The Elephant in the Room - #Flash Fiction

Hi. Here is a little story about a metaphorical elephant in the room. An 'elephant in the room' story can be metaphorical or literal. It could be about the thing in the room that everyone tries to avoid or the thing that commands attention, whether voluntary or involuntary. It could be anything.

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Everyone moved around the room nervously taking care not to come too close to the coffee table in the center. They pretended not to notice the glass enclosure sitting there, but their movements were stilted and forced. If it weren't for the fact that the soiree was the most important social event of the season, and that the host was a multi-billion-dollar tycoon, capable of financing anyone's and everyone's business dreams or non-profit needs; the attendees would have been out of there in a New York minute. It was one thing to look at that which sat calm and composed in the enclosure but another thing entirely to have to talk about it to each other, and even praise the owner of the horrid creature, but praise her they did, while suppressing as much of the shivers that shimmied up their greedy little spines as possible.

   Shirlee enjoyed watching their discomfort and listening to their pretenses and polite, deceitful compliments. She had waited for almost three hours, searching for that one person who was in every crowd; that one person who was ingenuous, but shy, maybe even retiring. She watched for that one who might be a social moron but was drawn by fascination toward the glass enclosure. Whoever it was tonight, was controlling his or her excitement well. Shirlee's impatience was beginning to get the best of her. It was always a surprise to her, when her beneficiary revealed themselves. Typically, she thought she had guessed their identity before they came forward, with a shy but intense request to interact with each year's diversion. But, no one had come forward. Finally she would wait no longer.

She approached the coffee table and the enclosure that everyone else wouldn't look at, but found their eyes drawn to anyway, and opened the top of the container. The nervous movement of the crowd suddenly stopped, they stood transfixed, wide eyes watching in horror, some making little shrieks, and others groans of disgust. She slowly put her hand inside the tank and withdrew the hairy-legged, black thing that clung upside down to her hand, as counterpoint to the glittering rings on her fingers and the sparkling soft fabric of her cocktail dress.

Then she heard it. A soft intake of air that sounded like awe. She had found her beneficiary.