The Dragon's Tooth

by Gary A. Markette ©

Why, Kadasha wondered as she swept dust and old bones out her door, do other dragons insist on living in wet, smelly old caves?

She shrugged at their foolishness. Kadasha had lived in her castle for almost 300 years. Oh, at first she'd had to make some minor changes. She'd knocked down a few walls, ripped out the ceilings between the floors, and enlarged the doors and windows. But the castle was still mostly as she had first seen it: a perfect home for a large, fussy, and rather suggestible dragon.

It sat right in the middle of the best road in the Seven Counties. Travelers used it every day. This might have been a problem for some dragons--mostly the ones who'd live in smelly old caves--but not for Kadasha. She was smart enough to realize that if she bothered the travelers too much, she was heading for trouble. Knights errant would come out on their white chargers with their ludicrous lances and silly swords. She'd probably enjoy some easy meals (white chargers were very tasty when charbroiled), but, sooner or later, a knight would be lucky, or magical, or both. One thing she didn't need was a lance in her gizzard.

Because there were plenty of wild deer, sheep, and other game in the nearby forests, she mostly left the travelers alone. She also let them alone because she was suggestible. Actually, she was a bit more than suggestible: she was gullible. She believed just about anything anyone told her. As a result she had a backyard full of used cars, a closet full of hundreds of magazines, and deeds to several bridges in her front room.

Despite all of this, Kadasha was a good neighbor. Everyone within 50 miles knew that there was a dragon in the castle on the road. They didn't mind. She never ate anyone, was rarely seen in daylight, and kept riffraff out of the neighborhood. On those rare occasions when a bad winter or a flood threatened a famine, townfolky would find fresh-roasted moose, or fricasseed boars, or flame-broiled mountain goats on their front lawns. The townfolky did their part by misleading the occasional would-be hero.

A dragon, they'd say, scratching their heads and chewing on grass stems, Around here? No. Used to be a basilisk or two over Snipe's hill, but we ain't had a dragon in these parts for nigh onto 300 years.

Then, they'd spit a chaw into the nearest cuspidor and offer to buy the visitor a farewell drink. This nearly always worked because would-be heroes--while undeniably brave--were also frequently stupid. On the few occasions that the heroes weren't stupid, the townfolky tried something a bit different.

Well, before you go after the dragon, one townfolky would say, you'd better tie your shoe.

When the hero looked down at his shoelace, another townfolky would bop him on the head. They then placed him in a crate and shipped him as far from the Seven Counties as possible.

Working together like this suited both Kadasha and the townfolky. She could worry less about ending her days as dragon shishkebob. They could worry less about bad weather and hard times. This mutually satisfactory situation worked great until...


"Anybody here know if the dragon's home?" the stranger asked as he stepped into the local store. Several of the townfolky were gathered around the old stove watching as two other townfolky played checkers. They all looked up slowly as the stranger approached.

"Dragon?" a townfolky said. "Don't know about no dragon, mister."

"Sure you do," the stranger smiled, "Big, leathery, ugly thing; terrible breath; lives in that castle on the road. Is she home?"

One of the townfolky got up slowly and moseyed around behind the stranger. He slipped a mallet out of his pocket.

"A dragon," another townfolky said, scratching his head and chewing on a grass stem, "Around here? No. Used to be a basilisk or two over Snipe's hill, but we ain't had a dragon in these parts for nigh on 300 years."

"Sorry you came all this way for nothin', stranger," yet another townfolky said, slipping an arm around the stranger's shoulder. "Let me get you a going away drink; on the house, of course."

"Oh, knock off the Andy of Mayberry stuff," the stranger said. "I know there's a dragon here and so do you. I'm just asking if you know whether she's home."

"Know there's a dragon here, do you?" the first townfolky drawled. "Well then you oughta know enough to tie your shoes." He pointed at the stranger's shoes.

"You can put away your mallet, pal," the stranger said without turning around. "I'm not falling for that one either. Look, fellas, I just want to know if the dragon's home. You can tell me. Do I look like some kind of knight to you?"

The townfolky looked at the stranger. He certainly resembled no knight they had ever seen. Clad in a paisley sport coat and navy-blue slacks, he also wore a flower-print shirt and plaid tie.

"Should we tell him, Mayor Lukey?" one townfolky said to another. "He sure ain't gonna sneak up on anyone in that outfit."

