Earlier today I listed some of my favorite Terry Pratchett Discworld novels. While writing that, this passage from Guards! Guards! came to my mind. I have to laugh out loud every time I read this, and I hope you will to.
The set-up: Captain Sam Vimes of the City Watch goes to consult Ankh-Morpork’s leading expert on dragons, given the sudden appearance of a dragon in the city streets the night previous.
He reached a heavy wooden gate in a heavy wooden wall. In contrast with the general decrepitude of the rest of the place, it seemed comparatively new and very solid.
He knocked. This caused another fusillade of strange whistling noises.
The door opened. Something dreadful loomed over him.
“Ah, good man. Do you know anything about mating?” it boomed.
Vimes found himself grabbed by the arm and pulled inside. The heavy door shut behind him with a definite click.
“It’s Lord Mountjoy Gayscale Talonthrust III of Ankh,” said the apparition, which was dressed in huge and fearsomely-padded armor. “You know, I really don’t think he can cut the mustard.”
“He can’t?” said Vimes, backing away.
“It really needs two of you.”
“It does, doesn’t it,” whispered Vimes, his shoulder blades trying to carve their way out through the fence.
“Could you oblige?” boomed the thing.
“Oh, don’t be squeamish, man. You just have to help him up into the air. It’s me who has the tricky part. I know it’s cruel, but if he can’t manage it tonight then he’s for the choppy-chop. Survival of the fittest and all that, don’t you know.”
Captain Vimes managed to get a grip on himself. He was clearly in the presence of some sex-crazed would-be murderess, insofar as any gender could be determined under the strange lumpy garments. If it wasn’t female, then references to “it’s me who has the tricky part” gave rise to mental images that would haunt him for some time to come. He knew the rich did things differently, but this was going too far.
“Madam,” he said coldly, “I am an officer of the Watch and I must warn you that the course of action you are suggesting breaks the laws of the city—” and also of several of the more strait-laced gods, he added silently—“and I must advise you that his Lordship should be released unharmed immediately—”
The figure stared at him in astonishment.
“Why?” it said. “It’s my bloody dragon.”