The Temple Of The Heavenly Elephant

‘Look. I’m sorry. It wasn’t my fault. I couldn’t wait to pay for the bloody bananas.’
The magistrate pursed her thin lips. ‘So you admit stealing them?’
‘Yea, yea, course I do. It was a fuckin’ emergency.’
The lips almost disappeared. ‘Watch your language in court,’ she snapped.
‘Sorry your honour.’
‘You may continue.’
‘Look, she was running amok on that forecourt. What with all the screaming and yelling, poor darling was shit – sorry – real scared. She’d already flattened a Porsche.’ Barry winced at the memory. ‘Completely totalled a neat little yellow VW. Christ – beg pardon – I had to do something quick. Okay, maybe I could have protected him, like, with the umbrella, but I was using it to prod her, trying to get her back on track. And why anyone should want to protect that shyster, everyone knows those cars he sells – ‘
‘What was that? Please speak up.’
‘Sorry. I’ll go back to the beginning. You see, the priest at the temple needed her for some blessing ceremony.’
‘Temple?’
‘The Temple of the Heavenly Elephant, in Trunk Road.’
‘Ah – I see.’ She obviously didn’t.
‘And our slogan is ‘No Problem We Can’t Solve’. I mean, anything anybody wants to ‘ire, we’ll get it. I have to say, our success rate – ‘ he caught the magistrate’s eye. ‘Okay, so my cousin, who runs this circus outfit, said I could borrow Mabel. Taught me how to walk her, with the harness an’ all.’
The magistrate scowled, shuffled through the papers before her. ‘She was not harnessed at the time of the incident.’
‘Nah, well, it sort of snapped, when I was trying to get her past the greengrocers. Anyway, she’d finished the pears I’d been tempting her with when that arse’ole from CarRus came yellin’ out. It’s no wonder she panicked! And, like, the stall with the bananas was right there, so I grabbed a few hoping she’d follow me, you know, wanting the bananas?’
‘Did she?’
‘Yea. Scoffed the lot in one go.’
‘And?’
‘Your honour, he never should have grabbed her tail. And, what with all that fruit, I suppose she was caught short.’
The magistrate’s lips thinned again, but this time Barry could have sworn she was trying not to smile. He risked a grin. ‘There you have it. She just dumped her load. Still, I dare say it’ll do wonders for his bald patch. It’s a miracle on my roses, I can tell you.’

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