I asked in the Storm Cellar Dweller group on Facebook (if you aren’t there, why not?) and the responses for what I should cover this week was pretty one-sided.
So with that in mind, I’d like to tell you the secret of the San Diego Zoo.
Some of you may be familiar with the life hack of dressing like zoo staff so the animals are more likely to show up for you. (Or you may one of those people that thought you could charge your iPhone in the microwave, no judgments here.) Naturally, on the day of my visit to the zoo, I was wearing similar clothing to the zoo staff. I looked like a dork, but I was at least going to get a good picture or two, even if I had to toss a kid to a gorilla.
Despite the size of the compound (facility? Grounds? I don’t know what to call the zoo land area) I grew bored rather quickly and felt like exploring behind the scenes of the attractions. (High five a polar bear or something, what? I was 19.)
Another famous “life hack” is that if you act like you belong somewhere, you can go almost anywhere. And that, dear reader, is how I found myself wandering through the cave system under the San Diego Zoo.
Lucky for me, the signs and directions under the zoo were more helpful than the ones above. Within a half hour or so, I ended up in a large lair. Now I know if I mention a dragon lair, everyone assumes that there’s a big pile of gold coins with a dragon on top and scattered around the room are charred remains.
This dragon didn’t get the memo. Everything was lined up in a very methodical way. Cars were arranged along one side, arranged by color and size. There was gold of course, but it was in bar form in very neat stacks. In the middle of it all, was a large perch. No, I don’t mean the fish, I mean the little “T” thingy that birds sit on.
Only birds weren’t on this one. No. There were two, sleeping, their large-scaled paws gripping the perch as they sat like Chinese guard lions. It’s really the best comparison I had for them. Despite the drawings all showing scaled menaces, a large mane of fur-like feathers circled around their heads. The light hitting the iridescent feathers shattered into dozens of little rainbows.
“Breathtaking, aren’t they?” Came a voice from beside me.
Let pretend for a moment that I didn’t practically jump out of my skin or that I didn't spend the next three minutes trying to catch my breath.
The woman, if I could call her that, was regal in stature, and beautiful in an otherworldly fashion. Her eyes were the color of ruby and her skin was a coppery tone, like the people you see that tan too much, only she didn’t look like a bad couch.
“Before you ask,” she said holding up a wickedly taloned finger. “They are in fact, dragons. Some of their feathers will fall out between now and adulthood and yes, they are my children. They have not matured and so are unable to take this shape and yes the only reason I’m bothering to tell you all of this is because you won’t leave this chamber alive.”
While I was not happy about the impending death, I must admit I was slightly excited that my tombstone might read “Eaten by Dragons.” (Once again, I was 19.)
“Before you kill me, one question,” I stated, careful not to make it seem like I was asking a question. I waved my arms at the whole of the perched dragons. “Does this mean dragons produce guano? Just curious.”
Her red eyes narrowed as she stared at me. Then, she threw her head back and roared with laughter.
It just goes to show that if you can make something laugh, it’s liable not to immediately kill you. Turns out, yes, dragons do make guano and no, you don’t want to see what happens if a car is hit with that. I would attempt to write the lovely matriarch’s name, but sadly, normal keyboards don’t have all the keys needed to spell dragon language. (And misspelling it could get me killed.)
She was one of my first supernatural friends, so I visited often and yes, the zoo animals often wound up on a dragon’s dinner table. I’ll have to tell you more another time, I feel I’ve already rambled enough for this week.
P.S. Before you ask, koala is a bit chewy and is like a cross between turkey and pork.
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