What I Said by Shanna
Jane was in the kitchen doing the dishes when she heard the truck pull up in her driveway. She pulled back the curtain, looked out, and was excited when she saw the delivery truck emboldened with the words ‘Joe’s Party Rentals’ on the side.
“Great!” she thought. “I can get started setting up for Abby’s birthday party tomorrow.” She put down her towel and hurried out the front door.
“Hello!” she cried. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
The man had gotten out of the cab of the truck and was consulting his clipboard. “You’re Mrs. Smalls?” he asked. “Let’s gets this unloaded.”
Jane watched as he walked to the rear of the truck and met the other man who had gotten out of the passenger side. She was mentally going over in her head everything that she had ordered for the party. “Tables and chairs and decorations,” she thought. “We can set everything up on the patio in the back yard. I’ll have to decide where I want to hide the prizes and treasures for Abby’s treasure hunt.”
Abby had been hinting for months that she wanted a treasure hunt themed birthday party, ever since watching that movie The Goonies. Jane snorted as she remembered all the times she’s had to hear her daughter say “Goonies never say die.” And not only did she want a treasure hunt party, but it had to revolve around Abby’s favorite color – pink. Jane had spent the last couple of months scouring the internet and party stores looking for pink things that could be used as treasures. Hopefully Abby would appreciate the effort Jane was going through to make this year the best birthday yet.
The two men were standing by the rear of the truck, getting ready to unload everything. They were both wearing dirty overalls and chunky yellow worker boots. Their hands were covered in thick gloves that looked as though they hadn’t been washed in a long time. Jane stared at the men and thought that they didn’t look very professionally looking. But then, when you spent your entire work day loading and unloading furniture, Jane supposed that she shouldn’t expect the men to be immaculate. Still, she rethought her plan of having the men traipsing through her house to get to the backyard. She had just vacuumed this morning after all.
“Why don’t we just unload everything onto the lawn here until I decide where I want to put it,” she suggested.
The first man stared at Jane. “You mean you don’t have a place for this yet? What were you planning on doing with it?” he asked incredulously. He unlocked the latch and started to roll up the door at the back if the trunk.
“Oh I thought I would just decide after everything was unloaded,” Jane said and she looked over the lawn, mentally calculating what she would store everything. “I want to make sure it all will fit in the area I was thinking of…” Jane’s sentence trailed off as she caught a glimpse of what the two men had started to unload. “What is that?” she shrieked, pointing at them.
That, was some kind of animal. It was huge, it seemed to stomp out of the truck, and it was making a kind of roaring noise as it was led out by the ropes around its neck.
“This is your elephant,” the man said as he guided it out onto her lawn.
“My elephant?” asked Jane. “I did not order an elephant.”
“Well the order form says that you did.”
“I did not order an elephant. You need to take that back.”
“You did order an elephant and I can’t take it back,” the man said as his partner struggled to keep the elephant from wandering off.
“Why would I order an elephant?” Jane asked. “And why does the elephant have pink paint splashed on it? You better not let go of that rope!”
The pink elephant started to walk down the driveway to the neighbor’s yard. It looked over at Jane and then trumpeted, its ears falling back and its trunk raising high in the air.
The man ran his finger down the page on his clipboard. “I have it written down right here. You ordered a pink tinted elephant.”
Jane took a breath. “I did not order a pink tinted elephant. I ordered a pink themed treasure hunt! Why would I order a pink tinted elephant?”
“I don’t know. I just make the deliveries.”
“We’ll I can’t keep it.” Jane shook her head and put her hands up.
“Look you have to,” the man explained. “Besides we had to customize it for you. Customized orders are non refundable.”
“Customize? How do you customize an elephant?”
The man stared at Jane. “Obviously,” he drawled, “we had to paint it pink.”
The elephant was now standing halfway in the street. Jane grimaced as she could see its mouth moving as leaves hung partially out of it. And she could see where the neighbors were now missing a bush.
“Oh my gosh!” Jane heard as she turned toward the front of the house. Abby came running out the front door and down to where Jane was standing.
“Is that for my party?” Abby asked. “This is so cool!”
Jane looked at Abby’s face, smiling so brightly. “Umm,” hummed Jane, “I thought you wanted a treasure hunt.”
“No way! This is so much better! I’m going to go call all my friends. They’re never going to believe this!”
Abby rushed back in the house before Jane could say anything. Jane turned and looked helplessly at the elephant standing in the street. The neighbors had started to gather as they had come out to see what the commotion was and could only stare at the huge pink animal in their community. The traffic was beginning to back up as cars did not want to risk driving around the huge wild animal.
“And it’s big and pink and the coolest thing ever!” Abby’s voice wafted out from the front window and Jane sighed, resigned.
“Well,” said the man with the clipboard, “what do you want to do?”
Jane thought about it. “You’ll come pick it back up the day after tomorrow?”
The man nodded.
Jane’s plans of a fun filled treasure hunt melted away. “I guess it can stay in the garage then.”