"All right, mister," Lukey said. "The dragon's home. Now what do you want with her? Try doing anything to hurt her and we'll tie you to an ant hill with a lollipop in your mouth."

"Hurt her? Hurt her? Hah!" the stranger laughed, "I'm not here to hurt her. I'm here to make her famous."

He pulled a stack of small cards from his pocket and handed one to each townfolky. Gold-embossed letters on a sky-blue field proclaimed the following:

Daydream Believers Talent Agency

"We'll make your dreams come true."

--Pastafashool, Chief Talent Scout

"I'll cut right to the chase," Pastafashool said, "One of my clients is a big recording company that specializes in producing albums by fantasy characters. These are the same guys that gave you songs by candelabras, teapots, crustaceans, and mermaids. Well, one day I'm sitting in my office when an idea hit me. Maybe the public is tired of all the cutesy-pooh. Maybe there's a real market out there for some 'bad guy music.' So I put together a plan and ran it by the bosses at the recording company. They told me I was nuts, but I figured, why not give it a try? If it works, it might even start a whole new style of music. I'll call it: 'Monsta Rap.'"

"I started to look for a bad guy I could record. That's when I found out why this hadn't been done before. The trolls tried to eat me, the imps stabbed me with pitchforks, the banshees screamed at me, and the vampires... I don't want to talk about it.

"Anyway, you get the picture: I just couldn't approach any of these--sort-of-- people. They were too busy being bad to listen to my proposition. Then, about two weeks ago, I heard about your dragon. She's perfect. She's big; she's ugly; she looks mean and nasty. She'll be great as Monsta Rap's first recording artist!"

"But the dragon's our friend," Mayor Lukey said. "She helps us when we need food. She scares bad things out of our neighborhood. She's not really a 'bad guy.'"

"I know," Pastafashool exulted, "That's what makes her so perfect! She looks as vicious as a bad-tempered bull dog, but she's really a mushball. I can't wait to get her to sing and record Monsta Rap."

"Sing?" Lukey said.

"Record?" another townfolky said.

"It's terrific," Pastafashool continued, unhearing. "I'll start small: just a couple of signature pieces. Then, after the raves start, I'll set up the first album..."

"Mister, our dragon can't sing." Lukey said.

"I'll call it something like 'Dragon the Rap.' Get a cover photo of her pulling a roll of wrapping paper across the ground ..."

Lukey enlisted the aid of several other townfolky. "Mister," they said in unison, "Our dragon can't sing."

Pastafashool was pacing back and forth, now. Ticking ideas off his fingers as he talked: "When the album goes platinum, I'll hire someone to write a music video..."

This time, Lukey got all of the townfolky to help. "Mister," they chorused, "Our dragon can't sing."

"I'll bring in MTV and I'll..." Pastafashool stopped pacing and turned to the townfolky. "What do you mean, she can't sing?"

"She's a dragon," Lukey shrugged. "Dragon's can't sing."

"Of course she can sing! She makes sounds doesn't she?" Pastafashool asked.

"Well, yes..."

"Then she can sing. Tell me: what kind of sounds does she make?"

"Roars," Lukey answered.

"Screeches," a townfolky added.

"Growls," another townfolky said.

Pastafashool nodded his head. "I see, I see. She makes sour sounds. That solves our problem."

"It does?"

"Of course," Pastafashool replied. "It's well known that any dragon that makes sour sounds still has its sour tooth."

"A sour tooth? I've never heard of a..."

"You've heard of a sweet tooth haven't you? Dragons don't have those. Instead, they have a sour tooth. It makes their voices sound mean and tough." Pastafashool went on, "That means all we have to do is pull the dragon's sour tooth. That should make her voice sound sweet and musical."

"That's all we have to do, huh? Just pull the dragon's tooth?" Lukey asked.

"Sure," Pastafashool replied, not noticing the sarcasm in Lukey's question. "Luckily, I was a dentist before I became an agent. I'll just knock her out with a couple of tons of nitrous oxide and ..."

"Mister," Lukey asked slowly, "Have you seen our dragon?"

"Seen one, seen 'em all."

"Our dragon's bigger than most," Lukey drawled. "And, nice as she is for a dragon, I don't think she'll like the idea of someone pullin' one of her teeth. How do you figure to get her to hold still long enough?"

"That's why I came to you first," Pastafashool said. "I need your help."

