A Second Opinion

I cut right to the chase when she picked up the phone.
“Ma, you never told me I was a dragon.”
“Hello to you, too. Yes, my hip is fine. No, nothing much has happened to me in the two months since you last called.”
“Ma …”
“If this is what it takes to get you to talk to me, then I’m glad I never told you. Honestly, sometimes I forget I even have a son. Marge, in the next apartment? Her son calls her every other night.”
“So it’s true?”
Silence. Then she sniffed, once, like she was offended.
“It never made a difference to me, if that’s what you’re implying. I loved you just as much as a mother ever loved a son.”
I didn’t know what to say, so I lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply.
“You’re not smoking, are you? You are. I can hear you. Honestly, the way you treat your body …”
“So, is this something genetic?”
“Well, your father was a dragon, so I suppose it could be. If he was around to see how you treat me—”
Incredible. I hung up a little too hard, accidentally scattering a pile of gold coins I’d been hoarding.

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