DRAGON HOARD • by Cathleen Townsend

I looked at my extensive pile of gold in disgust.  Impressive, in a sense.  More wealth than many countries had at their disposal. But there was so much more to be made out there and nobody carried it around in coins anymore.  Everyone had credit cards and bank accounts.  And I couldn’t get them on my own.

I turned my attention to my current broker. He’d just handed me a summary of the past quarter, and it was encouraging. Not only because it showed a healthy profit, (I expected that), but because he had taken his agreed-upon five percent, and not a penny more. This one was definitely smarter than his three predecessors.

“The spike in gold prices has definitely helped,” he was saying. “Our hostile takeovers are all well in hand.”

I referred back to the figures. “None of them show fifty-one percent.” I snorted a smoke ring to remind him profit wasn’t everything. I already had wealth. Power was something else.

“You’ve just got to be patient,” he said, and his scent communicated sincerity along with the expected surge of fear. “If we do this too fast, prices surge and your net gain is lost. And other shareholders may unite against you if they see it happening too fast. We’re trying to optimize your profit potential.” I barely stopped myself from blowing another smoke ring. I hated business-speak. At least I had stopped his inane chatter about paradigm shifts and synergy.

It was just as well I had turned my mind to other avenues. “I want you to investigate currencies for me.”

He nodded. “I was going to suggest it. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as making money off of money.” He embellished this with some more syllables and promised to bring me a plan next week.

I spent the intervening time investigating venture capital investments and privately held companies which were for sale outright. Nothing there. They were selling for a good reason, and I for one could read the death rattle in the neat columns of figures. And I wasn’t about to risk money on gold mines in countries that allowed strikes.

At our appointed time, my broker came to my cave and handed me his currency proposal. I gave it some serious attention. Interesting. Creative, and not too dependent on hair-trigger timing, although it went without saying he’d be watching it carefully.

“I like it. Your plan for the euro seems promising.” He stood a little straighter, which was a relief. I liked them submissive, but cringing annoyed me. “And I’ve worked up an idea for precious metals.” I indicated a proposal on the left side of the antique walnut desk.

I settled back as he read, scratching my shoulder against a particularly fine ruby-encrusted goblet. Nothing settled an itch quite like rubies. I made myself a mental note to keep it back during the next phase. My broker cleared his throat.

“It’s elegant in its simplicity, sir, but we can’t do this.”

“Why not?” I hadn’t missed anything important when it came to money in centuries.

“A plan of this magnitude… flooding the market to depress the price of gold so we can buy up more…” His voice trailed off, and he took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. “It’s wrong, sir. A plan like this could cause massive instability. Wars have started over less.”

I suppressed a head shake; he was already afraid enough. I supposed this was the liability that came with an honest stockbroker; none of his predecessors would have hesitated. “Very well. I will come up with a new plan.”

He turned to go and froze in agony as the flames enveloped his body. It was time for lunch anyway.

Damn. Now I needed to find an honest, unprincipled stockbroker.

Avid reader, lover of fairy tales, Cathleen Townsend resides in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California.

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  • S Conroy

    Yes! I sensed it might all end in tears. Wishing the main character the very best in his search for an honest, unpricipled stockbroker. (*Uttered with appropriate submission and no cringing.*)

  • jo

    Nice! Some fun characterisation and a lovely see-it-coming twist.

  • L. McConnell

    Ha! Ah, the downside of dealing with those pesky, honest brokers. Great read!

  • MPmcgurty

    Lol @S Conroy.

    This was a fun read. If it’s not the first time someone ever wrote about a dragon managing his finances, it’s the first time I’ve read one. It was perfect for this format.

    Only thing I didn’t love was the second to last ‘graph. The “…froze in agony as the flames enveloped his body” seemed not congru. Everywhere else (e.g., “This one was definitely smarter than his three predecessors.”) the consequences were subtly and humorously communicated. Here I would have liked that to continue. Just a note about voice and tone.

    Many lines made me smile. A couple made me laugh out loud. “He embellished this with some more syllables…”

  • MPmcgurty

    Yoohoo, Camiiiiiiille. I guess no news is bad news on getting Disqus back?

  • Steph

    Very cute and gave me a chuckle on a day when I needed it. I liked the idea that a gold hoard becomes rather worthless in the modern age of credit cards and international money laundering schemes, so a dragon has to find a new way of being rich beyond belief, and of course a dragon wouldn’t be a principled investor. Excellent work!

  • I love this take on Dragon culture. Ha! And the ending was perfect. Well done!

  • Elaine Witt

    Ha! Liked the juxtaposition of dragon greed and the modern day economic system. “Paradigm shift” made me snort. And the hostile takeovers was a nice touch – no more chasing down poor villagers, but chasing down numbers.

  • MPmcgurty, we are still waiting on that but I am still hopeful we will have Disqus back as the reply and edit comment features are nice to have.

  • MPmcgurty

    @Camille, thank you for your reply. I will remain hopeful, as well. 🙂

  • Tom

    What a fun story. Interesting twist at the end.

  • M Shipman

    Fun! And I suppose that’s the first (and possibly last) honest stockbroker that our scaly overlord will ever taste. I sincerely hope he savored it!

  • Fun, fun, fun.

  • This was awesome! Of course! I love your short stories. Nice work. 😀

  • Loved this! Great ending, and made me laugh a bit–unprincipled and honest, that’s just rich!

  • I enjoyed this. I think it explains the world economy a lot better than the last IMF report I tried to wade through 🙂

  • Chinwillow

    Great fun! Thanks, and good job, by the way

  • Kathy Wilson

    Everything has been said so let me add, great story and very creative. I knew something was going to happen but was surprised at the ending. Just the kind of story I like.

  • Denbe

    Am I the only one who didn’t know the narrator was a dragon? Would readers have known this without the title?

  • MPmcgurty

    @Denbe. I knew from the title, but had I not, I think “I snorted a smoke ring” would have gotten me guessing. Not sure, though.

  • Scott Harker

    Sometimes I feel so dense at picking up on things. I didn’t realize the MC was a dragon until I read the comments. Face palm. No wonder the title didn’t make much sense to me.

    Now I get it, of course, and after a second reading, it was even more enjoyable than the first. Great idea and solid execution. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

  • Good story! I love seeing inside the dragon.

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