School was never the same after they turned the dragon parking area into a practice floor for outdoor rhythmic gymnastics. Sure, watching all those lithe young ladies swirl their ribbons and tumble and roll was swell, but being dropped by a dragon required to hover, then leave, led to a ton of bruises and strewn paperwork that was hard to recover on a windy day. Besides that, my dragon missed yakking with the others waiting to ferry their charges home after school. Now there was a traffic jam as they returned instead of an orderly lift off like before. I began to hate the very idea of rhythmic gymnastics being an Olympic event, not to mention the snooty moms who thought their daughter was the cream of the crop. The elitism ran rampant through every grade while thousands of dollars were spent on sequins and hair gel.
Anyway, one day after school I flew into downtown Gresham, thinking I’d treat my dragon to pizza as consolation for being barred from campus. He loves pizza with extra garlic and jalapeno peppers that make his breath super fiery. Me, I’m more of a chicken pesto with extra cheese kinda girl. Fortunately, there was an empty spot in front of Main Street Pizza and we swooped in before someone else could grab it. Parking in Downtown Gresham can be a challenge so I’d learned to be quick or suffer endless circling. Unfortunately, there were nearly a hundred online orders being processed ahead of mine and the wait was interminable. By the time I procured our box of steaming toppings and cheese my dragon was cranky and hungry, not to mention being irritated by the overtime parking citation a zealous meter maid stapled to my saddle. I was amazed he hadn’t torched her but relieved he didn’t, as torching a meter maid was a federal offense. I noticed she was across the street ticketing a group of circus clowns for allowing their elephant to defecate in the street. Thinking I might get her to rescind the ticket, I approached her as she swaggered back to her scooter.
The meter maid she couldn’t and wouldn’t tear up the citation, then plopped her fat butt on her seat and drove away laughing. I was tempted to follow her and have my dragon light her up in an out of the way place but before I could act on that impulse a tremor tore downtown to shreds. Buildings collapsed, fires broke out and the screams of injured people filled the air. I’d never experienced a natural disaster and had no idea what I could or should do to help. Frightened and confused, I climbed into the saddle and urged my dragon to take flight. Circling the area, I noticed there were hundreds of cars experiencing gridlock while trying to escape. Everywhere I looked, a big rock blocked the road or tumbled buildings prevented egress from the impact zone. The one point of humor in the situation was the meter maid’s scooter wedged nose down in a crevasse running all the way across Burnside. She was covered with dust and obviously took quite a tumble. The knees of her uniform were shredded and blood oozed from several patches of road rash. I could have ignored her plight since she’d been such a bitch but I remembered one of my classmates mentioning his mom was a meter maid. That led to me urging my dragon to land nearby and tax his muscles by allowing her bulk to climb aboard. It took a moment, but with a mighty heave we got airborne, then managed to deliver her home.
It took weeks to repair the damage and get things back to normal but the next time I went to school I discovered new parking spaces for dragons near the front entrance. Evidently, someone lobbied on our behalf. Downtown Gresham also dedicated some spaces to dragons. It turned out that several dragon riders helped evacuate wounded citizens to hospitals outside the impact zone and were rewarded for their humanism. After that experience I was proud of myself for being mature enough to not surrender to my base urges. Who knew when tragedy might strike again?