I THE LONELY GOATHERD
“Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”
But the guy across the table had, because he checked the “yes” box.
I checked the “no” box.
“If yes, please explain in the space below (answering yes will not necessarily bar you from employment)”
In the space below I wrote: “I have never been convicted of a felony”
The guy across the table wrote. And wrote some more. He filled the space below and when he ran out, continued to write in whatever available space was on the job application form.
I couldn’t read what he wrote, because I could not read his scrawl upside down, and, truth be known, it didn’t look as though it would be all that legible right side up.
I didn’t want him to catch me trying to read his explanation, but I surreptitiously studied him. He was somewhat disappointing. He was certainly bigger than me, but given my mealy frame, that wasn’t hard. Other than that, he didn’t look particularly menacing, or imposing. He wasn’t ripped in muscle from years of pumping iron in the prison weight yard. He didn’t have gang tattoos, or an unkempt beard, or a Hells Angels bandana on his head, or scars from being shanked. He was about forty. He looked kind of flabby and kind of weary. He looked ordinary.
I wonder what he did. I wonder if he burned somebody’s house down. Maybe he killed somebody. Maybe he pulled off a bank heist, but spent all the money. Or maybe he had been a mob boss, but was now reduced to applying for a part time job at the cold storage place, and competing for it with the scrawny sixteen year old across the table that was me. But I hadn’t been convicted of a felony.
The guy continued to explain his felony on the sheet of paper and I completed the application, which didn’t take too long considering my history of sporadic, patchy, irrelevant and under-the table work experience. Soon there was nothing to do but look around the room, with its chipped Formica tables, the stained suspension ceiling with the florescent lights, the scuffed linoleum tiles and lack of windows. At the far end was a flickering Coke machine whose sounds rotated among humming, roaring and threatening to die with a shudder. Next to it was an understocked snack vending machine, where through the glass one could see a few shopworn looking candy bars, a dilapidated bag of Fritos, a smeary looking honey bun, and a bag of Rold Gold pretzels that was hanging on by a thread. Apparently the machine hadn’t let go of the purchase, and the original buyer had decided it wasn’t worth buying a second bag of pretzels in order to get the first. There was also a coffee dispenser, where one could buy a miserly paper cup of horrible coffee for thirty five cents.
It was the third day of September, the year was 1991, and just yesterday it was decided that instead of completing my junior and senior year in my unruly mid-sized high school, I would be attending community college. It happened so fast. One day I was dreading the misery of my upcoming high school year, my mediocrity that hovered like the Sword of Damocles ever so slightly above abject failure, and the apathy, yet desperation that came with it. The next day I was registered for English 101 and a host of other lower division college classes. The first of which would be in two days.
On some level I knew it was a good thing, but the sudden change in trajectory was overwhelming, to say the least. I was still digesting it. And it didn’t alter the fact I needed an after school job, although with my college schedule all over the place it would be anybody’s guess WHEN I would be working. It felt strangely discombobulating to be thrust from the structure of the high school schedule to the odd and arbitrary patchwork of time blocks of a college schedule and part time job.
Owing to the local politics and nepotism that was rife in this small, gritty city in Upstate New York, the typical places a sixteen year old could find employment: the fast food joints, the mom and pop stores, the supermarkets and even the hospital were “all sewn up”. My family had come to town in the late 1970s, and we were still outsiders lacking the connections to hook a kid up with a job.
I had even applied, with no success, to an establishment with an especially large turnover, owing to the tyrannical lunatic of an owner who would, on average, fire an entire staff on a bi-weekly basis in a hissy fit.
“There is no “I” in team! There absolutely is a “U” in FAILURE!!!” he’d scream in a psychotic rage, as he’d hurl pickles at any unfortunate employee who happened to be in the line of fire. “How DARE you duck when I throw things at you???”
I had a friend who worked for him for about a week, “Yeah, he’s kind of an asshole, especially when he’s sober.” My friend had walked off the job after the guy had dumped half gallon of cooking oil on his head.
“You’re out of your mind!” he stated when I told him I had applied for a job there.
“I need a job” I shrugged.
“You don’t need that one!”
Well, it didn’t matter. I applied a week ago and hadn’t heard back. Perhaps he hadn’t fired his entire staff in a tantrum yet. Perhaps he hadn’t yet pelted them with pickles on the way out or dumped (thankfully cold) oil on them. A psychotic wouldn’t even hire me.
But here I was applying for a job at the cold storage place. I pictured myself dodging forklifts in a grim, eternal winter, as I did God knows what. Until I saw the want ad in the local paper, I never gave this place a second glance. It was a blocky, windowless building, fronted by a row of truck bays. It sat on the corner of a state route and a short service road accurately named “Industrial Tract Road”, lined with prefab industrial buildings and that ended at the county jail: a squat, brown bricked building with narrow slit like windows and an ominous looking cyclone fence topped with rolls of razor wire. For what this job lacked in glamor, it was going to pay $5 per hour: that was 75 cents above the minimum wage in 1991. Assuming I got it.
