When the Dragon finally found Alice, she was lying under her favourite damson tree, dangling her left foot in the cool stream that was lazily trickling past.
‘Wassup?’ he asked, blocking out the sun.
‘Meh’, said Alice, squinting at him.
‘Meh?’ said the Dragon.
‘Most definitely, meh’ confirmed Alice, with a definitive shake of her brown curls.
‘What’s going on?’ he asked. ‘Yesterday you were like a squirrel who’d been swimming in caffeine. Have you finally come down from your espresso high?’
Alice sat up slightly and shrugged lethargically. She sighed. ‘It’s just… it’s just that, well, I’m trying to get all organised…’.
The Dragon raised his luminous green eyebrows at her and said dryly, ‘Is that what we’re calling it? Organised? Not hyper? Not manic? Not batshit-crazy?’
Alice groaned. ‘And I started the year off so well, it was all going swimmingly, but… I just can’t keep it up, and now I feel like I’ve failed and… Meh’. She slumped back to the ground and sighed heavily.
‘I’m not one to say ‘I told you so’, but…’
‘Oh, piss off Dragon. Like you’ve done anything useful lately.’
The Dragon harrumphed and sat down heavily with his back to her, making the ground shake slightly.
The two sat in disgruntled silence together as the stream cheerfully continued to trickle on, not giving a damn what they thought about it.
The Dragon did feel bad for Alice. She’d done loads of work to get ready for her new year. And while Dragon considered work to be a four-letter word, and something to be avoided at all costs, he understood the concept of it and could see how much being successful meant to Alice. Who was his best friend after all. Even if just watching her did make him feel bad about how little effort he put into his life.
He sighed and used one long claw to carve a rather good self-portrait into the mud that banked the sloping sides of the stream.
‘Well, at least I know something you don’t’
Alice looked sharply sideways at him. ‘Go on,’ she said ‘I can’t wait to hear this’.
The Dragon looked as snooty as he could and said ‘I know how to stop you feeling so bad about not knowing what to do first.’
‘Drag… for once, gin is not the answer to this dilemma’.
The Dragon looked as if his world had been shaken, but gathered himself quickly and said ‘No. ACTUALLY, what I mean is that I know how you can work out what to do first and how you can do it really quickly, so you can get back to the important things in life. Like me.’
Alice sat bolt upright. She didn’t like to admit that she needed help, but she really did this time.
‘HOW?!’ she asked.
‘You need to come with me and meet someone’
‘WHO?!’ shouted Alice.
‘The witch’, said Dragon, definitively.