- Jack Hill Elephant Hands is the perfect piece of flash fiction for The Idiom. It’s great writing, it’s clear, and it’s short! We don’t have much room in the Idiom and unfortunately can’t print some of the great pieces of longer fiction sent to us but Elephant Hands worked great. I love the dialogue and the brief scene we are shown here….
Jack Hill is editor of Crossed Out Magazine, an online fiction magazine (www.crossedoutmagazine.org), and lives in Northern California.
I stopped scraping leaves into the bucket and watched him drink from a brown bagged forty bottle. He held the bottle with his elephant hands like a thirsty, starving baby.
He noticed me looking at him and lifted the bottle to his mouth again and kicked his head back and held the bottle upside down, the last drops of beer falling into his mouth. I raked more leaves near a planter and turned away from him and thought about how I hated being at the Florin station at the end of my shift.
“Hey!” Someone shouted behind me.
I turned around.
“What are you doing?” Elephant hands asked me. “I mean – how you get that job, man?”
“I just got it,” I said, my eyes down, focusing on the dead leaves.
“Are they hiring?” He asked me and dropped the empty forty bottle into the pile of leaves I had raked up. “I’m real good at landscaping. I used to do it. I used to do it full time. I just got laid off.” He hocked a loogie into the leaves. The white slug bubbled down into the orange and brown.
“I don’t know,” I said and watched the leaves absorb the forty bottle he had tossed into the pile. “Can you get that?” I nodded to the disappearing bottle.
His mouth hung open, flapping, talking, a door with broken hinges. I couldn’t hear him – his words. I pointed to the bottle with the end of my rake.
“Right there – that,” I said.
The guy bent over and grabbed the bottle and rolled his eyes and said he was sorry and walked about twenty feet away.
“Yeah – you fucking jerk off!” I shouted and he spun around fast, a one-eighty in a single jump, and hurled the forty bottle at me.
The bottled smashed into something. A car alarm screamed. The guy flipped me off and continued walking through the parking lot, a spring in his step, like he’d just found twenty bucks.