on my battered laptop, and there he was! Clearly visible in a small clearing, unmistakable, a dragon!
I jumped into my red Nissan Juke, the Ruby Rocket, and sped to the location. Surprised to be discovered, he was hostile, at first. After much cajoling and whining on my part, he reluctantly agreed to an interview. A lifelong dream realized!
Me: Thanks for agreeing to this, Mr. Dragon. I’m a big fan.
Dragon: My first impulse was to burn you to a crisp, but my race has a longstanding tradition of watching over humans — the good and the stupid ones, anyway. Besides, people probably knew you were out there in the woods. If you mysteriously disappeared, it would bring publicity, search parties and other unwelcome attention.
M: Well, thanks even more for that, Mr. Dragon. Has anyone ever told you that you sound a lot like Sean Connery?
D: I get that a lot, mostly from people who have watched Dragonheart a few too many times. You can call me Pete.
M: Peter Dragon. Hey, you aren’t by any chance, the author of Line in the Sand, are you?
P: No, I’m not. Neither did I pen Sitting under the Grandstand, by I. Seymour Butts. Are we done revisiting your childhood?
M: Sorry. I’ve always wanted to interview a dragon. You’re so mystical.
P: I’m just another one of God’s creatures. Other than my multi-millennial age, I’m nothing special.
M: Nothing special? You’re kidding, right? None of the other creatures breathe fire.
P: The fire-breathing dragon is just an illusion perpetrated by your species through popular media. No living being can breathe fire. The first breath would scorch it’s lungs and result in painful, instant death. You’ve got to be the one who’s kidding. How did humans ever get so close to the top of the evolutionary ladder? You must have bumped your heads a lot on the way up. Is your brainpower as much a myth as my fire-breathing?
M: What? I’ve seen dragons breathing fire lots of times on Game of Thrones. You know George R.R. Martin would never write anything not based on fact. How can you deny having this ability?
P: Hold on there, laddie. I said we didn’t breathe fire. I didn’t say we can’t produce it.
M: How do you manage that illusion?
P: Without going into a lot of complicated anatomical detail, let’s just say that dragons have a far greater ability than humans to manufacture and store methane. The composition of our teeth includes significant amounts of rock and metal. Whenever we snap our jaws just right as we discharge accumulated methane, presto! Instant flamethrower.
M: So, you’re really just burning off farts?
P: Crudely put, but accurate. Although you must admit that it’s an improvement over humans, who wastefully vent their precious methane into the atmosphere, often in socially unacceptable situations.
M: That’s quite an evolutionary accomplishment. Was it developed as a defense mechanism?
P: No, this trait is rooted in the fact that dragons have never been able to digest raw meat very well. I’m not saying that flicking our Bics hasn’t also been useful for defensive and offensive purposes. Things can get a little toasty during mating season.
M: Flicking your Bic. That’s very ’70s, but it reminds me of a question I’ve always wanted to ask my first dragon. I realize I’m taking my life in my hands, here, but I’ve got to go all juvenile on you one more time, OK?
P: OK, but I have a feeling that I know where you’re going with this. Fire away.
M: Here goes. Hey, buddy, have you got a light?