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He was not, as you may have already guessed, a wild dragon. Wild dragons were crimson or ebony or emerald. They were giant, scaly fire-breathers who lived in caves in dramatic-looking cliffs and slept on huge piles of gold. He lived in an apartment with his owner and slept in a little basket with a powder-blue cushion.

She called him Dinkums.

His owner was a witch. She was not the sort of witch you are probably thinking of. While she had powers, they mostly involved things people didn't have any use for, like polishing doorknobs. She spent a great deal of her spare time trying to invent a spell that would automatically change the toilet paper roll when it was empty. She was convinced that such a spell would make her both ridiculously powerful and disgustingly wealthy. Until then, though, she taught water aerobics five times a week at the local rec center.

She liked to carry Dinkums around in her purse while she did errands. He didn't mind the purse so much--it often had yummy forgotten things in it like lint-covered breath mints and crushed packets of saltines--but he hated having other people look at him. Because no matter where they were--sitting on the bus, or waiting at the dentist's office, or in line at the grocery store--people always said the same thing.

"Awwww, isn't he cute?"

Sometimes it was "precious," sometimes it was "adorable," but it all boiled down to the same thing.

Dinkums hated being cute. He hated being pink. He hated being fuzzy. He wanted people in the dentist's office to scream and run away when they saw him. He wanted people in the grocery store to be so desperate to escape that they would leave their carts right there in line, with the frozen pizzas getting flabby and the organic lettuce wilting and the Neapolitan ice cream melting until you couldn't tell which flavor was which. He wanted to be able to pick up the bus in his wicked talons and fly the whole thing away, driver and all, to his cave high in the forbidden mountains.

But he rode in a purse and slept in a basket and ate kibble from a dish with his name on it.

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