Of pink elephants

It had a string attached to its head. It was a child’s toy, though it was a macabre display when you held the string attached to its head. It sort of dangled like it was hung, and I’m not talking about the manly “hung,” I’m talking about the thirteen loops and all.

The head is at an unnatural angle with the chin tucked low and the body hangs limp. One imagines the release of bowels at the moment of snappage.

But what really creeps you out is the music. The musicbox lullaby that drones on when you pull its tail. You pull its tail, and the musicbox goes on and on, through about three iterations of the song. I think it’s a musicbox variation of the theme of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” but one begins to envision olde-timey sepia footage of public lynch mobs and the eventual hanging that soothes the savagery of said mob.

Hangings always make me think of this story I read in 8th grade English class (I suppose Mrs. Berube would be proud that I actually remembered something, though I sincerely doubt she remembers me). The story was set in the Revolutionary war and a Minuteman was about to be hung from a bridge over the river by the RedCoats. The hanging proceeds but the rope breaks and he falls into the river below, frantic to free himself and shocked at his fortune. The British don’t let him off that easy and begin to subdue their lynchee. The story goes on through a chase in the woods, the stereotypical dogs not finding someone that crosses a river, and then when he thinks he’s made it, the story flashes back to his neck snapping as he goes full-tether on the noose and dies.

You see, the whole story happened as he was on the way down to his death, in case you didn’t get that.

But stories of hanging always remind me of that millisecond stretching to hours as you’re about to die. I’m sure my story would have pink elephants.