* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are taking a break from current events to reflect on a heavenly encounter between two talking animals from history. We know what you're thinking: do animals really go to heaven? Well, you're wrong. The better question is, can animals really talk? And you're wrong about that too. So please, stop with the silly questions and just enjoy this silly piece by Christian Harrington, his first for us.

When Secretariat Met A War Elephant In Heaven

By: Christian Harrington

Secretariat: Hey, I’m Secretariat. I won the Triple —

War Elephant: Hi, yeah, I know who you are.

Secretariat: I’m not surprised. People consider me one of the greatest athletes of all time.

War Elephant: Well, one of the greatest horse athletes.

Secretariat: No, actually, in 1999 ESPN ranked me the 35th greatest athlete of the century.

War Elephant: I died in like 216 BC so that means very little —

Secretariat: The list included humans is the thing. I was the only animal in the top 50.

War Elephant: I’ve met Babe Ruth. Was he on the list?

Secretariat: Yes, I believe he was second.

War Elephant: So…much higher on the list than you —

Secretariat: Well, it skewed human. Anyhow, what did you do down there? Work part-time at a circus? Spend all day blowing water through your trunk at baby elephants?

War Elephant: I served in the Carthaginian army.

Secretariat: No kidding? The army have an elephant polo team?

War Elephant: No, I fought as a war elephant alongside Hannibal, my general and my friend.

Secretariat: Very cool. That reminds me, I won the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths! It’s still a record —

War Elephant: Hannibal led us across the Alps to surprise the Romans from the north. The Alps are a mountain range in Europe —

Secretariat: I know what the Alps are.

War Elephant: There were about 40 elephants to start. We pushed through brutal conditions. We never complained. We fought as long as our 40-pound hearts would allow.

Secretariat: I bet you were the first to —

War Elephant: I was the last to die.

Brief silence

Secretariat: I won 16 of my 21 races.

War Elephant: Crossing the Alps took more than two weeks. It was freezing. Meals were few and far between —

Secretariat: Have you ever heard of the Man o’War Stakes?

War Elephant: No.

Secretariat: Yeah, I’m getting the sense you don’t have a good grasp on horse racing history.

War Elephant: You can imagine the difficulty of an Alps ascent when you weigh 12,000 pounds.

Secretariat: Eh, horse racing tracks are pretty flat. Very muddy, though.

War Elephant: I died in mud. Mud the color of Carthaginian blood.

Long silence

Secretariat: I’m gonna go hit the head.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we pride ourselves on being kid friendly. Maybe a little too kid friendly, according to today's nonsense from Eric Feurer.

One Ticket To The Children’s Movie, As I Am A Human Child And NOT Two Trench Coats In A Kid

By: Eric Feurer

Hello! One ticket to the children’s movie please. I am allowed to watch a children’s movie as I am a small human child, and not two trench coats inside a kid.

Two trench coats in a kid, how silly! How would that even work? This makes me laugh, a most human emotion. HAH. HAHAH. HAH. I am laughing.

I suppose it could work with one clever trench coat moving the mouth and limbs, while the other fills and compresses the child’s lungs…but I digress, as I am a silly whimsy boy with several imaginations! One ticket to Paddington Bear 2. I hear the raincoat is VERY talented.

Ah, nice day to be young and made of skin, don’t you think? My name? Burlington. Burlington C. Factory. My parents do money and make taxes, and I enjoy base bowling and having thumbs. Here’s proof! Watch as I whip. NOW watch as I nae nae. I have whipped and I have nae nae’d. And you have watched.

I love dancing with my friends Macys and Lord Taylor. After all, we’re scrappy tweens with hobbies and bones, and NOT two trench coats inside of a kid.

You’re right, Keeper of the Tickets, that IS insane! What an idea! Where would two sexy genius trench coats even find a child’s body!? A closed casket funeral yesterday morning? And how would they deal with the smell? They would have to be smart enough to replace most of the boy’s organs with dryer sheets! Anyway, one ticket to Paddington Bear 2, a film doing wonders for jacket representation.

Also quick question: are the seats assigned or do I drape my body over whichever one I prefer?


