Dragon Man

June 24, 2009
By Kathryn Ball BRONZE, Sodus, New York
Kathryn Ball BRONZE, Sodus, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Lena sloshed sloppily from one table to the next at the bar. She had been drinking heavily as a result of last nights events.

It had begun with her father’s mid-life crisis. He had realized the only thing worth while he had given to the world had been her, his only daughter, and he began giving thousands of dollars to charity. Eventually her mother had told him if he continued at the rate he was donating he would be broke before he reached sixty five. With her effectively cutting off his first means of giving back to the world he turned to Lena. She had been a bit surprised as her parents set her up with a wealthy little whippet of a boy. He was far to skinny for her, and she was afraid she’d break him if she held him.

Next they had set her up with a large man, fat as a whale and almost as bald. She had walked in, seen him and walked right back out. The third man, a Ronald Waltrue they had set her up with was quite attractive and very well known and liked, a sort of real world Bruce Wayne if you will, without the batman by night. And as she had walked in though she had sat down and begun talking to him, quite enjoying herself, except every time he ate a bit of meat he would shove a piece the size of his fist in his mouth and continue to chew it with his mouth open, rolling his tongue grotesquely through it so that the little bits would roll out and down his face. Eventually she had walked out in him as well, afraid she’d barf if she saw anymore.

A forth man had been promised to her as soon as she had gotten home, a message on her answering machine had said as much. That is what had driven her out on this night, a few desperate calls to her friends had been made but she was still alone… and utterly wasted.

She didn’t really remember the events of the night, she remembered a man with black hair picking her up and turning her over as she barfed her guts out… she remembered riding in a car, getting sick at the flashing lights… she remembered sighing something, she wasn’t sure what… All the while her eyes rolled groggily and her body swung limply from the arms of another.

She woke up to find it late in the afternoon and a hangover was beating at her temples. She grimaced and rolled over to find she was not in her bed, and there was a man there next to her. She screamed and woke him up, to see that he was really most unattractive, fat and lardy, with great sausages for hands and fingers.

“Oh god, did I sleep with you?” She moaned clutching the blanket to her, to find she was still in her own cloths.

“No,” He chuckled, his voice at least was pleasing enough, deep baritone. “But I’m afraid you married me.” He laughed.

“What?!” She screamed and in the corner of her eye she did in fact catch the gleam of a small tarnished looking gold band on her finger. “I have to go! We-We’ll get a divorce in the morning.”

“I wouldn’t do that now little heiress, I’m sure your parents would be most upset at you loosing half their fortune.” He said blandly.

“Well the wedding, it must not have been legal!”

“We were in Vegas, you know it wasn’t far from your club, we went through a drive through and were married as such.” Again Lena moaned and held her head in her hands, the ugly little band hurting her face.

“Is there nothing I can do to change your mind?” She asked.

“On the contrary, I quite want a divorce, the money is most tempting, but I’m afraid it’s against my morals to do so without a reason.” Lena groaned again and put her head in her hands.

“God…. What have I gotten myself into?” She moaned.

“A relationship.” The man said with a grin. She moaned louder.

“Now as it is I won’t touch you little heiress, but I will need you to get a job. I’m afraid I can’t pay for your food by myself.” He said with a pudgy little grin.

“A job?” She asked, her head shot up from her hands and she looked at him with sheer disbelief. “What do you mean?”

“Well, normally a job requires you working hard and only getting minimum wage.” He chuckled.

“What kind of job?” She asked horrified.

“I think somewhere in your college days you might have actually gotten the right credits to be a secretary. Or at least, that’s what the news said.”

“I’ve never worked before!” She whined.

“Well, I suggest you start, because if you can’t make ends meat, we’ll have to get that divorce. I’m sure that would amuse your parents, loosing half their fortune.” He grinned a bit.

“T-This is extortion!” She yelped scrambling for something, anything to keep her from having to comply with what the man said.

“This is actually marriage, but you have the right concept.” He grinned getting out of bed and starting to change. “I think there’s an opening at the company I work for. For secretary I mean.” He said lightly as she cringed away from him.

“I-I need to call my parents.” She muttered, holding her hand out to make a shield so she didn’t have to look at him.

