Fiction | Short Story

Dorothy Dancer Has Had Enough

She imagined impaling her husband on the molasses-stained tusk of that elephant. “It should’ve been you,” she said.

thock thock thock

Sylvia giggles from behind the divan. Mummy’s gone blind, she says, and Dorothy grabs her by the hips and pins her to the floor, where they wrestle like schoolchildren. Their laughter bouncing off the walls forever.

Dorothy hides twenty-five paisa coins in the garden at the base of the sangria lilies, the roses, the drooping marigolds and chrysanthemums. Sylvia comes home from school and digs her hands deep into the mud and collects all the coins that she then washes under the tap in the kitchen, humming the nursery rhyme of the day.

A wild elephant, drunk on molasses, comes tearing down Dowhill Road and crashes through the wicker fence of the bungalow. He collapses in the courtyard, his fat arse flattening the orchids in full bloom. Stop whinging, says her husband, and get the camera quick.

The Gypsy rolls out onto Monteviot Road. Dorothy tries to rub the throbbing hangover from her forehead as she watches the jeep kick up dust, her husband leaning back, one hand on the steering wheel, the other around Sylvia in the passenger seat.

Hold tight, shouts Dorothy.

Sylvia turns around and smiles her nearly toothless grin. She blows a kiss in Dorothy’s direction.

Charcoal-gray clouds are frowning in the sky. No barriers, just a single winding kutcha road that her husband is going to be speeding up all the way to the pines of Dowhill. She watches the Gypsy disappear around the bend and she hears Sylvia laugh in delight. Dorothy leans against the cherry tree.

In two hours, her hangover will be gone, and she’ll be stumbling to the main gate where the local policemen will be standing in khaki raincoats to give her the news that will rob the good life of all its immortality.