Goldschmidt awoke too soon from a difficult night of sleep in the hillside. The townspeople had gathered round him. Dawn had already crept over the crest of the hillside and lit their faces for him.
“We need your help,” said the mayor. Goldschmidt wiped the sleep from his eye and nodded. Some children tried to play in the bits that fell to the ground but their mothers held them back and smacked them for their recklessness. Goldschmidt did not like to see that, but he knew he could never give advice, for they all obeyed whatever he said with a most rigorous and off-putting dedication of their entire being. He did not enjoy to see them as pets, but they saw him as their god.
Now, Goldschmidt had no recollection of his youth; as far as he knew he had always been a fully grown man; but he doubted that the miniature people now congregated near his head were his own creation. He just didn’t have that in him, and all he ever remembered wanting was a simple life, free of the burden of protecting them and solving their mindless problems.
He stood up, and the crowd of simple country folk withdrew like an in-drawn breath. He picked up the mayor in his hand and guided him to the other so the man could stand on Goldschmidt’s palm.
“What is it?” Goldschmidt asked.
“Well, sir, we heard news in the night of a dragon attacking the port city of Danzig. And, as I’m sure you already know, the yield of our last harvest is making its way to Danzig as we speak! The fortunes of the town lie with that yield, from old Mr. Beaneater to Rolanda’s latest suckling babe.” The mayor laughed bitterly.
“Get hold of yourself, man!”
“I dare not say what truly disturbs me, sir.”
“Very well. My son, my first-born, is personally leading the transport of our harvest! Oh, Great Giant, please, please save a father from the greatest pain he can ever know! Please make haste and intercept that dragon before he ravages any more of that great trading-post on our shores, before he burns all the countryside around it. My son will have nowhere to hide, and half of us will starve during winter!” The mayor fell to his knees and fainted.
“It might be time for another election,” Goldschmidt mumbled to himself. He placed the mayor on the grass and walked toward the mountain pass. In twenty strides he was there, and he used both hands and feet to shuffle over the peak, swinging one leg over at the top to reverse his orientation for the way down. He saw the train of horse-drawn carriages was visible across the countryside, and lo, to the south, a plume of black smoke hung and stank.
Jogging, Goldschmidt reached the port city in about ten minutes. The center of the city was burning, for you couldn’t find better tinder than those cramped houses. In the harbor the ships that remained afloat burned as well.
But the city had wide stone walls and strong towers. Around one the dragon swarmed. Archers fired to little avail, but they could hold out for some time. Goldschmidt walked up to the tower in question. On the way he noticed a wounded man lying underneath a destroyed catapult. He calmly lifted the man out of his predicament and placed him in the back pocket of his immense brown overalls.
The dragon was stupidly consumed with the tower of archers and Goldschmidt moved on his toes, and so effectively snuck up behind the creature. When he was close enough to see the lines of color on the dragon’s back he said, “Hey jack-ass,” and the dragon turned, screeching with incredulity. “Yeah you!” Goldschmidt punched the dragon dead and then placed the wounded man atop the deceased beast’s hindquarters so he could get the first and best cut of meat.
On the way home Goldschmidt picked up the mayor’s son, leaving the convoy with some bureaucrat. When father and son reunited they threw a pretty good party. For once, Goldschmidt took the liberty of getting first crack at the piñata. It was a letdown; he flicked the thing so hard it and all the candy on the inside broke into dust. The children ate cereal that was equal bits candy, plastic and Papier Mâché and many lost their teeth. This would set the community back some years.
When he got back to his nestling spot between some smooth undulating hills, he felt again the weight of all their lives. It was not too much for him, it never had been, but it wore on his mind sometimes. He tried to imagine what it would feel like to be the same size as the townspeople, the people at the port–people everywhere, as far as he knew. Another life on another planet, he thought, and he grinned at the ridiculous names his mind had conjured as cities and rivers on his fictional place. One name stuck in his head, and he whispered it through the trees, “Arizona.”