“Ooh, that’ll be a fun story, can I listen on the other line. ‘Hey daddy, I got married… no… no… I don’t know some bum, look daddy can you get me out of this? He wants half the fortune. Click.’ Something like that?” He asked shoving a rather cheep looking black dress at her. She groaned and took it, looking at him skeptically.

“Honestly… Do I look like I would fit? It’s has x’s.” He grumbled as she crawled out of bed, holding the dress up to her. It was too big, but not by as much as she would have thought. She looked up to ask him where the bathroom was just as he closed the door. With a quick scan around the room she hastily changed into it and put on her shoes before following him out.

“I’m going to need to go get some of my clothes.” She said softly, rubbing her arms in an old nervous habit.

“Well, we can stop by after work.” He nodded. “Please don’t grab anything too lewd, you’re married now.” He added as he grabbed the keys from the table and put them in his pocket. “You want eggs here or should we grab something at a drive-thru?” He added looking around the slovenly little living room and kitchen.

It dawned on her then that it wasn’t a house at all but an apartment, much smaller than any she’d ever been in. It must have only had maybe three rooms; a bedroom, a bathroom and the living room/ kitchen. Once more she rubbed her arms nervously and shook her head.

“Just a smoothie or something at a drive-thru,” she said softly, unsure of how to act now that she had settled into her fate. A depressing glimmer of ‘hope’ struck her that maybe with two incomes they could afford to actually buy a house, or a trailer.

She trailed out behind him down the surprisingly nice looking hall to an elevator, much to her surprise. There was a man inside it that took a look at the man and nodded, pressing a button to the ground floor.

“Good morning Mr. Jamison.” He said smartly. “And Ma’am.”

“That’s Mrs. Jamison, Ronald.” He corrected. A sudden blush rose to her face, partly due to the fact she had been called ‘Mrs. Jamison’ but mostly because she still didn’t know the man’s name.

With a ding the elevator reached the ground floor and she trailed after the fat man, out the door and into the parking lot. Looking around she was impressed despite herself.

“Wow, these are absolutely lovely apartment buildings.” She said, and it was true, they looked like miniature mansions with lawns connecting them and a small stream running through the lawn, catching sprinkler water and little toy boats floated down them, children chasing them laughing.

“Mr. Waltrue is good to us.” He agreed. “I can apply to housing and see if there are any bigger apartments open now that you’ll be living with me.” He added as he got into the car, unlocking it. Lena’s head snapped back to the car, quite dull next to the impressive scenery, but still not a bad car she supposed and hurried around to the passenger seat hopping in awkwardly.

“I guess.” She said with still a bit of awe in her voice as he drove out of the complex. She turned her attention back to the road, trying to find out where they were and was surprised that they were still near where she lived. She even recognized the drive-thru they got her smoothie (and his large breakfast burger and hash browns) at. She was even more surprised at the building they pulled up to.

“Wow…” She gasped again, looking at the large office.

“I guess Mr. Waltrue is a bit of a show off.” Ron (she had asked his name between cautious sips of her smoothie) acknowledge walking into it and up to the desk.
“Hey Cindy, I have a girl here who wants to apply for the secretary position to Joe.” He grinned leaning up against the desk. Cindy smiled bashfully and pulled out the papers handing them to him before looking up through her lashes again and back to the computer.

“Cute girl.” He grinned handing Lena the papers. “Job’s on the fifth floor, they’re pretty desperate so you’ll probably get it, but if not I’ll be working up on floor eight. Have someone page me and we’ll figure something out for you.” Lena nodded as they entered the elevator together.

“Morning Ron.” A man in the elevator smiled.

“Morning Jim.” He nodded back to the man. With a quite ‘ding’ the elevator shuttered to a stop at the fifth floor. Lena started to exit but felt a hand on her shoulder, she turned to see Ron smile and kiss her cheek. “Good luck Lena.” He said, with surprising earnestness and pulled his arm back as the elevator closed.

A bit shocked she moved half in a daze over to a man in the first cubical.

“Um… where do I apply?” She asked him.

“Go right to Joe, just nock first.” He said pointing to the door in the back of the floor. She nodded and started to walk away before she hesitated.

“Thank you.” She added, once more surprised, but this time at herself.

“No problem.” He muttered as he went back to work. She looked around nervously as she knocked on the door.

