Come Not Between the Dragon and His Wrath
by Jeff Baker
The six-foot-two-inch former college wrestler stood there in the mid-afternoon sun streaming through the restaurant window in his red shorts and pulled up his shirt revealing the red and green tattoo on his side. Just to the right of his six-pack abs the freshly-drawn dragon appeared to be crawling up Allan’s sculpted side.
“Whadya think?” Allan asked, almost shyly.
“It looks great,” Willie said, leaning against the last of the tables he’d been wiping down.
“Thanks.” Allan said pointing at it with a finger. “It’s a Chinese dragon. I had it done for Ian. For his birthday. His family’s Chinese, you know.”
“Yeah, I know.” Willie said. “You guys came in here to eat a couple of months ago.”
“I brought him in here to meet you.” Allan said, pulling his shirt down.
“Meeting the Ex,” Willie said with a grin. “Well, I hope he at least liked the restaurant.”
Willie was proud of the small downtown bistro he ran on the corner of a busy street.
“Ian liked you,” Allan said. “I told him all about you.”
“Including the last year we were together, which I don’t really remember?” Willie said with a smile and a raised eyebrow.
“You’ve done a bang-up job of turning your life around, and turning this place around.” Allan said. “Um, yeah, I told Ian all about umm…your problem and why we broke up.”
“Good.” Willie said. “You two shouldn’t have secrets.”
“Are you really okay with this?” Allan said. “I mean, we aren’t, you know, together anymore but…well, what you think still matters to me.”
“Thanks,” Willie said with a smile. “Hey, hold up a sec…”
Willie fished around in his apron pocket and handed a card to Allan.
“Good for a free lunch,” Willie said. “Birthday present. For Ian and you.”
“Oh wow!” Allan said. “Thanks! Hey, you’re invited to the wedding, when we schedule it!”
“Thanks.” Willie said. “Hey, you two don’t be strangers, okay?”
“Never!” Allan said with a smile.
As he walked to his car, Allan felt like he was soaring on the back of a winged dragon.