The azure dragon tipped his brown felt hat toward each rider as they exited and meandered into the main paths of the theme park. “Have a good day now! Keep an eye on those snakes for me, will ya?” He adjusted his belt and khakis every once in a while, faking out some furs with his bullwhip and pistol. They laughed at his antics. He was glad he could make their adventuresome day more special and put smiles on their faces.
That night, after he discarded his uniform for some comfy pj’s, he sat in front of his gaming computer, clicking away and chatting with his fellow gamers.
“This has to be one of the best MMOs yet!” one friend, a red fox, chirruped.
“No way, WoW is much more superior,” a tabby grunted, pushing his spectacles further up the bridge of his nose.
“Hey, when are you going to invite your girlfriend
over?” a wolf snarled in mock glee. The dragon ruffled his membranous clipped wings in mild irritation.
“You guys know I still live with my folks…” his scales burned crimson at their edges at the admission.
“We know,” the three gamers sighed as one over their headsets. They fell to sniggering laughter.
The dragon sighed. He checked his clock—it was nearing midnight.
“I’ve got an early shift tomorrow, got to go,” he muttered, crestfallen.
“Aw man!” the fox whimpered.
“That’s okay,” the wolf grinned, “it’s not like his girlfriend
is in the next room or anything…”
“Shut up man,” the tabby hissed. “Leave him alone, will ya?”
The dragon shut off the headset, and shut down the computer. He sighed. Just once…just once I’d like to leave home, only to wind up on a thrilling adventure…I’d get to eat weird things and meet wonderful lady furs…if only…
Several weeks went by. The dragon played the game less and less, as he was continually being ribbed by his friends. One day, he got an ad in the mail for a reduced airfare trip to Ecuador. At first, he was skeptical, but as time wore on, he realized that the trip would be a perfect opportunity for a new adventure—a real life one. Beautiful beaches, interesting wildlife…it would be a nice way to spend my summer vacation I’ve earned…
Finally, after a few months, the dragon saved enough to take his trip to Ecuador. He purchased the ticket using the ad as a discount online.
“Hey,” an IM window popped up. It was his ‘friend’ the wolf.
“A little busy,” the dragon quickly responded as he got the virtual receipt for the ticket. The wolf was clearly miffed.
“You’re always busy, dude,” the wolf replied. “We never see you in game anymore…”
“Well, I’ve got better things to do,” the dragon tersely typed.
“Better things than hanging out with friends? Wow. Some friend you are…”
The dragon printed his ticket, ignoring the wolf’s pleas for attention. The IM window finally quit chiming.
“Thank goodness,” he sighed, and shut off the computer for the night, packed for his trip.
The next morning, the dragon was all ready to board his flight, ticket in hand, when a shady looking canine took off with his carry-on luggage. Stunned, the dragon whirled, shouting, “HEY! Get back here!”
He chased after the mutt, only to find himself lost in a crowd being shepherded aboard the wrong flight, toward Uruguay. Panicking, the dragon tried to see where the mutt had scampered off to. He noted the all-smiles stewardesses, their gator tails swooshing side to side under their skirts.
“Um, hi!” he breathlessly muttered. “Ladies, listen—I think my luggage was stolen, and I’m on the wrong flight, and—“
The captain began his speech in a sonorous voice, drowning out what the dragon was desperately trying to say. The stewardesses gently directed the anxious dragon to a seat.
Several hours later, the plane arrived at an airport in Montevideo, Uruguay. The dragon awoke, groggy, dismayed, and terrified. He shuffled along with the other passengers off the plane, wandered through the giant airport. Without a dime in his pocket and no passport on hand, the dragon made his way to the counter on the way out of the airport.
“I need your help!” he muttered, his voice cracking. He rustled his wings anxiously.
“Yes?” a vixen in a security guard uniform sat cross-legged, filing her claws. She didn’t even look up to see the azure dragon’s face.
“I lost my luggage, and I don’t know where I am…”
“Bienvenidos a Montevideo, el capital de Uruguay
!” the vixen stated in the most practiced, forced cheerful greeting the dragon had ever heard. “If you need additional help, please visit the embassy.” She waved a manicured paw out the airport, toward a building in the distance as if it were an oasis in a desert. “Take that street from the airport to your left. The embassy is right there.” The dragon was rooted to the spot.