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we subscribe to the theory that everyone has a double somewhere on earth (in my case, it's Ryan Reynolds). Another theory has it that meeting your double can be disturbing. Just ask our good friend Kathryn Higgins, who was moved to verse by the incident.

Blonde Suburban Doppelganger

By: Kathryn Higgins

When to the silver SUV I schlepped

pushing a cart that veered to the left,

I reached for keys which I usually kept

hooked to my bag to foil theft.


I pushed the button; heard the chirp

although a distance it seemed to cross;

called to my son, the little twerp

and began unloading milk and sauce.


“Mom,” said Matthew, with concern,

a luxury for which I had no time.

“Get in the car” I snapped in turn

and to my door I bent to climb.


I went to put key in ignition

when all at once I felt a chill

a horrible lack of recognition

of seat, of cup, of car, of nil!


“Where’s my stuff?” I asked my boy

who’d climbed uncertainly in the back,

“I do not appreciate this decoy

my dirty towel, my bills? My snack?”


“Mom,” he tried again; I turned

to see what new crime he contemplated

but when I saw the back I learned

and from fault he was then exculpated.


This gleaming shiny silvery jeep

with tidy mug and Burberry scarf

did not match at all my heap

festooned with garbage and flecked with barf.


Christened by my kids and me

with dirt and gum and single socks

my car just simply could not be

this one that held designer frocks.


“Hush!” I said now that I knew

we were in the wrong SUV —

(would this one’s owner take mine in lieu

knowing what I did of me?)


My senses were on combat high

as I reviewed our situation:

how we got in there and why —

I prepared for our evacuation.


Then I saw my old jalopy

facing hers, as if a mirror

had found a twin just not as sloppy

cleaner, neater, richer, dearer.


I’ll take Her car, I paused to think,

and trade in for a better life —

I’ll bag my husband and my shrink

and be a better sort of wife.


Yes, I’ll take it and I’ll flee

away from my suburban jailors:

husband, housework, children three,

laundry, cooking, coupon-mailers.


I flipped the visor mirror and saw

the doppelganger wanna-be

a disheveled blonde with frowning maw

an evil, tired side of me.


I slumped back in her leather seat

noticed her Gucci sunglasses there

imagined her country club so neat —

God, we’d feel like asses there.


Swaddled in her premium automobile

I was o’ertaken by pleasant daydreams of

Manolo Blahnik stiletto heels,

lunches at the Golden Dove.


Benefits aboard a yacht

decked out in Dolce and Gabbana —

“Some little nothing I just bought,”

Sipping Cristal with Ivanna.


In this reverie I sat

in a sort of mental attack

when “Mom” I heard again from Matt

who’d been so quiet in the back.


I turned to see my little son

who looked at me with eyes so wide,

my innocent and trusting one

not knowing I was Mr. Hyde.


I realized then that no matter how pampered

filled with serenity and joy

my doppelganger’s life was hampered

by lack of my kids — girls and boy.


If she had kids and so she did

according to her decorations

despite their brilliance mine outbid

them in winning my affections.


I could not make the trade; I sighed

“Let’s Go!” I said to my little Pea

when coming out of the store I spied

a thinner replica of me.


“Get Out!” I hissed and grabbed the food

and toilet paper by the load

I snatched the cart and Matt I shooed

out of the car and down the road.


Again my key; my car chirped back

I hustled my little boy inside —

he found his book, his toy, his snack

and there he waited while I spied.


My double came and claimed her car

no inkling did she have of me

despite the door I left ajar

and my lost can of Pepsi Free.


Tossing her designer purse

she mounted her shiny silvery throne

I ducked and hissed a little curse

as my steering wheel hit my bone.


She drove off talking on her phone

about exciting things no doubt.

I said to Matthew “Let’s go home”

and “Behave or you’ll get a timeout.”


Filled with a newfound thankfulness I drove

home to my modest little dwelling

and with new eagerness I strove

to find my children without yelling.


“Come and give your mom a hug!”

I said to urchins one two three.

“Wait — what have you done to the rug?”

