by Jeff
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Lily the goat on the deck

Mike Watt - "Mouse-Headed-Man"

The goat had been on the road for months now, going from town to village to hamlet, sampling the best each had to offer. She especially liked browsing on the low leaves of apple trees, but would settle for anything, sedges, ferns, tulips, dahlias.

A goat is guided through life primarily by appetite and rarely gives thought to social graces. Because of her unrestrained munching the goat was loathed by gardeners and arborists in three counties. For this reason she had become nocturnal. It was easier to travel by night than to spend the days facing the derision of the gardening classes.

One day she was feasting on some particularly scrumptious apple leaves when she heard a quiet voice.

"Excuse me. Hello. Excuse me, Madame Goat." In the dark the goat made out a small shape standing on a nearby log. "If you would be so considerate as to hear my appeal Madame Goat, I would be ever grateful."

"Who are you?"

"I am a shrew, a small nocturnal creature. Tiny in fact. Nevertheless I have my needs, and if you would be so kind as to not eat the leaves off that tree I would very much appreciate it."

The goat belched and then said, "I've never met a shrew before. Are you all so polite?"

"Oh yes, the very small must be courteous. We can't afford to ruffle any feathers. Speaking of which, my small request is that you leave the leaves of this tree untouched, if you would. My domestic partner is expecting shrewlets soon and the leaves of this tree perfectly shield the entryway from the owl's sight, you see. Also, they significantly increase the value of this property. But mainly I'd like my children not to become a meal for the owl if possible."

The goat was very affected by this small creature's plea. She had once had a kid, a jumping bundle of life, but it had been taken away from her. That was when her constant hunger took hold.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I should have asked first."

"Not at all," the shrew said. "Nearby is an old overgrown farm. There's lots to eat over there, perhaps if you work up a good resume they might take you on."

"I'll look into it," the goat said, and for the first time since she lost her kid she felt a hunger for something other than food.

On her way out of the forest an owl swooped onto a branch above her. "Hey lady," it hooted, "seen any shrews about?" But the goat pretended she didn't hear it and kept walking. The owl followed her. "Sorry if I came across as a little rude. I'm just trying to feed my kids. You should hear them shrieking. It gives me a headache!"

"That's alright madame." The goat was trying to live up to the shrew's example of politesse. "I wish you good luck, but can't say I've seen any shrews about." How could she betray the kind soul who changed her life path?

The next day the goat went to the town library, read some books about potential careers, wrote a well thought out CV and printed it off. She went off to the farm the shrew told her about and, after a short interview in which she upheld the shrew's standard of civility, she was hired on part-time as bookkeeper and granted access to a huge abandoned orchard of apple trees.

Years later she still thought of the little shrew who steered her on to a new path. After her early troubles she finally found a place for herself in the world.

[buy Hyphenated-Man]

(photo by Spike)

Posted by Jeff at November 10, 2015 1:36 AM
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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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