A NEW CREATURE
(A DINOSAUR TRAIN STORY)
AT THE GAME
He arrived in Manhattan the day before. He managed to find his way to his hotel; and from there, he was to spend the next two days taking in the sights of New York City. This was his second trip to The Big Apple this year, but he didn't get to see much on that first trip. A huge snowstorm had blanketed the area dropping close to two feet of snow.
But he had good reason to be there during this time. His beloved hockey team, The Montreal Canadiens, were playing against the New York Islanders that night. Ever since he won the jackpot in the lottery the year before, he had decided to fulfill one of his life long dreams of seeing every Canadiens home and away game in a season! He knew it would be a harrowing journey covering many thousands of miles. Not only that, it would also be an expensive venture! But he had more than enough money to make this dream come true.
When everybody at his workplace heard the news of his incredible fortune, they were delighted and happy for him. When he told his boss he would be taking a two year sabbatical to "go live a little", he proudly shook his hand and wished him all the best.
It was another great victory for his beloved Habs! They beat the Islanders 6 to 1! Were it not for a mistake by goaltender Jaroslav Halak late in the third period that lead to a fluky goal, he would've gotten his third shutout of the year.
After the game, however, he had set out to meet Sparky the Dragon, the Islanders' mascot. When he first heard about it, Sparky wasn't too sure about meeting a Habs fan. He was even more puzzled as to WHY this die hard Habs fan wanted to meet him in particular; but, being the Islanders mascot, he knew he had to maintain that image of warmness, friendliness and openness all the kids and grown ups alike had of him.
After shaking the hand of this 5 foot 9 inch 230 pound French Canadian from some place called "New-Brunswick", they shared a conversation where Sparky asked the questions Luc must've heard many times before: What brings you here? How did you like the game? How do you like our city? Luc told him the same old spiel he told the other hockey team mascots he'd met all throughout his one year trip. But of all the mascots he's met, Sparky was the one he wanted to meet the most. When Luc told him this, this intrigued Sparky even more; and when Sparky asked Luc why he wanted to meet him most of all, Luc said he'd rather show him than tell him.
Sparky grew a bit nervous when Luc asked if they could go someplace private, but seeing how anxious Luc was to show him whatever it was he wanted to show him, Sparky took him to his private office. Luc wasn't the first fan he had brought into his office next to the souvenir shop. He also knew there would be security guards close at hand should Luc try anything. But he was a big male dragon who knew how to defend himself, if need be.
This was where Luc did something unexpected: He showed Sparky his true form! Under a growing pillar of light that slowly engulfed him, Luc revealed what was his true self! As it turns out, the human form Luc adopted for the outside world to see was just a protective shell for his dragon form. The light dissolved before Sparky's eyes to reveal a 10 foot tall bipedal dragon, deep red in colour, had leathery skin with black claws on his hands and feet, as well as two equally black coloured horns on his head that were swept back. His eyes retained their deep brown colour, and still looked strangely human, only much bigger.
He said his real name was "Karkovice", "Kark" to his friends who knew about his secret, and that he was a human/dragon shapeshifter; or a "weredragon". He always felt that his true form was dragon, but he walked around with his human form more often than his dragon form. Being a "workin' man", it was a part of the facade he portrayed to the outside world.
Upon seeing this, Sparky smiled slowly. Then he surprised Karkovice by running up and hugging him tightly and calling him "brother". Although Kark would've loved to have gone back to his hotel from there and sleep off the rest of the still ongoing snowstorm, Sparky invited him out to his favourite night spot for some fun, and everything would be on him. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity for a freebie, Kark accepted Sparky's invitation. They stayed out until closing time sharing in the merriment, as though they were long lost relatives who found each other again. Sparky had so many questions for Kark, who did his best to answer them. Just for fun, though, he asked Kark to stay in his weredragon form so he could tell the joke to his friends at the night spot there that Kark was the "real Montreal Canadiens mascot", and that he was out to show him a good time in New York. This brought great pleasure to all those gathered, and Kark went along with it. Some even thought that his French Canadian accent was pretty funny!
Now, months later, Kark found himself back in New York. Unlike then, spring had just begun! The weather was surprisingly warm in Manhattan for this time of the year! The hockey playoffs were fast approaching. The Canadiens were in sixth place in the Eastern Division, and they had a chance to solidify their position against the Islanders, who were already out of the playoff race.
Sparky came to greet him at the hotel shortly after 6 o'clock that evening. After exchanging a hug with Kark, he said he'd've loved to have come see him sooner, but his job as the Islanders mascot kept him busy. "Understood, my friend!" Kark would smile and say.
From there, they'd spend a few hours at Sparky's favourite night spot; the same place where they shared plenty of merriment a few months before. Again Sparky had asked Kark to pretend to be the Canadiens mascot and change into his dragon form once more. Sparky challenged Kark to a few games of pool. Kark, being a member of two different pool leagues, was quite proficient at the game. He thought Sparky was not a bad player himself!
Afterwards, Sparky showed him some of the night life in Times Square. Kark never had a chance to see it during his first trip to New York; but now that he saw this famous downtown sight, he was blown away by it!
When it came time to retire, Sparky accompanied him back to the hotel where, just before leaving to go home himself, he said he'd leave a "little surprise" at the concierge's desk tomorrow for Kark's sightseeing adventure.
"What is it?" Kark asked.
"I can't tell ya. It'll ruin it." Sparky answered in his thick New Yorker accent. "But I promise ya, you'll never forget it..."
"Will you be coming along?" Kark asked.
Sparky smiled and shook his head. "No. My mascot duties won't allow me to. Besides, this will be for you and ONLY you... See ya at the game!" Sparky smiled mysteriously as he walked out of the hotel lobby, leaving Kark to wonder what kind of surprise his dragon friend has in store for him.