Fantasy Humor Satire Science Fiction urban fantasy flash fiction Dragons

Siegfried 2.0

By Nathan Susnik
Dec 3, 2019 · 706 words · 3 minutes

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Art by Nathan Susnik.  

From the author: You slay a dragon like you catch a bird. But you’ll need oodles more smarts and stamina to slay a dragon.


Most knights google “dragon”, read a couple articles, think they’re experts, and then go out and try to act like dragons.

Most knights die.

You. Are. Not. A. Dragon.

You don’t slay dragons by acting like a dragon. You cannot fly; you cannot breathe fire.

Do I need to repeat that?

You are a human.

So slay the dragon with innovation and disruptive thinking. Slay the dragon with compassion.

Don’t forget compassion. 

No, not for the dragon. If you show a dragon compassion, it will bite your head off. It’s not a Shetland sheepdog. You show compassion for your teammates.

Yes, you need teammates.

¨¨

We all know the story, right? 

Once upon a time, man pulls sword from stone, rides out on trusty horse, runs into obstacles, pulls self over said obstacles by own boot straps, slays dragon, wins Time Magazine, ‘Dragonslayer of the Year’.

But this is real life, so it goes like this:

Once upon a time, woman has idea, assembles team, starts company, NewLance™. 

NewLance™ fails, dragon slays half of team including the blacksmith. How that happened, woman does not know. The blacksmith was not even supposed to be there.

Woman gets depressed, doubts self. Rick threatens to quit. Woman pulls it together, enlists new, more innovative blacksmith. New, more innovative blacksmith convinces Rick to stay and invest more money. Woman rebrands NewLance™ as SwordTech™. Woman incorporates SwordTech™ to protect personal gold hoard from future failure, puts together new team, and uses new tactics.

¨¨

Do you know how to catch a bird with your bare hand? 

To catch a bird with your bare hands, you need smarts — and stamina — but mostly smarts. You get the bird in a confined area. You put your hands in the air. You run around like a goon. The bird flies into the air. 

You keep it there at all cost. 

Flying takes a tremendous amount of energy. After a while the bird tires and lands. It will roost, completely docile, and remain so until you climb up, pluck it off its perch, and...

Now, fire breathing takes more energy than flying, oodles more.

So you slay a dragon like you catch a bird. 

But you’ll also need oodles more smarts and oodles more stamina to slay a dragon.

¨¨

Train your team hard, and follow the rules.

Rules for slaying dragons:

  1. Dragons do not breathe fire at prey. Fire chars flesh; fire chars calories. Dragons need calories, so they do not breath fire at their prey. Fire breathing is only used for territorial display, sexual selection in mates, and defense. 
  2. If you want a dragon to breath fire, scare the crap out of it. The best way to do this is with pyrotechnics. They cost pennies on the dollar to any other method available.
  3. Get dragon in confine area and know its range.
  4. Make oodles of noise.
  5. Dragon fire is on average 1576 C. That’s enough to melt iron. Do not get burned. 
  6. The dragon won't fly away. Its wings are vestigial. A 3000 kg animal cannot fly without the help of a jet engine.
  7. Dragons are slow. They hunt through by waiting, like a snake. Agility is your advantage. Have your team run until the dragon tires. Constantly change directions, dodge, shift, zig-zag in and out. 
  8. Never, ever show the dragon compassion. Rick showed compassion, and this is what happened:

    Rick: Crap, my arm's off.

    Me: I'm not a doctor, Rick. See a doctor.

    Rick: No health insurance.

    Me: Why not?

    Rick: I invested all of my money SwordTech™. 

    Me: Eggs? Basket? Christ, Rick, didn’t you learn anything during your MBA?

    Rick - keels over.

  9. If you lose an arm, don't dwell on it. Your investment in SwordTech™ will pay enough to found a cutting-edge prosthetics company.
  10. When the dragon is tired, it will look pitiful. Walk up and slide your SwordTech™ technology into it. Do not show it compassion. Slaying a dragon is the only way to truly defeat the beast.

Eat its heart; understand the twitter of the birds. Take the ring; understand the corporate beasts. Forge alliances; manage exceptions. 

Become Time Magazine, ‘Dragonslayer of the Year’.

This story originally appeared in Grievous Angel.


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Nathan Susnik

Nathan writes funny and sad tales that often swim the estuaries of genre and literary fiction