"Let me get this straight," Lukey said, turning to face Pastafashool completely. "You want us to help you pull our dragon's sour tooth..."

Pastafashool nodded, smiling.

"... So you can get her to make an album..."

Pastafashool nodded again, his smile widening.

"... So she can become rich and famous..."

Pastafashool positively beamed.

"...And she can leave the neighborhood so we'll starve to death during the next cold winter. Far as I can see, that wouldn't be real smart."

Pastafashool shook his head. "No, no, you're thinking small. Look, if you help me, you'll be my partners. I'll cut you in for a share of whatever the dragon makes. And when 'Monsta Rap' catches on, your little neighborhood will be famous. You've heard of Motown? Graceland? They'll be hamlets next to 'Dragonville--home of Monsta Rap.' Tourism alone will bring you millions; not to mention action figures, clothing, video games, and other stuff."

"It could work, Mayor Lukey," a townfolky pointed out. "Look at what happened with them beanie babies."

"Hush up, Gomer," Lukey said, "I'm thinkin'."

"Well, think fast," Pastafashool said, checking his watch. "Time's money, you know. If I don't at least get this deal started today, I gotta go. There's a Chimera in the next county who plays air guitar..."

"All right, all right," Lukey said, throwing up his arms in defeat. "We'll help you. But you still haven't told us how you're gonna get the dragon to let you pull her tooth."

"That," Pastafashool said, "Needs a plan and I've got one. Come here...."


Kadasha was vacuuming her front room when the knock came to the door. It never fails, she thought, The house is a disaster and I get company. She turned off the vacuum and reached out a claw. Opening the door, she saw one of the townfolky on her step. It was Mayor Lukey.

"Good afternoon, Kadasha," he said. "I've come to... Oh, my!" He stopped suddenly and stared at her intently. "I'm so sorry. I'll come back when you're feeling better." He turned and started away.

"Wait!" Kadasha called after him, "There's no need to leave. I feel fine."

"What a brave soul you are," he said, turning back to her. "I was going to offer you some maple-sugar candy but, of course, you won't want any of that."

"I love maple-sugar candy. Why on earth wouldn't I want it?" Kadasha asked, confused.

"It's sticky and hard to chew, my dear."

"I know. That's why I like it."

"Well, I just thought with your tooth the way it is..."

"My tooth? There's nothing wrong with my tooth."

Mayor Lukey looked at her sympathetically. "Now, Kadasha, no need to be heroic. Your jaw's so swollen that you must have a sore tooth. I'll save your candy until you can get the tooth pulled." He started away again.

"Pulled?" the dragon said. "You think I need a tooth pulled?"

"Of course," Lukey replied. "Once a tooth gets so bad that it swells your jaw like that," he pointed to Kadasha's perfectly normal cheek, "There's nothing you can do but have it pulled. Have you made an appointment with our new dentist?"

"Dentist? No, but..."

"Oh. Well, no matter. Come with me, Kadasha. I'll get you right in to see him." He grabbed the dragon's front paw and started to lead her down the path to town.

"But, I don't think ..." Kadasha stammered, following him reluctantly.

"Don't worry," Lukey said heartily. "I know you should have an appointment but, after all, I am the mayor. Dr. Pastafashool will make an exception for a friend of mine."

"That's not it," Kadasha said, stopping. This stopped Lukey, too. He was still holding Kadasha's paw and she outweighed him by a good 30 tons. "My jaw doesn't feel like it's swollen." She started to move her free paw toward her unswollen cheek.

"No! Don't touch it!" Lukey screamed in horror, startling Kadasha so badly that she jumped. This yanked Lukey ten feet into the air. "Touching it's the worst thing you can do," he gasped as he picked himself up from the ground. "Dr. Pastafashool said that patients should never touch a swollen tooth. Said the tooth could explode and blow the patient's head clean off!"

"No!" Kadasha said, lowering her paw quickly.

"Yes!" Lukey asserted, "Come on now, Kadasha. Leave the tooth to a trained professional."

Together, the two walked from Kadasha's castle toward the town. At first, Kadasha was still reluctant to go to a dentist when her tooth felt fine. A simple visit couldn't hurt, of course, but she could just as easily make her own appointment. She was just about to tell Lukey this when they passed the first house on the east side of the neighborhood.

