‘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.

#18: The Bad Mood Morning and the Pizza

One morning Dragon Father arrived with no patience for anything. He wanted to go into battle immediately.

He woke up Dragon Little, now 3 years old, too loudly, too suddenly, and she was in a bad mood immediately.

She refused to get off the bed.

“Come on, Joy! Come on! Get out of bed! The witches are going to take over the forest!”

Dragon Little sighed and turned around in bed.

After three minutes of begging, Dragon Father started threatening. When that didn’t work, he picked her up off the bed. She screamed and cried.

“You can’t cry when we’re off to fight witches! Come on, Joy! Stop, stop! We have to get the witches before they kill the princess!”

But Dragon Little cried and cried.

Dragon Father moved on to trying to get her to brush her teeth.

“Brush your teeth.”


“You have to brush your teeth!”

“No! Don’t wanna!”

Dragon Father was losing his patience. “Please, please, stop crying. If you don’t brush your teeth, how can you fight witches?”

“Don’t wanna fight witches! I wanna sleep!”

“But if I put you to bed now, you won’t fall asleep! You’re already awake!”

This went on for a few more minutes, as Dragon Little refused to do anything he wanted. He eventually gave up on brushing her teeth. He summoned pizza and carrot juice, their usual breakfast.

Dragon Little, no longer crying, took the pizza, took a tiny bite, and just sat there, wiping away the tears.

Dragon Father stared at her.

“Are you gong to eat it?”

“I’m eating!”

Dragon Father’s patience had completely disappeared by now. He was shouting loudly. He needed to dream about fighting witches, and she was not letting him do it. “No! Put it! In! Your mouth! To eat it!”

Dragon Little just stared at him and did not eat the pizza.

“Okay! I’m going without you! Stay here and I’ll come back when you’re finished!”

He took his sword from his sheaf and was ready to leap off Bonny’s Revenge to the shore, where it was parked.

“No! I wanna fight witches!”

“Then come on! Eat and let’s go!”

She took another nibble from the pizza and sighed slowly.

“Joy! Eat the pizza!”

She nibbled it again.

He shook his head. “Okay. I’m going!”

“I wanna come!”

“Okay, then eat the pizza on the way!”

“I wanna eat here!”

Dragon Father screamed. It was a scream I’d never heard from him.

He looked at the beach and the forest beyond it. He looked at Dragon Little.

Then he stormed into the stairs that led to the Infinite Prison. “Let me know when you’re goddamn done!” he said and disappeared into the corridor.

It was a bad morning all around, and Joy did not finish the pizza that morning.

—As told by The Red Dragon

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

#19: Mary's Death

#17: Pizza and Carrot Juice