Viola stood on her back porch and watched her children play on the swing set. She turned her head to the left and looked into Mr. Frappingham’s yard. There, as always, was Rufus. The heavy log chain kept him securely fastened to his house.
Rufus was straining at the end of the chain and doing his best to watch the children play; he could mostly see around an oak tree. Frappingham had given his permission for the kids to visit Rufus occasionally, but the animal needed more attention than he was getting.
Frappingham himself probably did, too, but Viola considered that his problem. The old man could take care of himself; Rufus relied on the kindness and care of humans.
“Get the leash from the closet and go ask Mr. Frappingham if you and Teresa can take Rufus to the park.”
“Okay!” The children ran past her to get the long leash. Soon, they were pounding on Mr. Frappingham’s back door.
“Oh, yes, I’m sure Rufus would enjoy that,” he said. “Go right ahead.” He looked over and waved cheerily at Viola. She waved back, but only to keep the neglectful old fart in a friendly frame of mind.
Bobby hooked the leash to Rufus’s collar and then unhooked the big chain. Rufus began to dance around the children and he almost took flight as they walked the two blocks to the park.
Viola remained outside until she did see Rufus sailing happily over the trees and doing the occasional loop.
She went inside, muttering to herself. “If you’re not going to take proper care of a dragon, you just shouldn’t get one.”