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Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid

Todd Hartley
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

Remember that movie “Grizzly Man,” in which this guy goes up to Alaska and thinks he can commune with the giant bears until one of them eats him? OK, I never saw it either, but it got me thinking about how I’d like to produce a similar documentary, only this one would be about a guy who gets killed by dragons.

I know what you’re thinking: How could you do a documentary about dragons? Dragons aren’t real. Well, that’s where you’re wrong, brainiac. Dragons are real. It’s a little known fact that the original “Godzilla” was made with archival footage shot by a terrified geisha who hid under an overturned bus for a week and survived by eating her own toes.

That’s not true. Sorry. Godzilla was clearly a C-level Japanese actor in an ill-fitting foam rubber suit. But dragons actually do exist if you consider Komodo dragons, the 10-foot-long, poisonous lizards native to a handful of Indonesian islands. Those are the creatures I plan to have in my movie.



Here’s the plot: An Indonesian fisherman, so desperately poor that he can barely feed his family, sees a tempting grove of sugar apple trees on a deserted island, so heavy with fruit that they could feed his children for weeks. He knows he’s trespassing but goes ashore anyway, driven by hunger.

He pulls an apple off a branch and takes a big bite, letting the juices run down his chin, savoring every morsel. He’s never tasted anything so delicious. Greedily, he reaches for more, holding out his shirt like a basket so he can get as many as possible.




Suddenly, he hears the “Thwipp!” of some creature flicking out and retracting its forked tongue. He spins around in a panic, but there’s nothing there. He goes back to picking apples, but he hears the sound again. Then he hears it in a different spot. Terrified now, he starts back across the beach toward his boat.

A dragon emerges from the woods not 20 feet away, followed by two more. The man drops the precious apples and starts to sprint, but the dragons catch up to him in seconds. The man runs faster, and it looks like he’ll make it to the boat. At the last second, though, a dragon bites him on the leg, tearing away a large hunk of flesh.

The man falls into the boat and fires it up. He speeds away from the island and seeks help from other fishermen, but before they can get him to a hospital, the poison takes its toll, and the man dies. The end.

Sure, it won’t be a very long movie, but it’ll be dramatic, and it’ll help to raise public awareness of a very serious, criminally under-reported issue. Dragon attacks are on the rise, and it’s important for everyone to know about it before it’s too late.

In addition to the attack described above, which took place earlier this week, there was an attack on a park ranger last month by a dragon that climbed a ladder to get into his hut and mauled his hand and foot. In 2007 an 8-year-old boy was killed by dragons, and last June a group of stranded SCUBA divers had to fend off a hoard of the hungry reptiles before they were finally rescued.

Now that you see how serious an issue this is, I’d like to offer some tips to help you survive a dragon encounter. First, stay inside at all times. Dragons haven’t figured out how to open doors … yet. Second, have a fall-back position in case dragons do figure out how to open doors. I suggest a basement with a door with at least four dead bolt locks, and make sure to stock it with plenty of food unless you like the taste of your own toes.

You might think I’m being a little paranoid. After all, Komodo dragons only live in Indonesia, and there are reportedly less than 4,000 left in the wild. Don’t be fooled! That’s just what the dragons want you to think. They’re expanding their numbers, and they’re getting help from their evil human minions to do it. On Monday a zoo on the Indonesian island of Java reported the arrival of 32 newborn dragons as part of a “breeding program,” as if people actually want more killer lizards around.

Come to think of it, there’s my new ending: Two of the little suckers escape, and I get to work on the sequel.


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