Your boyfriend made a big show of the real-deal, intricately carved ivory lighter he got as a gift at work. And you wanted to say something about how elephants are endangered, but he was so thrilled about the novelty of it that you didn’t say anything.

That made you feel bad about yourself because you should’ve said something. You wouldn’t have made him return the gift. You can’t give the elephant back its tusk, and it would be a waste, really, to throw it away even in protest.

Saying something and being a little bit of a bitch about it would make you feel better because doing so would mean acknowledging the elephant in the room, and he could make a smart ass remark back to you. Then the two of you could get on with your lives. This is usually how it goes when he does something against your personal code of ethics, but that’s just what it’s like dating someone in his tax bracket, you suppose.

When he uses the ivory lighter to light a cigar, you remember something your father used to say about white lighters, about luck and misfortune. You don’t suppose your boyfriend knows that myth, and you wonder if the things your boyfriend doesn’t know can’t hurt him.

You try to convince yourself ivory is different from white, that it’s prestigious, revered. But you start to blame every bad thing on the ivory lighter — your worn-in Oxfords giving you blisters, bad reviews on your work. Your boyfriend gets indicted for white collar crimes, and you decide it’s the lighter’s fault, the elephant ghost haunting him for revenge.

The lighter smashes easily under the weight of the hammer in your hand, bone fragments flying to the far corners of the room under antique hardwood furniture. You expect a spell to break when it splinters, but when your boyfriend walks into the room to find you holding the hammer, he doesn’t reveal the criminal charges have magically been dropped. Instead, he stands there with a face that says he doesn’t understand you and quite possibly never has.

C. Show is an Arkansan educator who focuses their work on the fantastic and absurd. They usually write speculative fiction but enjoy writing literary fiction as long as it’s strange. Show has been previously published in ImageOutWrite.

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