The guy across the table had completed his application, complete with relevant work experience, and explanation for his felony, so we sat in the break room and waited, and waited some more. Soon the door opened, and a guy in a winter coat, with his glasses still fogged up entered and without saying a word took our applications. He looked over mine, then looked over the application of the guy with the felony.
“Why don’t we talk?” he suggested, and for a second I thought he was talking to me, but he was talking to the other guy.
He looked apologetically at me, “I’ll call you if we have anything else,” which I could already translate as a hard no.
The felony guy followed him into a small office, and I walked out the front door to the car, defeated.
Another job I didn’t get.
“So, how’d it go?” my dad asked without looking up.
“Terrible. It was a choice between me and some guy with a felony record. They picked the guy with the felony record. He’ll probably steal the forklift or rob somebody in the parking lot.”
“That’s not fair,” my dad retorted,” That guy needs the job more than you do! Last thing he needs is some sixteen year old jerk making assumptions about him.”
“Well, I need the job, too. And I haven’t committed a felony.”
“Yet,” my dad said.
“Gee, thanks so much”
“And you don’t need the job,” my dad added, ”You want the job.”
No, I needed the job. I had expenses. I had to put gas in the car I was driving: a red 87 Volkswagen GTI. I had at least somewhat of a social life, half assed and meager as it was and hopefully in my upcoming semester of college that would improve. And I had a girlfriend: an academically conscientious girl who lived far enough away to run up a phone bill. With a head of thick blonde hair. Who spoke in a husky contralto, and had a strange affinity for The Police, and an intense hatred of Dr. Pepper. Without a job, and the income that came with it, what, exactly was I going to be able to do with that situation? Without that vital component, I foresaw my world as small, monotonous, unautonomous, and monastic.
I rifled through the two newspapers we had delivered to the house: The Albany Times Union, and the local paper, and I found the want ads. Always the same old shit. The jobs that were already filled, or not even a consideration for me. The usual array of pyramid schemes, get-rich-quick schemes, any of the other unoriginal scams posing as jobs. No, I was not going to be a goddamn Avon lady. The same depressing lack of paydirt. Nobody wanted to hire a 16 year old college kid. They’d hire a convicted felon first. But today’s want ad section, in addition to the same ads I had memorized, had one new ad that popped out at me.
It was for work at a goat farm, at least twenty miles away. They needed somebody, but gave no specifics of what they needed, or what the job would entail, on the ad. I gave them a call, and that day, I had an interview lined up, and was given directions on how to get out there. That afternoon.
It was far. It was practically on the Massachusetts border, where I drove on the state route in fifth gear, ready to dodge or brake for the potential woodchuck or skunk or squirrel that would dart out in front of the car. As per the directions, close to Massachusetts, I veered off onto a narrow county route, as cinders pinged the undercarriage of the car. A mile and a half or so later, I turned off onto another, even narrower dirt road, where weeds flanked the road close enough to brush against the car, and clouds of dust kicked up behind me.
Less then a half hour later, I was retracing my steps back home: on the dusty dirt road, the coarsly ground county route and, and finally the state route. I had gotten the job. Like the job at the cold storage place, it paid $5 per hour. It worked well with my class schedule, and I was to begin tomorrow. By the odometer, it was twenty-two miles. But I had a job. And it was $5 per hour.
“So what is it you’ll be doing?” my dad asked when I got home.
“Well, I have to feed the goats.” I answered.
“And that’s all?” my dad asked, “How many goats?”
My dad whistled, ”That’s a lot of goats. But all you have to do it feed them, right?”
“Well, I also have to open some gates, and herd them into where they will be getting milked. They’re going to show me all that stuff tomorrow.”
“So you’ll be herding goats!” my dad cackled, ”That makes you a goatherd!”
And he burst into a ridiculous falsetto yodel, “High on a hill was a lonely goatherd!
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo…”
“Haw haw” and I went off to my room with my dad still yodeling after me.
Later in the day, I called my girlfriend, “Hey, I got a job!”
“Where?” she asked
“I’ll be working at a goat farm!”
There was a pause.
“A goat farm….?” She repeated, ”Like the kind that have horns?”
“I guess they have horns. I haven’t met them yet”
She didn’t sound too impressed. Her voice always took on a flat quality when she wasn’t impressed with something, and this was one such moment.
“Yeah, I have to feed them and I have to herd them to get milked.” I explained.
“So you’re going to be a goatherd,” she said in that same, flat quality and I didn’t know what to make of it.
I had hoped she’d regard my industry and work ethic with a little more admiration.
But at least she didn’t yodel down the phone at me.
