Dragons, Lies, and Dragonflies
You’re at the big family picnic when you hear a high-pitched screeching coming from behind. It’s like some kind of wildly malfunctioning siren or a giant deranged braying donkey. The noise is so shrill, so piercing, you can feel it in your chest. You wheel around expecting to find some kind of harpy or mythological beast of misery—you’re close.
“Look at my daughter.” Your Aunt Zelda screams at you as she points to a filthy and disheveled child.
“I’ve seen her before,” you tell Aunt Zelda, “but keep up the grooming regimen, it’s really paying off.”
“What I mean is: do you know how your Little Cousin Erina has come to be in this state?”
“I’m guessing the combination of bad genetics and decidedly questionable parenting.” You feel confident in your answer.
“Specifically, the condition of her face,” Aunt Zelda snaps.
“Her face? That’s all on you and her father and possibly a radon leak in your home.”
Aunt Zelda is now visibly agitated—you can tell because there is some color in her normally pasty complexion.
“The gunk around her mouth; I want you to tell me what that is,” she demands.
“The final reason the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania needs to begin proceedings toward the termination of parental rights?”
“You’re full of little jokes today aren’t you?”
“I’d like to think I carry my wit with me every day,” you tell her.
“It’s dragonflies!” Aunt Zelda screams at you.
“You shouldn’t allow your child eat dragonflies,” you advise Aunt Zelda, “you’re giving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ammunition they don’t even need.”
“She ate the dragonflies because you told her to,” Aunt Zelda snaps at you, her face achieving a level of color previously thought not possible.
“I never told anyone to eat dragonflies,” you defend yourself.
“You told the children if they eat enough dragonflies they would turn into a dragons.”
“That was more of a cautionary tale than actual instructions.”
“Well she believed you and now she’s eaten five dragonflies.”
“She’s eaten five dragonflies?” you exclaim, genuinely impressed, “dragonflies are hard to catch.”
“In the future, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from telling my daughter lies.”
“You don’t know it’s not true,” you defend yourself.
Your Cousin Bucky notices Little Cousin Erikka’s face as he’s passing by. “There’s chocolate all over your kid’s face, Aunt Zelda.”
“That’s not chocolate,” Aunt Zelda screams at Cousin Bucky, ” it’s dragonflies.”
Cousin Bucky stops in his tracks as he absorbs the information. “Are you sure it’s wise to let your child eat dragonflies, especially with the whole family court thing coming up?”
“I didn’t let her eat dragonflies, you moron.”
“Still, you should probably monitor her insect consumption,” Cousin Bucky says, “because the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania already has more than enough ammunition.”
“Really? Do they have enough ammunition? Do they really?” Aunt Zelda snaps at Cousin Bucky.
“Do you not know…because they have a lot of ammunition,” Cousin Bucky assures Aunt Zelda
“Daughter Erina ate the dragonflies because this moron told her she’d turn into a dragon if she ate enough dragonflies,” Aunt Zelda pokes a crooked finger at you.
“I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” Cousin Bucky tells Aunt Zelda.
“I have nothing to worry about?” Aunt Zelda questions.
“I doubt it’s the case eating dragonflies will actually turn her into a dragon,” Cousin Bucky says matter-of-factly.
“You don’t know it’s not true,” you admonish Cousin Bucky. “You’re not an expert on dragons or dragonflies?”
“I suppose I’m not,” Cousin Bucky agrees.
“Obviously eating dragonflies doesn’t turn you into a dragon,” Aunt Zelda says, “she ate five of them and she’s not a dragon.”
“She ate five?” Cousin Bucky says with surprise. “They’re really hard to catch.”
“They are hard to catch,” you agree. “But clearly, five dragonflies are not enough to trigger the Dragon transformation.”
“Should I eat more?” Little Cousin Erina asks.
“I guess that depends on how badly you want to be a dragon,” you advise.
“Yay, more dragonflies,” Little Cousin Erina cheers.
“You’re not eating any more dragonflies,” Aunt Zelda scolds.
“I think you’re missing the key point in this entire situation,” you tell Aunt Zelda.
“And what would that be?”
“The fact that your daughter desperately wants to be a dragon.”
“I wouldn’t bring that up to the people from social services,” Cousin Bucky advises Aunt Zelda.
“Why do you want to be a dragon?” You ask Little Cousin Erina.
“Because dragons can breathe fire and burn alive any person they don’t like,” Little Cousin Erina tells you with glee.
“That was a bit chilling,” you say.
“I definitely would not bring that up to the people from social services,” Cousin Bucky tells Aunt Zelda.
“Really, Nephew Bucky,” Aunt Zelda snaps. “Are those your words of wisdom for me?”
“Do you really not know…because that sounded horrible.”
“Look, a dragonfly,” Little Cousin Erina squeals with delight as she runs off in the direction of the dragonfly.
Aunt Zelda stares in silent rage at you and Cousin Bucky before she turns to pursue her daughter.
“Look at that,” Cousin Bucky says in amazement, “she’s caught another one.”
“And now she’s eating it,” you reply.
“It’ll be good having a dragon in the family,” Cousin Bucky says.
You just nod in agreement.