Story: “Who Are You Kidding?”

Here’s a sample from the collection of stories that I have been working on.  Hope you like it!  As always, all rights reserved.


Who Are You Kidding? 

Feverish, he stumbled into a dovecote, feathered with pink-eyed coos.

He feared the birds’ sharp beaks, but slept at last, quivering and grunting. He remembered, later, one of the birds on his distended belly, pecking, yes, but gently. He remembered too when the whole hut shook. His body huddled beneath a snow of dust and down, yet also in that moment, seemed to lift. 

He could tell very soon that his shape had changed for his feet were suddenly freezing, also feet. And he was too big for the dovecot, his legs extending out the door into the field outside. His hair too had changed; his skin seemed to have inhaled much of it. 

As he ran his no-longer-hoofs over his body, he found places that felt, even in his confusion, immensely pleasurable, but vulnerable. It seemed to him as if one of the roosting birds had actually melded with him, and he was momentarily terrified by what next that bird might do. 

This is all mixed up, but it was all mixed up. He clasped the melded bird between his legs protectively–ooh, gentle–as he scooted from the dovecot. He understood that he was filthy, so, still holding between the legs (one hand a time), he pushed into the strange new stance, then lurched into the woods at the side of the field to a small brook.

But he could barely dunk where days before he had cavorted; the water was too cold, too cold!

Other goats drifted over. Although their yellow eyes widened, their slim chins nodded “of course,” as if they’d seen this many times before, goats being huge know-it-alls.

Water further slicking his new hide, he half-ran, half-tumbled down the field to the fence, which he climbed, handily (his balance already improving), then darted to the nearby farmhouse. It isn’t clear how he knew to do this. 

He head-butted the door till it opened. (Luckily, it had not been well shut.) A box of cereal sat on the kitchen counter. He tore into it with mouth and hands, devouring both cardboard and puffed grains.

Still damp, he rubbed himself on an old settee. It was an energetic if frustrating process, especially as the rubbing meant he had to let go of his new-found bird. Looking for something better to rub against, he stepped into another room that harbored a quilted bed. He was about to hurl himself against it when his eye caught a glint of gold on a nearby dressing table. 

Goats are not magpies, but they also love a shine, and the little curve of gold felt like a personal moon. He tried to pick it up, but though his nose was aquiline (goats’ are), it did not skewer the ring as he’d expected, but simply knocked it to the floor. 

An appendage scrabbled for it, and before he knew it, the ring was on that appendage! And then…


Seriously! The ring on his finger caused another immediate change, only this was a change in understanding rather than in physique. He turned to the farmer’s clothes. They were stacked on a love seat beside the dressing table, folded to be given away. 

Soon after, the farmer’s wife came home. She had been on a lonely trek, for although her farmer was not dead, she sometimes liked to think of him that way. 

He was not truly a farmer either. What he was, however, was gone. And, thankfully, she had not changed the deed of the farm (which had been in her family forever) despite the man’s entreaties. All he’d been able to take, aside from her prior belief in the fundamental goodness of humanity, had been her bank account. 

Now, she came upon a new man. She was terrified until she realized that the new man was far more frightened.

“Where’d you get that ring?“ she asked.

“Maaaa,” the new man said.  

“I aint your Ma,” she replied, though she realized, oddly, that she didn’t mind him calling her that. 

Back in the kitchen, she bent to gather the bits of cereal box and cereal. The man immediately bent to help her. And, when too dispirited to cook, she heated up a can of soup, he ate it to beat the band. (She later found that he liked just about anything out of a can.)

Okay, so he was a little strange, she thought, but it wasn’t safe for a widow (that’s what she called herself) to live alone. Besides, if her ex-husband heard about her living with another man, it would just about kill him.

Then too, there were his eyes. They looked at her in wonder; they were also striped. 

And his beard. Her husband’s face had abraded her–but this guy–she first touched the wispy hair when he’d got a smear of tomato soup in it– 

And then, and then—well, she also caught a glimpse of the new man’s bird. (He never did get the hang of underwear.) 

As for him, the wonder was genuine. Goats don’t lie down together much once they are grown, not entwined. But soon he found his limbs around her, again fevered, and his chest shuddering with doves.

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3 Comments on “Story: “Who Are You Kidding?””

  1. Helen Dehner Says:

    I love this! The goat, his ‘humanity’ …. how your story kept morphing, goat as know-it-all, with an aquiline nose. Wonderful.

  2. M Says:

    Whimsy and yet wise. Quite cool~

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