Zuke the aquamarine dragon had been a train conductor for the T since 1889. Since the dragon couldn’t fly via levitation or wings, the train was the next option. In his younger years, Zuke loved to travel to China and India, and in his spare time, traveling on airplanes was his fix for long-distance adventures. He collected souvenir mugs from different locations and kept his I love NY mug next to his laptop. With his current old age, the T was his best option.

Zuke was considering retirement from his job as a train conductor. In his younger years, his tail could charge vehicles whole, but nowadays it would flicker on and off, which would cause temporary power outages. Now that trains were fully electric, the T needed dragons like Zuke to power the carriages and the engine.

One day, Zuke drove on the blue line. With his speed, it took five minutes to get from Wonderland to Bowdoin. Passengers arrived at their destinations on time, but they rarely greeted the driver that drove them. Zuke wasn’t required to interact with the passengers, and his driving area was sectioned off from the other areas for his safety.

Zuke was used to seeing the same dark places, the same concrete platforms, and the same traffic lights, but a female human yelling was not normal. Zuke peeked out the window that led to the passengers’ area. An orange and red dragon blew flames that melted one of the windows.

Zuke had a choice. He could ignore the situation and claim that he didn’t see anything, but ignoring that dragon wouldn’t be swell. If he wanted to stop that dragon from misrepresenting his own kind, he would have to unplug himself from the power and confront the dragon, but what would he do? Zapping the dragon looked to be the only option at this point.

Other dragons and humans were screaming. At Suffolk Down, passengers flocked away from the vehicle while the enraged dragon set a fire in the middle of the carriage.

Zuke unplugged his tail and left the driver’s area. Taking the nearest fire extinguisher, he pulled the pin and started spraying the fire away. The strange dragon quaked with each step and started to set a flame to the windows again. To prevent further damage, Zuke zapped the dragon with his tail. The fire breath stopped, and the red and orange dragon fell. Zuke used the fire extinguisher to smother the fire.

When the authorities arrived, they bombarded Zuke with questions.

“How did the fire start?”

“Are you okay? Did you defend yourself?”

“Who is the current president?”

But nobody asked him if he wanted to keep his job. In fact, his bosses assumed he would show up to work the next day on the blue line.


The next day, Zuke’s tail fiddled with the socket that powered the carriages and engine.

He had to do something about the fire. No one was at fault except for the red and orange dragon.

Somebody knocked on the train conductor’s door. When Zuke looked through the window, a human girl held a thank you sign.

Zuke opened the door.

She said, “We care about you. Thank you for everything that you’ve done.”

“You’re welcome.” Zuke nodded. “I must get back to the wheel. Passengers need to go places.”

Zuke shut the door and continued driving the train.

At Wood Island, somebody pounded on the door. When Zuke peeked through the window, the same red and orange dragon from before waved. Zuke ignored the dragon, but the dragon roared and continued pounding on the door. For five minutes, the dragon whined, roared, and pounded on the door.

If Zuke ignored the dragon, the dragon was going to burn through the door. How the dragon escaped the authorities’ grasp was a mystery. The police department really had to up their work ethic and not let random maniacs out and about.

At Maverick, Zuke couldn’t take the noise anymore and opened the door.  The red and orange dragon from before wore a Red Sox jacket. Pants hadn’t evolved to support thick tails yet, so both Zuke and the dragons around them were without pants. This time, a frame without the lens sat on the red and orange dragon’s snout.

The dragon snorted. “It’s me, Toglass. You got to believe me. The police said that I had to tell you my story or face jail time. Isn’t that crazy? If you give me permission, I can record our exchange using my phone.”

“Why should I help you?” Zuke asked.

“I can’t take a year in prison. I have family and friends relying on me.” Toglass kneeled. “Please, help me.”

“All right, but I have a train to drive. It might be a tight squeeze, but let’s try to fit in here together.”

Zuke permitted Toglass to enter the driver’s area. While Zuke’s tail was connected to the socket, Toglass squeezed himself in to the point where scales touched scales, and Toglass’ tail stuck out the door.

