The MADD Dragon
There was a time, long long ago, when there were dragons flying around Manitoba. Only a few of the elders remember them. But of course, all children remember well the days of the dragons.

The elders could tell me about the dragons’ color and great wings. It took special wings to fly against the Manitoba winds. According to them some of the dragons were friendly. Some were wild. Some flew straight and some flew weird.

But it was the children who told me about This Dragon. No one knew his real name, so everyone just called him This Dragon. He was green with blue wings. The fire that came out of his shout was orange and red. He had wonderful ears that could hear a whisper all the way from downtown Winnipeg. His eyes were always bloodshot. The children told me why he had bloodshot eyes. They also remembered why he never came back to Winnipeg. That is the story they liked to tell me. And that’s the story I am going to tell you now.

Sensei Ulrich with the MADD dragon 2009

This Dragon had left the Interlake region along with all the other dragons. There were simply too many cottages, too many roads and way too many people. So the dragons retreated to the Secret Place far in the Northeast corner of Manitoba. But This Dragon still liked to visit the cottages in the dark of night. He liked to sit in trees and watch the people coming and going. One night, however, he sneaked a drink from a strange bottle. After a few sips he hiccupped really loudly, “Hick-hick-hick uppppp.”

This Dragon was never the same again. He spent his whole time collecting drinks from these strange bottles. At first people liked the idea that some dedicated citizen was recycling bottles. But were they ever surprised when they saw a dragon flit across the sky carrying a bag of bottles clutched in his claws. He zigzagged up and down and sideways. His hiccups sounded like thunder, “Hick-hick-hick upppp.” The people were really glad when he left to collect bottles in Winnipeg!

By the time This Dragon reached Winnipeg, he was so silly that he flew up and down all over town.

“O how I like to fly up,” he said, flying high up. “Hick-hick”

“O how I like to fly down,” he said, flying low down. “Hick-Hick”

Finally he got his ups and downs mixed up.

“O how I like to fly up,” he shouted, flying down.

“O how I like to fly down,” he shouted, flying up.

Every time his ups and downs got bigger and bigger. Until on one of his “ups” he flew down. Way down. Way, way down. Until splat! This Dragon crashed right into the earth.

He crashed so hard only the tip of his tail, the fluke, could be seen sticking up out of the ground. The little bell tied to the end made a tinkle, tinkle sound. All the children gathered around to see this strange object. It was covered with scales like a fish. It weaved back and forth like a tree. It made a tinkle sound like a cap. And it had fluke shaped like a fan. Should they touch it??

O yes, I forgot to mention This Dragon had crashed into the earth right in the middle of a school yard, and at recess time!!

“What is it,” everyone asked. One boy said it looked like that strange bush his Japanese grandmother got from Japan. A girl said, “No, it looks like the tree my parents got from India.” The twins said it was obviously a great oak from the Rhineland. A Thai child insisted that it was the toe of the Buddha.

That’s when the principal came out to see what all the fuss was about. He told the children that the strange thing sticking up out of the earth was not from Japan, not from India, and not from the Rhineland. And it surely was not the toe of the Buddha. It was a special gift from the School Board, a new thing to climb on. The children clapped with glee. Just as some of the children started to climb up, the tail shook.

The principal’s hair stood on end! His eyes grew as big as saucers! “Get out of the way” he shouted.

The principal gave This Dragon’s fluke a shove. Nothing happened!!! Then the Assistant Principal came out, clipboard in hand. He tried to pull the tail. The school secretary came, and the janitor came. They all four pulled and pulled. Nothing happened!!!

That’s when the principal did what all principals do when they have a big problem. He phoned the children's mothers. And the mothers came. They came in small cars, big cars, vans and SUVs. A few came by bus. Some even arrived in taxis. Everyone stood back to see what all these mothers would do.

The mothers gathered around the strange object. They touched it. They smelled it. They listened to the tiny bell. “We will just have to pull it out,” they said. So the principal, the vice-principal, the secretary, the janitor and all the children pulled as hard as they could. The earth shook a little. The tail came out a little. But the little bell didn’t tinkle even once. So, under the mothers’ direction, everybody, even the mothers themselves, pulled and pullllled.

There was a loud pop. Right there, right in front of everybody, stood a real live dragon!! Hick-hick, hick-uppppp. The mothers all took a big sniff. Their faces fell. They had smelled ------Booze!!

The children were disappointed. How could This Beautiful Dragon be drunk? It was not normal. Was This Dragon a real dragon? The children’s faces grew sad. The mothers folded their arms and tapped their feet in anger. The Vice-Principal got his clipboard and began to write This Dragon’s name down for detention. He began slowly, T-h-i.

This Dragon looked around and saw the angry mothers. He heard their feet tapping. He saw the children’s sad faces. Then This Dragon noticed the Vice-Principal writing down his name for detention. T-h-i-s D--.

He did not like the looks of that.

This Dragon tried to flap his wings. Everyone jumped back. What if This Dragon breathed fire? But the mothers stared bravely right into This Dragon’s eyes. Then they tied a ribbon to his tail. On it was written M A D D. What did M A D D mean? This Dragon wasn’t sure because he had left dragon school. He would worry about reading later. Right now, he just wanted to fly away.

This Dragon stood up straight. His wings began to beat the air in proper dragon fashion. By this time the Vice-Principal had written T-H-I-S D-R-A.

This Dragon had no intention of staying for detention. So he began to fly. At first he zigged and zagged along the ground, the children running after. He flew under the soccer goalposts. Under the electric lines. This Dragon even grazed the tree tops. The ribbon with M A D D printed on it flapped in the breeze.

Beneath him he saw the angry mothers with folded arms. This Dragon would never forget the sad looks on the children’s faces. He saw the principal making a call on his cell phone, probably contacting the Mounties. This Dragon flapped his wings even harder.

By this hick-hick-hick time the Vice-Principal had written T-H-I-S D-R-A-G-O-N on the detention list. That’s when This Dragon knew he was never coming back. He flew zig and zag towards the Interlake district. He wanted to find the Secret Place where dragons hide out.

As he looked back at the playground one last time, This Dragon saw the children below. That’s when he remembered his lessons. M A D D means Mothers Against Drunk Dragons.

This Dragon promised never drink from strange bottles ever again. Besides he was getting dizzy flying zig and zag. He was tired of going hick-hick-uppppp. What if children started to forget about dragons!! The stories about dragons would be lost forever.

So it came about that This Dragon started a bottle recycling centre. The Principal was relieved that the playground was dragon-safe. The Vice-Principal was happy because he did not have to find a dragon desk. And the school secretary wrote thank you notes with photos included to all the mothers. As for the janitor, he polished the new climbing equipment that stood over the very spot where This Dragon had crashed.

The children, of course, would never forget about dragons.

And This Dragon never, never forgot about M.A.D.D.