The vixen finally lifted her blue eyeshadow caked lids, her sparkling amber eyes meeting his. “You’re new here, aren’t you?” she winked. The dragon shuffled his feet, flapped his wings, nodded. He was deeply embarrassed, and had never felt so lost in his whole life.
,” she tsked. “I’ll call you a taxi, hm? Be careful now,” she added as he shuffled toward the airport exit, “the city is a dangerous place!”
The brightly colored taxi arrived some twenty minutes later, the driver looking harangued. The driver pounded on the accelerator and slammed on the brakes by turns as they made their way through traffic. The driver was cursing in some language the dragon barely knew, a mix of Italian and Spanish with Portuguese thrown in. The dragon slumped in his seat, begging to survive the short, free trip to the embassy.
“No tip?!” the driver spat as the dragon launched out of the taxi the moment it pulled up to the embassy. The dragon looked at the angry armadillo apologetically.
“Sorry, no cash…no dinero
,” he stammered, and ran into the pristine government building. The armadillo spat on the sidewalk and took off.
The cool tile floor and marble walls of the embassy did little to cheer the anxious dragon as he sought out the front desk. He hurriedly explained what happened.
“Hi. Um, listen, I’ve lost my carry-on luggage and I’m in the wrong country. I was supposed to be en route to Ecuador but someone at the airport back home stole my stuff and now I’m here by mistake. I don’t have any money, I’m all alone. Please, help!”
The furs behind the counter looked at one another, mesmerized by the dragon’s rapid fire speech, unable to understand a word of it yet sensing the urgency in his voice. They warbled back and forth to one another in hushed tones, then one snapped her claws. A translator, an older vixen in a similar uniform to the one at the airport, arrived, looking annoyed. The dragon, unsure of their customs, bowed a little, trying to show respect. The translator adjusted her cat’s eye lenses and wriggled her nose. “Go ahead.”
“Hi, ma’am. Look, my carry-on luggage was stolen—“
She translated, “Hola, ustedes. Mi maleta robé—
“—so I don’t have my passport, my phone, or any money. I’ve also boarded the wrong plane. I was originally meant to go to Ecuador. Please, if you can offer any help!”
“No tengo una pasaporte, un telefono cellular, y no tengo dinero. No tengo una targeta de embarque de Uruguay…tení una targeta de embarque de Ecuador. Por favor, ayudame
The embassy furs nodded and gave him a lengthy questionnaire. The translator listened to their fluid speech, then said, “Okay. You can have a seat and fill out this paperwork. We will do our best to help. You can also call your home country to let others know what is going on.” She pointed to a single phone booth in the lobby.
“Thank you! Thank you!” the dragon took the paperwork and filled it out furiously. He then rushed to the phone, hoping his friends would be able to help him out. He dialed the number quickly, waiting with bated breath as the phone thousands of miles away rang. Finally, one of his friends picked up.
“Listen, guys, I’m in a bit of a bind…you know how I won that trip to Ecuador? Well…my stuff got stolen and I boarded the wrong flight. Now I’m in Uruguay.”
The fox who answered was taken aback. “No way.” The wolf and tabby rushed to the phone, eager to hear from their long-lost friend. Or so the dragon hoped.
The tabby seemed elated by this news. “You can’t be serious, bro!” The wolf took the phone.
“Why are you calling us? Shouldn’t you be calling your mommy and daddy?” Laughter ensued.
The dragon snorted in frustration. “I’ll cut to the chase—I need three grand to get home.”
“WHAT?” cried the fox, wolf and tabby together.
“It’s ridiculous, I know, but I’m stuck here otherwise…at the embassy…”
“Well, bro, looks like you got your adventure after all!” The trio laughed again at his plight and hung up, returning to their games.
“Ugh!” the dragon hung up, tilted his head toward the ceiling, tempted to let loose jets of flame.
“Any luck?” the embassy furs struggled to say.
“No,” the dragon muttered quietly. He retook his seat.
