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Everything's Under Control

For Round 10 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest, we asked you to send a story in the form of a voice mail message. Our winner was “Sorry for Your Loss.”
Baby elephant



Pickup sis. It's me ...

Listen, I'm in jail — but I'm not asking for bail this time. I just need you to make some phone calls since I only get the one.

First, call the administrative offices at the zoo, tell them the baby elephant is not missing. Tell them Dr. Wainwright, my supervisor, called from the San Diego conference and told me to tell them that he gave the OK for her to be loaned to State Central University for the weekend for some behavioral study but forgot to inform the director. If they ask why I'm not calling myself, say I had to go to the dentist and she shot me full of novocaine.

Next, call Dwight at his parents house and tell him I'm calling in my favor. I need him to go to a bunch of grocery stores and buy, like, 50 jars of peanut butter — but only the kind without sugar. Tell him they're usually labeled 'Natural,' but tell him not Skippy Natural, that has added sugar. Tell him ... tell him just to look at the ingredients and make sure it doesn't include sugar. He should then go over to the big grassy field along the Parkway and smear half the peanut butter into the grass in patches a few feet apart for a hundred yards along the edge of the woods. Tell him to rub it in good so that anything trying to lick it up will have to spend a long time. Remind him to bring his cell phone and turn it on. If he gets a call from Jenny, he should go wherever she says and do the same thing there with the rest of the peanut butter. Tell him, he does this for me, we're even.

Then call Jenny. Tell her tonight I can't take her to that new French place — La Petite ... whatever — tonight. Something's come up and I need her to wait by her dad's police scanner and listen for any reports of escaped or wild animals, especially elephants. She should call Dwight immediately if she hears anything. Tell her I'll make it up to her. Next, talk to Mr. or Mrs. Johnson. You'll have to look up their number. They live on Meadowcrest lane, off the Parkway. Tell them I've been unavoidably delayed and won't be able to return this afternoon to help clean up the mess the elephant made at their daughter's birthday party. Tell them I am especially sorry about her dress and will give them a full refund.

Finally, call a vet and ask if it's safe for a baby elephant to eat a whole chocolate cake and if not, what should be done if they do. I think that's it. So, I hope you and Brad are doing OK. We should get together sometime.


Hey, this is Jimmy Krebs, I work with your brother at the zoo, I'm with him here at the police station. He told me to use my call to ask you how much weight Brad's pickup can carry and whether he'd loan it to us for a few hours. Also, could you call my girlfriend and ask her to come get us. Her name's Shawna. I think her number is 555-5792. Tell her she needs to bring her checkbook 'cause they don't accept credit cards. Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it.