Dragon the Line



Mike sat in his director's chair, reading one of the Writer's latest script. He rolled his eyes, and threw it forward. Without even making a move, the script burst into flames. The Texan Monkee started laughing, and snapped his fingers to turn the flaming script to ashes before it hit the ground and set the studio on fire.

"You're a real battery saver," he said, as a small, green dragon flew onto his lap.

"You brought your dragon into work again, Mike?" Jerry asked, walking over.

"Yeah," Mike replied. "Dad doesn't like it when Sparky hangs around the house. He's afraid he'll burn the house down."

"And have you told him that Sparky's just a baby?"

"About a hundred times. He doesn't listen."

That was true. Sparky may have been just a little baby dragon, but he was a fire breathing dragon nonetheless. He knew how to control his flames, but that didn't make Warren, Carole, and Phyllis calmer about having a dragon around the house. Ever since Mike found out he could talk to animals, the Nesmith house has never been the same. In the house are a dog, two cats, three goldfish in an aquarium, and now a baby dragon.

"Uhh, Mike?" Bob asked, walking over. He stopped about five feet from Mike's director's chair. He was downright scared of Sparky.

"What, Bob?" Mike asked.

"Do you have to bring that overgrown lizard onto my set? He makes me nervous!"

"Oh come on! I wouldn't have him fricassee you!"

"I know, but he still breathes fire doesn't he?"

"Yeah, but he's big enough to know better, aren't you Sparky?"

Sparky snorted and grunted. It was about all he could do. And only Mike could understand what he said. His other pets couldn't make heads or tails out of dragon talk. At any rate, Bob shrugged, and walked off, wanting to get as far away from Sparky as humanly possible. Mike laughed, and snapped his fingers. A box of cookies appeared out of thin air. Mike took one out, and fed it to his dragon.

"Are you sure it's safe to have a baby dragon around?" Jerry asked.

"He can control his flames," Mike said.

"What if he gets the hiccups? I've seen movies where dragons get the hiccups, and their flames shoot out involuntarily."

Mike shook his head. He didn't think that was true. In fact, he figured that was just something Hollywood did to give dragons a bad name. After work, Mike brought Sparky home, and walked into the kitchen, looking through the cabinets for the pet food.

"About time you got here," an obnoxious voice said. "I was about to eat your fish!"

"Hi, Salem," Mike groaned, rolling his eyes. "I take it Sabrina's here."

"Yeah I'm here," Sabrina said. "Sorry about Salem, but you know how he loves to travel."

"That's no problem," Mike said, pulling a can of dog food out of the cupboard. "Besides, I can always zap him if he gets too obnoxious."

"Or sic your lizard on him," Phyllis replied, walking into the kitchen. "Mike, do you have to bring him in the house?"

"Aw come on, Phyllis!" Mike shouted. "He's just a baby!"

"I don't care, Mike," Phyllis said. "He's a fire breathing dragon!"

"He can control it!"

Phyllis shook her head, and walked away, taking a container of fish food with her. Mike groaned, and began searching for the can opener. Sabrina sat at the table, and watched him.

"What do dragons eat, anyway?" she asked. "Do they make special food for them?"

"No," Mike said, pulling the can opener out of the drawer. "Sparky will eat anythin'. As long as it's not a live animal or a human hand. I trained him never to eat anything that moves."

Sabrina nodded. She wondered if Sparky would eat Jell-O. After all, that moves. She pointed her finger, and conjured up some. She pushed it in front of Sparky, which caused it to move a little. Sparky yelped, and fled from the kitchen. Mike stared after him.

"What did you do?" he asked.

"I just gave him some Jell-O," Sabrina said.

"I told you I trained him not to eat anythin' that moves."

"I know. I wanted to see if he would eat it."

Mike abandoned the dog food, and ran to find his dragon before he could get into any trouble. When Mike ran into the living room, he found Warren, Carole, and Phyllis standing there, glaring at him.

"What's happenin'?" Mike asked, trying to lighten the mood a little.

"Why was that overgrown lizard runnin' through the house like a chicken with it's head cut off?" Warren asked.

"Sabrina gave him some Jell-O, and he got scared of it?" Mike said, stating his answer in a question, like he wasn't sure if his father would believe him.

