“Fucking goats? Really?”
Their names were Salt and Pepper, but there was really no telling any difference between the two… unless you were some sort of certified goat expert. The pair of big-eared and big-bearded animals wandered about their fenced in area which was probably the size of a football endzone but certainly not as well kept. They had plenty of room to roam without their moving be inhibited, but they were by no means “free range,” but maybe organic depending upon USDA guidelines. The 4 legged, furry dopes stared sideways and chewed grass like a slack jawed yodel from the stereotypical south. You could almost imagine them leaning back into their rocking chair spouting out, “Y’all ain’t from around these parts, are’ya?” with one hoof hanging from their overalls and their trucker cap wiping away the sweat from their brow. It was a hard day of tending to their crops… or eating them.
It seemed like a great idea to rent a tent in the middle of the woods on a stranger’s property in the middle of the mountains… with goats…. on Halloween…. with a full moon. It was a recipe straight out of a corny horror movie for teens that enjoy something that barely grasps their attention but does a great job at creating the perfect ambience for a “Netflix and chill” kind of evening… WINK.
Ever since he was a young lad, he had a innate fear of goats. One of his first memories of his childhood was his grandmother bringing him to some local petting zoo and feeding the different animals. The only animal he actually remembered was feeding the goat… and the piece of shit ignored the hay in his hand and went for those mini sausages for fingers. Of course, whenever this happens to a 4 year old, that kind of a memory sticks with him for life. So Salt and Pepper were met with some bias this afternoon… a strong “if you make a sudden move I’ll kick you in the jaw” kind of bias.
Kelly and Scott were gracious hosts. They showed their beautiful space and spared no detail. Kelly came off as more the pants wearer of the household. She was a solid 5’8″, proportional in size, with dirty blonde hair and a demeanor that showed she accepted no bullshit. Scott, on the other hand, looked like a grown-up version of a little rascal. Any of them. He was white, though, so pick accordingly. His hair was lightly gelled and spiked like Bart Simpson, and he stood a tall 5 foot nothing. He balanced her out with the ability to smile and share conversation with anyone. They both wore the appropriate mountain-farm flannel and jeans, but Scott wore moccasins. Go figure.
“Follow me,” Kelly uttered in her empty-toned voice. Perhaps she was inconvenienced by an early arrival or she was constipated. There was no telling, but a day without pooping is never a good one. Her attitude would be justified if that was the case.
The property had 5 structures upon it. First, there was the primary house. Built in the 1800’s on the outside, fully renovated and modernized inside. Scott made sure to mention how they had just purchased when the plague hit to get out of “the city.” They were financial advisors from New York who told rich people what to do with all their money to increase it’s quantity… including paying the two of them enough to become wealthy themselves.
Next they were shown the garage. The door was open showcasing a ping pong table setup for guests amongst the surrounding normal garage clutter. “It’s undergoing renovation still,” Scott said excusing it’s lack of being up to his standards. “You two are more than welcome to play some ping-pong whenever you want!” Because we came to the mountains to play ping-pong… what an attraction!
Next was the goat shelter. It looked like it was going collapse upon itself if you farted next to it. If you ever got to wear drunk-goggles as a kid going through middle school, imagine that’s how you viewed this building. The maroon paint was darker than it should have been and chipping where the weather had gotten the best of it. Even with a blue sky, the shadows were casted through the tree branches like they were hands shooing our presence away. The two windows that it had hanging over the barn door were fogged and had tape over it’s cracks to prevent further destruction. From further away, it looked like a the mask from the movie Scream. “It’s where we keep all of our equipment and supplies for the goats,” Kelly The Robot explained. “Let me show you your tent.”
Walking around their garage, they had to pass through their pool patio. The green concrete screamed “I NEED A POWERWASHING!” but it was muffled by the deep groans of the picket fence that looked like it had given up on it’s cries for help long before the concrete was even stepped upon.
*Squish, squish, squish*
He looked down and noticed his feet were almost an inch deep into the earth. “Watch your step, it’s wet.” And in other news, the sun is still yellow. They trekked about 20 yards back being guided by the overgrowth and the fencing for the goat farm. “Here’s where you’ll be staying this evening,” Kelly pointed with her palm up and fingers together in a sweeping motion, as if the guests had been led down some red carpet to a 5 star hotel room.
