Stories, writing

Short Story: Strange Questions

She wandered in, two beer bottles in hand. The one she set on his desk dripped with condensation. The only sound in the room was that of her popping the top on one and the rattle of the cap across the wood floor. He kept his focus on the papers in front of him, eyes struggling to decipher the foreign letters.

“I have a weird question for you,” she said after a moment of watching him struggle.

“Not the first time.”

“Not the weirdest I’ve asked either, but why is there another dragon in the kitchen?”

His head came up, papers and their mysteries forgotten. Disbelief marked his face as he processed her words. As he studied her, dismay took over, morphing his features into a mask of misery. He shook his head but offered no answer.

She handed him the bottle opener with a smile.

“What does it want?”

“No idea, I don’t speak Chinese.”

“It’s a Chinese dragon?

“It does look that way.”

“For the love of—You couldn’t have asked me anything else? Like where’s Atlantis?” As he spoke he yanked his shirt straight and stuffed it into his slacks. She took another sip of her beer while he tossed the opener on his desk.

“I asked that last week. On Tuesday. Now I’m asking about a dragon in the kitchen.”

He managed a polite smile and gestured rudely at her before he turned and started into the kitchen. He bowed properly, knowing that above all else, manners were important to dragons. The first syllable of the proper, formal greeting never made it passed his lips.

Sitting, coiled artfully on his tile in bright red, green and yellow was in fact a Chinese dragon.

More specifically, a Chinese paper dragon. It was nothing more than a decoration easily bought from one of the Asian markets a few streets over.

She set the still-unopened beer bottle on the counter while he inhaled, not sure if he wanted to laugh or swear. His breath streamed out in a hiss.

“You remember last Tuesday when I asked about Atlantis?”

“Yeah. You told me to take a day off.”

“This is me proving my point. You rushed out to help a dragon. You’re the guy that deciphers magical textbooks. Not the one that translates for dragons.”

He didn’t want to admit she was right. She’d told him before he worked to hard. He tried to ignore that. He liked his work, even if he spent long hours staring at archaic letters. And yet her pointed antics had a way of showing him he’d been putting in too much effort.

“Okay,” he said and grabbed the beer finally. She offered him the bottle opener. “I hope you don’t mind if I say we’re not ordering Chinese though.”

“I figured your pride would be sore enough. Pizza’s on the way.”


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