"See, I trained him never to eat anythin' that moves," he said. "And Jell-O moves."

"I see," Warren said, but he didn't sound any happier about this.

"Mike, this whole Dr. Doolittle thing has gone a bit too far," Carole said. "You're turning this house into a zoo!"

"Now I'd only do that if I brought home a lion or somethin' like that!" Mike shouted.

"I know you're fond of that dragon, but the rest of us aren't," Phyllis said, trying to be diplomatic. "He can stay in the house during the day if one of us is home. But the rest of the time, he has to stay outside."

"Aw come on!" Mike shouted.

"Mike, I've seen this dragon sleep," Warren said. "When he sleeps, he snorts flames out of his nostrils."

"Dad, he's a dragon!" Mike shouted again. "Dragons do that sort of thing."

Warren gave his son a sharp glare. Mike backed down. He was outnumbered. He agreed to compromise, and he led Sparky out of the house and into the backyard, out to the old dog house that Mike's dog, Spotte, never used anymore.

"Well, Sparky, ol' buddy," he said. "Looks like you're gonna have to sleep out here for quite some time. Dad, Carole, and Phyllis aren't too fond of dragons. They're afraid you might burn the house down."

Mike snapped his fingers, and poured a box of chocolate chip cookies into a dog dish, and set it down. Then he filled a water dish with hot sauce and set it down next to the cookies. He didn't want to give Sparky water, because it might extinguish the flames, and Mike might need his flames for something.

"Now don't eat so fast," Mike said. "You might get the hiccups."

Sparky snorted, nodded, and began eating his dinner. Mike went back inside the house to eat his own dinner. Of course, Sparky wolfed down his dinner, which resulted in the hiccups. A small flame shot out of his mouth, and incinerated a patch of grass. Sparky yelped, and ran into the dog house, wanting to hide. He hoped no one would notice. The next morning, Mike and Phyllis walked out to the backyard. Mike went straight for the dog house.

"Up and at 'em Sparky!" he shouted.

"Mike," Phyllis said. "Look over here."

"What?" Mike asked, walking over, with Sparky.

"Look at this. Blackened grass. How do you explain that?"

"Well . . . . Sparky, did you eat your dinner too fast again?"

Sparky whimpered, and nodded. Mike groaned.

"Hiccups," he explained to Phyllis. "See, when he gets the hiccups, he can't control his flames. I'd better put him down before he hiccups again."

Mike set the baby dragon onto the ground. As if that were a cue, he hiccupped, and a flame shot out of the mouth, slamming right into a tree that was in the backyard. It charred the trunk, and was about to fall. Mike snapped his fingers, and caused the tree to fall the other way.

"What do you have to say to that, Mike?" Phyllis asked.

"Uhhh," Mike said, looking at the tree. "Timber?"

Phyllis rolled her eyes and walked away. Mike laughed sheepishly, and turned towards Sparky.

"I told you not to eat so fast," he said. "Come on. Let's go to the studio."

Mike picked up Sparky and started carrying him to the studio, making sure that his head wasn't turned towards Mike. If the dragon hiccupped again, while facing Mike, they'd end up with Texas Barbequed Monkee. At any rate, Sparky began hiccupping all the way to the studio, but the damage wasn't too bad. He fried a lamppost, charred a window, enflamed a grade school student's math book (much to the kid's delight), and ignited a man's toupee (don't worry, he wasn't wearing it at the time).

"What am I gonna do with you?" he asked. Sparky just grunted. Mike laughed. "Yeah, you're right. I guess I'll just have to take you as is. Flames and all."

With that, Mike scratched the baby dragon's belly, which caused Sparky to laugh, which made him seem extra cute. Of course, Sparky gave a small hiccup, and a tiny flame shot out, burning Mike in the hand.

"Ouch!" he shouted, dropping his dragon.

"Hey, Mike, you okay?" Micky asked as he and Reggie walked over.

"Yeah, fine," Mike said, inspecting his hand. "Sparky just has the hiccups, that's all. When he hiccups, he breathes fire. Got me right in the hand."

"Let's see," Reggie said, looking at Mike's hand. "It doesn't look too bad. I'd say only a first degree burn."

