By late afternoon, all but some of the straggler party-goers had left quickly and in unison for home, their cars filing quietly onto the highway with the gentle roll of the fading sun casting oblong blocks of shadowy warm to the roadside treeline. Glinting reflections of orange light darted off the sidewalls of their coupes, acting from a distance as a final reminder of the day's excitement.
Michael stood with a stick. The last, best hope he had for keeping the peace of the daytime sat in the seven feet of petrified maple in his left hand. His taming rod.
At about half past noon, the lizard had arrived, largely impressive without wings, covered in many scales akin more to an adult pickerel than a large, dry reptile. With a heave, the dragon landed in the sunny dust and mud by the grill. She rested her head inches above the ground and nosed the air and dirt with the slow, rolling force of heavy lung air.
The arch of her back was graceful. Yet, it implied great weight, like that of a beached whale, where the slow arch plays a tense game with the space around it. The slow rise and fall of her breathing could make one think of water drops clinging to the top of a coin - the surface tension, immense.
By two, Michael had made the appropriate decision to keep his guests happy with the dark drake kept at bay. He stood dutifully near the belly of the thing and kept watch.
Staring always ahead, Michael paid mind to the thing's eyes. Never moving. Always forward. Michael paid mind to these, knowing that the shallow, split, yellow beads, never blinking, seemingly made from a very clear glass, were detached from the real meat of the beast. Behind those eyes was a smile that stared alone and needed nothing from the seen world. Behind those eyes was a seasoned spirit that enjoyed smiling more than anything.
Michael paid mind and, by dusk, he remained by the thing. He remained with his stick in place by the grill and waited for the next thing.