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Living With Live Dragons

Living With Live Dragons

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Published by Val Szymanski

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Published by: Val Szymanski on May 18, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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LIVING WITH LIVE DRAGONS-by Val Szymanskicopyright: 1999 
 It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if youhappen to live near one.
- J.R.R. Tolkien PrologueThe house had fascinated Lee Meadow since he moved into the neighborhoodfour years ago. It looked to him like a cross between a villa and a Victorian and was setfar back from the street, its front courtyard protected by a six foot high brick wall withiron gates painted green. Scrolled in the iron of the gates was the name: Green Gates. Leeliked the house’s size and stately attitude, its distance from the street, the rounded roomsat the corners and the multiple porches, especially the small, covered porch on the thirdlevel. This little porch reminded Lee of an apartment a friend of his had when he was incollege back east over twenty years ago. That too was a third floor front apartment with acovered porch where Lee and his friend would play chess and watch the sun set. GreenGates faced west, as did his friend’s apartment.- 1 -
Two or three times a week or more Lee would walk down the hill to the store and back again, passing the house each way. Often he would stop to rest in a tiny park almostdirectly across the street from Green Gates, especially if he was carrying a heavy bag of groceries. Lee enjoyed sitting and smoking a pipe as he looked at the house anddaydreamed about owning it. He was still a long way from being able to afford it, butcloser than he was when he first moved to this quiet Oakland neighborhood borderingPiedmont. Considering how Lee Meadows made his living he might get the moneyquickly or not at all, but even should he get the money, he would still have to convincethe owner to sell.
Get the money first 
, Lee told himself as he sat on a bench in the tiny park,watching the house, smoking, dreaming
. Binion’s starts the end of this month, maybe thiswill be my year?
At that very moment Lee saw a bird take off from the railing of the third floor  porch, gliding a beautiful deep blue through the sunlight before landing on a branch nomore than ten feet from where Lee sat. It was a magnificent Steller’s Jay, a bird Lee oftensaw in the Sierras or the wooded parks of the Oakland hills, but he could not remember seeing one in such a populated area before. The bird looked directly at Lee, turning his black head to look at him first with one eye then the other. When Lee broke off a piece of  baguette and tossed it toward the jay the bird caught it in mid air and flew back to the porch railing in another beautiful blue display.
, Lee thought to himself.#It was getting late and Cassandra knew it. The vernal equinox had just passedleaving less than nine months remaining in the present cycle and still she had found noone she wanted to teach what she knew. In truth Cassandra had not been searching very- 2 -
diligently, probably because she had always expected the perfect candidate to simplyappear when the time came. The time was now, or very soon, and none had yet appeared.Then she saw Tataya.When Cassandra saw Tataya Feathers on Piedmont Avenue that day it was thefirst time the dark-haired beauty was there in a decade and a half, nearly half her lifetimeago. She had lived there with her mother in a one-bedroom apartment above a laundromatfor most of her childhood, until her mother died and she went to live with an aunt in SanDiego. Now Tataya was passing through the Bay Area on business, to collect from adelinquent client, and on a whim decided to check out her old neighborhood. Muchlooked the same, much looked different, and the old woman staring at her from across thestreet Tataya recognized from her childhood.Cassandra had first noticed Tataya as a young child playing in the little park across from where she lived. She saw her too at Powwows she attended every year, a beautiful girl dancing the traditional dances with the proper inflections and respect.Cassandra also remembered Tataya’s mother, a Native American woman who in trying to both respect her culture and to cope with the Whiteman’s world ended up destroyingherself with alcohol instead. She had taught her daughter well though; Cassandra couldremember talking to Tataya when she was still a young girl and being impressed with theknowledge and respect the child had for the old ways. The old woman had thought thenTataya might possess the talents she was looking for, and now talking to her as a woman,she thought it again and so began to take Tataya into her confidence. It wasn’t until later,after Cassandra shared the earth’s essence with Tataya, that the old woman discovered theevil in the young woman’s heart.- 3 -

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