"Yeah," Mike said. "I'm gonna go wash this off. Micky, do not pick him up when he's got the hiccups. It could be dangerous."

"Right, Mike," Micky said.

Mike and Reggie went to find the nearest sink to wash off Mike's wound. Micky walked over to the breakfast table, and grabbed a box of doughnut holes. He opened the box, and began throwing them to Sparky one at a time. Of course, after Sparky ate one, he hiccupped, and a flame shot out. Luckily, Sparky aimed them where they wouldn't hurt anything.

"Hi, Micky," Jerry said, walking over. "What's up?"

"Oh, Mike brought Sparky in again," Micky said. "He's got the hiccups."

"That's a drag," Jerry said. He bent down and picked the dragon up off the ground.

"Mike said not to do something when he has the hiccups," Micky replied. "But I forgot what it was."

"Probably not to give him water," Jerry replied. "You know Mike. He's gotta have his dragon breathe fire. It's what makes a dragon."

"That's probably it," Micky said, feeding Sparky another doughnut hole.

Of course, right then and there, Sparky hiccupped. His flame hit Jerry right in the side of the face.

"AAAAAUUUGGGHHH!" Jerry shrieked, promptly dropping the dragon to the ground.

"Wha?" Micky asked. "Jerry, are you all right?"

Jerry just screamed in sheer agony. Mike and Reggie ran over, wondering what in the world was going on.

"What's wrong? What happened?" Mike asked.

"Sparky hiccupped," Micky said. "Right in Jerry's face."

"What?!" Mike yelled, running over to Jerry.

The Geator was hunched over, staggering around, moaning and groaning. He had his hand over the side of his face. Mike stood him up straight and removed his hand. He nearly fainted when he saw Jerry's wound.

"Oh my god," he said. "Oh my god!"

"Jerry!" Reggie yelled. "Oh wow, you've got a third degree burn right on your face!"

"Bleah!" Micky shouted.

"Bleah" wasn't the word to describe Jerry's face. It was a sickening sight. Parts of the skin on his face were charred and blackened, and there was a lot of red. Jerry felt a little sick himself, and he hadn't even seen his face yet! The injury was right above and below his eye (amazingly, his eye didn't get burned). It also extended down his cheek. Reggie ran to the phone and called the paramedics. Mike was trying to keep Jerry calm, which wasn't easy. He was pretty much a basket case. Micky didn't help matters by panicking himself. After awhile, Dan and T.J. arrived, wondering about the call.

"What happened?" T.J. asked. "Bob cooking flambé again?"

"No," Reggie said. "Mike brought his pet dragon into work, and he had the hiccups. He hiccupped right into Jerry's face."

"He was holding it," Micky said.

"Micky!" Mike shouted. "I told you not to let anyone pick him up if he's got the hiccups! Somethin' like this could happen!"

"I forgot?" Micky said, meekly.

Mike groaned, and wanted to throttle Micky. But he didn't. He was too worried about Jerry. Sparky was hiding behind Micky's leg. Jerry's loud, painful scream had scared the hiccups right out of him. Johnny and Roy called Rampart on their biophone, and explained the situation. An ambulance was dispatched, and arrived at Screen Gems within minutes.

"So what's gonna happen?" Mike asked.

"Well, the doctors are gonna have to do skin grafts to repair the damage," Dan explained.

"Skin grafts?" Mike asked. "What is that?"

"That's when doctors surgically remove skin from another part of the body and patch up third degree burns. Of course, Jerry's face may have some scarring after this is over."

"Oh man."

"I wouldn't worry, Mike. He should be okay."

"Ooohhhh, Dr. Brackett's gonna give it to me this time."

Mike took Sparky and went to Rampart General Hospital, to get the low down of the situation. Carole saw him walk in with Sparky, and glared at both of them.

"Good going, Mike," she said.

"I told Micky to tell Jerry not to pick him up," Mike said.

"You're still responsible."

"Why?"

"He's your dragon!"

Mike groaned, and stormed towards the waiting room. Lynn walked past there, wearing her scrubs, cap, and mask. She did a double take when she saw Mike.

"That's the biggest horny toad I've ever seen," she said.

"It's a baby dragon," Mike said.

