The Elephant in the Living Room

The Elephant in the Living Room

A Story by Ian Reeve

Something strange is happening at number 186 Bluebell Road

A crowd was gathering outside number 186 Bluebell road, a previously unremarkable house in an unremarkable neighbourhood. It grew, as crowds do, as more people gathered to see what was going on. There were two police cars parked outside the house, along with a van from the RSPCA, another van from the local council and one from a glazing firm. The crowd watched as two overalled glaziers were led around the back of the house by the police and a buzz of conversation filled the air as everyone asked everyone else what on earth was going on.

The arrival of a news van from the local television station poured fresh fuel on the speculation. A pretty female reporter and a cameraman exited the van and approached the house but were stopped by a policeman. They spoke for a few moments, the policeman re-entered the house to consult with the homeowners, then re-emerged to let the reporters in. There’s been a murder! Someone in the crowd speculated, and the rest of the crowd were quick to agree. They craned their necks to see through the windows, but the occasional glimpse they got of the homeowners seemed to show people bewildered and astonished rather than stunned and grief stricken.

Time passed and nothing else happened. Then someone in the crowd cried out that they were on the news, and everyone gathered around the nearest lucky individual with a smartphone capable of showing TV shows. “She says there’s an elephant in the living room!” Someone said in amused disbelief.

“It’s just a saying,” someone else said. “It means...”

“I know what it means! They’re saying there’s an actual elephant in the living room! They’re taking out the bay windows to get it out.”

“How could there be an elephant in the living room?” Someone else asked. “How could it get in?”

“It’s a trick,” someone else offered. “A hoax. They’re playing a trick on us. It’s probably one of those TV shows that plays tricks on people. Some TV celebrity will show up in a minute to laugh at us and say we’re all on TV.”

Chuckles of amusement ran through the crowd as everyone agreed that that’s what it was, and everyone stared at the house and up and down the street, keen to be the first to spot the TV celebrity. Then a collective gasp of astonishment ran through the crowd as an actual, real live elephant was led out from behind the house by the RSPCA men. It must have been brought in last night, in secret, people in the crowd told each other. This is it. This is when the TV celebrity will show himself.

The arrival of another van caused huge excitement and anticipation, therefore, but it was just a horse box that the elephant was urged to enter by the police and the RSPCA people. The van’s door opened and the crowd craned their necks to see who it was, but it was just some driver who spoke to the RSPCA people, being told where to take the elephant. He got back in the van, started it up and it drove off down the road, leaving the crowd even more confused than before.

Time went by in which nothing more happened. After a while the glazing people got back in their van and drove off, having presumably replaced the bay windows, and a few minutes after that the police drove off as well, after telling the crowd that it was all over and there was nothing else to see. The crowd didn’t believe them, though, and remained for another hour or so before finally growing bored and drifting away in dribs and drabs. Soon only a few die hards were left, waiting patiently, certain that some explanation would reveal itself if they only waited long enough.

Throughout the whole thing, the child of the house, a seven year old downs syndrome boy, was completely overlooked, having spent the whole time staring at the elephant in wide eyed astonishment and joy. “It’s true, you really can do magic!” he gasped.

“Of course,” said the genie, invisible to everyone else. “You still have two wishes left. What do you command, O Master?”

The boy pursed his lips and furrowed his brow in intense thought, “I want a pile of sweeties as big as a whale! And I want everyone in the whole world to be just like me so I’ll never be lonely again!”

“At once, Master!” said the genie, and he snapped his fingers twice.

© 2017 Ian Reeve

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If I may i would like to look at your work on a few levels.
technical- there are a few places that you have quotations but do not use quotation marks. A couple of examples: there's been a murder; what on earth . You may have a reason for not making these direct quotes but it seems like they are specific to an individual or two and so quotation marks give them some nuance.
"...a collective gasp of astonishment rain through the crowd..." is this a typo?
style- I don't feel the sentence " actual, real live elephant..." helps you here. It is an interesting part of the story and I think you can relay it more effectively, more succinctly and achieve the desired effect.
I feel similarly about your sentence that introduces
the surprise "...a down syndrome boy..." It seems that you could introduce this in a more subtle way and achieve the desired effect. Let this paragraph build a little til people realize what is going on. It is also best to describe a boy "with down syndrome" rather than a "down syndrome boy" but you may see this as nit picking.
overall- I like the story and the turn that it takes. I like the brevity and yet it suggests many things. Only you know if my suggested changes take away from the intent that you had in writing the story; if so then ignore them and accept my apology.

Posted 1 Year Ago

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Added on June 7, 2017
Last Updated on June 27, 2017


Ian Reeve
Ian Reeve

Leigh - on - Sea, United Kingdom

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