Monthly Archives: January 2021
Choritzo the Chocolate Dragon
Chorizo, the Chocolate Dragon
© Peter G Barnett (aka Peter L. Barnes) Feb 2020
I met my Dragon on the way grandma’s house, well not my Dragon as such. It was flitting between the trees trying to look frightening, without much success. Chameleons are great at blending into the background but this Dragon had it all wrong. Red where there should be green and green where red leaves should hide her.
“Come here you silly Dragon, you can’t hide from me.”
“But I’m good at changing colour.”
“Yes, but only changing to the wrong ones.”
“Here, look at this,” said Melissa, pulling out some Ishihara charts, which she always took in her handbag. “What number do you see?”
“Wrong,” said Melissa. “And this one?”
“I thought so, you’re colour blind,” she said. “I suppose we should introduce ourselves, I’m Melissa.
“No Chorizo, the chocolate dragon.”
“Chorizo isn’t a chocolate.”
“Tell my dad that,” said Chorizo. “I had all the Italian lads chasing me with knives and forks.”
“I got my own back as I let off a few fire bursts.”
“So why are you skulking around the woods?”
“The other dragons mock me because of my short nose. So, don’t you rub my nose in it as well.”
“What, your short nose,” said Melissa, ducking, as a puff of fire squirted from Chorizo’s nostrils.
“Now, now, just a tease,” apologised Melissa. “Is there a reason for it being so short?”
“You don’t know much about Dragon Law, do you?”
“Well I do actually, it goes back to Baden Powell days, something about doing a good deed makes your nose grow.”
“Yes, Pinocchio had it all wrong. Anyway, I’m waiting for a good deed to come along.”
“I think you’ll find that good deeds hardly present themselves,” said Melissa. “You probably have to go out and find them.”
“Would you help me?”
“I’ll do what I can.”
“Why are you off to see your grandmother?”
“She’s got some baskets for me for the grand Easter Egg hunt.”
“Can I help?”
“I don’t see why not but don’t scare Gran with your big teeth.”
Melissa knocked on Gran’s thick oak door, freshly polished and smelling of Lavender. “Friends here Gran.”
“Melissa do come in but leave that sneaky Dragon outside.”
“He’s fine, only a little misunderstood.”
“Your baskets are in the corner,” said Gran. “What have you brought me today?”
“I’ve picked some lovely berries and some chestnuts.”
“Not yet, do you want Chorizo to roast them for you?”
“Yes please, but put them in the grate first, I don’t want a fire.”
Melissa put the chestnuts in the fireplace and Chorizo breathed a gentle flame until there were perfectly roasted.
“See, I told you she was a good Dragon.”
“Yes, I can see we’ll get on like a house on fire,” said Gran.
“Stop!” said Melissa, as Chorizo threatened a conflagration. “It’s just an expression.”
“We must be going or we’ll be late with hiding the eggs.”
They were soon back in the small town where Melissa told Chorizo to hide, unfortunately by a red brick house. “Wrong colour.”
“Sorry.” Said Chorizo turning from blue to purple and finally to red.
“Better. Now, let me see about the chocolate eggs.”
Melissa entered the shop to buy Easter eggs for the hunt.
“I’m sorry,” said the shopkeeper. “All Badburies eggs are sold out although there was a lot of grumbling that the crafty company has made them all cheesy. But there are no mother’s eggs at all.”
you know them as Ma’s of course.”
“What am I going to do. There’s only a couple of days left, I’ve never let the children down before,” said Melissa. “What happened?”
“The rumour has it, that someone sabotaged the factory and blew the gas main so they couldn’t melt the chocolate.”
“I can solve that,” said Melissa. “Chorizo, come here, we’re off to sluff.”
She climbed on her back and the flew through the smog to the large, now dormant, factory.
“I understand you have a chocolate problem,” said Melissa. “I think we can help.”
“Well the vat is cold but even if we melt that, all the machinery is cold and clogged with old chocolate.” He said “We’ll never sort it out even with a dragon.”
“Don’t worry about that let me show you.”
Chorizo drew breath and hurled flame at the congealed mass, which soon turned into delicious melted chocolate. Chorizo swallowed a huge mouthful of chocolate and within minutes was laying perfect chocolate eggs of varying sizes.
The foreman rushed out to get his men to wrap the eggs.
“We can’t put them through our machines as they are metric sizes so we’ll have to do them by hand.”
“Oh, do you want them wrapped,” said Chorizo. “Hand me that roll of silver foil.”