"Oh. He's cute. But Mike, I have to tell you, this is a non smoking area."

"Very funny. How's Jerry?"

"All right, considering. It's the weirdest third degree burn I've tangled with. Interestingly enough, his eye made it through without a scratch. His eyelid, however . . . . ."

"That bad?"

"Well, he'll live. I just hope he can deal with some scarring."

"I see. I told Micky not to let anyone pick up Sparky, and look what happened."

"You shouldn't have let Micky do the telling."

"Yeah I know."

Mike decided to lay low for awhile. He had a feeling that Jerry would want to scream at him for this. So he went home. But that turned out not to be a very good idea, either. Warren and Phyllis were waiting for him, and they looked ready to kill him.

"We just got a call from Carole," Warren said, trying to remain calm. "She told us Johnny and Roy had to bring Jerry in to treat a third degree burn to the face."

"Oh?" Mike asked, pretending he didn't know a thing about it.

"Jerry said he was holdin' your dragon and he hiccupped. The flame shot out of Sparky's mouth, and hit Jerry right in the side of the face."

"Uhhh . . . . ." Mike stammered.

"You don't need to explain, Mike," Phyllis said. "I just want to know if you knew something like this would happen."

"I can honestly say yes," Mike said. "I told Micky to tell the others not to pick Sparky up while he had the hiccups, but he forgot. That's just Micky for you."

"We got a call from Linda," Phyllis said. "Her mother isn't too happy with you."

"I'll tell Captain Stanley I'll pay Jerry's hospital bill," Mike said. "And his therapy bills. I'll take full responsibility for this."

"Good," Warren said. "I'm glad to hear it Mike, because that dragon has got to go!"

"But Pop!" Mike shouted. "He's just a baby dragon!"

"I agree with Warren, Mike," Phyllis said. "Sparky's just too dangerous a pet to have around. He may be a baby now, but no telling how big he's going to get when he grows up. And if his flames are this bad now, imagine what they'll be like when he grows up."

Mike hadn't thought about that. He didn't want to put his family or friends into any danger, but he didn't want to give up his new pet, either. He just looked at his father and his wife, giving them a pretty pathetic look, hoping to play on their sympathy. No such luck. Warren and Phyllis just glared, and turned away.

"I'm sorry, Mike," Warren said. "He's just gonna have to go."

Mike sighed, and took Sparky out to the backyard, and set him down. He sat down himself and sighed.

"Well, Sparky, what are we gonna do?" he asked. "I can't send you back to where I found you. You're just a baby dragon, after all. And you may know how to breathe fire, and such, but what if you run into somethin' you can't handle?"

Sparky whimpered, and started nuzzling against Mike's leg. Mike scratched him behind the horns and sighed again.

"Looks like there's only one thing to do," he said. "Dad, Carole, and Phyllis don't want you around, so I'm gonna have to take you back to the forest. But I'll go with you. No way I'm leavin' you alone."

Sparky jumped into Mike's arms, and licked his face. Mike laughed. The next morning, he took Sparky and started out the front door.

"Where are you going, Mike?" Carole asked.

"I'm takin' Sparky back to the woods," Mike said. "It'll make everybody happy."

"I'm glad you see it our way, Mike," Phyllis said. "I know how much you like that overgrown lizard."

"I know," Mike said. "I may be late comin' home."

"Doin' somethin' with the guys?" Warren asked.

"No," Mike said. "Let's just say I'm goin' on a small campin' trip."

Warren nodded. Then Mike walked out the front door, carrying his dragon with him. He stopped by Screen Gems to check on things. Jerry and Reggie were sitting around, playing a game of checkers. It wasn't easy for the Geator, considering the left side of his face was bandaged. When he saw Mike, he jumped to his feet and started backing away.

"Keep that thing away from me!" he shouted.

"Come on, Jerry," Mike said, putting Sparky down. "He didn't mean it."

"Yeah, you know it was just an accident," Reggie said.

"Some accident!" Jerry shouted. "I can barely see thanks to that overgrown lizard!"

"Come on, Jerry," Mike said. "I'm sorry, all right? Sparky didn't mean it, did you, Sparky?"

Sparky growled a little and nodded. Jerry just shook his head, and walked away.

