Last night, I was laying in bed waiting for the jitter-flop, jitter-flop of an overactive brain to settle, and my mind wandered, for no particular reason, to a book I had as a kid. And because it was bizarre, I'm going to inflict it on you.
It was old. Old, old, old, with yellow pages and a cloth binding, the kind where the pages are set irregularly so that it forms an almost corrugated surface. If it had been a copy of the Necronomicon or Origin of Species or the Bhagavad Gita, my life would probably have taken a very different turn, for good or ill, and instead of keeping a Livejournal, I might be residing in the vast eldritch non-Euclidean bowels of an Elder God or studying lichen in the Galapagos or feeding temple rats in some un-air conditioned area of India.
However, one of the formative books of my childhood was, instead "The Wonderful Electric Elephant."
The plot--and I couldn't possibly make this up--involves a guy who's wandering through the Grand Canyon and is charged by an elephant. He shoots it in the head, nothing happens. (I know that when I'm charged by an elephant in the middle of the Grand Canyon, that's usually MY first response...) Suddenly it stops, stairs come out its side, and he climbs into the elephant to discover a little old man, who dies in his arms, and leaves him a diary containing the account of how he built an electric elephant for travelling the world. Our hero says "Cool! I've got an electric elephant!" and sets out to travel the world. He rescues a woman name Ione from Indians shortly afterwards, (this may tell you something about the era we're looking at) and they ride around in this elephant. It appears to be a two bedroom elephant, has a great deal of storage space for food and water, and presumably a bathroom as well, although the author didn't touch on that. They cross the Pacific (evidentally the elephant has amphibious capabilities, and there is--I kid you not--an airlock in the trunk) go to Japan, see volcanos erupting, sail the seas (it can cruise the surface, too) get married, go to China, invade the Forbidden Palace on foot dressed in suits of armor (which were ALSO in the elephant, for all those times you need plate mail with your elephant, leading me to believe that this is perhaps the legendary Elephant of Holding,) go to Siam, dye the elephant pink, (yes, there was pink elephant dye for when you're bored of your grey elephant) get into the palace of the King of Siam, help some of the royal children escape, (there is remarkably no shortage of bedrooms) and the book ends with all of them sitting on top of Mt. Everest and discovering that the elephant has space flight.
And people wonder why I'm weird.