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The Elephant In The Room

“I have an elephant.” “You’re kidding.” “No, he’s a real, live, honest-to-goodness elephant. Big ears, prehensile trunk, skinny tail, everything. He’s two tons of fun!”
| Aug 2, 2011 | No comments |

“Would you like a cup of coffee?”

“Thank you. Black’s fine. Doctor says I need to lay off the sugar.”

“Here you go.”

“Mmm. Nice. I like what you’ve done with the place. Are those new curtains?”

“Yes. We’ve redecorated the whole house. You should see the kitchen. It’s incredible.”

“We? I thought you lived alone.”

“I have an elephant.”

“You’re kidding.”

“No, he’s a real, live, honest-to-goodness elephant. Big ears, prehensile trunk, skinny tail, everything. He’s two tons of fun!”

“Strange, it doesn’t look like you’re sharing your home with an elephant.”

“Who do you think did the redecorating?”

“Cute. Do you keep it in the backyard?”

He is sitting over there on the sofa. Wave hello, Eddie.”

“There’s nothing on the sofa.”

“Eddie is an invisible elephant.”

“Riiight. How come the sofa hasn’t collapsed under his weight? There’s not even a dent on it.”

“It’s a very firm sofa, and Eddie counts his calories, though he raids the refrigerator every now and then, when I’m not looking.”

“How can you tell?”

“He leaves footprints in the butter.”

“Assuming for a moment there actually is an elephant in this room, how did the two of you get together?”

“Eddie found me. Since then, we’ve been inseparable. He’s an enormous part of everything I do.”

“But your house doesn’t look that different, and you could have installed the paneling and carpet by yourself.”

“You don’t believe me. You think I’m crazy, saying I live with an invisible elephant.”

“Oh, no. It’s not like you’re my only friend with an elephant. Bill has one, but it’s too big to fit in his apartment, and it has a temper. The landlord lets him keep it in the basement.”

“How awful. That’s no way to live with an elephant.”

“Well, there’s no mistaking that Bill has one. He smells like an elephant, always has pieces of straw tangled in his hair, and I don’t even want to talk about his shoes. How do you keep this place so fresh and flowery?”

“Lavender potpourri. And Eddie is very tidy.”

“Cindy has an elephant, too. A big, pink one. She has it trained. You come over to visit, Cindy gives the word, and her elephant sits in your lap. There’s no arguing with it.”

“My goodness. Eddie would never force himself on a guest like that.”

“Glad to hear it. You can’t fault Cindy for enthusiasm, though. She has her elephant, and she won’t rest until everybody in the world knows it, up-close and personal. Frankly, if you hadn’t told me, I never would have suspected you had an elephant.”

“It’s not like I’m trying to hide him. He may be invisible, but anybody can see him, if they’ll just look.”

“I’m looking, and I’m still not seeing.”

“Eddie has a presence–he’s always here, taking care of all the little things I don’t think about. He dusts, he unplugs the iron, winds the grandfather clock, keeps the weasels away…”

“Weasels? There aren’t any weasels in this whole county.”

“Thanks to Eddie. He makes me smile when I’m feeling sad, too. Gives me a strong shoulder to lean on when I’m tired. Spend a little more time here, and you’ll see what I mean.”

“It’d help if he’d trumpet once in a while or something.”

“Perhaps I could ask him to sit on your lap.”

“No, that’s all right. I’ll take a refill on the coffee, though, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course. Eddie, be a dear and help me get our friend a fresh cup.”

Well, I guess there’s no harm in playing along. “Hey…er…Eddie…could I have a spoonful of sugar with that, please?”


“Yikes. I think I’m beginning to see. How about we make that two spoonfuls…and a shot of creamer.”

Fred was born in Tacoma, Washington, but spent most of his formative years in California, where his parents pastored a couple of small churches. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1983, and spent 24 years in the Air Force as a bomber navigator, flight-test navigator, and military educator. He retired from the Air Force in 2007, and now works as a government contractor in eastern Kansas, providing computer simulation support for Army training.Fred has been married for 25 years to the girl who should have been his high school sweetheart, and has three kids, three dogs, and a mortgage. When he's not writing or reading, he enjoys running, hiking, birdwatching, stargazing, and playing around with computers.Writing has always been a big part of his life, but he kept it mostly private until a few years ago, when it occurred to him that if he was ever going to get published, he needed to get serious about it. Since then, he's written more than twenty short stories that have been published in a variety of print and online magazines, and a novel, The Muse, that debuted in November 2009 from Splashdown Books, which was a finalist for the 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award for book of the year in the speculative genre. Speculative fiction is his first love, but he writes the occasional bit of non-fiction or poetry, just to keep things interesting.

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Is it wrong that I was looking for a reason for this besides laughing?

Bruce Hennigan

Mike Duran has a heavy post at http://www.mikeduran.com about “glorifying” God in our writing.

Rebecca LuElla Miller

there were some discussions on several blogs this week about the portrayal of God and other Christian themes in Christian fiction, and they provided some inspiration for this piece.

I suspected this, Fred, but I didn’t want to be presumptuous.

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Darn, I thought the story was gonna be about Republicans….