I came home from work and found the dragon lounging on the futon in the living room
She was watching T.V. — something about a little girl gone missing — and drinking beer, but there were only four bottles empty and one half-full sitting near her.
“You woke up late today,” I said. I went to the kitchen table to set down my keys, then looked through some of the bills and junk letters I still hadn’t gotten to. “Did you get a chance to check the mail?”
“Not yet,” the dragon said. She finished the fifth bottle and turned over. Her eyes looked toward me, but didn’t seem to focus on where I was. “Could you be a dear and get me another drink?”
“Sure.” I got one out of the fridge and opened the trash to throw away the lid. “I thought I took out the trash this morning before I went to work.”
The dragon said nothing.
“I said, ‘I thought I took out the trash this morning before I went to work.’ ”
“I don’t know.” She yawned. “Did you?”
“Yeah. I did. And now there’s at least a dozen empty Budweisers and a bottle of wine I was saving for something.” I dug it out and came back to the living room to show her. “I told you about this, goddamn it.”
She sighed and a plume of smoke left her nostrils. “I’m sorry. I guess I forgot. I had a friend over and we needed something sweet to drink. If you feel that bad, why don’t you drink that beer and get me another when you’re done.”
“Well I believe in me.” She got up from the futon and slid down the hall toward the bathroom. I could hardly see the futon’s fabric for the scales. “A shame what happened to that little girl,” she said after she’d shut the door. “She was so pretty, and she just disappeared. Her parents must be so scared. They’ll never find her, of course.” I heard the shower come on. Steam poured out from the under the door. “I don’t think they want to know what happened, really. They’re better off wondering than knowing. Some things people shouldn’t know.” A gargle. “That poor girl,” the dragon said again.
“I don’t give a fuck about the stupid girl or her parents!” I yelled, not because I was angry, but just so that she could hear me. “I want to know why you drank my fucking wine.”
“I just forgot,” the dragon said. “Like I said, I’m sorry. Go get some cash from my dresser, if you like. Take whatever you think is fair.”
I left the beer on the kitchen table and took the empty wine bottle with me to her room. I stepped into her room, dropped the wine bottle there, then went back to mine. I didn’t take any money. I put on my headphones, laid down on my bed, and waited for the feeling of nausea to pass.