‘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.

#117: To Not Pee Or to Not Not Pee, That Is the Question

“Joy,” Dragon Father whispered to her. “You don’t need to pee?”

She nodded. “Yes.”

Dragon Father sighed. He’s learned too often that 5-and-a-half-year-old Dragon Little needed to pee in the middle of a fight with the villains. “All right. Go in the bushes over there and pee.”

“I don’t need to pee,” she said. 

“But you just said…” he almost raised his voice and then calmed himself. “So you don’t need to pee?”


“So go pee!” 

“I don’t need to pee! I just told you!”

Dragon Father opened his mouth and then stopped. “Ah. I see. Joy. One life lesson before we attack the bad guys and destroy their asses: If I say you ‘you don’t need to pee’, then if you don’t need to pee, you say, ‘No, I don’t.’”

Joy made a face. “Yes, I don’t need to pee.”

“No!” Dragon Father raised his voice. “If you say yes, it means, Yes, I do need to pee!”

“Stop!” Dragon Little raised a hand and made a face. I recognized that face. She was not willing to have any of Dragon Little’s nonsense. That is the face she was giving him. “So if you say ‘Do you want to pee?’ I say ‘No’ and it means I don’t want to pee. But if you say ‘You don’t need to pee?’ if I say ‘No’ it still means I don’t want to pee?”

“Ah… Well… Yeah, that’s how language works.”

“Language is stupid!”

“Language is not stupid. Language is how we understand each other. If you talk in a way only you can understand, how can you talk to other people?”


He blinked twice in surprise. “Pooky pook pook?”


His froze as a circle. Then he finally said, “Tooky took took?”


Dragon Father pursed his lips. “Are you just inventing words I don’t understand?”


Dragon Father’s head fell in desperation. “Can’t we just attack the bad guys?” 


Dragon Father’s face froze again. “Wait… What do you mean by ‘No’?”

—Told by The Red Dragon

#118: The Genie in the Lamp, Part 1

#116: Counting to Ten