Dragons do exist. They lurk at the periphery of the known world, in countries you’ve never heard of, in cities with names you can’t pronounce. Dragons thrive at the ragged margins of the world, in those far-away places where they can terrorize the populace and ravage the land.
In the far east, the dragons of the zodiac bellow a smoke that settles, a choking cloud that oozes through the streets and creeps through windows. In the southern jungles, tropical dragons race each other through the forest, leaving behind barren tracks of ash and scorched earth. In the distant mountains, the heat of alpine dragons makes the ancient ice sweat.
There are desert dragons of sand and strife, sea dragons that have drowned entire cities, slick urban dragons that horde the meager salaries of the factory workers and bean pickers. Some dragons capture fair maidens at voting time, others are so large they shake the earth when they belch.
There are no dragons here. Not here, at the center of the world. Saint George tells me he’s driven them all away. But sometimes, when I’m driving through the San Gabriel Valley, I think I can almost see one – the silhouette of a massive beast, snoozing at the center of the haze.
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