Hours passed. The dragon laid back in the seat, head down and eyes on the ground. The sun was just starting to set. Tears filled his eyes. I’m such a loser…how could this have happened? Now I’m…
“I’m lost! I’m lost!” wept a little bearded dragon, who ran into the embassy. Her scales were puffed and darkened with fear, tear stains down her scaly cheeks.
“Hey little one, why so glum?” The dragon was glad to find another scalie who spoke his language, but sad she was so hurt.
“My mum and dad left me,” she blubbered, lost in sadness. “I don’t know where they are (sniff) or where I am (sniff sniff) or ANYTHING!” Tears moistened her nostrils, and she shivered. The dragon got out of his chair and knelt down next to the tiny beardie, slowly opening his wings.
“I’m sure they can help,” the dragon suggested, trying to lead her to the embassy desk.
Suddenly, she pulled away, crying, “No! I need to find them myself!” The beardie ran out of the embassy, screeching for her missing parents.
“Hey! Wait!” the dragon gave chase. He ran through the streets, past confused tourists and busy city dwellers. The beardie was tough to keep track of, but her tiny scales glinted in the fading sunlight as she weaved between larger furries and scalies.
The dragon eventually found himself on a stretch of beautiful coastline, with turquoise water and clean white sand. The beardie hid in a cabana meant for beachgoers, gasping for breath and sobbing. “Hey, there you are!” he cooed, sliding his wedge shaped azure head into the cabana. The beardie gasped in fright at first, then skittered to the back of the structure, burying herself in the hot sand.
“Go away!” her tiny voice asserted, once she was safely buried in collapsing grains of sand.
The dragon chuckled inwardly at her plight. Little did she know he felt like her most of the time. Somehow, being in a new place and helping her out rose his self confidence a peg.
“It’s okay, I just want to help.” The dragon waited. He backed out of the cabana a little, to give the beardie some space.
She poked her nose above the sand, gazed at the dragon for a long time. Her tiny voice warbled, “We’re not from here, we’re from Australia. Daddy is visiting on business, he’s always
on business trips. This time, mum wanted us to go, too. So we’re making it a vacation…but I don’t like it here…the food is weird and the furries here talk funny.”
The dragon smiled. “So you ran away?”
“No!” the beardie began to rise from the sand, dusting herself off. “No, mum, dad and I were on this beach earlier…and…they went away. They said, ‘Stay right here, Gracie. Be a good girl, eh?’ like they always do, and then they left…and never came back…” She started to cry again, taking the edges of her skirt and dabbing her eyes.
“Maybe they got lost, too?” the dragon suggested. The beardie sighed.
“I guess they went back to the hotel.”
“Well, maybe they are looking for you, Gracie,” he continued, looking up and down the beach. It was becoming deserted as the sun sank lower and lower into the horizon. A cold breeze blew off the ocean, making both scalies back away from it.
The beardie looked up at the dragon curiously. “You know, you’re really nice. I like you. Maybe you can help me find them.” She took his big paw in hers and shook it firmly.
“Nice to meet you, too!” he grunted. She giggled.
He opened his wings a little, shielding them from the sand and wind. “Let’s go to the hotel, maybe they will have more answers for us.”
“Okay!” she agreed. He led her up the sloping sands to a very large and ritzy hotel along the coast.
They entered the large hotel, which was considerably warmer than the beach behind them. Extravagance was everywhere, from the marbled tile floors to the gold inlaid desks. The leather seats were polished and a large fountain gurgled near the entryway. Bellhops scuttled to and fro, their luggage carts filled with suitcases of all shapes and sizes.
It was then that the dragon’s heart leaped. My carry-on!
His carry-on trundled toward an open elevator, along with dozens of other suitcases. To his shock, the dragon recognized the shady looking mutt standing alongside the bellhop!
“Hey! HEY!” he called out. But the little beardie tugged on his paw.
“The entrance desk is this way, silly!”
“But, my—“ the dragon sighed. The elevator doors closed and he swore the mutt winked at him as it ascended in a clear glass tube.
“But what?” the beardie asked, paws on her slim hips. She squinted up at the anxious dragon. “Are you going to help me, or not?” she stamped her foot in impatience.
