I’m having one of those moments when I wonder how I got here, and I start to question my life decisions. The stuffed goat stares at me as I sit on my boss’ bed. It’s weird, but I find myself talking to the dead creature.
“So, you know my boss Francesca.”
It looks at me blankly, which shouldn’t phase me because it is a dead goat, but somehow I feel the need to explain further.
“Francesca is the one who shot you.” Perhaps this is insensitive, but, dead or not, he has the right to know the facts about his new roommate. It must be my imagination, but now its black face looks a bit longer, and his head seems to be angled more toward the floor.
When the delivery guy had carried the goat into the bedroom and placed it below the window, we’d both looked at the dead animal for about a minute. In the end, he’d shrugged and said, “That’s a weird place for a goat.” I had to agree, but it wasn’t the placing of the goat that disturbed me. Why Francesca wanted a reminder of the incident was beyond me.
“Your death caused a social media storm,” I tell the goat. “Francesca was the most hated woman in the whole of the UK.” It’s true, politicians, celebrities and the general public queued up to condemn the bloodthirsty American. People who’d never even seen a feral goat suddenly became passionate advocates of the herd’s right to roam the Ardnamurchan peninsula without enduring foreign fire. Personally, after accompanying Francesca on that trip, I considered the goats to be welcome to that wet, boggy and bleak corner of Scotland.
“See,” I say and show him the kill photo she posted. I know how crazy this sounds, but I feel compelled to explain the situation. I start reading some of the comments.
“Very brave, was the goat armed?”
“I hope that Goat’s brother rams you up the arse.”
“Even the first minister of Scotland joined in. She wants to ban goat hunting altogether.” I’m babbling now. Why am I desperate for the approval of a stuffed goat? The goat’s expression seems to change. He looks less forlorn than before, and I could swear that he now has his chin in the air in a way that seems almost proud. Maybe I am going mad.
“I spent an entire month answering hate posts and emails. Francesca decided to fight fire with fire, and a lot of people got hurt in the fallout.” I wasn’t proud of the rumours I started about some of the protestors.
“It’s tough working for Francesca,” I continue. “She wants all my time. I mean look at me waiting for a goat delivery on a Saturday afternoon.” My voice goes high pitched with emotion. The goat looks at me, and I hear the words, “Dry your eyes lassie, she killed me for fun.” In a gruff Scottish accent. However, I don’t see it’s black lips move over it’s visible and sharp bottom row of teeth.
“Trust me. It’s not just goats Francesca treats badly,” I protest, and the goat appears to turn his head to the side as if concentrating on listening.
“Nothing is ever good enough for her. Last week, she made me fire the cleaner for leaving a hair on the bath.”
The goat shakes his head.
“And, I missed Grandmother’s 80th birthday party because she couldn’t spare me for a single day. Granny might never see another birthday.”
The goat makes a “Tsk,” noise as if to indicate that I am pathetic.
“Most of all,” I say. “She makes me feel like crap every minute of every day, and I wonder if I’m just as bad as she is.”
“Aye. Well, we all make our choices,” says the goat. A stuffed goat is judging me.
Francesca arrives home and bounces into the bedroom saying, “Has my goat arrived?”
I feel the goat’s eyes upon me as I say, “Yes.”
“Get off my bed,” she says to me as she caresses the horns on the stuffed goat. It plunges a horn into the soft flesh of her upper arm.
“Ouch,” she says surprised at what appears to be her own clumsiness. I can’t prevent the giggle that escapes my lips and Francesca looks ready for one of her famous tantrums.