* 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.