‘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.

#16: Man Overboard

Sometimes Dragon Little (the name I give the amazing Joy Shelley) and Dragon Father (the name I give Justin Shelley, because he ist Dragon Little’s father) like to play hide and seek.

But sometimes Dragon Little plays without Dragon Father’s knowledge.

On this particular day, she sensed that enough time had passed and Dragon Father could appear at any time.

Dragon Father always appeared on the same spot on the deck, always facing the same direction: Her cabin.

She put a lasso-type rope exactly where he would appear. She made it wide so that both his legs would be inside it once he did.

She climbed the mast with the end of that rope around her arm.

She tied it carefully to the very tip of the mast and climbed down.

She hid behind the mast and made herself as small as possible.

She waited nearly an hour before Dragon Father appeared on the deck.

He appeared exactly in the middle of the lasso. He took one step forward, as he always does, in her cabin’s direction. His foot caught the lasso. Another step, and the lasso held both his feet tight.

Dragon Little leapt in the other direction, screaming: “Yaaaaaaaaah!”

Dragon Father turned around, surprised.

Dragon Little was at the helm, took the wheel, and pushed it back.

Bonny’s Revenge was now flying at high speeds almost vertically up. Dragon Little was holding the wheel, but Dragon Father was holding nothing.

He flew back and out of the ship, still shocked at everything that’s happening. The rope tightened, causing Dragon Father to gasp, and then fly left to right right as Dragon Little made the ship sway in all directions.

“Joy! ARE YOU CRAZY?! STOP THE SHIP! GET ME OUT OF--”

But then the rope at the end of the mast slipped upwards and was now no longer around the mast, but in the air.

“HEEEEEEEERRRRREEEEE!” Dragon Father yelled as he flew back and towards the ocean.

Dragon Little turned around to look. She saw the rope was no longer there.

“Dad!”

“Aaaaah!” His scream was getting more and more distant.

Dragon Little stopped Bonny’s Revenge and leveled it, so that it hung in the air. She ran to peer over the edge of the deck, but Dragon Father could not be seen.

Two seconds later, Dragon Father reappeared at the exact same spot on the deck. This happens often. After a big danger that Dragon Father cannot cope with, he disappears, then reappears almost immediately or a few minutes later on the deck. He had woken up from the fall, then immediately returned to the Dream. I know this for I have seen others’ dreams and was not born in Dragon Father’s dreams.

But neither of them knew the reason. It was simply the way things were.

“Dad!” She ran to hug him.

He hugged her back. “Joy! You are crazy!”

“Mmmmm!” She buried herself in his hug.

“Joy,” he whispered. “When you’re a kid, that’s fine. But when you get older, you have to stop. Sometime will get hurt. You will get hurt!”

Joy didn’t seem to heed. She would do these things again and again.


—Told by The Red Dragon

#17: Pizza and Carrot Juice

#15: Jumping the Plank