I wanted an elephant, but Mom said no.

My Parents are really unreasonable. My friends all have pets, but not me. My Dad says that we’ve tried it before. I got a Rabbit for my Birthday. One day when I went out to feed it, it just kept staring at me. I looked over my shoulder, at what it was staring at, there wasn’t anything. It wasn’t my fault that while I was sleeping it decided to do a Buddha on me and go over the Garden Wall. You know, after sitting under his fig tree, he finally went AWOL, over the wall. Nirvana you know? No, not the band. Nirvana. Enlightenment? Doesn’t anyone read books anymore? It doesn’t matter. My rabbit is caught in permanent stare-mode.

Dad said that it was my fault. I had neglected it, spending too much time on my Schwinn, polishing my sissy bar. Sissy bar? You know that hoop-like thing in back. We used to shine them up with steel wool, you know. My rabbit was taking a sort of LSD break. I don’t know. He used to eat, and other rabbit-things. It was the 60s. He could have been taking a trip, just like my Sister sitting on her floor, screaming how she had seen Jesus. I looked around. Maybe I could catch sight of him. Nope. Just my Mom, yelling. No Jesus look-alikes here. My rabbit was a junkie. I wanted to get him some shades. You know, dark glasses. Remember Steppenwolf? They had a hit of sorts, or two back in the 60s. My sister married John Kay. You know, the lead singer. Just it wasn’t him, but his double. Everyone at school asked if he had given me all their albums? No, but what did they know! He used to have shades on, like the sun was too bright for his eyes. My sissy-bar started to rust. Never use steel wool on your sissy-bar.

I wanted an Elephant. I had swept out the back porch. I measured the back gate, and the garage. It could just about go. If I moved my Schwinn over to one side, and looked through a glass darkly, it would just about make it. I had saved up some money. My 2 older sisters used to pay me to fix their speakers. The wires kept falling out. Girls, what do they know? Later on I learned that they had been taking the back off to stash their stuff! It didn’t matter to me, I was rather dense, and wouldn’t know what substance abuse was, even if it bit me in my big toe. I did worry though if the Elephant started to throw its head back, then it would go through the roof! It was a pinkish color with ripples in it, the roof I mean, so the rain could run off. I used to throw the ball for my dog, until he ran himself into the ground. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I use, and abuse my pets. The Rabbit is still there, on an extended trip. Sort of like those 45s you could buy. 45 RPM. Little LP’s. Some of them had songs that were too long for one side, so you had to take off the needle, flip it over, and continue grooving to the tunes. Boss and Groovy. Tie-die your paisley jeans and put your patchouli, where the sun don’t shine.

My Father just shook his head. What was the Elephant going to do when it needed to relieve itself? Who was going to do the shoveling? Hey, I’ve picked up after my dog for years now. We could sell it as exotic fertilizer. We used to buy horse manure in large plastic bags, with almost no plant nutritional value. 1-1-1 was the percentage N-P-K. It didn’t matter, it was cheap and we used tons of it on the flower bed. It stank to high heaven, but we didn’t care what the neighbors thought of us anyway. Elephant manure for the masses! I could get a piece of cardboard at the local market and make a sign, “Elephant Poop – Get it while it’s Fresh”. Mom didn’t go to that market anymore. Her checks were rubberized and would bounce, bounce and bounce away…..

I really felt that the Rabbit and the Elephant could get along. Just like my and my little Sister. We were too young to fly away to San Francisco on PSA to see the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and It’s a Beautiful Day, like my 2 jet-setting Sisters. We were the young, left-at-home children, destined to experience the melt-down of our Parent’s marriage, and lack of Elephant consolation. I tried to get my sister on my side telling her how she could play with the Elephant in all months that began with ”P”. What, aren’t there any months that begin with “P”. Glorioski! And she caught on right away. Now you’re probably thinking that besides Rabbits and dogs that I also mistreated my little sister! She didn’t want an Elephant anyway, but would probably want to play with it, if she wasn’t allowed to. Little sisters are like that you know.

The day was growing old. My Elephant-dreams were not coming true. I returned my Schwinn to its rightful place and swept the dust back into the patio. No need to clean up, unless I got money for it. Then I could buy some metal polish, and shine up my Sissy-bar, which was really the most important thing in life anyway. That and shaking up those soda cans, then poking a small hole in the top so the pressure would blast that good old sugar right up into my mouth. My Mother would complain years later, how many cavities I had, and how could I have done that? I was probably bored out of my mind, not having an Elephant to pass the time with, and that’s why I got so many cavities, drinking unhealthy sodas, and deciding finally that my Rabbit was not going to come back from the beyond.

That’s what lack of Elephants can do to a young mind……