The Adventure of Random Dragon Picture

I was trolling trough my old files and came across this well... random dragon-thing picture, so I decided to embellish it a bit and start something new; a series. I shall be writing at least one new chapter a week, but I will also be totally reliant on you, the readers to provide me with suggestions, material and characters (Yours or not.) for the saga. So along with your comments, please do add anything else you want to see in the next chapter, and I shall include it.

This is a story about the life of Random Dragon, sired by an unknown mongrel dragon to an iguana living in a commune not to far from the Texas border. He likes soda pop, day time TV and spannish. He is not related to, nor a character of any of the Random Dragons found here or on FA, RandomDraggy or Random.

The picture is of him reading about he seven-step procedure by which and lizard, gecko, skink or other reptile and amphibian my be aged, sexed and species-typed in Wilkinson's < Pet Primer. For a dragon, the description is rather upsetting.

The adventure of Random Dragon

The shop bell jangled as the door opened and the rather elderly man strode in and slammed the cage down on the pet shop counter. Seeing nobody about he banged on the bench loudly, raising a series of squawks and flaps from the cage he'd bought. Inside a large blue parrot swore at him in French. (As they say, swearing in French is like wiping your rear with silk.) Finally a young man emerged from a door at the back of the store. He immediately adopted an air of worried interest (From Romania, there weren't enough airs up for adoption in the states.) the customer was evidently exceedingly upset.

"Oi! You! I want a word with you!"
"Yes sir?"
"It's about this parrot, it's living!"
"Nah, it's just sleeping."
"No you twit, it's still alive!"
"Nah it- eh?
"I'm scheduled to do my sketch in five minutes and for that I need a stone dead parrot, which this most definitely isn't!"
"Oh, I am sorry sir! I was sure I'd cyanided it just this morning! Those Norwegian blues, they're tough little bastards ain't they?"
"I don't care if you could run them over in a truck, what are you going to do about this?"
"Well, I mean, that is a problem sir, usually you're supposed to claim it as dead, me as living and all that and you end up with a slug if I recall."
"Yes, I know that, I've only been doing it for the last half century, but what do we do now?"
"Well, I guess I'd better replace it then."

The shopkeeper grabbed the cage that contained the very alive and energetic tropical parrot and took it into the storage and caging room out back. Here row upon row of cages sat on each other, most filled with one or more creatures of varying species, cats, puppies, mice, rabbits, and the rarer pets, snakes, baby alligators, even a number of rather energetic rocks, one of which it seemed had died overnight. (Rocks are very low maintainence pets but they have a horrible tendency to become lethargic in the wrong environment.) He deftly removed the struggling bird from its prison and transferred it to a cage for keeping and processing later, replacing it in doubble quick time with the statutory dead specimen, nailed to its perch as expected.

That done the cage was returned tot he customer who made a through examination of the replacement's life-signs before walking out he door in a funny manner complaining about lumberjacks. The shopkeeper dashed back into the storeroom as soon as he'd gone to check on his cyanide, mistakes like that cost you in reputation and due to the anal-retentiveness of modern accounting, you could actually place a value on that. (It's true!) As expected, the cyanide was in order and as effective as usual. The test mouse was dropped into the python cage (Which would need cleaning out soon, it was a real circus in there.) and the duties of the morning were resumed. This mainly involved unpacking the new arrivals, a batch of female rats, three kittens from a breeder and an iguana.

Stuffed somewhat haphazardly into the shipping cage was what the shopkeeper thought at first to be a large bundle of green sacking, then, to his horror an iguana far, far too large for its box. Dammit, people were always doing this; you saw some terrible things in the pet business, wildlife smuggling, bushmeat consumption and plain neglect. Whoever had supplied this specimen had been particularly uncaring. He checked the roster briefly, ah, it had been a noncommercial operation, just some people mucking around and selling off the odd pet that had got too big, too boisterous or just couldn't be kept anymore. Apparently this one had come from an otherkin community just south of the border. It was lucky the lizard had made it; there were no airholes in the box, nor water, or food. Sighing the shopkeeper removed the caged lizard from its packaging and snapped open the cage door. There was an audible sigh of relief and the sound of cracking knuckles as the lizard slowly expanded out of its confinement.

