The Elephant in the Room

by Paul Cornell

“My dear,” said my mother, “when your father told me you’d joined the circus and would be turning into an elephant, I had to come over immediately.”

And I suppose that was true.

Mum, you see, on hearing about my biggest, though perhaps not my most prestigious, theatrical gig thus far, had decided, to my horror, to come to New York. Dad had stayed home, thank goodness. He was probably looking forward to enjoying his shed. But Mum, on being told that the New York School for the Performing Arts had placed me with the prestigious Big Apple Circus, had darted across the Atlantic like a salmon. Sorry, I should be more specific. I’m still, I suppose, not quite used to living amongst . . . I mean living as part of . . . a community who have special, you know, powers. So I should emphasize that that was a simile. My mother cannot turn into a salmon. (That is, I suppose, one of the little-talked-of features of living in a neighborhood like New York’s Jokertown, where someone of one’s acquaintance might actually go green with envy or fall to pieces: One has to indicate where the line of metaphor is drawn.)

I’m making this all sound so very lighthearted, aren’t I?

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Original Fiction from • Illustrated by John Picacio