Sunday, April 6, 2014

Let's See You Shear the Goat Again... And This Time Without the Potatohead


I won’t bore you with details about how I got home, other than the fact that my foot had been knitted into the Incredibly Long Scarf, and I unravelled back to earth. After arriving home three weeks later, you can imagine that I was more than ever determined to stay out of trouble. But you would be wrong.

It always starts with a knock on the door.

This time it was Mrs. Smallmouthbass, the landlady.

"You're their last resort," she said.

You see, there are two brothers, Mario and Lucien, who live next door. They're originally from the city of Bastia, just off the western coast of Italy. The problem was that the two brothers had to take off for a conference in Chicago.

"It's very important," she said, lowering her voice. "It's about the big bag theory."

Mario and Lucien were obviously check-out boys at the local A&P. While gone, they needed me to take care of their pet goat.

They were twin brothers. I could tell them apart because Mario had a mole on his left cheek. They seemed nice enough. We had the usual goat-on-vacation conversation. There were cans of goat food, goat treats, schedules for goat walks.

"Is there a number where I can reach you if something goes wrong?" I said.

"Don't worry," said Mario. "If something's wrong, we'll call you."

And then they were off.

For the first few days, things went well. The goat was trying to isolate a rather long string of hydrocarbons, so he spent most of his time in the laboratory.

On the third day, I got a call. It was Mario. I know it was him, because he sounded as if he had a mole on his left cheek.

"The goat needs to walk," he said. He hung up.

The next day, another call. It was the one without the mole.

"The goat needs to be milked."

I began to wonder how they knew what the goat wanted. I thought at first maybe the goat was placing long distance calls while I wasn't looking. I began to spy on the goat, never letting him out of my sight. But no, no phone calls. Just long hydrocarbons.

Suddenly, the phone rang. It was the one with the mole.

"The goat's hungry."

It was then that I began to get scared. Something very strange was going on. Somehow, across thousands of miles of rutted pavement, these two guys knew what the goat was thinking. After hours of intense pondering, I came to the only rational explanation.

Somehow, the goat was telepathically controlling their minds.

I resolved to test my theory. I sat down facing the goat, put my fingers to my temples, and hummed softly to myself in the key of E-sharp. After two hours of this, a thought struck me like lightening on a hot day in July.

The goat wanted me to give him a haircut.

It took a while, but I finally found a book on how to do it in the local library. Why I would want to give a goat a haircut in the local library I'm not quite sure. Anyway, the book said:

"How to give your goat a haircut

Things you will need:

A bird house
A tape recorder
A can of Liquid Wrench
A large economy sized bag of macaroni
Mr. Potatohead
A Phillips screwdriver
The key to an ad agency's men's room in New York City
A spaghetti strainer
A goat (optional)

Step 1: Get your goat.

Step 2: Goats invariably do not like haircuts, so you will have to distract him. So nail a birdhouse to the wall, and place a tape recorder playing bird music inside it.

Step 3: This will probably not work, since goats do not like bird music. Instead, take the can of Liquid Wrench and liberally douse the goat. Empty the large bag of macaroni on the goat. Set the oven at 350 degrees, and bake the goat for 15 minutes, or roughly the time it takes to put together one mildly creative Mr. Potatohead.

Step 4: After 15 minutes, the fumes from the Liquid Wrench will have hardened on the surface of the oven door, so take your Phillips screwdriver and pry open the door. If you live in Canada, you can use a Robertson screwdriver, which is infinitely better.

Step 5: Wash the goat off in the shower. If the macaroni gets irretrievably stuck in the drain, use the men's room at Guild, Bascomb and Bonfigli's New York office. You'll need a key. They don't trust non-creative types.

Step 6: Strain the goat through the spaghetti strainer. You'll notice that the goat reappears with a nice toney fuzz on his hide.

Step 7: If you are left-handed, skip step 4.

Step 8: If you do not have a goat, skip step 1. Proceed to Step 2."

So I started building the birdhouse. About halfway through Step 5, the phone rang. It was Mario.

"Are you giving the goat a haircut?"

I don't know why, but my left eye began blinking uncontrollably. It was still blinking when the Corsican brothers arrived home from Chicago.

I am writing this blog from a padded cell in the Harry P. Gesticulation Home for the Mentally Questionable. On Tuesdays we get ice cream. On Thursdays we paste colored macaroni on eight by eleven sheets of construction paper.

But I am not allowed to paste the macaroni on my goat.