For once it wasn’t the gnomes per se that were the problem. I can see why you might think they’re the problem. They usually are. What with their perky little pointy hats, mining and garden implements, and cutesy singing while they work, they can really drive a person crazy. They’re worse than dwarves, if you can imagine that! This time, however, the problem is the dragons. Whoever would have thought that when the dragons came back the big problem wouldn’t be their overbearing ways, strutting and preening and ordering us around. Who would have thought the problem would be maintenance!
Y’see, dragons can’t just incinerate people and things on a whim. They need to be primed with these red rocks they eat to keep their internal fires burning. Dragons blood they call it. Without dragons blood they don’t stay primed. The effect is sorta like one of those bee smokers. You know the ones. Put something flammable in the little chimney, start the fire, close the chimney to snuff the fire out. Then, poof! Clouds of smoke to put the bees to sleep. Or does it chase them away? Hmmm. Well, either way, the bees aren’t a problem any more. As you can imagine, if those little bee smokers are so potent, just think of how much more smoke a dragon-size chimney would make! Why, if people get in the way of that cloud, they’d be coughing and choking and dropping like flies. Or bees.
Anyway. The dragons’ problem at the moment is that the supply of dragons blood is almost gone. It’s a problem that just may have been caused by those prissy little gnomes failing to create a regular schedule to actually go down into the mines EVERY DAY to mine more dragons blood. Whoever thought to put the damn gnomes in charge of maintenance had a couple screws loose. Dwarves would have been so much better. For one thing, they’re taller and stockier than gnomes, and they’re reliable. For another, they’re better miners. And for another, they’re all muscle. They could handle the dragons blood stockpile and the dragons, too. Now both the gnomes and dwarves are planning the quickest way to augment the dwindling dragons blood supply.
In the meantime, it’s my responsibility to figure out how to stop the dragons from smoking. Me! A mere jester! And a substitute one, at that. Don’t bother asking me how I got stuck with this assignment. Darned if I know! Someone must think that, if I make the dragons laugh themselves silly, they’ll generate a huge dragon-dropping smoke cloud and knock themselves out. Y’know, I’d actually like to see that. Wonder if it would work. Hmmmm.
Anyway. Maybe if the dragons drink plenty of water that’ll squelch their fires completely. Pfft! How likely is that plan to succeed. You put a dragon’s fire completely out, & what do you have? A giant lizard with no earthly purpose other than to get in everyone’s way. They know that, too. That’s why you hardly ever see a dragon drinking anything. Maybe a little pint of the black stuff now and then to do double duty of quenching their thirst while keeping the fires burning inside, but not too much of any other liquid slides down those long throats.
Gotta come up with a plan …..
550 words. [This is all I got. It’s the longest fictional piece I’ve ever written, so I’m satisfied for now.]
Written in response to PT Wyant’s Wednesday Words #185 prompt “For once it wasn’t the gnomes that were the problem.”
and to Masters of Writing Flash Fiction Challenge prompt “smoke” (even if too long)