“In!” A deep voice growled. Lena opened the door and sat down.

“Resume?” She shook her head. “Papers?”

“I’m filling them out yet.” She murmured uncertainly, wishing beyond hope for a beer or something that would have loosened her up or made her less nervous. She’d never applied for a job before.

Joe snorted. “Whatever, here’s what I need.” He handed her a list. “Can you managed that?” He asked with a condescending tone. Lena looked it over and nodded.

“Yeah, think so.” She murmured.

“Good, then get to work.” He growled. “Fill out the papers first and then get down to business. If the list isn’t done by the end of the day, you get no pay and no job. Otherwise you’re hired and this is your first day. Go!” He growled. Lena jumped and clutched the paper to her chest, scurrying out the door to find only one desk, the closest, was available.

The work day seemed to fly by as she worked steadily on the list. However at about halfway through the day ended.

“Let me see where-” Joe snatched the papers from Lena and put them back on the desk. “That’ll do.” He grinned.

“Oh! But… I have more to do.” She whined. He laughed and took the papers.

“Get out now.” He growled. Lena jumped again and hurried out to the elevator.
She stood outside it for a moment, uncertain as to what button to press. She was certain it must be the end of the work day, but did she go down to the ground floor to find Ron? Or up to his floor. In the end she didn’t have a choice as the elevator opened in front of her, Ron’s startled face staring back at hers. He held an arm out and gestured her in.

“How did it go?” He asked as the door closed behind her.

“I… Don’t know.” She murmured. “I think I’m hired.” She decided.

Ron laughed. “Sounds like Ron. Trust me, if you weren’t you’d know it.” She nodded and leaned back against the wall of the elevator, mentally fatigued.

“This has been the longest day of my life.” She groaned her head in her hands. Ron nodded a bit and shook his head.

“Do you hate me yet?” He asked, concerned. She looked up at him confused. The door of the elevator opened and closed before she said anything.

“How can I hate you? It’s my fault really. This was bound to happen sometime, or… something worse. At least you’re not awful.” She grimaced. “I really am an awful drunk.”

Ron laughed a bit. “Yes you are,”

“Then why did you marry me? Were you as drunk as me?” She asked.

“No… I…” He stopped. “I was being awful.” He said with a grimace. “Thought I could take advantage of you, you know, make a quick buck.”

Lena grimaced with him. “Well, looks like we’re stuck at an impasse. You need my money and can’t take advantage of me, and I don’t hate you but need my money too…” She laughed a bit. “But only because if I loose it I end up worse off than you.” She opened the door. “We should go home.” She added.

“Yeah.” He muttered.

Days passed quickly and soon a week had gone by, and inexplicably Lena found herself less and less resistant to the idea of being married to the man. In fact, she was almost happy about it. He was sweet and loving, and though not her normal standard of man, he was just about everything she could ask for in a man besides looks.

Lena sighed as she finished her work for the day, setting it neatly aside. The load had been oddly easy and she was worried that maybe Joe was changing his mind and wanted another secretary after all. Still it was the first time she had finished early and she thought she’d pick Ron up for once. She grinned a bit at this telling Joe she was leaving. He grunted, which was just about all she’d ever gotten from him and left with a slight smile, feeling more than a little accomplished as she pressed 8 on the elevator. She waited with a grin on her face though; wondering what he would say.

He always praised her for doing little things well, things that normal people must do on an every day basis like doing the laundry correctly or cleaning the house just because she could. She thought at first he had been patronizing her, but it seemed he was actually very sincere in his praise, as if he understood just how new all of this was for her. The elevator dinged and she followed the, admittedly, much nicer halls down to where Ron had given her directions to.

“Is Ron here?” She asked the secretary with a smile.

“R-Ron? Um, I think you’re early.” She stuttered wide eyed.

“But sir how much longer are you going to go on like this.” A voice said from a door to the left, barely catching Lena’s attention accept for the stress in it, but to her surprise it was Ron’s voice that answered.

“Easy Matt, I’ll tell her soon, but, we both knew this wasn’t how it was suppose to be.”

“This is horribly inconvenient sir.” The other voice grumbled back to Ron as the door opened and a tall man with black curls walked out, ushering…

“You… You son of a b****!” Lena screamed looking not at her Ron, but at Ronald Waltrue.