Melissa handed over the silver foil and in no time at all, perfectly wrapped Easter eggs popped out. ready for the staff to put them into boxes and baskets.
“What about coloured ones?” asked the foreman, hopefully.
“See that pile of glittery wrapping paper and Christmas cards that can’t be recycled, pass them across,” said Chorizo.
Melissa and the foreman passed the pile of glittery wrapping and cards for the obliging dragon.
“Now the best colours are red and blue,” said Melissa, suddenly biting her tongue.
“No, no,” exclaimed Melissa, as the eggs rolled down the conveyor belt.
“Blue and green should never be seen.”
“What,” said Chorizo.
“The other green.”
This time beautiful red and blue wrapped eggs emerged, rolling towards the final baskets.
“That’s enough,” said Melissa. “Thank you so much, you’ve saved the day.”
A few days later when all the eggs had been found under the bushes and hastily consumed, the town decided that thanks were due and organized a banquet in honour of Melissa and Chorizo.
“We would like to present Chorizo with this beautiful, chocolate golden medallion for all that she has done for us,” said the Mayor, looping the ribbon around Chorizo’s neck and now, long nose.
“Not only has she rescued us from that awful northern chocolate company, and given the children their eggs, but has also recycled all our glitter paper.”
“Three cheers for Chorizo. Hip, Hip hurrah.”
Chorizo laid the biggest egg ever, which the waiters rushed towards, breaking off bite sized pieces for all the guests.
Someone signaled the band and the words of that well known song rang out.
“Oh, for he’s a jolly good Dragon, oh for he’s a jolly good dragon, for he’s a jolly good Dra-agon and so say all of us.”
Chorizo blushed furiously. Bright green of course.
The Vegetarian Dragon
Copywrite Peter L. Barnes Oct 2019
“Cows! Cows as far as you can see,” said Dorgon, casting his eyes across the green, green hills of his Welsh home.
“So, what’s the problem,” said Pricilla, licking her claws after a very tasty breakfast snack, having crossed the road to catch a dithering chicken.
“I said I could eat a horse,” said Dorgon. “Not a blimmin’ cow.”
“Why can’t you eat a cow?”
“I’ve become a vegetarian, ain’t I.”
“I’m not sure you understand vegetarian.”
“Yes, I do. They said I couldn’t eat beef, lamb or pork or even chicken, even if it is claw licking good. Therefore, horse is still on the menu.”
“Is a cart an ‘orses durves?”
“Well, we all know you have to eat the cart before the horse.”
“Your hunger is draining power from your brain,” said Pricilla. “What we need is a stable.”
“Well Barnstaple is nearby.”
“Constable was into horses,” said Dorgon, never the brightest dragon, it has to be said. “Maybe he can help.”
“I think he was more an oxen man,” said Pricilla. “You need Stubbs.”
“I shave every morning,” said Dorgon. “What’s your problem.”
“Not stubble you idiot,” said Pricilla, becoming tired of his silly game. “Come on, let’s search for Escape to the Country.”
“Because there are always wannabes trying to find a house with stables,” she said. “There must be one close.”
Pricilla took out her Kindle Firestick and started a search. “Here we are – Sebastian and Camilla looking for land for their horses.”
They watched the programme on the small screen, fast forwarding until the couple found their dream home, complete with a manège and stables. They noted the village and the coordinates, before grabbing a flying pigeon, which upon the threat of being gobbled up, flew them to the afore mentioned farm.
“Thanks pigeon, don’t go far we may need you again.” The pigeon trembled but was too terrified to move.
“Come on Dorgon let’s see what they have,” said Pricilla.
Dorgon and Pricilla trundled up to the stables and started peering into each stall, which were mostly empty, certainly of horses.
“Can I help you,” said Sebastian, unfazed by the fearsome dragons, no doubt intent on stealing his steeds.
“Where are your horses?” asked Dorgon.
“We only have one at the moment and Camilla’s off riding it,” said Sebastian. “Are you looking for riding lessons?” knowing full well that they didn’t.
“Well, I’m not sure you have a horse big enough,” said Pricilla.
“And would you stop salivating into the stall,” said Sebastian.
Dorgon wiped his lips realising that this vegetarian fad wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought. Sneaking the occasional sheep or cow was fine, as they weren’t often missed from a large herd roaming the hills, but horses are more protected.
“I’ve seen enough Hunger Games programmes to know that look,” said Sebastian, picking up the fire hose. “Now hop off, there’s a good dragon, before I hose you down and put out your fire.”
