Emma hated yard sales. Her Mother, younger brother Ben, were dragged to a yard sale the week before Thanksgiving by her Aunt Flora.
They had to move in with Flora while Father was away stationed half-way round the world. Flora was alright, just a little odd, too odd for Emma's nine year old sensibilities. She cooked breakfast for supper almost every night, and played opera music while taking a shower. Even dressed her Pomeranian, Gus, as famous presidents. Flora had a strange habit of videotaping Cooking shows she never watched. She said she was saving them for when she had more time to study the Chef's expertise.
Evert item they came across Flora would sigh or become over excited. Emma's Mother talked Flora out of buying these items. If she hadn't, the car would've been full of Tupperware and Man’s clothing. Ben also showed enthusiasm for boardgames. Already he'd spent five dollars of his allowance, which he'd saved thirty-five dollars since last spring. That really irked Emma. She couldn't save a dime. Emma always seemed to buy too much Goobers or buy the newest video game for her DS.
Mother only bought a red scarf. Emma could tell she missed Father. Mother had several red scarfs, and always when Father was away. Emma heard Mother a few nights before telling the story of how she met Father. She was standing on a bridge watching the moon reflect off the water when the wind blew her scarf from her hair and she chased it until a sailor caught it for her. That sailor, of course, was Father.
They were almost out of the Yard sale when Aunt Flora saw the item that made her heart skip a beat. Emma was first to the car when she heard Flora cry out. Emma put a hand on her head and made a grunting noise.
“I can't believe I found it!” Flora exclaimed. “I need this for my collection.”
She held in her hands so delicately was a porcelain Elephant with white tusks. Yes, Flora did have a very large collection of porcelain figures, mostly of animals or circus related items. The worst of those were the clown figures. Emma hated those things. They unsettled her. Once in awhile when she was in the living room by herself watching Animal planet, she would climb on top of the couch and turn the clowns around facing the wall. Flora always asks who did that, no one would answer. Flora also had a terrible habit of naming her porcelain figures.
Aunt Flora placed the porcelain Elephant on the mantle next to her two porcelain circus tigers. She stood back and admired it. She looked at Emma and said, “Little Tusk. That's what I will call him.” She cackled and Emma plugged her ears with her fingers. Then Flora saw that her collection of clowns were facing the wall again. She was infuriated. “Who did this?” She exclaimed, her eyes shifting to all in the room. No one said a word. “One day,” She said. “I will find out who does this—this--terrible act!”
The next day, Emma awoke to a car hissing by her window. It sounded like a cat trying to sing. She wandered into the living room, eyes half closed. She stepped over Ben, who was lying in the middle of the floor eating brownie cakes and watch IRON MAN cartoons on TV. The house was very quiet. Emma spun around, trying to find the source of her confusion.
“Mama's gone,” Ben said, entranced by the screaming voices and exploding cars and buildings.
“Gone where?” Emma said in a drone voice. She was making her way slowly to the kitchen for a bowl of corn pops and raisin bran mixture. Emma was a genius of creating new cereals.
“Last night Daddy called. He said his boat--”
“You mean ship, doofus.”
“Ship—whatever!” Ben raised his hand at Emma, then continued. “His SHIP, was close by. So Aunt Flora is driving Mama to the airport.”
Emma placed her hands on her hips. Her eyebrows lowered, her lips tightened up. “Why am I always the last to know everything? I'm the oldest. She always forgets to tell me first! It always comes from you—and wait! If his ship is close by, then why is she catching a plane to meet him?”
Ben wiped crumbs from his mouth. He said calmly, “Why your always last to know is your always late home or always asleep, and your a brain fart. I don't know why she has to catch a plane. They didn't tell me.”
Emma walked up to Ben, placed her dirty foot, which she hadn't washed in a day, in his face. She held it, began to push, while he screamed as if he had just been stabbed. There was the sound of keys rattling in the front door. The door swung open and Gus ran inside, immediately peed on the floor. Aunt Flora stepped inside and slammed the door shut.
“Ah hah!” She screamed. Emma quickly removed her foot from Ben's face and jumped away from him. Ben wiggled around on the floor sputtering and moaning about germs in his mouth. “The adults are away and we can play!” Aunt Flora bellowed, then cackled.
Ben had crawled all over the living room floor, coughing and spitting. He was pushing the cushion from the couch and bumped the couch, which bumped the wall and shook the wall. The shelf attached to the wall above the couch rattled. Aunt Flora's statuettes moved slightly, several hung on to the edge of the shelf. Flora screamed as if something cataclysmic was happening. Emma smiled. Ben was about to get into trouble. Serves him right for calling a brain fart.
Ben saw the porcelain elephant fall from the shelf. It tossed and tumble through the air. He placed both hands out, just as he'd seen a wide receiver in a football game on TV. The elephant fell directly in his hands. He cupped the statue in both hands and rolled across the couch.