Toglass whipped out his phone, pointed it at himself, and started recording. The subway car started to move. Toglass poked Zuke’s name tag on his chest.

“Welcome police personnel! I am Toglass and I’m here with the Zukester, the dragon who kicked my butt while on the blue line.”

Zuke sighed. “It’s Zuke.”

“Yes, anyways, I am here with my savior to explain to him why I acted like I did. Yeah, it’s a long story, so hang on tight. It all started when my phone died and didn’t wake me up on time in the morning for work. I was on the warpath when I woke up late. With my phone dead, I didn’t bring that to work because it had to charge. And I couldn’t find my frame yesterday in the rush. I felt like I forgot everything on my way to work, including my pills to keep the flames in my stomach down to a minimum.”

Zuke tilted his head. “You take pills to reduce flames in your stomach?”

“I work as a furnace slash glass blower at a commercial glass blowing company. I need to control my flames or otherwise I set stuff on fire, like you saw yesterday. So anyways, as I was saying, I completely ditched the medicine thinking I would be better off without it. Oh boy, was I mistaken! Since I couldn’t fly, I resorted to taking the T. You wouldn’t believe how expensive the cab fare is in Boston, and you can forget all the dragons charging an arm and a leg for flight transportation services. The T is my favorite go-to service for instant transportation in the Boston area. Thanks for the T! Otherwise, Zukkie here wouldn’t have a job.”

“When is this video going to end?” Zuke ignored the phone’s camera.

“Chill. I got a whole story to tell. Anyways, I got past the turnstiles using my Charlie card that is loaded with enough trips to last a month. Isn’t that swell, Zukstar?” Toglass punched Zuke on the shoulder.

Zuke rubbed his shoulder. “I’m not your punching bag.”

“Twenty bucks for a month’s worth of rides is the sweetest deal of the century. You want to know what else is a sweet deal? Downloading an app called Shit Saver can really save on your online purchases.”

“What? Give me the phone.”

“Woah! Dude, no, that’s my phone.”

Zuke unplugged his tail and plugged it to the phone. In a few seconds, Zuke sucked all the phone power from the battery. The phone died.

“My video! Now I’m going to have to start all over again from the top.”

“No, you are going to serve a jail sentence like a normal rampaging dragon would. I can’t believe that I got suckered into doing a video by a no name dragon.”

“I have a name. It’s Toglass.”

“Whatever, get out of my area. You are leaving at the next stop. Have fun in jail.”

Zuke shoved Toglass out of the driver’s area and slammed the door shut. Zuke’s tail charged the train. At Government Center, Zuke double checked the passenger areas to see that Toglass left.

When the coast was clear, Zuke returned to the driver’s area.

Who was the judge that allowed Toglass to do what he did? Zuke was a law-abiding citizen, and he didn’t have to take that abuse. Did he have to write up another report on that red and orange dragon? Maybe if he stayed quiet about it, he wouldn’t have to write up that dragon.

A human voice yelled, “Dragons are evil and should go to hell where they belong! Ah!”

Zuke unplugged his tail and went outside to see what was happening. Toglass started another fire, this time on a trash can.

Zuke had two options. He could ignore it, which wouldn’t look too hot on the record. Being a hero sounded like the plan he always wanted to take.

Toglass prepared to point his snout and fire toward an innocent bystander, but Zuke zapped Toglass with his tail. He fell over, and within ten minutes, the authorities came again to take Toglass away.

Yes, maybe he could work for another decade or two. Zapping the bad guy sounded great on his resumé.

Reggie Kwok dreams of dragons in his sleep when he is not summoning their powers for writing. He holds a B.A. in English and a master’s in education. He currently lives in Massachusetts, USA. His Twitter is @KwokReggie. His Bluesky is @reggiekwok.bsky.social. He had short stories published at Samjoko Magazine, Underland Arcana, and two forthcoming at Zooscape and Androids and Dragons.