Cover Photo: ELEPHANT by Doug Benerofe

ELEPHANT

The day my father left

chest. “Is that why Dad left again?” Fran asked. “You wouldn’t let him grow?”

male elephants from one national park to another park on the other side of the country. This left the younger elephants without their fathers and the adolescent males reacted to this sudden shift in Mother Nature’s plan by killing rhinoceroses, terrorizing tourist buses and impregnating the adolescent females. This one elephant, Jimmy, went so wild and killed so many rhinoceroses that the park rangers had to capture him and put him to sleep with a dart gun. I watched this scene with a mixture of suspense and bewilderment. And eventually I put my head down on my desk. The teacher let us ask questions after the documentary, and most of the questions were about Jimmy. Why had Jimmy gone so crazy after they took away his father? Did Jimmy’s father know Jimmy would go so crazy? Why did they have to shoot him?

shower mirror hung on the wall and make-up paraphernalia spread out in front of her.

traded to another team before next year’s baseball cards came out. Would I leave that player’s card with his original team or would I transfer it to the new team’s stack? If I did transfer it to the new team, would it look out of place?

retrieved my bat. Out in our front yard, with no witnesses but manicured shrubbery, long driveways, and darkened ranch style homes, I threw rocks from my mother’s flower garden up in the air and hit them as they came down. Earlier that day, my father had called from a hotel in Detroit, where he went, we thought, to attend a sales convention. He called to tell my mother that he was sorry but he wasn’t coming back. He’d fallen in love with Mrs. Goldberg, one of our neighbors, and she was with him now, and she wasn’t coming back either. He’d made all the financial arrangements weeks earlier. My father said he’d always wanted to drive away, see the country from behind the wheel of an automobile, and he was finally going to fulfill his dream. He said he’d contact us once he stopped driving and found a new home. My mother recounted this news to Fran and I when we arrived home from school. Now, I hit a rock so hard it shot across the street and went thump against a neighbor’s big, front window.

balanced in one hand, I heard Fran say, “No, Kevin, no.” Then, I heard Kevin’s voice say, “Come on Franny, grow up.”

belief that he would materialize, or was it hope? I don’t know, the two seem so close, as interrelated as father and son.

Doug has published fiction online with Narrative Magazine, Necessary Fiction, Medium, and LiteratureForLife.net. He also published with the print journals Rosebud, Sonora Review, and South Dakota Review. He just completed his first novel, The Pen Salesman. The stories here on Catapult are part of a collection of stories about the same New York family.