And spread its wings.

That wasn't right, the shopkeeper knew. He'd had almost a decade of experience in the pet business and know iguanas didn't have wings, he'd have known if they did, or if they grew them say, when they matured. As the creature continued to stretch and walk about somewhat unsteadily, the shopkeeper began to get a chilling idea of what he might be dealing with; it had an unusually large head, two leathery and somewhat bat-like wings, a ridge going down its back and along its tail, but an upright bearing and intelligent stare. Oddly enough, around its neck was a scrap of paper on a string on which someone had written in shaky writing 'iguana'

"You're a dragon!"

said the astonished shopkeeper. The dragon, if that's what it was yawned, stretch nose to tail then looked at him with a piercing stare and the expression of someone who has just had something unprintable and sexually explicit said about their mother.

"No I'm not!"
"Yes you are!"
"I'm an iguana I am!"
"You're a dragon for sure."
"My mother was an iguana."
"And you father?"
"I don't know, mom never talked about him much."
"Iguanas can talk?"
"Hmmn, maybe that was why."
"Well you're talking, I think that's evidence against you there."
"Trickery! I have rights! You can't make me give testimony against myself!"
"I don't think that applies to mythological beasts, or any animals come to think of it."
"Bloody specist laws I tell you! Everyone's against me!"

The shopkeeper sat down. What to do now? Return it? Report to the ASPCA? EPA? Was this an endangered species? This called for further research. He got out his copy of Kuki's bestiary and scanned the index. There was no entry under 'd' but cross referencing gave him an entry for 'Lizard: Mythological' which on further investigation proved to contain a brief summary of many different hypothetical species, from hydra to basilisks and of course, dragons. The entry read in full:

Dragon: Any one of a diverse family of large, long-lived lizards. Divided into three genera, Eastern, Western and New World. Most common are the Westerns, found in all temperate climes, and occasionally in the tropics. Easily identified by upright posture, fire breathing ability and reasonable degree of intelligence, as well as ability to grow to sizes in excess of 400 feet in the case of Draconia Tombfyria. Diet consists of young maidens and knight. If this is unavalible standard kibble will do. Requires infrequent litter change, large cages and constant vigilance against wing mite."

"Well then, that settles it, you're a dragon."
"What does? Let me see."
"Read it and weep."
"Half dragon."
"Whatever, just don't go incinerating my customers, you want to get sold remember."
"I do?"
"Or stay here for the rest of your centuries-long life."
"Can I be placed near the window? I like sun."

And so it was that the shopkeeper cleared out the rabbit petting cage, changed the litter and placed his newest acquisition in it. Out of deference to its request he labeled it '1/2 iguana, male' (The subject of checking for gender had been raised and the dragon had insisted that he was male and that there was no need to check, especially in the way suggested by the Pet Primer manual. Under the circumstances, the shopkeeper readily agreed.) The rest of the morning was spent disappointingly inactively, wensdays were the low point of the week, but still, you'd have expected at least a few customers. To help pass the time the shopkeeper tried on several occasions to talk to his new acquisition, with limited success. The talks always petered out in a rather disappointing fashion.

"So then, what do they call you?"
"They who?"
"I don't know... 'they' you know? People."
"Oh that's easy. Usually it's 'Dammit who let you in here?!' or 'It's *your* turn to clean the cage out!'"
"No, I mean your name?"
"Your name is Random? Not like say, Darkscale, or Firebreath or something?"
"What kind of names are those? They sound more like uncomfortable diseases to me."
"Well... Random Dragon? It just doesn't sound right somehow."
"Oh I never said my name was Dragon, iguanas don't do that sort of thing."
"What, Talk?"
"That too."

This latest attempt at a rapport was cut short by the familiar jingle of shop bells as the first customer of the morning entered.

To be continued..
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