The Sleeping Dragon

Enoch Grumble desired most fervently to be a writer of short stories. At this very moment he had found himself the most wonderful title. The title was “The Sleeping Dragon” and it had managed to fire his imagination in numerous directions.

The only problem with this wonderful title was that he had no real story to go with it. He was not a complete loss however. He had did have a great name for his sleeping dragon.


But he had no plot. He could easily imagine a huge two hundred foot monster dozing away peacefully, stretching out in all its glorious length, perhaps along the main drag of a peaceful little alpine village that it was currently terrorizing. Poor old Zaff. Poor little village. Enoch Grumble had had a lot of problems in his life. Being called a monster was just one of them. Enoch Grumble was over seven feet tall. Perhaps that was the psychological basis behind his current dilemma. Something at the back of his mind kept saying ‘let sleeping dragons lie’, but the thought didn’t really help. If his sleeping dragons just lay then there would be no recourse for his story.

Enoch Grumble had a girlfriend who hated him. It was a bit like Charlie Brown and the football, the one Lucy offers to hold steady and never does. “He doesn’t get it’” declares Lucy. Enoch would try to get along with his girlfriend by taking her out, making her laugh, (“I know I’m a twat, but what are you?”, you know, like Bart Simpson), but the lass was fickle and as soon as cordial relations were established she’d dump her temper in his general direction, devastating poor Enoch whom couldn’t possibly understand it at all. Enoch would cry all the way home. He was a fool. But his short story writing was very important to him. He didn’t want to be derogatory. He was too good a person. But he desperately needed an escape. He enjoyed battling his mind for ideas. Both Enoch and his wayward girlfriend were confirmed loonies. Eventually the relationship ended and Enoch Grumble began the long steady road to crying into his laptop handy pad.

Enoch Grumble was still a confusion of ideas with nowhere to go however. As he went on laboriously putting word after useless word on the screen he imagined his x-girlfriend’s victory cries echoing away at his subliminal consciousness.

“Finally got rid of him stupid jerk”

It cut Enoch to the quick, but he knew words on paper had the effect of some sort of cure, and he was determined to do justice to his fabulous tale. His fabulous dragon. After all he couldn’t jut leave a two hundred foot dragon laying around in the middle of a sweet little alpine village. And maybe somewhere along the road the typeface would offer a solution to the problem of the plot. Maybe the dragon could be some sort of giant alien incubator and give birth to thousands of save the world ETs. Or be the progenitor of the Black Death? Or fart pet dinosaurs. Too strange, but moving forward. In a way he was grateful to his former girlfriend for providing impetus. She would certainly be killed a dozen nasty ways by the dragon, and Zaffed alive again in twenty equally miraculous ways. He was part of a creed now. The creed of the short story writer. Love’s inverse. Perhaps the dragon was less the pot of gold that the little village needed for tourism and Peter Jackson and more the tax collector in special industry. The mind boggles, though Enoch Grumble, employing one of his oldest and best-favoured expressions.

His mind focused on the little village. Enoch Grumble could obviously see potential trade in sleeping dragons. A large sleeping dragon could be more than a tourist attraction. A cult. A phenomenon. A twenty four seven happening. With fans no less. Paying fans. At the head of the beast could sit the colossal Dragon Arms Hotel, a legend throughout the world. Tours offered there too! One could take home a frozen dragon burger, and reheat it in Japan or Spain. A scale could double as a safety razor.

But he didn’t really want the story to have all that potential. He was looking for something much more innocent. He wanted forward motion, not backdrops. He wanted Harry Potter for real men. Not nerds and girls and children. Besides if he wrote a brilliant short story it might be published. And his girlfriend might read it. A hoot. A blast. The possibility of revenge or reconciliation ploughed two parallel furrows through the top of his skull. He was seven foot tall and quite bald. With GT stripes. But a decent plot eluded him.

But Enoch was not the type to shed emotional pain into work. That was impetus only. He was sure of it. He thus continued to wile away at his problem, here and there typing a few lines. And a few more genuinely decent ideas he continued to fail to see. Sometimes plots came to him, one by one, sometimes out of blue, sometimes on a wisp of his mind he had trouble catching before it faded. Why was there a problem now, he thought? Thinking of his girlfriend out with the next guy he imagined discovering a new species of flower high in the mountains, a secret meadow, higher than air. And round about there, in a spacesuit, a little avatar boy nurtures all the baby dragons, and calls the flowers dragons, and drinks Zaff water, and bottles it, and makes a fortune.

“Maybe not,” thought Enoch Grumble, deleting sixteen previous lines.

Zaff. Perhaps the problem lay in the personality of the beast.

“Why Zaff,” cried The Princess, kissing the giant for the first time, “You really are beautiful” as the Zaff becomes a Prince.

No, thought Enough Grumble, too much Miss Jones and Jerry McGuire, and sand kicked in a weakling’s face. A bully is good, but we got one. Probably. Zaff. Old hat. What was required was your standard caldren of trouble and good witches fighting bad witches and all competing for the last dragon on Earth before the babies explode on another planet, if you get my drift and see what I mean. Maybe Zaff had a one hundred foot tail, crenulated in a sorry arc, that swished as it dreamt its dragon dreams, loosing all manner of good and evil upon the world until some proud knight with sufficient courage agreed to wake the monster and, you know, just talk to it a bit. Or was that nonsense?

“I wish I could tell my love my love for her, “ he bemoaned, abandoning these ideas as too childish for the average modern science fiction fantasy writer.

Enoch Grumble’s thoughts turned a little bizarre. It was such a great title. Maybe the effect of the Sleeping Dragon was to put everyone in little alpine villages to sleep. All except one.

But what would that one do? The mind boggles. It was another dead end. All Enoch could think of was trimming toenails and cutting non-existent hair, maybe a dose of salt on Zaff’s tongue to stop it snoring. Enoch Grumble doodled a while with ‘the year of the dragon’ and ‘one day the outraged boyfriend drank a whole dragon of snoring dragons and then…’; and, realizing that his thoughts were beginning to ‘drag on’, he conceded that perhaps he had gone too far and a little overboard with dragons on the brain.

Enoch Grumble was very lucky at this point. He thought of something really weird. What about, he thought, of sleeping dragon telephones? Or sleeping dragon lolly dispensers? A lolly every three minutes of conversation? Very modern. The best ap ever. Then, maybe, he could ring his x and ….

Creative, he thought, that’s it!

I’ll tie all my thoughts together and call it modern sleight of hand stream of consciousness short story fantasy science fiction creative expression.

That’s exactly what happened.

Robert Ellery Phillips
Somewhere in the 1990s.
Upgraded 2012.

Written with Mary-Anne in mind.
Hope noone minds.

The Sleeping Dragon


Claremont, Australia

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Artist's Description

Creative writing about creative writing.

And a dragon.

Artwork Comments

  • Matthew Dalton
  • robertemerald
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