There's a dragon in my living room.
I've been trying to work on this column all week but it's difficult to concentrate with a dragon tearing up your house. Actually, I finally got some work done because the dragon was unconscious on the couch for a while. But I knocked over a coffee cup and it shattered on the floor. After a moment of terrifying silence, I heard the she-beast rustling and groaning as it slowly began to rise.
There's a dragon in my living room and now the dragon is awake.
The dragon, incidentally, wasn't always a dragon. She was once a young and gorgeous woman named W., who lived with me in a cottage by the sea. But she quit smoking three days ago and has since metamorphosed into this lizardy, winged creature that flies through the house, slashing or crushing anything in her path. Even our cats don't recognize her anymore. Whenever the dragon enters the room, Simba, the male, hisses while Aunt Suzy-pussy that she is-runs into a corner and urinates on something important.
Here's how it all started: a couple of weeks ago we had something of a scare. At about midnight, W. was stricken with an excruciating chest pain. She had been suffering flu-like symptoms for about a week without any improvement, so when the chest pains hit, I took her to the emergency room. It turned out she was suffering from pneumonia and pleurisy, which isn't bad compared to what might have been wrong with her. She's a smoker and we had some really bad thoughts. So later that night, while lying in bed, it was decided that, come Hell or Mt. St. Helens, W. was going to quit smoking.
But now that the pneumonia has begun to clear, and the little nico-demons of withdrawal have begun strafing her insides, her story has changed a tad. Now she's saying that she never really wanted to stop smoking, and she's only quitting to please me, that I made her promise under duress, and if I would just grant permission, she could have that cigarette she so desperately needs.
Now, anybody who knows W. knows that if she wants to do something, she's going to do it. Nobody's gonna tell her what to do-especially not no man-so I'm a bit surprised that she's waiting for my approval to smoke. But since she is waiting for my approval, I'm certainly not going to grant it. Instead, I give her positive reinforcement, saying things like, “You can do it, baby-sweetie” or “I'm so proud of you, honey-booby,” which, of course, she has no use for and understandably resents.
Wednesday: The first official day of her quitting coincided with the day I began working on this column. It was to be some stupid piece about some stupid something or other, but the dragon was in the other room yelling at things and breaking stuff, so I couldn't concentrate enough to get past the first sentence:
“It was a storm and darky night.”
“It was a dorm and starky night.”
“It was a light and stormy park.”
Later that afternoon, the monster tried watching television. She flipped the dial incessantly, searching for a television program that she could smoke. Alas, no such program existed.
“Get me a Marlboro and I won't murder you in your sleep,” she bellowed from the other room.
“Sorry, honey-cookie,” I said, “No-can-doozy-woozy. But I am so very proud of you.”
Thursday: I awoke that morning to find a dragon on top of me-her razory forelegs wrapped around my neck, her dripping, reptilian maw just inches from my face.
“Give me a cigarette now or I'll slit your throat and smoke your vocal chords,” she bellowed.
“I'm so proud of you, sweetie,” I responded.
In a rage, she flew off me, and out the bedroom door. Simba hissed and leaped out of the way. Aunt Suzy was not so lucky. The dragon raked her talons across poor Suzy's spine, leaving the thing twitching in a pool of blood on the floor. The dragon swooped into the kitchen. She ripped the door off the refrigerator and rummaged for something she could smoke. I rushed in just in time to find her trying to light a can of parmesan cheese she had dangling from her lips. When that failed, she turned to me-her scales upright, tail swinging, eyes a blazy red-“You're a dead man,” she said. “I just wanted you to know that.”
Friday: You just can't write good when there's a komodo on the commode. That's how I find her: standing on the toilet, flapping her wings and screeching like she's crapping a Tonka Truck. I run over with a baseball bat in my hand and tell her, “I'm so proud of you, honey-sugar-face,” then swing the bat lovingly to the side of her head. I place her unconscious body on the sofa and gaze with affection. “Sleep well, my sweet homoeothermic salamander of love,” I say and slink off to the other room to finish this column. I make great progress until I knock over the coffee cup and it shatters on the floor. I hear rustling.
There's a dragon in my living room and the dragon is awake.
E-mail email@example.com and editor @SDcitybeat.com. (Author's note: In response to reading an advance copy of this column, W. responds, “Fuck you! This was all your idea.”)