A unicorn, dragon & turtle walk into a tavern

A unicorn, dragon & turtle walk into a tavern

Title: Proletariat | Genre: Satire

A stalwart unicorn, a decrepit dragon, and an exhausted turtle walk into a tavern. As defender of the forest, the unicorn holds the door for the others. As a hoarder of treasure, the dragon stiffs the bartender on the tip. As a father of four with no gift of magic or money, the turtle sips his mead without speaking.

A raven crosses the threshold, causing a stir. By now, the trickster reputation of ravens had sunk deep into the forest lore, and none of the other creatures were entirely comfortable around a surfeit of black feathers.

“My dear fellow,” called the unicorn. “Come take your ease at my table. All creatures are welcome at my side.”

The turtle rolled his eyes.

“Are you insane?” hissed the dragon. “He will trick me out of my gold.”

“Nonsense,” the unicorn defended. “You have lain too long in your cave, dragon, shunning the world out of fear for your wealth. What do you know of brotherhood?”

The dragon curled its tail. “Well, you have gamboled too long on your immortal mountaintop, judging everything and everyone around you but yourself. What do you know of cost?”

The raven regarded each with curiosity.

The unicorn tossed his head in disdain. “Ignore him, Brother Raven. I will treat you to the carrion of your choice.”

“Be it on your head, I warned you.” The dragon clutched his flagon closer.

The raven flapped his wings and hopped to the turtle’s table. “What say you, patron? Do I bask in the unicorn’s sufferance or steal from the cowardly dragon?”

The turtle looked up from his mead with tired eyes. “Either way, don’t drink the ale. The pitcher doubles as the bartender’s chamber pot.”

The unicorn and the dragon look into their cups, turning a telling shade of green, and the raven and the turtle are fast friends from that moment on.

Mary Elizabeth Summer is the author of the young-adult Trust Me mystery series. She lives in Beaverton with her wife, their daughter, their dog, and their evil overlor—er, cats.