By Ralph Hood
Names have been changed to protect the guilty!
This true story took place 60 years ago. Surely that’s long enough to fall under the statute of limitations.
Several high school boys drove from Atlanta to Daytona Beach during spring break. My friend—let’s call him Jay—drove them down in his family’s ’57 Pontiac Star Chief 2-D hardtop with the big engine. Jay swears to this day that he drove at about 120 mph under the pier at Daytona. Jay still thinks he shut his eyes as they went between the pilings.
But here’s the real story.
The boys slept in one hotel, the girls in another. In the front yard of the boys’ hotel stood an elephant—a small elephant, made of cement.
One night the boys snatched up the elephant and hid him in the trunk of the Pontiac. They were determined to place the elephant in the swimming pool at the girls’ hotel.
They almost made it work.
A police officer caught them; Jay vowed he was obeying the speed limit—but the officer doubted that. He was threatening to arrest them, tar and feather them, and ride them out of town. Then came the big question from the officer—“What’s in the trunk?”
“Aw, nuthin’, said the boys, “just a spare tire and stuff.”
Then the officer asked Jay to do one simple thing—open the trunk. Jay explained that they had lost the trunk key.
The boys were sore afraid.
Eventually the trunk was raised, and there laid the elephant.
The police officer asked a simple question—“All right, where’d y’all get the elephant?”
They hemmed and hawed until one boy said, “It washed up on the beach.”
The officer said, “No he didn’t, he’s got grass on his feet.”
Nobody answered. The boys knew full well that a cement elephant with sand on his feet had never washed up on a beach and probably never would.
The officer could have thrown those boys under the jail house, but he didn’t. He fined each boy $15 and turned them all loose.
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