One Tough Coconut

A note about this story…this was one of the first pieces of fiction that I ever wrote.  (Four, five years ago?) Reading through it now it seems a bit rough, but I didn’t change any part of it.  What I love most about this is remembering how at the time I was working on it Amy and I laughed ourselves silly over those elephant jokes…


He knew Muriel Davenport was guilty.  The  evidence against her was overwhelming, but all circumstantial, unfortunately.    What Detective Martin Whitfield Dunmore was after was a full confession.  He had used everything on her, trying to get her to crack.  The bright lights in her face.  The trick questions. Even a little of the “rough stuff.”  But Muriel would not crack.  She was one tough coconut.  Detective Dunmore was tired.  He wanted to go home.  He could practically taste the dry martini he planned to make for himself.   “All right Mrs. Davenport.   You leave me no choice.  Sergeant Graff, go get the book of elephant jokes.”

Muriel let out a terrified gasp.  This was a turn of events she hadn’t anticipated.  “No!   Please no.  Not elephant jokes!”

Dunmore smiled, and with a feeling of renewed optimism, told the first one.

 Why are elephants wrinkled?

The are too difficult to iron.

Muriel felt a fit of giggles coming on.  She bit down hard on her lip.  She was going to be strong.

Why is an elephant big and gray?

If it were small and white it would be an aspirin tablet.

Unable to control herself, Muriel started to laugh.

 What’s the difference between a piece of paper and an elephant? 

You can’t make an airplane out of an elephant.

Detective Dunmore showed no mercy.

 What does Tarzan say when he sees a herd of elephants in the distance?

 “Look!  A herd of elephants in the distance.”

What is the difference between a herd of elephants and a plum?

 An elephant is gray.

What does Jane say when she sees a herd of elephants in the distance?

  “Look!  A herd of plums in the distance.”  (Jane is colorblind.)

“Stop!”   Muriel screamed.  Her sides ached from so much laughing.  Her temples throbbed.

“So are you ready to talk now Mrs. D.?   I know you iced your husband.  Where’d you hide the body?  Make things easy on yourself and come clean.”

Muriel took a good hard look down the road into her future, and knew that life behind bars was not on her bucket list.  She planned to be a free woman, in more ways than one, for a long, long time.

“I didn’t do it!”  Muriel shot back at the tired detective.  I DID NOT DO IT!   She would break him down.

Putting his head in his hands, the vision of his dry martini fading, Detective Martin Whitfield Dunmore started to cry very quietly, but he continued-with the longest and fiercest volley yet.

 How do you put an elephant in the ice box?

 Open the door and put him in.

How do you put a giraffe in the ice box?

Open the door and take  the elephant out, and put the giraffe in.

The lion decided to have a party.  He invited every animal in the jungle, but one didn’t come.  Which one?

The giraffe.  It was stuck in the ice box.

Two explorers try to cross a crocodile infested stream.  How do they get across?

 Simple.  They wade across.  All of the crocodiles are at the lion’s party.

 But Muriel would not crack.  She was one tough coconut.


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