This is very different for me; just a little feel good sort of piece. I’m not sure one can fully appreciate the dark, seamy side of the human psyche, without the light to compare it to. And while I’m a pretty questionable character most of the time, I have my warm and fuzzy moments, as well. I hope you enjoy! Love, Felicity

Kitty tugged hard on the rope clamped in the billy goat’s teeth. It was also around his neck, but as he was mired in mud up to his belly, he had nothing else to eat, so the rope would have to do.

He’d gotten out, again. And Daddy had said if he got out again, he was going up the river. Kitty wasn’t sure where that was, but it didn’t sound like a place Bob would really enjoy. And now he could add stuck in the mud to his laundry list of crimes that included eating Mama’s petunias, eating Mama’s tomatoes, eating Mama’s garbage, and eating Mama’s linens. Mama was at the end of her rope too, and she wasn’t happy just eating it.

Bob belched and chewed the rope. He stared at her with empty yellow eyes. He always looked like he was smiling at a very private joke.

Kitty dropped the rope and sat down in the grass. She felt a few tears squeeze out and slide down her cheeks. She was going to have to get Jim to help her get him out, and Jim was mean-spirited and would go right to Daddy and tell him, Bob got out again and got his fool self stuck in Mr. Montgomery’s mud puddle. You couldn’t ask for a worse big brother than Jim.

If Joey was still at home, he’d have helped her get Bob back to their property. And he’d have gone on the quiet and given Mr. Montgomery some money to smooth things over with him, too.

The old man was due home any minute, and wouldn’t be able to get in his drive because there was a goat in it. And a girl. And he was a cranky old man.

She dried her face on her sleeve. There was nothing to do but go get Jim.

“What’s this, Girl?” It was Mr. Montgomery, standing behind her with his elbows all askew and a look on his face meaner than a grizzly bear. “What’s your fool goat doing on my property?”

She scrubbed her face again and tried to look grown-up. “I’m Kitty Largen, from-”

“I know who you are, Girl,” he said. “Why can’t you Largen people keep your stock on your side of the property line?”

She shook her head, “We tried, but he climbed out of the fence.”

Mr. Montgomery muttered, “If you knew how to build a decent fence…” his voice trailed off while he assessed the goat happily chewing rope in the mud puddle. “Get in there and get the dang rope out of his mouth. Put it around his middle behind his arms, understand?”

She nodded and waded into the mud and did as he said. She handed the end back to him.

“Now you get up under his ass end and push when I tell you.”

So he pulled and she pushed, and with a great slurping, sucking sound, Bob walked calmly out of the puddle. Mr. Montgomery handed her the rope and surveyed her ruined clothes. “Your mama’s gonna have a fit when she sees you, Girl.” Bob started chewing on the leg of his overalls, and he kicked him off.

Kitty started to cry again. Mama was going to do worse than that. She was going to tell Daddy that that goat was just too useless to live, and Daddy was going to send up him up the river. She looked up at Mr. Montgomery’s mean gray-bristled face with its mean saggy jowls. “Do you know where up the river is?”

His face softened at her tears. “No, Child. What do you mean? And this silly goat ain’t worth blubberin’ over, so just stop that.”

She nodded, and tried to dry her face, but now her sleeve was caked in mud. She told him what Daddy said about Bob.

He nodded, and plopped down on the grass bank behind them. “Well, Child, up the river is the place goats go when they won’t stay in fences. I won’t lie to you, it ain’t always the best place, but for Bob, I’m thinkin’ he’d find a nice home, with another nice girl to take care of him up there.”

She felt a glimmer of hope. Bob let out another noisy burp and walked over and pulled Mr. Montgomery’s John Deere hat off his head. The old man snatched it back and called him a fool again. “He’d miss me though,” she said.

“Yeah, for a while.  But I reckon it’d be worth a little missin’ to make your pa happy again,”

Kitty knew that was true. “You really think he’d be happy there?”

“I do, Child. Now you git on. And take that waste of hide with you.” He’d got all gruff again. “And you tell your pa he owes me some gravel for what it done tore up in my driveway.”

She nodded and pulled on Bob’s rope while Mr. Montgomery got back in his car. She didn’t care for the thought of what Mama would say when she saw the state of her, but she felt a little better knowing maybe up the river was a better place for Bob.  “C’mon you fool goat,” she said, and braced herself for their homecoming.

3 thoughts on “Bob

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