“Sign the petition, please,” the girl said, stopping people in the middle of a beautiful park. The sunlight made her green eyes glisten.
“Oh? What’s it about?” the man asked, pulling the clipboard towards him. He took his hat off out of respect. That’s what all proper gentlemen did when talking to a lady.
“The dragon. We want her gone.”
“She burned down another house last night, didn’t you hear?”
“Yeah, but, she saves more lives than she takes.”
The girl looked shocked. “That’s not a reason for her to do as she pleases!”
The man looked around. The park was nice and pleasant, the birds were singing, the trees were plump with fruit. “Look around us. Isn’t this wonderful?”
“Yeah, but…” the girl frowned.
“Pneumothorax offers all this for us. In return, she eats a bunch of people. So what?” the man shrugged.
The girl opened her mouth to protest, then shut it with a click.
The man put his hand on her shoulder. “Look, I get it. You’re young. You see something wrong, and you get riled up. You wanna go out a fix it!” the man said, waving his fist in a go-getter attitude. “But when you look at the big picture, we’re better off with Pneumothorax than what we were without her.”
“It’s still wrong!” the girl blurted out, having no counter-argument.
“Yes. It is. And no. Do you know how many people simply died of stupid little accidents before she came here to bless us with her medical knowledge?”
“She only knows how to cure us so she can eat us!” the girl said, having found something good to argue with.
“Yes. Like a farmer, breeding livestock. Does the farmer not care for his animals? He does. He takes care of them. They are unable to protect themselves, so he keeps them inside the farm and fights off wolves and whatnot. And if they get injured or they get sick, he takes care of them, heals them with his superior knowledge.”
“And then he eats them.” The girl looked adamant in her position, she clutched the clipboard on top of her flat chest.
“Again, yes. But aren’t the livestock living a better life all that time. The farmer is not insane, he only slays the older ones, the fattest ones. Not all of them. And definitely not those who can breed.”
“So, I’m a piggy, and I should be content because I’m a young piggy and Pneumothorax won’t eat me yet. So I should go and have children as soon as possible, become useful.”
“Pretty much, yeah.”
The girl frowned even deeper. She seemed as if she didn’t actually like the idea, but she did seem to give it some serious thought.
The man smiled at her. He seemed to really worry about ruining her little rebellion. “Look, if you want me to, I’ll sign. Give it here.”
The girl pulled the clipboard away. She puffed out air, blowing her cheeks in a very cute expression and sagged her shoulders. “What’s the point? All you old people never want anything to change, anyway.”
She sat on the bench and covered her face with her hands.
“Hey…” the man said, sitting next to her. He timidly touched her shoulder, keeping a proper distance from her with the rest of his body. “Don’t cry.”
“Why not? I’m in a fishbowl, I’m a fat little piggy, trapped between these mountains, ready for the slaughter,” she blurted out, crying.
“Nobody said that about you. You can do things. You can dream about goals in life, have fun with your friends, enjoy love with boys. Nothing can get in the way of that.”
She sniffled, looking up. The town was idyllic. The architecture was nice, the people were smiling and healthy and happy, the birds were singing.
It was a lovely slaughter ground.
The girl openly bawled now.
The man looked uncomfortable. He moved closer and then gave her a respectful hug.
The girl cried for long while. Some townspeople stared and the man smiled at them and nodded them away. The birds stopped to listen. There was a couple having a picnic, they chewed in silence.
The girl eventually stopped crying and sat up straight.
The man moved away from her at a proper distance on the bench.
“What?” the man asked.
The girl wiped her nose on the edge of her dress. “I’ve decided, that my dream is to become a dragonfarmer.”
The man snorted. “I’m sorry, so sorry. It was sudden, I couldn’t keep it in.”
“No, I am.”
“How will you go about becoming one? It’s not a career choice, young lady.”
She stood up, resolute. “I’ll find a way.”
“Now, now. Come on. You’ll get yourself killed,” the man pleaded.
The girl sniffed her nose and wrote something down on the clipboard. She turned it towards the man.
He squeezed his eyes together to read. She had scribbled over the initial petition, the signatures were still absent, and she had written in big, ugly letters, “Vote Yes for Dragon Control.”
“But who will enforce it?” the man asked.
“I will. But that’s beside the point. Do you sign?”
The man sighed. “This will be your death sentence.”
“That’s my problem.” The girl turned her chin up.
The man shook his head and signed with a beautiful flourish. “There,” he said, giving back the clipboard to her. He stood up and put his hat back on. It was obvious the conversation was over. He walked away with a grumbled, “Good luck.”
The girl smiled, hopped in place for getting her first signature and then ran up to the couple that was having a picnic in the park.
“Vote Yes for Dragon Control?” she asked them, presenting her clipboard.
There was a roar from across the mountains, where Pneumothorax nested.
The girl peed herself a little.
Just a tiny bit.
The couple signed. She thanked them with her brightest smile, and then ran up to another man in the street.
She had dragonfarming to do.