The Elephant in the Room #sunscribbles (Prompt: Coffee) #shortstory

Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!

I wrote this short story for Diana’s February image writing prompt. I wasn’t going to participate at first, because I had no idea what to do with the image, but inspiration struck and here we are with a somewhat twisted tale 🙂

The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room

Dinner with the new police commissioner and her top detectives wasn’t Martin’s favourite way to spend an evening, but it was one of his duties as mayor, and essential given his, not always discreet, criminal dealings. The roast elephant he’d imported was a hit with his guests, but the real challenge lay ahead, in the business they were to discuss over coffee. Martin hoped she’d be as easily controlled as her predecessor, but if not… Well, ruler of the criminal underworld wasn’t just an empty title. Unlike police commissioner.

Kathryn Barker, commissioner for a mere two days, sipped her coffee and grimaced. ‘What is it you want, exactly?’

Straight to the point. Perfect. ‘Free reign for my gangs to do whatever they please. Immunity from arrest. Police protection at events, and you’ll look the other way should I commit any… indiscretions whilst I’m in office,’ he replied with a smirk, hand clasped around a small vial in his pocket.

She stood on shaky legs and slammed her hand on the table. ‘Protection at mayoral events? Fine. The rest? Absolutely not.’

Martin leaned forward on his elbows. ‘Is that your final answer?’

She downed her coffee and nodded. ‘You break the law, we break you.’

All around the table her detectives began to mutter. Martin smirked.

‘I mean it!’ she yelled, with a glare at her comrades and a hand on her firearm. ‘Anyone who so much as thinks about taking a bribe is fired!’ She brushed sweaty bangs away from her eyes and headed for the door.

Martin pushed back his chair. ‘A word in private, before you go? We need to arrange security for the ball tomorrow. Lots of wealthy, powerful, guests.’ He shrugged. ‘Normally, your stretched department budget would take a slice of the proceeds, but since we no longer have a deal…’

‘Fine.’ She turned to her detectives. ‘Meet you back at the station.’ She pushed open the ballroom doors and stepped inside. ‘If you think the offer of money will change my mind- Oh… Is that?’ She held out a hand. ‘Snow? Inside?’

Martin tilted his head, and his eyes darted around the room. ‘Someone’s idea of a joke, I wonder?’ He followed her tentative steps further into the room, hands stuffed in his pockets.

She wiped her sweating brow. ‘Surely it’s not a portal to another dimension, in your ballroom no less? I know things’ve been strange lately, but this… Is this some sort of trick?’

He held up his hands. ‘I did nothing. I’m just as confused as you are.’

‘You don’t look confused.’ Her eyes narrowed, and she pointed across the room. ‘Is that an elephant?’

‘Oh my… I’m not sure. Maybe we should take a closer look?’

She nodded, drew her gun, flicked the safety off, and led the way. After a few paces she stopped dead and blinked. ‘It is an elephant! What’s it doing to that tree?’

He raised a hand to cover his grin. ‘Trying to get that house down?’

‘Trying to get it down, or get at those mice?’

‘I’m not sure.’

She waved her gun, eyes wide and wild. ‘Do you think they look scared?’

He stared at the mice clinging to the painted roof and shrugged. ‘Sure, why not?’

‘Then I’ll save them!’ She discharged her weapon. The bullet hit one of the windows on the house wall with a thud, and her hands began to shake as a large beady eye swivelled to stare at them. ‘Oh shit. Run!’

Martin nearly lost his footing as she shoved past him. He glared after her, but she didn’t turn back until she was at least ten paces away.

‘What are you waiting for?’ she yelled. ‘Do you want to be crushed by an angry elephant?’

He shook his head. ‘I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding.’

‘Seriously?’ She raised a hand to her head and winced. ‘No. You know what? Screw you. You’re better off dead anyway- Woah!’

Martin smirked as Kathryn stepped backwards over the threshold of the open basement door, and, with a ridiculous look of disbelief on her face, screamed and tumbled down the dark stairway. He leaned against the wall by the door as his second in command, Edward, loped into the ballroom. ‘The painting was a nice touch, especially the eye. Where’d you get it anyway?’

Edward frowned at the bullet stuck in the window of the painted house. ‘It’s on loan, from a billionaire friend of a friend… He’s not going to be pleased, but I’m more interested in what you slipped in the commissioner’s coffee.’

‘Experimental hallucinogen.’ He pulled the empty vial from his pocket with a grin. ‘Good stuff.’

‘Remind me not to get on your bad side.’ Edward grimaced as their henchmen carried the commissioner’s lifeless body up the stairs and towards the back door. ‘You think her replacement will be more cooperative?’

Martin looked him up and down. ‘Don’t worry, I have the perfect candidate in mind.’

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Thanks for reading!

This story was also based on my #sunscribbles prompt of the week on Twitter, Coffee, hence the method of choice for drugging the commissioner. I’m having a lot of fun practising villainous characters lately, even if my stories are a little darker!

Sunday Scribbles Writing Prompt 10th Feb 2019 CoffeeHashtag game details: Sunday Scribbles Prompts
Past stories: Sunday Scribbles Short Stories

Share lines with #sunscribbles every week on Twitter, or write a short story based around the prompt and share a blog link.

If you love stories, check out Diana’s blog for more creative pieces based on the image!

Next week? The Author Toolbox Blog Hop, with a post on losing the plot!

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32 comments

    • I did toy with using a metaphor, but after a few hours of staring at it I couldn’t get it to sound right!
      I sometimes like the bad guys to win, but usually only if they have really good reasons for their actions, or to spur the remaining good guys on to an epic struggle 🙂 (And in one story I’ve planned, good and bad join forces to fight a bigger evil!)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A fantastically creative tale! I definitely enjoyed how you placed the prompt photo within a more human world, which I don’t think many other responses have done.

    (Also, I’m a sucker for tales of police corruption, soo… (:)

    Liked by 1 person

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