An Elephant and Dostoyevsky

(Or is it Doestoyevskii?)

One day Dostoyevsky/ii was lunching at a roadside diner when an elephant came down and squashed the booth opposite him.

“Eurgh! Ёшкин-кот!” and that was the last Russian Dostoyevsky spoke, preferring, since his name was spelled in Latin in this instance, as opposed to Cyrillic letters, to speak in English.

The elephant gazed mournfully at him and stole one of his latkes. Dostoyevsky coughed into his neckerchief.

The elephant stared at Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky stared long longing long lastingly into the elephant’s large, limpid, dusky, numinous eyes. Chekhov whistled by on a ten speed. Dostoyevsky lost the staring contest.

Dostoyevsky spoke long into the night, spoke hard, and sharp, and angled, the words coming haltingly in English, a language he’d never had use for before. He spoke of trains, and crime, of costumes, and travels abroad. The elephant listened.

Dostoyevsky wiped his sodden brow. Dostoyevsky drank his eighth cup of coffee. The elephant watched, and snatched his hat.

Dostoyevsky spoke of failing, of sinners and saints, of all the harm that comes from wanting. Dostoyevsky nattered on about so many things: tea cups, holes in soles of shoes, drinking too much, the lightness of despair, and the heaviness of joy. The elephant watched and listened.

Dostoyevsky came so close to weeping, but didn’t, as he declaimed on the beauty of the wickedness (or maybe the wickedness of the beauty) of Job, the potsherds, the calamities, the devil going to and fro, and god in his infinite whirlwind. And also that leviathan that roams inside the sea. The elephant listened, and also watched.

Dostoyevsky banged his fist on the table. Dostoyevsky banged his head on the table. Tea cups and saucers rattled all over the place. A tin clock fell off the wall behind him. The long-suffering waitress quietly asked him if he could please be a little quieter? Dostoyevsky, in his frenzy, did not understand her. Also, she was speaking English.

Dostoyevsky’s mustache quivered as he spoke of hornets, mayflies, cockroaches, those little roly-poly bugs everyone has a different name for, and all of the other tiny things that annoyed him. The elephant only watched, oh, and listened.

Finally, at the end, Dostoyevsky rolled under his table and snored.

The elephant watched and listened and never forgot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *