Friday, 8 November 2013

Myth

In the depths of the clouds, there is a castle full of goats and wishbones. The goats wear mayoral ribbons pinned to their chests and proclaim every second Saturday the day of oranges. The goats sit at long wooden tables that sail through the clouds like viking ships, adorned with crests and proud ribboning flags. They feast upon tangerines and mandarins and satsumas, on clementines and blutorange; the goats sink their sharp pointed teeth through the dimpled skin and close their square eyes in bliss.

What are the goats thinking? What thoughts buff and cloud in their minds as they sit across from one another, chewing? I will tell you: the goats are thinking about wishes. They are dreaming of the ways they will get all of the things that they want. Their thick, curdled goat brains are full of cowgirls and painted red fences. Sacks woven from shimmering turquoise thread and filled to the brim with fruit. Also, they are thinking about food. The goats may spend their hours indulging in all kind of sweet feral frolics--the goats may be busy--but when it comes down to it, the goats are preoccupied with feasts.

It is a different kind of life, high in the clouds, looking down on mortals. The goats never intended to live forever, but we're not always in control of the way things turn out, you know? Somewhere in the vast chasm between intention and action, a proud man tripped on his shoelaces and ended up on his face. That is a goat proverb. Here is another: Beware the direction of the peel.

Since they began to live forever as keepers of immortality and kings of the clouds, the goats have been pretty quiet about what goes on. I cannot blame them. We have all heard what happened when Prometheus nicked the fire for mankind, we know the wrath handed to Loki for all his murk and mischief. At the point of dabbling between realms where the creeping vines of fruit trees form a soft, sweet tunnel, things are precarious. Buckets of water are balanced on wobbling stones. The air smells like citrus. The goats keep mum.

Here is what I can tell you: Once upon a time, all the animals lived together equally on the green grass of the earth. They did not question the fact that below them was fire rumbling like bellies, that above them there were pillows in the clouds. The animals were content with the soil, but there was one goat who was bored. This is how things happen, when it all comes down to it: there was a creature, the creature was bored. The creature tried something new, just because they day is so long and so vast and so full of minutes. Because it is almost unbearable--this--the sand ticking down.

A man leaps up and over heaven, pinching a single flame. A god asks a man to kill his son, just because he can. An eagle pecks a liver. The sun continues to spin.

And the goats--this goat, the bored goat, our hero of this tale--decide that something must be asked of the universe. The goat kills a chicken just because he is bored. Sinks his sharp pointed teeth into feathers, shakes his head from side to side, lets the blood spurt from its neck. The blood spatters onto the sand. The white feathers tickle crimson. Look at the goat's face: his moustache is soaked with clots and sinews. Look into the goat's eyes: fall deep into those slits, shirk from the squareness. You will never win a staring contest with a goat. You may try, but you will always end up disgusted. You will be forced to look away. They say that any woman who could hold the gaze of a goat for an hour had to be a witch. They would try to kill her, but by then it would be too late.

So the goat kills the chicken, just because; the goat rips the carcass in pieces and casts it on the floor. Amongst the detritus of life, there is a forked bone. The goat stares at the bone without blinking for what seems like a very long time. The goat makes a wish...

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