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The Effervescing Elephant

By Ibrahim

"And I'll be really safe, you know
The elephant he told me so.”

The words jolted him back to reality again. Nowadays he usually preferred to block it all out, especially the multitude of eyes always fixated on him. Well it was understandable. He was the prime attraction at the circus. As the presenter rambled on, he wondered if this was the last time he would be able to think for himself, the last time he could bask in the warmth of his soul before it was all spirited away. The only fitting thing now would be to remember how he got here. Yes, his last defiance.

He was just like any other ordinary elephant: he graduated from college, got a job, a girlfriend, a dirty apartment. But there was a problem. He constantly questioned everything. Why do elephants only eat plants? Why don't all elephants look the same? He also had an unfortunate knack for telling the truth, which he found out, much to his chagrin, wasn't all it was hyped to be. His first day on the job, he had been asked by his boss if her ivory tusks were the best he'd ever seen.

“Far from it. They're chipped and dented and not gleaming at all,” he said.

“Well there now!” replied his boss. “That was a test you see. Always lie and tell the customer exactly what they want to hear. For heaven's sake, you're in sales!”

That was the moment when he felt it for the first time. A slow upheaval inside of him, as something bubbled away into eternity. It was as if a part of him, an integral part, had just spirited away, never to be found. At least he now knew what was expected of him. He excelled at his job, telling people exactly what they desired to hear, feeding the vicious, carnivorous cycle of empty pretences. And each time, he could feel that little something evaporate away; and each time he felt a tiny iota of remorse.

Very soon though, the difference was visible. Everyone noticed. He was changing, or rather, becoming less. A caricature now stood in place of the once happy and smiling mammoth that he was. He finally realised what it was that was vanishing, drip by drip. His essence. Unable to lay docile, refusing to conform, it was almost gone. He tried to fight it now, but it was too late. With nothing left to do, he wandered off into uncharted lands. He was captured then, and prepared for exhibit. The effervescing elephant.

Now, as he looked around him in the final moments of his clarity, he noticed the faces behind the eyes, peering with curiosity at this specimen in front of them. Pretty soon though, he would be just like them and the crowd would thin, their interest gone. Revelling in the final seconds of his agony he shouted, “I imagined once too.” The on-looking elephants said nothing; they simply stared in amusement at his grandiose delusions. He sighed. What else was left but to just carry on?

And just like that, he was there in the Promised Land. The utopia of conformity.

Shantih. Shantih. Shantih.

Assange FAQ

By Bareesh and his cat Jongli

What trouble has he gotten himself in now?
Well, accompanying the usual death threats, black ops hit squads and Fox News; there's the irksome matter of sexual assault allegations that the Swedes have pressed on him. These allegations accuse Julian Assange of raping/molesting/sexually assaulting two women and generally being a person of questionable character. The writer's opinion, on whether these charges are valid or not, will be kept quiet in case someone accuses him of being a freedom hating liberal.

Didn't this happen a long time ago? Like, back when Wikileaks wasn't mainstream?
Well yes, but then the arrest warrant was withdrawn and everyone but the crazed right wing nut-jobs stopped caring. Them and the Swedish Director of Prosecution, Marianne Ny, which is a bit unfortunate for Mr. Assange.

Why? What did she do?
Well, for one thing, she refused to let the rape investigation die even after chief prosecutors dropped it. Coincidentally, a month later, Assange was denied residency to Sweden without reason. And another month later, after Assange's lawyer touched a few nerves by claiming that the Director of Prosecution was abusing her power and was permanently on her time of the month, an international arrest warrant was issued. If you're confused about timings, and I'm sure you are - this was November 2010. A month later after being dragged to court by London police in their snazzy luminous coats, the judges granted bail to Assange on the grounds of “it's really cruel to send him to jail right before Christmas”.

That's nice of them. And then what happened?
Well then, just out of habit I suppose, Assange's legal team took another poke at Ms. Ny by claiming she is biased unfavourably towards men and is just jealous of Mr. Assange's natural platinum blonde hair. For the next 12 months or so, the court ruled for his extradition to Sweden 83 times, every time a gleeful giggle could be heard coming out of the Swedish prosecutor's offices. And each time, Wikileaks supporters and a determined legal team managed to defer and petition the ruling, until the judges stated in December 2011 that this case had become “a question of general public importance to be discussed over tea and crumpets while watching EastEnders.”

