“It’s gone mad,” she sobbed.
“Yes, ma’am. That happens to some of the older models. They forget that they aren’t in the war any longer. Just be glad it has a hose up that trunk. Ten years ago, those would have been bullets.”
“But what do I do? It’s trampled the marigolds, soaked the African Violets, knocked down the fence, and run away!”
“Yes, ma’am. We’ve dispatched a disposal team to your location. They should arrive within forty five minutes.”
“In forty five minutes, that thing will be halfway to the interstate. It’s going to destroy… hello?” The line had gone dead. Mrs. Babbity raced out front to pursue the mammoth down the street. “Look out! It’s run amok!” she screeched.
It broadsided a car parked by the side of the road, and though the car was badly dented, the elephant remained undamaged. Then it wheeled about and came running at Mrs. Babbity, who dashed behind a tree. Had the machine swerved to follow her, the tree would have been insubstantial, but it made instead straight for a game of stickball taking place at the end of the cul-de-sac. Instead of being gored, all Mrs. Babbity got was an incidental soaking.
“Look out!” Mrs. Babbity clamored from behind her tree. “There are children!” The robot ignored her and lumbered on, showering everything within its radius as it passed.
Bobby Winhoe stood on the pitcher’s mound, which was actually last year’s calendar. He heard the racket behind him, but didn’t take his eyes off the batter. He wound up, and he pitched, a hard fast ball, right across home plate. The ball connected with Lukey Williams’ stick with a crack and sailed over Bobby’s head. Bobby turned to follow its progress. “Dang, Lukey! You hit another…” And then the ball struck the elephant in the eye. It stopped where it stood, spraying its fountain into the air. Bobby looked around. None of the other players remained on the field. It was just him, Lukey, and Shrimp, the catcher.
“Woah,” Lukey said. “We’re in some kind of trouble now, aren’t we Bobby? Those elephants are expensive.”
But in the distance, they could all hear Old Lady Babbity screaming, “You’re heroes! You’re heroes! You boys are heroes!”
Then everyone went inside to wait for the disposal team. It might have been nice to play in the cool water, but the elephant’s good eye, the one without a baseball embedded in it, had gone from beneficent gray to malignant red, and nobody who saw it wanted to remain long in its presence.
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.