FIRST PAGE: Unpubbed Erotic Romance
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I was eight years old the first time I rode an elephant.
I was visiting my grandparents and the local zoo’s specimen had given birth to a dwarf, so everyone in the household wanted to witness the freak. They bustled up the whole lot of us, waved down some auto rickshaws and off we went, zooming towards the unimaginable feat of nature.
The dwarf was scared. And a complete bore, unless you’re into those kinds of things, babies and shit.
The mom was much more interesting and already back earning her share, offering rides to any souls brave enough to climb atop her back. My cousins needed no invitation and before anyone knew what was happening, grandparents included, they scampered up the poor beast’s back and were raring to go.
I stood off to the side and watched, shy and somewhat quiet, still a bit ill at ease in my new environs. It was not every day I was shipped half way across the world on a bird in the sky, summarily deposited with two elderly souls I barely knew and certainly did not trust.
But the elephant was a good move.
I was warming up to the two brown people smiling at me while they stole nervous glances at the brood atop the grey beast. My grandmother clucked warmly in my direction, offering some words of encouragement as the Mahout waved me over.
He was awfully scrawny, rather filthy, and I shot him a foul look, knowing there was no fucking way he was controlling anything if that grey monster decided to stop taking anyone’s shit. But I was eight and I was curious and it was an elephant for fuck’s sake. So I stopped putzing around on the outskirts of the action and leaned in–contemplative somewhat curious.
Which was enough for Mr. Mahout. Faster than I would have ever assumed he could move, he had me by the nape of the neck, hoisting me onto the dwarf’s mama.
Not with my cousins on her back but right behind her ears, on what seemed to be her neck, my hands resting on her head.
I remember being amazed by how similar she was to the old man who swam laps at the YMCA every Monday, always bending over to lotion his legs, providing me the perfect view of his ass: hairy and wrinkled and grey.
Settling in behind me, the Mahout gave his signal but old girl wasn’t going anywhere. She bobbed her head side to side and he yelled something in whatever language he was speaking, probably Tamil, but it was hard to tell when you didn’t speak a bit of anything from the motherland.
At least not at the time.
He yelled again and gave her some swats with his whip, but she didn’t give a shit. Instead, she hoisted her trunk into the air, pushed it about like a show off, then promptly raised it to her head and proceeded to sniff my hands.
I froze, for a second worried I might piss my pants.
I did not want to piss my pants, sitting there, high in the air, because really, I did not want to soil her neck. So I let her do whatever it was she needed to do, praying all the while her trunk wasn’t full of tiny teeth that could suddenly inhale my hands and then my arms and then my head to chew me up and feed to the dwarf.
I did not fly halfway across the fucking globe to wind up dwarf fodder.
So I shut up and homegirl sniffed me up and eventually she started walking, doing a slow rotation of the park, giving us kids the ride of our lives.
I was eight and it was magical.
I am now thirty-seven and let me tell you, ain’t a bit of fucking magic left in this world.
My name is Dutch Mathew
I kill for The Gate and I am a Keeper.