‘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.

#88: Cleaning the Mess, Part 2

It had taken Dragon Father hours to get Dragon Little to agree to clean the big mess she had made on Bonny Revenge’s deck. 

In the middle he put his hand on his forehead and whispered to himself, “What is she going to be like when she’s fifteen? Jeez.” 

There was no doubt that he could not get her to do anything she did not want. Even as a child. And there was no doubt that it was getting worse the older she got. 

But his threat to never go after another villain until the deck was clear of all the beach sand was finally received. 

Dragon Little started marching back towards the ship. Dragon Father walked behind her. 

“Here, take the broom.”

“I don’t need it.”

She started climbing the rope ladder. 

“I’ll stay here till you’re finished,” Dragon Father told her. He began to walk away, when he came back. “I’m leaving the broom just in case,” he shouted as she was already on the deck. 

“Don’t need it!” she shouted back. 

Dragon Father walked away. Clearly, he needed some time for himself, to unclench his teeth. He did not see that Dragon Little busied herself with tying her legs to the ship’s wheel with ropes.

A noise made him look back. 

Bonny’s Revenge was rising into the air. Dragon Little was piloting it instead of cleaning!

“Joy!” He ran back as the ship soared higher above him. “Get back here! DO NOT TAKE THE SHIP!” 

The ship soared higher, steered right, then angled back. 

In an instant, the ship turned upside down in a spin, quickly righting itself back up. 

All the sand on the ship fell downwards back to the beach, some on top of Dragon Father’s head and open mouth. 

He spat out the sand, then looked up and screamed “Joy!” just as she made another run. 

More sand fell into his mouth. 

He spat it out again. Dragon Little meanwhile landed the ship next to him. 

She untied herself and ran to the deck to look at him. “There! It’s clean! Let’s go fight villains!”

Dragon Father took a deep breath, ready to yell. Then he stopped himself and shouted, “That was actually pretty good! Very smart, Joy!”

She nodded and waited for him as he climbed up the rope ladder.

—Told by The Red Dragon

#89: Showering Through the Ages: Age 2

#87: Cleaning the Mess