What exactly is EastEnders about?
I don't know. It's just one of those things that British people love and are proud to have created.

Ok, back to the story...
May 2012, and the world is still reeling from Chelsea's plucky underdog Champion's League victory. In a fit of hysteria, the Tottenham fans in the Supreme Court again decide to extradite Mr. Assange. This time his appeal is tossed out the window, chewed on by dogs, shredded, dumped kerosene on, burned and left in a room full of Jane Austen novels. Realising this could mean deep merde (excuse my French) for himself, Assange turns to his best friend and the last guy he interviewed on his side gig for Russian television, President Correa of Ecuador and asked for political asylum, which he was then granted.

Doesn't Ecuador infringe the Free Speech right all the time?
There have been cases of journalists being tossed into a secret torture camp in the jungle. I fail to see how that's related to giving asylum to a whistleblower.

Right. So all is well in the world again?

These questions are so plainly inserted to raise your word count. Have you no pride? Fine, what's gone wrong now?
So Mr. Assange calmly strolled through London, stopped to buy some crisps and walked into the Ecuadorian embassy.

What he didn't expect was that the British government didn't like this very much and soon had SWAT teams or whatever the British call it in front of the embassy threatening to enter using force to detain Mr. Assange. This of course would spark an international incident, since an embassy isn't British territory and could be interpreted as an act of war. Meanwhile the Chinese held a press conference to say that they've never stormed any embassies and don't do human rights offences. This was duly ignored.

And that brings us to the current situation, in which Assange can be seen walking around in his pyjamas, teddy bear in hand, making himself some coffee. President Correa is in no moods to give him up and sticks by his decision to give him asylum, while sending pictures of him with his tongue out via twitter to Barack Obama. Meanwhile, the Brits have said if Assange steps a foot out of the embassy he will be arrested, beaten up and given to the Swedish for questioning.

Julien Assange better get used to sleeping on the couch then.

Meet the Flinstones! Or some other prehistoric girl as she struggles with words. This entry was well thought out and different from what we have seen in a while. For next week we have “Volunteers” as the topic. All submissions need to be sent in to ds.risingstars@gmail.com by Sunday noon. Word limit: 350-500 words. Good luck.


By Kashfia Hassan

The dry leaves made a cracking sound as I stepped on them. What could be the perfect word to describe this sound? I have been trying to come up with something for some time now - have been unsuccessful. After all coming up with new words for the book of words was a big honour. Which reminded me! The book of words needed a name too.

My friend Ana caught up with me from behind. She had on a zebra skin toga which ended above her knees and her feet were bare. Grimmaw was trying to invent something to cover and protect our feet, though I think the trend will never catch on. Her long flowing tresses were tied back in a bun and held in place by some animal's bone.

Ana's father was Hunter Redfern, the best hunter of our tribe and Ana was always wearing the skin of animals that her father had hunted. I must say the prints look quite nice when worn but the thought of wearing animal skin makes me gag.

We were going to visit my cousin Silma who makes jewelry. Ana's birthday was coming up and she wanted a new necklace to wear.

'Greetings,' Silma said smiling brightly, 'good day for you all to come visit. I have just finished making a bunch of new jewellery.”

We sat down and Ana looked and looked and finally chose a necklace with orange beads and elephant's teeth and matching earrings. I chose a bracelet with blue beads for myself and a similar one in purple for Ana as her birthday present.

Silma's little brother Hi-fang brought out a bowl of chips for us. As I ate them again I heard that cracking sound as the chips broke between my teeth. What could it be? The word entered my head but left before I could grasp it.

It kept bothering me on my way home. Suddenly Ana picked up a bunch of dry leaves and crushed them between her fingers. And at that moment the word popped into my head. Crunch! It was a crunching sound! The leaves under our feet and the crispy chips in our mouth made a crunching sound. A grin spread across my face as I hurried home to tell everyone my good news. Book of words will have a new addition tonight - dinosaur meat feast again. Yabba daba doo.


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