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Every Day There Is So Much about Elephants

Story by Timothy Gager (Read author interview) March 29, 2011

Art by Sue Miller

I’d been told that elephants could change your life. I also had been told that I could change the life of an elephant by protesting the circus. I needed to paint a sign first but that might be as effective as a candle light vigil. People liked candles and they marched around with Dixie Cups when someone was either missing or dead. When someone died a bunch of candles won’t do shit.

I spent college starving mostly because I didn’t have any edible food in the refrigerator. The elephants ate it. How did I know an elephant had been in the refrigerator? He left his footprint in the cheesecake. That’s why it’s not edible. Cheesecake would have been nice.

I studied computers and philosophy. I heard the voice of Ganesha when I wrote programs. I never heard, “You look great today” or, “Why don’t you take a drive to the Cape?” The voices never said, “Have another donut.” or, “Your professor loves your work.” They only told me to kill my parents or someone important like John Hinkley Jr. The voices never said, “It’s a sunny day, you should wear shorts.”

Anyone remember elephant beer? I got a girl drunk on it once solely for the purpose of getting her drunk so that things might happen. Things did happen. She threw up. I’m not the type to fuck a girl who had thrown up. The next morning she remembered. “I like you,” she said. “You do so many things.” She became my wife.

I told my job interviewer that I trained elephants. She scratched her head. I needed the job. “But we don’t have any elephants here. It’s a computer software company.”

“I can do so many things,” I said because my wife told me that. Training elephants was something you can’t get certified for. How would the interviewer ever know unless there were photos from every circus that ever existed. The job paid well but when the company had a Team Building Exercise at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus my boss introduced me to Billy Barnum, a friend of hers and a poet. “Well?” my boss said. I recited the only poem I knew about a gay horse pulling a carriage in the snow. I was fired that Monday. It was interesting timing because usually people were fired on Fridays. That’s why suicide hotlines were their busiest before the weekends. If you’re fired during the week there was a better chance you’d come back to the office with a gun.

On Monday night I watched “Fatal Attractions,” the show on Animal Planet where people raised exotic animals that grew up and killed them. That night it was about someone that held a baby elephant named Sophie in their studio apartment in Somerville, Massachusetts. It had been born in Africa with only one front leg, which was perfect when it got big and the owner made it stand on its two back legs on his step stool in the kitchen. All the neighbors loved that act until one day the woman in 2-B with a peanut allergy had the Board of Health cleanse the premises for peanut dust. Sophie mashed those guys using her head as a mallet, and then turned on the owner. She hammered him all the way into the building foundation. Perhaps you read that in the paper. If not, it’s now on TV.

I left my wife a note after she went to sleep. I drank coffee and drove to New Hampshire, where the gun shops opened early, and bought an elephant gun. I had all the paperwork. “Thar’s no elephants up he-ah,” he told me.

“That’s a joke right?”

“Yep,” he said, and then printed out the receipt.

“I’m buying this gun so that people won’t forget me,” I said. In life, people aren’t good enough. They’ll light candles. The elephants won’t forget anything.

About the Author

Timothy Gager is the author of eight books of fiction and poetry. He lives on www.timothygager.com.

About the Artist

Sue Miller lives in Connecticut with an assortment of goldfish. She is one of the founding editors of GUDGreatest Uncommon Denominator Magazine and has been an editor for multiple issues of SCRAWL’s Story Garden. Publication credits include Night Train, elimae, FRiGG, Right Hand Pointing, Thieves Jargon, etc.


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