VIFSTORIES

Vifstories

SOME CITIES
SOME STORIES

MANCHESTER

The Elephant Story

2001

Translated by Andrew Fentem





I donít understand my colleagues. Each morning they ask me how my elephants, squirrels and mice are doing. I wasnít aware of being such an animal lover. But since they ask me this, there must be a reason for it. Itís true I've been living above a veterinary surgery for some time now and that, as recently as yesterday, I saw a squirrel being carried along on a stretcher by four of its pals, also small grey rodents. As regards the elephant, thatís because last week, on Thursday morning at around 8 oíclock to be exact, I had just got on board the 43 bus when, two minutes later, the bus collided with an elephant. This was followed by a conversation, animated to say the least, between the bus driver and the trainer of the elephant. The driver was very angry with the latter for not having used his indicators. The trainer, in his defence, replied:
- Indicators on an elephant? Yeah right! He also added that he had actually flapped the animalís left ear and could not possibly have indicated any more clearly that he was turning left. What's more, he said he was in a hurry and had to go at the speed he was as he had to deliver some spices to a number of Indian restaurants not far from where the collision took place. The animal, like all good proboscidians, always set off on tiptoe and was apparently unhurt, but the bus had to continue its journey with a dent in its side and a broken rear-view mirror.

I also got to work a bit late that day. My stupid colleagues accused me of having overslept. I told them they were mistaken, and that it was due to an elephant the number 43 bus had got too close to and thatÖ
- Yes, right - time to stop dreaming, Vincent!
But I swear - itís true!!!