Grain to Ground

He hadn’t been around when the dragons cracked open the earth and crawled out of the flaming depths but he’d heard people talking and he knew what end was up. “Life was better without the dragons,” he growled into his beer mug.

“Shut up about the dragons, Darrell,” the bar hollered at him, “jesus god.”

“Oh, I know, no one wants to hear it, but I know. Think about all we’ve lost. The communications arrays, the heavy industry, the theme parks, the history, the culture…”

“They make good beer,” said the bartender, who’d married a bartender like his fathers before him; his hands were adapted to the gentle curve of a beer tap in the womb.

“Oh, sure, good beer, so you say.” Darrell drained the last of his mug. “But was it worth it?”

Habib in the back of the bar wadded up his napkin and pegged him in the back of the head. “You and your damn dragons,” he said. “Why don’t you give it a rest? Why don’t you ever give it a rest?”

Darrell sulked and drew dragons on the countertop.