“Let’s go,” said Pricilla, picking up the homing pigeon.
“You may want to try the stables at Horsham,” suggested Sebastian. “They often have horses that have expired,”
“Horses have an expiry date?”
“Shut up Dorgon. Thanks for your help,” said Pricilla “Come on Pigeon, Horsham here we go.”
A brisk flight later, they hovered over the farm and stables before dropping down into an open field where a TV crew were filming One man and his Dragon.
“Didn’t you do this once?” asked Pricilla.
“Yes, but they always filmed it after my fasting day.”
“Too may charred sheep I suppose.”
“Maybe,” said Dorgon. “Anyway, they then gave me a chance to do the Great British Roast Off, but it was never going to get to Hollywood.”
“Why me?” said Pricilla to herself, fed up with his ongoing nagging.
Once filming was finished, they collared the stable owner about any spare horses he may have.
“Dead or alive,” said Trevor, always up for a bit of horse trading.
“Either I suppose, but not rotting,” said Dorgon.
“There are often horses that have passed away and have to be taken to a knacker’s yard.”
“What’s a knackered yard. I often feel a bit down but don’t feel the need to go to any yard.”
Trevor soon realised the drift of the simpleton dragon. “No, it’s a place where we send deceased horses.”
“Tell you what, we had one only this morning,” said Trevor. “It would be a lot cheaper if you could dispose of it.”
“Lovely,” said the slavering dragon.
“Do you want a takeaway or eat-in?”
“I’ll eat it here if I may.”
“Do you want any sauce with that?” asked the farmer.
The owner towed the dead horse out to the middle of the field. “All yours, now don’t make a mess.”
Dorgon waited until the owner was safely out of harm’s way, before with a spark and a flash, he ignited a conflagration of yellow and red flame to engulf the body, leaving a charred and no doubt tasty feast.
“Ahh my Black Beauty, just what I need.”
Toasted Tea Cakes
A short story of fun and laughter for all those who are struggling with lockdown.
© Peter L. Barnes – November 2020
“I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait a little longer,” said her Mother.
“Why?” asked Bethany. “What’s happened this time?”
“Apparently the training centre was broken into and the dogs stolen,” said her mother. “I’m so sorry my love but you have been put on the emergency list.
“It takes months to train guide dogs,” said Bethany. “Now I might not get to University.”
Bethany rushed up to her room and locked the door, and had a good cry into her pillow. Eventually she sat up, determined not to be beaten by another set-back. There had to be a way out of this she thought and moping isn’t going to solve anything.
Maybe a good walk around the park might help clear her mind. She had a specific walk that she did every day, that had good guide rails and pavement edges which enabled her to walk with only her electronic stick and new Sonar system. A device that enabled her to ‘see’ objects and warn her of moving people. But of course, these were only aids and couldn’t really help her if she went to new, unfamiliar environments. She needed her guide dog to be truly independent.
She had already bonded with her new puppy, during its training period but all that effort was now out of the window.
“Get a grip girl,” she said out loud, when she walked down the stairs.
“Sorry,” said her mother.
“Just talking to myself,” said Bethany. “I’m going for a walk. Is it sunny outside?”
“Yes,” said Alexa. “Sun all morning.”
Bethany kissed her mother, “I’ll be in the park,” she said.
“Have you got your phone?”
“And door key?”
“Don’t fuss mother, I’ll be fine,” she said closing the door behind her.
She walked along the familiar pavement, unconsciously counting as she went, until she reached the gate by the park. Her parents had purchased the house many years ago because of its proximity to this park. They were now reluctant to move to a bigger house in the country that they deserved, in case it disrupted Bethany’s life. Which was one of the reasons she wanted to go to UNI so they could move on.
She arrived at the road, needing to cross to get to her favourite coffee shop. She sensed a presence beside her. She found and pressed the ‘cross’ button but seemed to be waiting an age before the beeps went and cars were still going past at what seemed, reckless speeds.
“Do you need some help?” growled a voice beside her.
“No, I’m waiting for the beeps.”
“You could wait a long time,” said the voice. “The lights are out of order.”
“Oh,” said Bethany, torn between her desire to sit down in the sunshine with her chocolate covered cappuccino and the fear of accepting help from a stranger.
“I’ll stop the traffic and tell you when to go.”
There was screech of complaining tyres, before silence indicated that everyone was indeed stationary.
“Ok you can cross now.”
“Thank you, sorry for inconveniencing you.”
