The Jade Elephant by Libby Fischer Hellman has many content or plot elements I like that have come together in a story that pleased me a lot. Gus and Pete, probably not Chinese, met in a restaurant run by Charlieman, an Asian businessperson whose interests were not limited to food service. The proprietor also dealt in stolen goods; the slang term for his further profitable ventures is “fence.” Gus hasn’t been active in criminal enterprises lately; he has been sick. The two are meeting in a restaurant at the request of Pete to celebrate Gus returning to work.
While Gus was away, Pete has become increasingly suspicious of Charlieman and his worth as an intermediary for Gus and Pete. Gus, however, prizes loyalty and doesn’t want to cut out Charlieman in the latest proposed sale. They still must sell the jade elephant the pair had stolen before Gus had gone into a hospital for testing and treatment. Pete continued to do small burglaries, and Gus negotiated sales through the Chinaman, even though Pete wanted to use a new fence.
The Jade Elephant was creating problems for the pair of robbers. First, the Chinaman could not find a customer who could offer a suitable price, so the Jade Elephant went unsold. Second, Gus regretted stealing the elephant. While in the hospital, Gus had seen the original owner of the elephant. She was sad and dying as she needed a kidney, and none were available. On the one hand, Gus wanted to help. On the other, Gus had a weird feeling about the coincidence of both he and the woman being in the hospital at the same time with life-threatening diseases.
Will Gus, the humanitarian, reach out to the woman? Will the Jade elephant ever sell? If it does, will some profits go to help the woman pay for a kidney transplant? There are many questions. Read this short story to find out what happened to the Jade Elephant, Gus, Pete, and the old woman.
I gave this short story five Amazon stars, signed up with the author’s mailing list, and am looking forward to reading more by Libby Fischer Hellman. This 13-page short story is available on Amazon for USD 0.99; The Jade Elephant is not currently available on Kindle Unlimited.