Ben looked up and saw Aunt flora was in pieces. Then she ran to him and knelt down to kiss him.
Ben had saved the day!
Emma snarled at him as Flora dotted on him. Telling Ben he could have all the candy and soda he wanted. Ben smiled hugely at Emma.
Ben turned the porcelain elephant on it's back in his hand. He eyed a few words that were not recognizable. “Timbur...Ork...Roknal?”
Suddenly, the elephant jumped out of Ben's hand. It landed on the couch, upside down. Ben looked down at it. He noticed the elephant was moving. It's trunk wiggled. It's eyes blinked. It's mouth opened and closed as it's tiny legs kicked in the air. Now it was right side up, standing. Ben bent down, eyes wide with disbelief. The elephant sounded off in his face. Ben fell over backwards away from it.
Flora dropped to the living room floor. She passed out cold. Emma ran behind the TV set and peeked from behind it, watching the tiny porcelain elephant sprint back and forth on the couch. It was stuck, thinking at first there was no outlet. Gus took off to Flora's bedroom to hide under the bed.
“This is the craziest thing I've ever seen!” Emma exclaimed.
Aunt Flora regained consciousness just in time to witness the small elephant scale down the arm of the couch, walk across Ben's head, neck and arm, to the living room floor, where it promptly pooped.
“Oh, stop that thing!” Flora cried out.
Ben threw both hands out for it as he leaped at the small elephant. The elephant sensed the position of Ben's hands and thrust forward it's tusks. One of the tusks pricked Ben on the palm of his right hand. Ben yelped and withdrew. The wound only bled slightly, but he felt a surge of pain that caused him to weep buckets of crocodile tears. Ben ran to Flora, hoping for motherly attention, only to receive expressions of confusion.
“Look!” Emma said, pointing and laughing.
The elephant was using it's trunk to swat the TV remote control like it was hitting a hockey puck with a hockey stick. It was running wildly up and down the living room, all four powerful small legs pumping furiously. It was moving so fast it became a blur. Finally, as it approached Ben and Flora, it took one last swat, sending the remote high in the air. The remote caught Aunt Flora right between the eyes. She fell on her back on to the floor, once again loosing consciousness.
“You jerk-head!” Ben screamed at it. He began chasing after the small elephant. Lamps, books, DVD's, pictures from the wall....after the great chase, the level of destruction the two amounted was impressive. Even the TV, which was hiding Emma somewhat, was overturned. The chase headed to the kitchen, where loud crashes of dishes falling to the floor along with pots and pans. Back into the living room, more destruction mounted. The two chairs were pushed over. Aunt Flora's collection of statutes were among the victims. The circus animals, even her beloved clowns. All fell to their porcelain grave.
Emma had found a new hiding spot behind the couch, had a terrible vision of Ben and the pint-sized elephant in her room causing all kinds of chaos and destruction. She had an idea. She called over to Ben. He stopped in his tracks, turned to her, huffing and puffing. She reached over at the hat rack where her mothers new red scarf dangled from a wooden hook.
“Here,” she tossed one end to Ben. “Grab hold of that and drop to your knees when I say go.
The elephant avoided hitting the wall for the thousandth time and turned right at broken vase. He was heading right to Ben and Emma. The elephant put it's head down and gained more speed.
It was right there at the point and Emma screamed out go. Ben and Emma dropped to their knees. The scarf formed goal of sorts like in a soccer game. Ben smiled at Emma, Emma smiled at Ben. They knew they had the elephant.
The elephant rushed through the scarf, it's tusks cutting the scarf in two pieces, like a ribbon being cut to introduce a new building. Ben and Emma's looked in bewilderment at the piece of material they hand in their hands. The elephant passed by them several times, still running at full speed.
Emma stood and threw down the shredded scarf in anger. “That's it, Elephant,” She said. “No more Mr. nice guy.” Emma had a backup plan. She wasn't sure if it would work, but it was worth a try. Her eyebrows lowered. “Timbur...Ork...Roknal!” Emma yelled.
The tiny porcelain elephant stopped dead, it's legs froze up. It blinked it's eyes, then they froze up. It raised it's head and froze up. It stretched it's trunk out, sounded off, stiffened up
Emma sighed, flopped down on the couch. She felt something squishy under her bare feet. She knew what it was, but were afraid to find out for sure.
Aunt Flora awoke, raised up, saw the damage. She was fine until she saw all of her porcelain statuettes were in pieces. She placed her head in her hands and burst into tears. “All gone.” She said. “All gone.”
Ben slowly approached Aunt Flora. “Well...” He said in a consoling voice. “You still have Little Tusk.” Ben handed the porcelain elephant to her. Flora shrugged and accepted the gift. She hugged Ben, turned to Emma.
“Now we have to clean this mess up,” She said.