Potato, Elephant, Rocket

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars. Let me see if…Shit what’s the rest of it? Something about Jupiter and Mars.

“Sir, the enemy is approaching.”

“Don’t charge the elements until you see the expressions on their faces.” I thought that sounded good, strong, confident.

“Sir, that’s pretty close sir.”

“Exactly.” More confidence and strength.

“Sir, we can use our new rockets to fire at them at their current distance, sir.”

“Yes, but we have nothing to fire at them but potatoes and cans of soup.”

“I think that would hurt, sir, especially at the speed and force with which we can fire them. Canned soup at that speed is basically a cannon ball.”

“I see your thinking private, but we need that food. If all we do is bruise a few of their men, we’ll also be feeding them. I don’t know about you, but if I’m starving, I’m not above digging a spud out of the orbital socket of a dead man’s skull. What about you private?”

“Excuse me, sir?”

“I said, would you dig a potato out of a dead man’s skull if you were hungry enough?”

“I suppose so, sir.”

“Well private, I suppose the enemy would not be above such behavior either.” I tapped a cigarette on my gloved wrist.

“Light.”

“Here you go, sir”

CLINK, HISS.

I took a thoughtful drag and let the smoke come out with my next words.

“What do you think about pancakes private.”

“Pancakes, sir?”

“PANCAKES! Pillow-y spheres dripping with melted butter and sweet maple syrup. What do you think of that.”

The private looked up at the sky, as if the clouds would fall down onto a plate and the heavens would rain down syrup.

“That sounds nice, sir.”

“Indeed, private, indeed.”

ZIP, ZIP, SPLOOSH.

The elephant reared back, like the grand finale at a barnum and bailey’s circus act. I fell from my saddle to the rear of the elephant.

My cigarette fell, just a foot from me, I reached, pinching it between two fingers. My head, suddenly hot. Everything went dark and a smell, an ungodly smell. I could hear faint voices. Was my spirit leaving my body?

“huh, ooor eeeaaad tuck eeeefaant aaasss!”

What was he saying? It was getting hard to focus. I was getting sleepy. Time for those pancakes from the sky.

“I served with General Culos, he was a confident and strong man. I think about him everyday. So let this memorial be a reminder to all of us that the enemy is not always in front of you. It can come at any moment from behind–from a behind.”

There in the town square, where General Gustavos Peditos Culos was born and raised, was erected a statue of an elephant standing, trunk saluting the sky and the torso of a man, head lost in the anus of the pachyderm, with the uniform, patches and medals of the town hero.

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