"Forget it, Mike," he said. "I forgive you for what happened, but I sure don't forgive that walking cigarette lighter!"

Mike sighed, picked up Sparky, and walked away. There wasn't much else he could do, except go out to the forest and set Sparky free. He was only going to stay with the baby dragon until he felt at home. Mike drove to the forest area where he first met Sparky (it was on one of Mike's stranger adventures). He climbed out of the car, and Sparky flew.

"Okay, Sparky, ol' buddy," he said. "Let's see if we can find some more dragons."

Sparky flew up, and perched himself on Mike's shoulder. Mike took him off his shoulder, laughed, and carried him along.

"If there were some way I could get you to stop breathin' fire," Mike said. "Water would only work temporarily. The flames would come back. Then maybe Dad, Carole, and Phyllis wouldn't be so uptight about lettin' me keep you."

Sparky then flew out of Mike's arms, and stopped all of a sudden. He grabbed Mike's pant leg and began pulling.

"What's the matter, Sparky?" he asked, with a laugh. "Don't tell me there are still Shadow Daemons lurkin' around this forest!"

Mike shook the baby dragon off his leg, and continued walking. He wasn't paying any attention to where he was going, though. He was looking for more dragons. But he should have been watching where he was going. Sparky knew what Mike was about to run into. The Texan Monkee took one step, and then fell into a deep hole in the middle of the path, and crash landed at the bottom of it.

"Ow!" he shouted. "There really should be a sign around here."

Sparky flew over the hole, and looked down. He began grunting and snorting.

"Yeah, I'm okay, Sparky," he said. "And there's no need to say 'I told you so'."

Sparky began grunting and snorting again.

"Yeah," Mike said. "Yeah, I think I can get out. No problem at all. I think I . . . . . ack!"

The minute Mike stood up, he went back down again, feeling a painful sensation in his ankle. He tried to get up again, but it was no use.

"No good, Sparky," he said. "I think I sprained my ankle! You'd better go get somebody to call the paramedics! My battery's just about dead, so I can't use my magic to get out of his hole, either."

Sparky snorted, and flapped his wings. He flew into the air, and made his way back to the city. The first thing he ran into (literally) was Squad 51's windshield. WHACK!

"Ew," T.J. groaned.

"I've picked up bugs on the windshield before, but this one's for the books!" Dan said, as he stopped the squad. He and T.J. climbed out and peeled the little dragon off the windshield.

"Hey isn't this Mike's dragon?" he asked.

"Oh yeah," T.J. said. "I wonder where Mike is?"

Sparky grabbed T.J.'s pant leg, and tried pulling him towards the forest. But since neither he nor Dan understood dragon talk, they laughed, and went back to the squad.

"Cute little fella," T.J. said. "Sorry, little guy. We can't play now. We've got a lot of work to do."

The squad pulled out. Sparky was crushed. Then he flew to the Screen Gems studio. His first encounter was with Bob, who screamed and jumped a mile.

"Listen, buddy," he said. "Dragons tend to make me a little nervous, so the further you stay from me, the better! Deal?"

Sparky tried to get Bob to follow him, but the producer just climbed onto his desk, much like women did whenever they saw a mouse crawling around. Jerry and Reggie heard Bob going nuts so they decided to check it out.

"Oh Mike's dragon," Reggie said.

"Let me outta here," Jerry replied, and turned in the opposite direction.

Sparky flew over to Jerry and began pulling on his pant leg.

"What's the matter with you?" the Geator asked. "You want to burn the other side of my face off?!"

"Jerry, he didn't burn your face off!" Reggie shouted. "If he did, your eye would be missing, and it isn't! Although I don't understand how in the world that happened. In any case if Sparky's here, Mike's gotta be around somewhere, right?"

Sparky grunted, and shook his head vigorously. Jerry noticed this and looked at the baby dragon.

"No?" he asked. "He isn't here?"

Sparky shook his head again. Jerry bent down to the dragon's level, trying to get the whole story.

"Then where is he?" he asked.

Sparky began jumping up and down, whimpering, and grunting. Jerry watched him intently.

"Is he in trouble?" he asked.

Sparky nodded vigorously. Reggie and Bob looked at each other.