This was the home of Millie the washerwoman. If Kadasha had a best friend among the townfolky, Millie was it. She shared tea with the washerwoman on the odd Tuesday and often heated wash water for her. Millie, for her part, liked the dragon better than most of her relatives. ("She works harder than my no-account husband," Millie liked to say. "And she smells better, too.")

Millie had been among the townfolky when Pastafashool outlined his plan. The plan to make the dragon rich and famous sounded good to her. This explains why she looked at the mayor and the perfectly healthy dragon and ran toward them crying.

"Ah, you poor thing," she choked between sobs, "Your poor, poor tooth. You look like you've got a watermelon in your cheek. You haven't touched it, have you?"

"Tried to," Lukey said, "I stopped her just in time."

"Thank goodness," Millie exulted, "I just wish there was some way I could ease your pain, dear. Can I give her a poultice, Mayor Lukey?"

"No, Millie," Lukey shook his head, "We'd have to touch the tooth with it. Kabooom, you know."

"Perish forbid!"

Lukey patted Millie's shoulder. "Take heart, Millie. I'm taking her to Dr. Pastafashool right now. He'll soon set things to rights."

"Courage, Kadasha dear," Millie said, gently. Then, turning to the Mayor, she barked, "Well? Why are you hanging about talking to me? Get this poor thing to the dentist!"

With that, she turned and strode back into her house. Kadasha, who was beginning to think that her jaw did feel a little tender, continued onward with the mayor. The two of them encountered more townfolky on their way. Each had something to say about Kadasha's tooth. The Baker sympathized with her pain. He promised to bake especially soft, easy to chew loaves for her that afternoon. She could pick them up after her tooth was pulled. The plumber tsk-tsked at her swollen cheek and promised to make sure her water pipes delivered lots of warm, fresh water. The village idiot asked if she was taking up chewing tobacco and ran for the hills when Lukey aimed a kick at him.

As they reached the middle of town, Kadasha was starting to feel stiffness in her jaw. After three different shopkeepers offered her ice ("to stop the terrible swelling," they said) she could feel the beginnings of pain. So many townfolky called words of sympathy or encouragement to her that, by the time they approached Pastafashool's hastily set up dentist's office, Kadasha was moaning in agony.

Lukey walked into the office and opened a window so Kadasha could stick her head inside. Then, he turned to the receptionist's desk where Jenny Fensterwald was sitting and looking terribly official. He winked at her and asked if the dentist was in.

"Do you have an appointment?" the receptionist asked with a frown. She had seen Lukey wink and she thought he should be more serious. After all, you didn't try to trick a dragon every day.

"C'mon, Jenny," Lukey said, "You know me. I haven't had a toothache in years. I just brought Kadasha in."

"Does she have an appointment?" Jenny said, looking at her (empty) appointment book.

"No," Lukey responded, "But just look at the poor thing." He pointed toward the dragon's misery-twisted face.

"Oh, my," Jenny said, "Worst swelling I've ever seen! Ordinarily we couldn't get her in on such short notice..." A low groan rumbled through the office.

"... But she must be in such terrible pain that I'm sure we can make an exception. I'll talk to the doctor myself." She pressed a button on her intercom.

"Doctor?" she said.

"Yes, Miss Fensterwald," the voice over the intercom buzzed with importance.

"We have a patient suffering here."

"Suffering? Suffering? We can't allow that. I'll be right there... Sorry, Gomer, the root canal will just have to wait ..."

"Iggs aww wite doggah"


"It's all right doctor..."

Jenny released the intercom button. "He'll be right..." The door to the dentist's inner office flew open and Pastafashool rushed out." "" Jenny finished.

"Miss Fensterwald, where's the pa...Oh my goodness!" he said as he saw the dragon's head.

"Quick, Miss Fensterwald! We haven't a moment to lose! Get my tools and the anesthetic! We have to prep this dragon for surgery at once!" She fluttered from the room. He turned toward Lukey. "You," he shouted.


"Yes, you. Did you bring her in?"

"Well, yes."

"You certainly took your time about it, didn't you?" Pastafashool snarled, "Why didn't you wait another day or so and let her jaw explode? Oh, never mind" he continued, as Lukey sputtered to defend himself. He turned toward Kadasha. "Now just you wait, dear. We'll get that tooth out of your head in a moment."

Miss Fensterwald bustled into the room with a large, two-wheeled cart. On the cart was an enormous canister marked "Sleeping Gas."

