‘The Squashbuckler Diaries’ are the daily tales of Joy Shelley’s Life in the Dream. The ‘Lost in Dreams’ books will tell the story of what happens to her at ages 6, 9, 12, 15, and so on. The diaries tell us what happens before, after, and between the books.

#5: Back When Justin Thought Squashbuckling Was Cute

“So what is it we do?” Dragon Father (Justin Shelley) was asking Dragon Little (Joy), when Dragon Little was only two years old. The two were on the wooden deck of their pirate ship, Bonny’s Revenge, inside Dragon Father’s dream. As always, they were preparing for the day’s battle and adventure.

A small sword appeared in Dragon Father’s hand and he gave it to Dragon Little. “Does that fit?”

As she touched it and it fit, it glowed almost imperceptibly. Neither one of them noticed it, but I did, since I knew what to look for.

Dragon Little nodded.

“So what is it we’re going to do?” He said as he would say every day before battle. And then he answered. “We’re going a-swashbuckling!”

“Asquashbal-ki-king!” Dragon Little echoed.

Dragon Father was surprised. She had never tried to say it before. “Yeah, right. But, there’s no ‘ah’ in the beginning. I saw ‘a-swashbuckling’ as a joke. Never mind. Say ‘swashbuckling’!”


He was smiling. It was very cute the way she said it. “Swash… buck… ling.”

“Squash… buck… ling.”

He couldn’t help but smile. “Good! Again! Swash… buck… ling!”

“Squash… buck… ling!”

Dragon Father clapped. Dragon Little clapped as well, happy.

“Good! Good! It’s a start! I guess that’s too advanced for you. Say it again!”

“Squash… buckling!”

Dragon Father laughed. “Squashbuckling! Ha ha ha! You know… that’s what you take a squash and buckle it into a car! Ha ha ha! I love it!”

Dragon Little looked at him quizzically. He shook his head. “Never mind. Let’s go squashbuckle!” He raised his sword high, yelling: “Ahoy!”

“Hoy hoy!” Joy echoed, raising her new sword as well.

That was the first time Dragon Little used the word ‘squashbuckling’. It would perhaps be the last time Dragon Father enjoyed it. But those are other days, detailed elsewhere in these diaries.

—Told by The Red Dragon

Watch how I came up with the idea for this post:

#6: Joy's First Dress

#4: Where's Joy?