In her defense, it was a very new setup and perhaps something they could have been prouder of if it didn’t look like it a cluster of dead trees had not fallen on either side of it. The pearly white safari tent sat upon a newly planked platform. The wood it rested upon looked like it had been pulled from Lowes just that day, it even had the smell of walking through their lumber aisles. Everything was constructed of the same type of unstained and unsealed wood. There were 2 patio chairs outside the tent, a picnic bench on the ground to it’s left, and a small storage cabinet that held items for the portable grill. There was also a black steel firepit that rested on the ground beside the dead trees inviting disaster.
Inside their resting place for the evening was a queen mattress, better than what you’d find in a dorm room but not better than what’s inside your bedroom. Do the math. Warmth was supplied by a propane heater in the corner which removed any sense of “roughing it.” It was counter balanced quickly when Kelly kicked a box in the other corner of their luxurious room. “Here’s your toilet this evening.” It was a box with a hole, in the corner of the tent. It looked less comfortable than a jail cell potty. “Just make sure you put one of these bags in there before you do your business,” as she held a miniature trashbag filled with kitty litter.
It made him wonder how hunters and serious hikers deal with their shits. While hunting any significant smell can scare your prey, so perhaps this was more common than they realized? Either way, they would make sure to use the restroom in town for number 2’s. Number 1 meant he’d just piss in the woods next door while she was still subjected to the “box of shame.” Heh, sucker.
It was time to eat a big meal and pretend they were staying in a real hotel room. They went out for supplies… everything from firewood (even though they were surrounded by it) to snacks for the evening. He grabbed a couple pieces of dark chocolate and organic/whole food/vegan/non-gmo/some-other-bullshit-marketing-ployed treats. The two were very cautious of what they put in their bodies, but it WAS Halloween after all… so everyone gets a pass. Now it was time to eat like a king and queen.
“I’ll have a glass of Johnny Walker Black on the rocks with a lime on the side, please.” It was his first drink in a month. Sober October was a chance for him to clean out, regardless of how “trendy” it may be. The Patriots were on tv and this pub had some of the best chicken wings and burgers he’d ever tried. The ear-to-ear smiles were plentiful that afternoon. Halloween’s spice of living-a-little was coming in full swing. They laughed, they ate, drank, and the Patriots won. Overall, the afternoon was one they both needed – a little escape from the normal routine of back home and the constant nagging of tasks that would always surround them and their minds.
These two always connected so well. One of their friends referred to them as a “Power Couple” years back. It was a nice compliment, a reflection upon how well they always got along, and one that reminded them how truly unique their relationship was.. They didn’t always agree on everything, but they always made each other smile and made for a great team. What she didn’t get done, he could and vis versa. They were best friends and had been for over 10 years with no end in sight. She lit up every room she went into and everyone loved to have her around. Thankfully, she was paired at his hip so that any room he went into they put up with his bullshit. She brought a lot of levity to his off and on annoyances to the surrounding people.
Ultimately… they were happy.
After the dinner and the game, they cruised back to their 5 star cabin in the woods for a fire, drinks, and reflection. The moon was full and the sky was generally clear. What clouds did come were gone in the blink of an eye. The air was bitterly cold but smelled crisp but stung the nose if huffed too quickly. Mountain skies were different than city skies as the light pollution was nonexistent. Stars, the Milky Way, the universe… you could see it all clear as could be. It was beautiful and something they had never experienced alone nor together. They held each other and stared up into the infinite. Thoughts escaped them and their minds became empty. Realization of how little everything matters became quickly apparent. Wow.
Laying in bed, enjoying some of the propane heat, throwing back a few healthy Halloween munchies while reading the Sunday comics, life seemed so perfect.. if only just for a moment. Eventually they both became weary as the AM hours crept in. In order to enjoy tomorrow, today had to end. Lights out, they snuggled and closed their eyes looking forward to a fun Monday that they would steal together while others were dragged into the man-made work week.
Drifting into what they had just spent an hour staring up into, he heard rustling outside of the tent next to him. There was no space behind the tent or around it – it was all dead brush and fallen trees. Wind, critters, the platform settling. It’s your mind playing tricks on you, as per usual. Shut the fuck up and get some sleep.
Definitely a critter. Are mice nocturnal? I’m sure owls fuck their day up from time to time so there MUST be a couple that are in these parts.
“Kill the bitch.”
OK, now he could admit there was a problem.