"Help me with this mask, you" Pastafashool growled to Lukey, "It's the least you can do to make up for your delay." Lukey, still protesting his innocence, seized one side of the gigantic mask. Together, they approached the dragon.

"Wait!" Kadasha shouted, frightened, "Won't strapping the mask to my face blow up the tooth?"

"There, there, dear," Pastafashool soothed, "I've done this hundreds of times. Never blew up a patient yet," he pressed the mask to her face and began to connect the straps. "Of course," he murmured, snapping the last strap into place, "there's a first time for everything..." Kadasha's eyes flew open wide. "Just kidding," Pastafashool said, "A little dentist humor. Nitey-nite!" He opened the valve on top of the sleeping gas canister...


Kadasha was playing with her favorite dollies. Her brave, noble girl dragon dolly was stomping merrily atop the squished bodies of icky old knight dollies. Soon, she would finish them off and fly back to her cowering - but very cute - boyfriend-dragon dolly. They would then live dragonly ever after in a beautiful castle on an enchanted hill. Never again would she have to wash the dishes, dust the furniture, or vacuum the carpet. Her devoted boyfriend-dragon would wait on her claw and talon or she'd boot him out on his lizard tail.

Plenty more where he came from, she thought as her dragon dolly cha-cha'd on the last of the knight dollies. She was just about to fly her dragon dolly back to her beloved when she heard her mother calling her:

"Kadasha," she heard, "Kaddy." She hated that nickname. "Kaddy honey, time to wake up."

Wake up? What?

"Kadasha," her mother's voice began to change, to become deeper and a bit harsher, but a lot less loud. "Kadasha, wake up!"

The pleasant scene began to fade. Her dragon dollies disappeared and all the knight dollies jumped at her face. They began poking their lances into her jaw.

"Kadasha," they hollered, really digging their lances in, now. "Wake up, Kadasha."

She popped her eyes open to see Mayor Lukey and Miss Fensterwald smiling at her. Her jaw felt swollen and sore and a bit less heavy. She realized that she had been dreaming and, a minute later, remembered where she was. She said:

"Verble graoobble ka?"

"Don't try to talk yet, dear," Miss Fensterwald said, patting her claw. "Your jaw will be a bit sore for a day or so now that your tooth is gone."

"Yes, but the soreness will be worth it," Lukey said. "As soon as it goes away and the swelling wears off, you'll start your singing career!"

And, believe it or not, that's just what happened. Remember we said earlier that Kadasha was gullible. When Pastafashool explained to her that they had removed her sour tooth so she could sing, she believed him. She also believed that she could be a star. She believed these things so completely that she and the townfolky recorded her first song - Dragon Dollies - less than three months after her jaw stopped hurting.

Working through Daydream Believer Talent Agency, they sent the song to a big record company. It went platinum in a little less than a year and the new MonstaRap record label was born. Kadasha changed her name to Kaddy, sang more hit songs, and married a mousy little dragon from her old home town. She tossed him out on his scaly tail a few years later and started to make tabloid headlines with her antics. She'd never been happier in her life.

As for the townfolky, they invested the money from the initial record sales in long-term, tax-free, mutual funds. Residuals from the songs and interest from their investments meant they never had to worry about bad times again. Lukey became Mayor-for-Life (until a scandal involving Miss Fensterwald, drove him from office) and Gomer got a job doing back-up vocals with Kadasha's band.

Pastafashool? He left the Talent Agency business and tried his hand as a knight errant. He disappeared briefly during the Quest into Somebody Else's Business: the most dangerous quest of all. He resurfaced later as a T. V. evangelist crusading against "Monsta Rap." Kadasha dedicated an album to him.


About the author, Gary A. Markette:

Gary tells us he was "born in McKeesport, PA and educated at a small teacher's college, I spent most of my working life in Ohio. I taught English there for about three years until I discovered two very important things: (1)I'm not very good in formal academic settings. (2)Teaching is very hard work. I lucked into a job as a technical writer and have spent more than 20 years writing stuff that nobody ever reads. I recently moved to the Chicago area and decided to celebrate that insanity by submitting some of my short fiction for publication. So far, Anotherealm has been the only venue crazy - er - kind enough to pay me for my work. Humor is my venue and fantasy my millieu. I hope you enjoy my stories of the Seven Counties. Feel free to e-mail me with your comments and suggestions (except for anatomically impossible ones). My e-mail addresses are:; or or

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