“Oh,” he sighed. “I’m sorry…you see, I lost something too, on the way here…it’s a long story. Let’s try and find your folks, Gracie…”
“Good!” she lifted her chin, flickered her tongue in approval. The dragon grinned, rolled his eyes. They walked up to the front desk, Gracie’s nose barely above the level of it.
“Excuse me,” the dragon grunted. “This little lady is lost.”
“What’s your name, hijita
?” the staff member asked. Gracie puffed up in pride.
“Hmm…let me check,” the staff member reassured the dragon and the beardie. “Ah, here we go. Room 905. Here’s a spare key for you,” she handed off the key to the beardie.
,” she murmured in perfect Spanish. The dragon’s jaw dropped.
“De nada, hijita
!” the staff member waved them off. The dragon rushed after the beardie, stunned.
“You know Spanish?!” he cried, aghast. “I thought—“
“I told you, my daddy travels a lot on business. You learn a thing or two when you travel all the time.” The beardie puffed up again as she marched toward the elevator, the dragon in tow. “Come on. I’d like you to meet my folks! You’ve been a big help.”
“It’s nothing, really…” the dragon gulped as they went up the nine flights to the room.
“You deserve a proper thank you,” she insisted.
The elevator doors chimed open. The mutt stood in front of them in the hallway, the dragon’s carry-on in his paws.
“YOU!” the dragon hissed, flaring his wings open. “You stole my luggage at the airport!!”
Gracie ran into the mutt’s arms, thrilled. A larger bearded dragon lady stood alongside the mutt. “Daddy! Mummy! This dragon found me and brought me to you!”
“Good work, Gracie, darling,” the mutt patted Gracie’s head. The dragon stepped out of the elevator, bewildered.
“But--! What?!” he spluttered, confused.
“That travel agency ad you responded to is a ring of identity thieves,” the mutt growled softly. Gracie skittered with her mother into the room, overjoyed to be reunited. “I took your carry-on because it has the last piece of evidence I needed for the scam.” The German Shepherd-dingo mix tossed the bag to the dragon, who caught it with a surprised huff. “Thanks, mate.”
“So…so my ticket to Ecuador…”
“Faked,” the mutt nodded. “You would’ve been in Ecuadorian jail if I didn’t pull that stunt. I’m glad you followed me. That takes guts. And you found Gracie, who led you here…again, part of the plan. Your name badge from the theme park you work in is not exactly a luggage tag…I figured you’d respond to kids better than adults…and well. Here we are.”
The dragon blushed. “Wow…how can I ever repay you?”
“Here,” the mutt gave him a return flight ticket. “After all you’ve been through, and after you’ve been here another week, I’m sure that’s more than enough adventure for many years to come!”
The two new friends hugged. “Thank you…” the dragon sighed.
“Take care, kid,” the mutt winked as he went back to his room. The dragon descended, gazing in awe at his returned carry-on and ticket. He was thrilled he would finally have the adventure
he’d been craving at last! Spanish translations:Bienvenidos a Montevideo, el capital de Uruguay
-Welcome to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay!Ay, pobrecito
-Oh, you poor thing (-ito
can also be translated literally as little thing, so pobrecito
means poor little thing)no dinero
-No cashHola, ustedes. Mi maleta robé
-Hi sirs/madams. My suitcase was stolen.No tengo una pasaporte, un telefono cellular, y no tengo dinero. No tengo una targeta de embarque de Uruguay…tení una targeta de embarque de Ecuador. Por favor, ayudame
-I don't have a passport, cellphone nor cash. I don't have a boarding pass for Uruguay...I had a boarding pass for Ecuador. Please, help me!hijita
-literally translates to 'little girl/daughter.' However, it can also be applied in the same way as 'dear' or 'honey.'Muchas gracias
-Thank you very muchDe nada
-literally translates as 'it's nothing.' Typically translates as 'you're welcome.' In some countries, like Argentina or Uruguay, 'de nada' has a much deeper connotation, and is a grateful response to sincere thanks.
Thanks for your patience! I will get to work on reserve asap.