October 11, 2016


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc.) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

F Trope: Comic Fantasy – “…literature that is parodic, lighthearted, wacky, snarky, or just plain buffoonish.”


Dural Jungkarara stopped on a ridge, and shading his eyes from the early-morning sun’s glare, looked down into the valley. He said, “This is it. The oldest gum trees in the world. I can’t miss.” He started down the trail. Bushwalking for days in the forest, talking to other walkers he’d meet and surreptitiously on the lookout for the Tarkine’s oldest sites, it had taken him three years and working some of the worst jobs he’d imagined to get here.

A reddish mountain dragon – (He’d once commented, “You sure don’t look like any dragon I’ve ever imagined”) – Oolah Wadjari, clung to a thick, quilted pad on his shoulder. She said, “To get an idea of exactly how much we can miss, may I remind you of The Great Canberra Disaster?”

He just grunted and headed down the trail. Twenty minutes later, he said, “The only thing that can activate my powers is ‘a tea from the leaves of prehistoric trees’.”

“So says an elderly woman who couldn’t even speak English,” said Oolah.

“Hey! That’s my nanna you’re talking about!”

Oolah replied, “No insult intended, Boy. I was her familiar for sixty years before I came into your service!”

“Yeah, but I never heard you talk to her like you…”

“Oh, I did, Boy! I did! Ask her about the time she and I crossed the Great Desert when she was fourteen! Two years younger than you and she had wild visions of changing the world...”
Dural turned abruptly and dropped to his backside, sliding down the embankment between the switchback trails.

“Hey! You’re not supposed to do that, Boy! It’s lurk! You could get a fine!”

“Maybe they’ll confiscate my pet,” he said, stopping only two trails downhill.

“I’m not your pet – we’re partners.”

“Partners in what?”

The lizard snorted and a puff of smoke popped from each nostril. “How easily your forget.”

“I didn’t forget.”

“Then why not say it?”

“Bonza, then, gecko. Who killed nanna and how? That’s what I’m here for.”

“What about me?”

“I don’t know why you’re here. Maybe to see the country? You sure haven’t been much help to me so far.”

“What about...,” the lizard began.

“Not that again! More to the point, what about Canberra? I certainly didn’t make that big of a mess all by myself! If you’d kept your fire-breathing abilities a little more carefully under wraps...”

“My abilities! What about you? What made you think you could use an invisibility spell like it was…like it was…”

“Like it was a magnification incantation?” The dragon blushed orange in embarrassment as a silence fell over the Tarkine wood as the boy and his dragon continued down the side of the hill. Oolah gripped the shoulder pad tighter and Dural rubbed first one eye, then the other. “I’m not crying,” he said when the lizard stirred on his shoulder. “I just need to figure out what will make the powers she told me I had manifest in a way I can use to find her.”

“And when you do find her? What then? What if she disappeared because she wanted to? What if she left this world because it was her time to leave – her choice to leave?”

“Did she tell you she was ready?” Dural shot at the lizard. He knew the answer. They’d discussed it months ago. They’d discussed it in the juvenile detention center in Hervey Bay, just before they broke out of there. They’d discussed it endlessly since leaving Kununarra in Western Australia and hitching and walking and working south until they finally reached the largest piece of Gondwanan Rainforest on the planet. “The answer?” Dural snarled.

Oolah sighed a puff of smoke and finally said, “The answer is that she was not ready. Nowhere near ready.”

“Then that’s why we’re here. We need to find her and help her. Save her life like she saved mine.”

Names: ♀ Australian Aboriginal (= red lizard), Tribe name (Western Australia) ; Australian Aboriginal (= hollow tree that is on fire), Tribe name (Queensland)

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