There is an elephant in the room. No, literally: there is an elephant in my living room. My wife sits scrunched on one end of the sofa, arms crossed, while my friend Joe smokes a pipe on the other end of the sofa, slumping so low that I can almost hear his spine snapping in half. My wife clears her throat and gives me the look. I once tried to give her the look, but she just frowned and asked me if I was constipated. I finger a receipt in my shirt pocket.
“I can explain.” The elephant lumbers into our kitchen to scoop up some peanuts out of a bucket. I wince.
My wife rises and glides towards me like a wraith. Her fingernails claw my shoulders. “The truth, Henry. The truth.” I will the receipt farther into my pocket.
“Yes ma’am. Well… here it is then.”--I take a deep breath--“So you’re not gonna believe this, but I visited the circus.”
She purses her lips.
“It all started when I was trip sitting for joe. He’d bought a big bunch of I-don’t-know-what and he wanted to make sure he didn’t die. So anyway, I was taking care of good-ole Joe and then he said we should sneak into the animal room. We drove out to town--got some cigarettes, ski masks. We put on the masks and went in. In fairness, the door wasn’t secured very well. You following?”
She stares at me blankly. Joe rocks back and forth, cackling. “Henry,” she starts.
I wave her off.
“But then!, we saw the elephant guy beating the elephant with a stick. We had to do something. So, we left, waited for the elephant man to leave, then snuck back in. Just as we were picking the lock to let the fella out, one of the elephant man’s five wives walked in and yelled so loud she woke the circus.” My wife’s always been sympathetic to animals.
My wife interjects, “Can I just…? We need to talk.” I swear I catch her eyeing my shirt pocket.
I shake my head. “Let me. We needed to get out of the circus, fast. We hopped on Joey’s back--we named the elephant Joey--and rode out of the tent. The whole circus chased after us: the fat lady tried to hop on the elephant's toes to slow it down, and the lion man released his pets. The real trouble was when the fire breathing man accidentally caught Joey’s tail on fire. After that we were stomping really quickly into town. We hid in an abandoned warehouse for a while, then stayed a few nights in a brothel. Then we rode home when the circus finally left. So, yeah, that’s what happened.”
Henry waited expectantly. His wife let out a long, deep sigh. “Henry, there was no circus within one-hundred miles, I already called all the brothels, and I checked your bank statements. I know you bankrupted us by importing that elephant from India.”
“I want a divorce.” Oh. Apparently, there were two elephants in the room.