An Elephant In A Hole

seven-odd years ago
The blooming madame arched her bounty before the cusping class: "Can anyone think of a paradox?" She let the words hang in the sweaty-socks air until a boy's voice broke earnestly from out the midst of the group fresh from PE.

"Miss! miss! I've got one --it's a paradox!"

"What is it Miles? Are you sure you've thought of a paradox?"

"Yeah's, it's --an elephant in a hole!"

Miles beams under his achievement amongst his peers. However, the glow is a private one. Miss momentarily does not compute, and Miles's heart sinks to the toes of his cross-legged socks, until swiftly her kindness returns like mother's milk, and she smiles at Miles.

"But what sort of a hole is it, Miles? It's not a paradox if it's just any old hole now, is it Miles?"

The blank class grate on his aura with their anti-matter repulsion: he can feel the other boys and girls, can feel them shrinking from him.

" you mean a small hole? Is that what you mean Miles?"

His burgeoning mono-brow knitting, Miles considers this development. Like a bear that shits in the woods while the Catholic pope claps with one hand and a tree falls that no one can hear, Miles gravely plumbed the depths of his soul.

"Yeah a small hole --it's a paradox, miss! An elephant in a hole!"

But the fountain is dry, the teat tender.

"No miles, it's not a paradox."

One of the speccy girls snickers and Miles is alone again, rubbed out by the favoured children, those for whom the river doth never run dry. What bitter seeds were sown in this negligent madame's thorny garden? Her love went on to feed only the meekly conducive anaemics who passed their exams but would never glimpse the profundity that shined in our Miles. From there on out this lost lad's mongoloid twinkling went unheard.

Just the other day, seven-odd years after that didactic denouement, Miles was found in one of the odds or evens along Mellow Ground where it always floods in the Autumn. His pulse weak, his face pale, his eyes glassy. He had become withdrawn in the years since his expulsion from the school and refused to play the game. It seems he decided to make his exit, aged just 18, after his stepdad took his dog away and Connexions put him in a room on his own. No mother's milk, no man's best friend --no one knew what our Miles down in Mellow Ground knew. When his work here was done, when his life-support was eventually withdrawn, then it was that the real paradox, of the elephant in the hole, was lost to us.

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