She walked to her local coffee outlet and waited to be seated by the waitress.
“Hello Bethany, your usual table is free. I’ll get your drink,” said the waitress. “Is your uh, companion, having something today.”
“Me,” said the gruff voice. “Yes, I’ll have a teacake please.”
“No need,” he said.
“So why are you impinging in my space?” asked Bethany.
“Well to be honest it’s the café’s space,” he said.
“I can’t stop you then.”
“Anyway, you looked a bit down and I thought I could bring you some good cheer.”
The waitress brought out her drink and the teacake. Bethany sensed a fierce heat on her cheek.
“What was that?”
“Oh, they never toast the teacakes to my satisfaction.”
“You bring your own blowtorch for that?”
“Sort of,” said her companion. “So back to you, why are you so down?”
“I lost my guide.”
“I can’t see anyone,” said her gruff companion, looking around. “Did you lose them in the park?”
“No stupid,” said Bethany. “My guide-dog.”
“Don’t see any stray dogs either.”
“No, you wouldn’t,” said Bethany. “He never arrived, it was stolen from the training centre.”
“Oh, that’s terrible.”
“Yes, which is why I’d like to be alone with my thoughts.”
“Why do you need a guide dog?” said the gruff voice. “Except for the broken lights you were doing fine.”
“Yes, but I need one before I go to university,” explained Bethany. “I won’t be able to get around the huge university campus without one.”
“That’s not good then is it?”
“I’ll leave you to your thoughts then.”
“OK, see you tomorrow then.”
“Well, you’ll need someone to help you across the road ‘til the lights are fixed.”
“Suit yourself.” Bethany felt her companion leave and heard the screeching of tyres as he crossed the road.
She pointed the phone towards her departing companion and took what she hoped would be a useful photo with her smart phone. Her computer should be able to translate the image into words.
“Was it bothering you,” said the kindly waitress, as Bethany stood up to leave.
“No. I think he was trying to do me a favour.”
“Shall I direct you across the road?”
Once home she copied the photo into her computer but all it said was ‘cars and horse’.
“I must admit I didn’t hear the clip clop of a horse, very strange, anyway horses don’t talk.”
“Sorry dear,” said her mother.
“Nothing, my computer is playing up a bit, that’s all.”
The next day she wanted to find out if her gruff companion would turn up again, when she went for her usual walk. She had a good feeling about him and if he did turn up, she would at least find out his name, if nothing else.
“Hello,” said the gruff voice.
“Oh, it’s you again.”
“Afraid so. Do you want help on the road it’s so busy?”
“Yes please, if you don’t mind.”
Once settled down in her usual seat after the usual tyre squealing, Bethany sipped at her chocolate coated froth. “So, do you have a name?”
“I think it’s Moron.”
“Moron,” queried Bethany. “Why do you think that?”
“It’s what the drivers call out at me after they’ve stopped.”
“No, but what did your parents call you?”
“I never knew my parents,” said the voice. “It was Easter and I was left in an egg basket.”
“What exactly are you?” asked Bethany. “I notice the waitress called you It and my computer is confused by your image.”
“I don’t know, do you want to feel me?”
Bethany gingerly put her hands where she expected to find a head.
“Well, you are different – long nose like a horse but scaley skin. Hot nostrils, you must take care you might be ill. Large ears and a huge row of teeth.
“It’s what I suspected, I think you might be a dragon.”
“Really that’s exciting, I think,” he said.
“Well, I’m not going to call you Moron,” said Bethany. “Do you think you might be a Japanese Dragon?”
“I shall call you Shinto.”
“Shinto, that’s nice,” he said. “Can I be your guide dog?”
“Well, you don’t have one and I would be great at it,” said Shinto.
“Yes, but a bit frightening for everyone else.”
“Isn’t a fierce dog also frightening?”
“Not as much as a dragon.”
“Why not give me a try, what harm would it do?”
Bethany could think of a million harms that a dragon could do but refrained from comment.
“I have to go to the Natural History Museum tomorrow,” said Bethany. “It’s part of my pre-studies.”
“That sounds exciting, where shall I meet you?”
“We’ll meet in the park as usual, it’s not far to the museum,” said Bethany, sure that her parents wouldn’t approve of her choice of a guide dog.
Bethany leapt out of bed excited by the thought of going to the museum unaided, also she would have a guide to talk her through the exhibits. She hadn’t asked if Shinto could read but at least he could describe things.
