Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My Copper Elephant

A child who grew up all alone had for company only a miniature copper elephant. Supposedly his parents had left it for him, before they disappeared. The child lived in a pleasant, if boring, place and had all the nourishment that he could desire. While most children were eating oatmeal and grits, this child feasted on sushi, barbecue, and all sorts of exoctic vegtables. He learned to read and think in many languages, and had access to a vast variety of thought provoking books. He was, however, without mother and father, and he missed them dearly like other children about whom he had read, even though he did not understand very much.

The castle he lived in had many rooms, and one had to be crafty to see them all. The child had counted: twenty, everyday, each one with something new in it. He lived in a magic castle, of this he was certain. Soft white light poured always from the hollow, reverberating walls. One had to get on one's hands and knees and crawl through small tunnels to get to the other rooms. Everyday he wanted to see the new things. Sometimes there were trap doors and they were hidden, one had to solve a riddle or puzzle before they would open. At night he feared that he had missed one; in all the days he must have missed one; what could he have missed? An object priceless without a doubt. Some news about the war? Or something French? The French soul. He loved to think about the feeling of the book in his hand when he read Sartre, he would pretend to be sick all over the little black words.

Only the copper elephant remained the same. Everday something new, and one thing the same. He always left the little thing in the main room, although he dearly wished to put it in his pocket. But he was naked, he had figured that out, naked since the day he was born, so he had no pockets, no pants either. Maybe pants will be a new thing someday. Maybe they have already, and you just didn't know how to use them. This was another of his fears; there had been many times when something simply did not make sense, and try as he might he could not fix it. None of them were pants, I would recogize pants, but one of them might lead to pants.

When he was angry or bored he would toss the little elephant hard against the noisy walls. He imagined that was what thunder sounded like. The hard elephant would scratch the tender walls. The scratches never stayed, he had heard about scratch remover, so it probably happened when you were asleep. Lots seemed to happen when you were asleep; the whole world sometimes changed.... Even the walls change, new walls. Lots of new things everyday too. I've kept books overnight before. Sometimes they come back. It all always changes. New things. Walls. But I don't know why, I ask, and I really don't know.

When I'm dead the copper elephant will still be here, it is because I am organic and therefore decay quicker. I wonder if the walls will change for him?

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