And so ended our brief jubilee.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are great supporters of the idea of romantic fidelity. Except when we're not. And we're not today, because we have four excerpts from a book of unfaithful flash fiction by Edward O'Dwyer. The book is not yet available, but it is a sequel of sorts to another book called "Cheat Sheets," which can be ordered at the link below.

Four Flashes Of Infidelity

By: Edward O'Dwyer


My fiancée told me from the get-go that she wasn’t going to be faithful.

“It isn’t out of lack of respect or love, though” she said. “I’ve just always believed that when a good opportunity knocks, it’s a crime not take advantage of it. I think there’s no exception to that, but don’t worry — while they will just be meaningless flings, you’ll always be my husband and one true love. How does that sound?”

I had to admit, after the initial shock, I was warming more to the notion. After all, more good marriages have probably been broken by monogamy.

The only bit of a snag was we went on our honeymoon for a month in the Caribbean and the men there and my wife hit it off famously. I spent most of my nights on the couch with earphones in and reggae music playing very loudly. I had a few moments of doubt on some of those nights, I have to admit.

She must have sensed it as well because, in fairness, before my worries could get out of hand, she promised me that, first thing when we got home, we would consummate our tying the knot.



I’m an avid reader, having grown up in a home full of books. Ever since I was a little girl I have been devouring them, with dreams of one day writing one of my own.

My ex-boyfriend, when we were together, used to joke around about me preferring books to people. It was true, of course, but I always ignored him, kept reading.

When he confessed to sleeping with other women, he said I’d made it too easy. He said it could have gone on forever, and that I’d never have caught him, even if it was going on and I was in the room, because if I was my head would probably be stuck far too intently in a book anyway.

All I had in my hand at the time he came clean was a paperback edition, and so I smacked him with it repeatedly as best I could, letting out my anger. It wasn’t very effective. I was fairly sure he wouldn’t even have a mark to show for it.

If I’d spent the extra few quid I’d have had the hardcopy of it in my hand and would surely have done a bit more damage, but that’s hindsight for you. I always buy the hardback now, of course, just in case there’s a next time.



There’s a rumor going around the town that my wife has been having an affair. It’s terrible, of course, because she’d never do such a thing. Her devotion to her vows is unquestionable. I wouldn’t believe it for a second.

I started the rumor myself, which is another reason why I place no stock at all in it. It’s out there now, doing the rounds, doing what I need it to do.

The way I’ve worked it out, the rumor will still need denying, and her innocence will still need affirming. Naturally, I’ll tell her I never doubted it for a second, and I’ll take her reassuringly in my arms. She’ll be thrilled that I trusted her so.

When sooner or later the rumor reaches her that I’m having an affair, which it surely will eventually, since it is true, she’ll have no choice but to reciprocate. When I plead innocence, she’ll just have to trust me. It’s only good manners after I’ll have trusted her.



My wife walked in on me with my girlfriend. She was holding a gun, and I could tell by the look on her face she was not in any humor to listen to excuses.

“Relax,” she said, “I’m not here to kill you,” and we both breathed a massive sigh of relief. “However, the way I see it, one of us must die, so I’m insisting we play a game of Russian roulette. I’ll even get things started.” She inserted the single bullet, spun the barrel, held the gun to her temple, then pulled the trigger and, on this occasion, it clicked harmlessly.

“Whatever happens, I hope you will live,” she told me, handing me the gun. “Whichever of us is left to carry on with you, I hope you’ll be very happy. That’s all I ever wanted, your happiness.” I noticed a fat, swelling tear dribbling from her eye as I pulled the trigger, and then passed the weapon on to my girlfriend.

I must have blinked, and in that time the gun had gun off. There was blood sprayed all over the wall, and then I saw my wife’s body slumped on the floor, motionless. My girlfriend was grinning. It was the same grin that gives her away when she cheats at Monopoly, that really irresistible grin that always makes me want her maddeningly.

Unfortunately, she had to go to prison for murder, but as she keeps saying, it won’t be for forever, and before too long we’ll be together again. “It was your wife’s dying wish that I make you very happy,” she tells me when I visit her, “and I still have every intention to honor that.”