“Lena?” He asked, looking surprised and admittedly a bit pleased. She hesitated for a moment, staring at him wide eyed, tears welling up in her eyes. She spun around and ran back down the hall. “Lena!” He yelled. She shook her head tears slipping out of her eyes as she slammed into the elevator door, pounding the down button with a sob.

“Lena!” Another yell from Ron, as the door opened and she flung herself in, turning around to pound the close button.

An arm slammed through the slow closing doors making the elevator open back up. Lena took a deep breath. “Get out.” She said softly, a dark edge to her voice, “I don’t want to see you anymore.”

“Lena…” He stepped into the elevator.

He backed out, a hand on his face covering the red mark, his mouth opened in a O as the door closed.

Lena slid to the floor of the elevator. Horrified. Sickened. Pissed. The floors lit up one by one, each one catching another emotion until the ground floor lit up with a ding. She stood up as the doors opened straightening her small brown dress and walking unsteadily out of the elevator.

“Lena? Are you ok?” Cindy asked standing up as Lena passed her. She shook her head but waved her away, her arms wrapped around herself, clutching her own biceps as if trying to hold herself together. Behind her a door slammed open.

She swung around and saw Ron barreling towards her out of breath. A low growl slipped out of her throat before she knew what it was, finding an exit between her snarling lips.

“Oh look, running really does do wonders. What did you loose? Fifty? A hundred pounds?” She snarled at him.

“Ok, I deserved that.” He panted, his hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath.

“That? That? You think that’s all you deserve. If you thought that and a red mark are all you’re getting you’re sorely mistaken.” She growled.


“What? Lena what? What was this? Some sick form of revenge for walking out on you? That’s… insane!” She screamed. Some small part in her head told her that the whole first floor had stopped moving, staring at her and Ron.

“Hey, this wasn’t the plan.” He growled trying to stand up straight now.

“Oh? And what was?” She screamed.

“I was just trying to teach you a lesson, it was you’re parents idea.” He growled.

“My…” She stopped.

“We needed money for a new branch and it was a quick way to get it.” He sighed. “It’s not like I’m proud of it.”

“So you married me?” She screeched. “I was…”

“I was trying to get out of it. I never actually lied.” He tried to condone his actions.

“You…” She stopped taking a small step towards him, and then another. “You…” She slapped the other side of his face. “I swear to god, I’m going to sue your scrawny tuxedo-ed rear from hear to your cheep labor factories in Bangkok!” She growled.

“I guess I deserve that too.” He said not looking up at her, but instead dropping down to his knees. She growled again and jerked his chin up so he would have to look her in the eye… but she stopped dead as his eyes caught hers. Those same gray eyes she had started to love looked so dead in his face, a bit of blood trailed down his left cheek where one of her nails had cut him and a bruise was forming on his right jaw. She dropped down next to him.

“You never lied?” She asked, the menace gone from her voice. His eyes sparked a bit.

“Of course not.”

“And your actions?”

“Well… horrendous.” His face started to gloom back over.

“I meant did you mean everything you said to me.” She growled jerking his chin a bit.

“Yes!” He groaned, wincing. Lena took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“Alright then.” She said softly and looked at him again. Really looked at him. Yes he was her Ron. “And you promise that whatever you did to look like that, you’ll never pull again?” She asked.

“I don’t know why I’d need that body suite…” He drifted off and she patted his cheek looking at him meaningfully. “Right, I promise.” He muttered thoroughly chastised.

“Well if that’s settled.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him deeply, grinning as his eyes lit up after a moment’s shock and he wrapped his arms around her as well. She pulled out for a second.

“What?” He gasped trying to kiss her again. She put a finger on his lips and frowned concerned.

“I think I’m gona be fired for this.” She said with a frown.
Ron threw back his head laughing, pulling her up with him and kissing her firmly before picking her up bridal style. “Well, it makes arranging a honeymoon that much easier.” He grinned.

The author's comments:
The story of King Thrushbeard is an old Grim's Fairytale. I read it one day and smiled thinking that, of all the Grim’s endings, this heroine had most earned her penance and reward. I also thought that it was no longer applicable, and wanted to write a story about how this might happen now.

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