"Where is he?" Jerry asked.

Sparky pulled on Jerry's pant leg, and motioned for the door.

"Reg, get your bike," Jerry said. "Bob, give me your phone. I might need it."

Bob shrugged, and gave Jerry his cell phone. Then Jerry picked up Sparky and ran with Reggie out to the parking area to retrieve Reggie's Harley Davidson. They climbed on, and took off, with Sparky leading the way. They stopped outside the forest area, and spotted Mike's car.

"Well, here's Mike's car," Jerry said. "But where's Mike?"

Sparky flew into the woods. Jerry and Reggie climbed off the motorcycle and followed the baby dragon. Sparky stopped right by the hole. Reggie and Jerry ran over to it, and looked down.

"Whoa, Mike!" Jerry shouted. "Hey, Mike, are you okay?"

"What happened?" Reggie asked.

"I was lookin' for some other dragons and I fell," Mike said. "I can't climb out. I think I sprained my ankle, and my magic's not workin'."

"Okay, hang on," Jerry said, pulling out Bob's cell phone. "I'll call the paramedics. Reggie, you go out by the bike, and Mike's car, and lead them back here."

"Check!" Reggie shouted, and he ran off.

Jerry punched the buttons on the phone, and explained to Captain Stanley what had happened. A few moments later, the medics arrived, with a ladder.

"How did this happen, Mike?" T.J. asked, as he helped Mike out of the hole.

"Dad and Phyllis made me take Sparky back here," Mike explained. "I was watchin' for dragons rather than where I was goin', and boom."

"I think that's what Sparky was trying to do when he ran into us," Dan said.

"When he came to the studio without Mike, that's when I knew something was up," Jerry said.

"Good thing you had your dragon with you, Mike," Reggie said. "We never would have known about this if he hadn't been here."

"Tell that to Carole," Mike said.

Within moments, an ambulance came, and took Mike to Rampart General. Lynn was examining his ankle, and wrapping it up.

"You and Jerry are some pair, you know that?" she asked. "If it isn't one of you, it's the other."

Before Mike could say anything, Warren, Phyllis, and Carole burst into the room.

"Jerry called and told us what happened," Phyllis said. "Are you all right?"

"Oh yeah, I'm fine," Mike said, scratching Sparky behind the horns. "I was watchin' for dragons instead of watchin' where I was goin'. But good ol' Sparky went and got Jerry and everythin' worked out fine."

"Yeah," Jerry said. "If Sparky hadn't been with him, nobody would have known Mike was down there."

"That may be so," Carole said. "But I still say something has to be done about that dragon."

"Oh no," Mike said. "After all this, I still have to give him up."

"Mike, this is a fire breathing dragon," Phyllis said. "And something has to be done about him."

"Right," Carole said, and she took Sparky from Mike. "Now, I have the perfect thing in mind. I'm going to grill the biggest, thickest, juiciest steak you can imagine for this wonderful little dragon!"

Jerry, Mike, and Lynn stared at Carole as if she were crazy.

"Did I hear right?" Mike asked. "Did you just call him a wonderful little dragon?"

"I sure did," Carole said. "I don't think you would have survived out in that hole without your magic, or a way to climb out if it weren't for Sparky."

"I think we were a little harsh anyway, Mike," Warren said. "After all, Sparky can't help bein' a fire breathin' dragon."

"Yeah, what happened to my face was just an accident after all," Jerry said. "I shouldn't have picked him up when he had the hiccups."

"Thanks guys," Mike said. "And I promise, I'll find a way to extinguish his fire breath somehow."

"You'll do no such thing, Mike!" Phyllis shouted. "We all love Sparky for what he is. A fire breathing dragon. He just has to stay outside when he has the hiccups."

Everyone laughed over that one. Sparky flew straight to Phyllis started licking her cheek, as if he were a dog. Phyllis laughed.

"Hey stop it!" she shouted. "He must think he's a dog."

"Nah," Mike said, as Sparky flew over to his lap. "Dragons are just like big puppies, that's all."

With that, Sparky started barking like a puppy dog, which caused everyone to laugh. Mike began rubbing the baby dragon's belly. Sparky sighed contently. He knew he found a lifelong friend, and a lifelong home.

 

The End