She dug out the bright yellow guide dog coat she had been given in the expectation of her trained dog. Umm, she thought, feeling the small waistcoat, oh well it will have to do.
She donned a backpack with some drinks and her iPad and said goodbye to her mum.
“Hello,” said Shinto. “Where to?”
“Here we are,” said Bethany taking out her iPad and showing him the map of where they needed to go.
“Do you have a satellite image,” said Shinto. “That would be more useful for me.”
“Sure,” and switched from map to satellite. “Here, see where the claw is pointing.”
Bethany tried to ignore the hooting and car crashes as they walked along the pavement. “Are you the only dragon around?”
“Probably the first one in this city.”
“That explains things. I hope they let you in.”
“Why wouldn’t they, guide dogs are always let in, surely?”
“Dogs yes, not sure how many other guide dragons are around though,” said Bethany. “But I have an idea, do you know how to walk like an Egyptian?”
“No what’s that?”
“Walk very slowly and stiffly like a robot,” said Bethany “I’ll pretend to be directing you with my smart phone.”
Shinto started walking as directed and Bethany acted out controlling him.
Arriving at the entrance, there was indeed an enquiry about her companion, until Bethany told the guard that there was no ban on guide animals, live or robotic.
“Besides it will be an added attraction,” hearing the excited children clamouring to get close to Shinto. “Be careful, he might bite.”
She kicked at Shinto’s shin who promptly opened his jaw and chattered his teeth.
Shinto led Bethany through the exhibits, subtly unpicking the locks so that she could feel the exhibits to get an understanding of the skeletal make up of birds and animals. Shinto explained which objects were merely bones and which were stuffed animals, allowing her to be as delicate as necessary.
All was going well until they reached the dinosaur section. Bethany read the braille inscription that there was a ‘live’ Tyrannosaurus Rex on display.
“Do you want to see T-rex,” asked Bethany.
“Great, a pop concert,” said Shinto. “Is that what all the screaming is about.”
“No, Tyrannosaurus Rex. Creatures that died out 65 million year ago.”
“So, what’s all the screaming?”
“I don’t know?” said Bethany. “What can you see?”
“It looks like my dad and it’s swinging a child to and fro in its jaw.”
“You have to stop it.”
Bethany felt a rush of air as Shinto flew into the great hall.”
More screams from the children, no doubt at the sight of a full dragon, then a cheer and a blast of hot air.
“What’s going on,” said Bethany, as she heard a crunching and the agony of twisted metal and smelt burnt material.
“All sorted,” said Shinto, once again by her side.
“Excuse me,” said a voice.
“Is this your dragon?”
“Well not mine exactly but he’s with me,” said Bethany, worried that Shinto had done something dreadful. “Is there a problem?”
“Yes and no,” said the voice. “I’m Professor Grant of the museum.”
“Bethany, and this is Shinto” said Bethany, holding out her hand. “What went on?”
“Well, a child had climbed onto my automaton T-Rex and had got trapped in its teeth, just as the show started,” said Professor Grant. “She was in danger of being injured or even killed.”
“It would have been, except for your dragon,” said the professor. “Shinto rescued the child and as the automaton seemed out of control and set it on fire.”
“Oh no.” said Bethany. “I’m sorry to have spoilt your display but I can’t see otherwise I would have stopped him. I don’t have any money to fix your T-Rex.”
“No need, far from it,” he said. “The children think he’s a hero and want to thank him.”
“Oh, alright,” said Bethany. “Shinto go over and say hello to the children.”
Bethany heard the children clambering all over Shinto and excitingly asking him questions.
“While he’s doing this, maybe we could have a drink at the café.”
“I’d like that,” said Bethany, in need of a hot drink after all the worrying events.
“So, what do you know abut your dragon, where does he come from?” asked Professor Grant.
“No idea,” said Bethany. “He came into my life a few days ago, out of nowhere.”
“Well, he’s a great asset to the museum. Do you think he’d like a job? He’d be the best attraction, ever.”
“I think he was hoping to be my guide, seeing as my dog was stolen,” said Bethany. “And I don’t have an alternative at the moment.”
“I could make you an automaton instead,” said the professor.
And so, it was, that the museum had its very own, live, T-rex and Bethany had her very own guide robot.
Madness of the Mithras Monsters
The fourth book in the Cavern series is complete in its draft form and now being edited. You can prebook a copy on Kindle ready for release on 30th June. Meanwhile more short stories for ‘A Vet’s Nightmare’ have been added for more fun. If you purchased this book and want to see more stories I wll email you with the new stories