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Elephant in the Machine


elephant

Mary Pleat bounced into the family room, disrupting the ladies who were gathered for their yoga class.

"What is it, Mary?" asked her mother, scowling at the interruption.

"There is an elephant in my sewing machine and he is very hungry," said Mary. "Can I give him some yummy yoddles?"

"Can you really see him?" asked Mother. Her voice quivered and she looked nervous.

"No, Mr. White is a real elephant from AFRICA! He didn't like living in the zoo, but he is happy living in my sewing machine."
"Sort of," said Mary in a defiant tone. "Whether or not I can see all of him, he's a very handy thing to have. Please say I can keep him," replied Mary with a flounce of her black curls.

The ladies in the yoga class were giggling.

"His name is Mr. White. When I drop a needle on the floor he spreads honey on his toes and walks across my shaggy rug until the needle sticks to one of his toes."

Mother forced a smile. "Very interesting," she muttered, settling into the Lotus position.

Since Mother wasn't interested in hearing about Mr. White, she decided to tell Father. She found him in the garage, tinkering with the car. "Hi, Dad," she said.

"How's my big girl?" he mumbled, a bolt crunched between his teeth.

"Dad," she exclaimed, "I have an elephant living in my sewing machine."

"You what?" groaned her father, dropping the wrench with a clang.

"His name is Mr. White. He uses his trunk to vacuum my thread box when it gets linty."

"Oh," he said with a sigh. "Mr. White must be a stuffed elephant."

"No, Mr. White is a real elephant from AFRICA! He didn't like living in the zoo, but he is happy living in my sewing machine."

"Now, honey," said Father, "we'll talk about this later."

Mary stomped off to find her brother.

"Hi, pest," grinned Matthew, dribbling a basketball. "What do you want?"

"I have an elephant that lives in my sewing machine."

"Wow, are you a screwy kid," he said, pushing his hair from his eyes.

"I truly have. When it's hot, he fans me with his floppy ears. He is really quite useful."

"You'll never get to Heaven telling whoppers like that," Matthew shouted.

"Maybe Uncle Walt will believe me," thought Mary, as she skip-a-loued into the backyard where Uncle Walt had crashed onto the flowered hammock. A tall glass of iced lemonade stood on a nearby table.

"Are you asleep, Uncle Walt?" shouted Mary, leaning close.

"Uh, no," he replied, sitting up so quickly the hammock flip-flopped him onto the ground.

"I have an elephant and he lives in my sewing machine," she said with a grin.

"Did you disturb me to tell me that?" he groaned, opening his mouth to yawn.

"But, I really do. His name is Mr. White and he uses his tail to sweep up thread and scraps."

"Now, Mary," Uncle Walt said, wagging his finger at her, "your mother taught you never to lie. Run along, so I can mow the lawn," he said as he flopped back onto the hammock.

At the dinner table, Mary clanged her knife against her glass. When it was quiet, she said, "Doesn't anyone believe that an elephant lives in my sewing machine?"

"Mary," Father sounded irritated, "if you insist on making up stories, we'll have to punish you."

"But," Mary persisted, "if you brag to your friends that the fish you caught was two feet long and it was barely seven inches, why can't I tell everyone I have an elephant?"

Dad's face looked like a red lollipop. "Er, uh, that was different," he stammered.

"Mary," said Mother, "how could anything as huge as an elephant possibly fit into your sewing machine?"

Mary grinned. "Because he's a baby," she explained.

Matthew started to laugh. He laughed so hard, a glazed parsnip went down the his throat wrong.

"You'd better not laugh," Mary said, "because you tell everyone that Jenny Meyer is your girl - friend and she won't even talk to you when you call her."

Matthew, who had nearly quit choking on the parsnip, started to cough again. He sounded like a vaporizer running out of water. Mother darted around the table to pound him on the back. "Mary, you shouldn't say those things. Even a baby elephant wouldn't fit in your sewing machine."

"But if you say that your eggplant strudel won First Place at the State Fair and you didn't even get a ribbon, why can't I say I have an elephant?"

Mother hastily arose as she remembered an important phone call she had to make.

Uncle Walt started grinning. "Your gal is a real imaginative kid," he said.

Mary turned to him. "My elephant is no harder to believe than when you tell everyone you're a millionaire and you have to borrow bus money from Mother!"

Uncle Walt jumped to his feet, sputtering.

"You know, Mary," said Dad, looking thoughtful, "you do have a point. I guess all

of us have stretched the truth a bit. If we stop doing this, will you do the same?"

"I guess I can do that. Mr. White was never very good at threading needles, anyway," she said, with a grin.

If you would like to have a story written about you for Nanny's Story Time, send your name and a subject you like. If you are selected, a story will be written about you in the magazine. Send your idea to www.kerncountyfamily@earthlink.net.

Please list your subject matter as "Idea for Nanny."
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