The Peculiar Tale Of Elephantasy
A man of nondescript age and race walks into a pet shop. He tells the woman sitting at the counter chewing her nails that he’d like to purchase, for the general entertainment of his family, a small (and preferably white) rabbit.
Nails bitten and twice shy, the woman spat out the contents of her mouth which included (in order of spitting out flow) keratin, a string of lamb, a pubic hair, some blood and a chewed up seed of an orange that till a few seconds ago, was deposited between her molar and her gum.
“We don’t have rabbits”, she said without looking up at the man who wasn’t looking down either.
“No rabbits?”, he asked raising an eye and squinting his left hand.
“None that springs to mind”, she said as she fed herself one more human finger, and ignoring the delicate play of words.
“Hummm”, hummmed the man as he walked around the pet shop surveying flora and fauna. “Not even one rabbit?”, he gesticulated wildly at nobody in particular.
“Gnah!”, the woman’s reflection on a hanging mirror gesticulated back.
“Well, what’s the closest you have to a rabbit then?”, the man persisted as he stroked a cock.
“An elephant”, the woman snarled as she took the cock in her chewed up hands.
“Like, an ELEPHANT. An actual fucking elephant?”
“Yes, an ELEPHANT”, she confirmed, as she pushed open her rear doors to the shop.
Three silent hours later, the woman broke the silence.
“This is Tina”, she said referring to the elephant in the room.
“She’s an elephant”, said the man sizing up her trunk.
“Yes, she is”, she said as he picked up her alligator bag.
“I wanted a rabbit”, the man pouted.
“No rabbits. Only elephant. You wanna?”, the woman seemed to say, although it was hard to tell exactly with all the fresh keratin in her mouth.
“Fine. I’ll take her”, the man sighed.
And so it came to pass, that on what most would call a regular Wednesday afternoon, a man went into a pet shop wanting a rabbit, but went home with an elephant instead.
It would be a lie if it was said that the children and the wife were happy about the purchase of an elephant. Apart from being a logistical nightmare, (Where would the elephant sleep? Who would feed it? Would it fly, and if so, would there be elephant miles?), the biggest issue facing the family was a simple one — that none of them wanted a fucking elephant!
And because the return policy was strict at the pet shop, it was up to the man to try and turn the elephant into a rabbit. A feat, some would say, and in fact some did say, as they stroked Tina’s behind, was next to impossible.
Not to be dissuaded by son and sundry, the man took his wife into Confidence, a room he had designed in his house for when he needed to take his wife into confidence.
“Close the door”, he said as he closed the door.
“Sit”, he said as he sat.
“The kids are still home”, the wife whispered, undoing her skirt.
“Thank you”, said the man as he took the skirt and began to iron it. “We need to talk about Tina.”
“Yes”, she replied with as much eloquence as she could garner. “I don’t like the name much myself.”
“It’s not the name that bothers me”, the man said as he applied some kohl around his eyes. “It’s the fact that the fucking thing is an elephant.”
“That too”, a voice seemed to echo in the darkness of Confidence.
“I am”, continued the man as he combed back his oiled hair, “Going to turn him into a rabbit.”
“You’re mad”, said his wife and left the room through the fire exit.
Blinded by the love of his kids, the man spent the next few months trying his best to train the elephant to be a rabbit.
He’d feed her carrots (something he noticed, the elephant wasn’t averse to), coerce her into wiggling her nose (the elephant failed at this particular task), try to get her to cuddle up on the bed (the wife slept on the sofa).
But as the months passed, the man realized, something he did with little or no frequency, that it would be indeed impossible to try and change Tina into something she wasn’t.
And even though the elephant in question (and now in the room) had developed a particular liking for carrots, and even though it sauntered into the bedroom now and then, and even though it had once, briefly, hopped over a wooden stick, by and large, the elephant still remained a fucking elephant.
Nobody was happy about this. Not the man, not his family (who still wanted a rabbit, and asked their father why he came back with a goddamn elephant), not the town people who didn’t really know what to do with the elephant (“Could we just sort of, roast it”, one ventured). And also, in the list of unhappy beings, was the elephant who had started to feel inadequate.
“If only I could become a rabbit”, the elephant translator translated to anyone who paid two bucks said, “I would be loved.”
Disappointment of not being a rabbit, turned into rage, and one unsuspecting Sunday morning, as the dosas sizzled and the coconuts crackled and the bay leaves left their aromas behind, Tina the elephant stormed into the house, trampled everyone to death, and left the scene of crime with her trunk and suitcase, never to be heard or read of, again.
This behaviour was hardly shocking, given the fact that the elephant was in fact, an elephant and not a fucking rabbit.
And so it is, with people we love. We see them as characters we want them to be in our narrative. Giving little or no hoot about who they intrinsically are. And if we just accepted everyone for who they were, without expecting them to change into who we wanted them to be, the world (the author thinks) would be a far happier place.