A little over a week later, I had established the beginning of a routine. I was enjoying my classes that were devoid of the usual high school bullshit. I had made a few new friends, and I even looked forward to gym class: a class I had passionately loathed in high school. It was a class called “Outdoor Activities” which involved walking on the nature trails and rowing boats in the pond of the state park that abutted the campus. My grades, thus far, were good. I liked my professors, and the pace of the campus seemed to jibe well with me. I found the lack of structure a little unsettling, but I supposed I’d get used to that.
Moreover, I had been cast in a play: Our Town. It was by Thornton Wilder, and depicted life in a small town in New England, almost a hundred years ago. I was amazed to learn that not only were we not going to have a set, or use any props, we weren’t supposed to use sets or props. All we were supposed to use was plain wooden chairs. But since we couldn’t procure those, we’d make do with the molded blue plastic chairs the college had all over the place. I was cast as “Simon Stimpson”: the alcoholic church organist, a role I thought would be a lot of fun.
The play had a student director: A short, rotund girl in her fourth semester, who constantly sounded like she had a stuffed up nose, which gave her speech a smug quality. She claimed she was “so serious about theatre, she had the theatre masks tattooed on her body” but she wouldn’t say exactly where, which allowed my filthy, gutterbound little imagination to go to town.
Only her boyfriend knew the answer to that. Maybe. His name was Wayne, but he had given himself the name “Tempest”, and made it known this was his preferred form of address. He had somehow installed himself as the “Assistant Student Director”. I doubted that title had any official meaning, but that did not deter him from throwing the weight he thought he had around, as “The Student Director’s Boyfriend”
“Tempest” was about twenty six, had frosted hair pulled back into a mullet, and a uniform stubble about his face he accomplished with a “Miami Device”: a sort of electric razor designed to do a bad job. He seemed to have a never ending supply of sunglasses, which he wore indoors: some had louvers instead of lenses, some had palm trees superimposed on the mirror lenses, one had “Wild” printed on one lens, and “Thing” on the other.
He drove a turquoise Geo Tracker, with hot pink racing stripes on the chassis that dissolved into a palm tree. It seemed like he was affecting the aesthetic of a surfer or something, which I thought was odd, considering he was from Hunter, NY, a small town in the Catskill Mountains, about as far from the Pacific Coast as you could get. Everything he said seemed to end in “Man” or “Dude”, in this weird affected timbre. I didn’t know what to make of him. It didn’t seem like he actually went to class or DID anything. Most of the older students brushed him off in irritation. But he would introduce himself, “I’m Tempest, man. The Assistant Student Director.”
Aside from that, often I’d run into people I knew from my high school who had graduated and wondered what I was doing there, being two years younger than them and all. It was well known I was sixteen, and I was sometimes referred to as “the kid”. Every now and then, I’d be asked, ”What are you, some kind of crazy genius?”
I was really uncomfortable with that trope. By circumstances, dumb luck and some convoluted arrangements I had ended up here, but it certainly wasn’t because I was a “Crazy genius” or anything remotely like that. Though I was holding my own at the college level, my past academic record would not indicate even being academically gifted, let alone a genius. I didn’t want people thinking too hard about that, or uncovering what a royal fuck-up I had been in previous years. Moreover, I was pretty sure “crazy geniuses” would be attending institutions much more vaunted than this community college with its modest campus of low slung buildings.
III THEM WITH THE CLOVEN HOOVES
If my time on the college campus was agreeable, my job at the goat farm was not. A week and a half in, I hated it. I liked the goats; they were nice, intelligent creatures, but this was a job, not a petting zoo. And it was a four hour sweaty, smelly slog. I’d come home exhausted, thirsty, stinking and itchy from the hay that stuck to my sweat. I’d come home to every family member commenting on how much I stunk, my brother and dad yodeling at me about being a goatherd (it had worn thin a long time ago). I’d jump in the shower, and toss my work clothes into the washer, where despite being laundered every day, as was necessary, they retained the odor of goat farm.
Every day, after classes or play rehearsal, or music practice, I’d put on my old smelly jeans, with rips in the knees, an old T-shirt, and a pair of old army boots. I’d get into the Volkswagen and drive the twenty-two miles out to the ass end of nowhere to the goat farm. By the end of the week, the car was caked in dust. My brother had written “Wash Me” in the dust on the window.
If I had the time, first thing I would do when I parked the car in the dusty parking lot was head on over to a small pen, where the “kids” were. They’d be prancing around and bleating, and I would climb over the low fence. They’d be excited to see me, and would immediately begin chewing on the rip in my jeans, and I’d pet them for awhile. In the capacity of my job, I had nothing to do with them; they had been weaned, but not for long and they were fed by someone else, sometimes with a bottle. Nonetheless, they were cute and playful, and it was fun to spend a little time with them.
My boss was stocky, grizzled woman who chain smoked to the point of spitting brown in the dirt. A few bristly hairs grew out of her chin, and her voice was raspy and baritonal. She didn’t seem to have much affection for the kids, and regarded my few minutes with them with impatience, but since I was off the clock, there wasn’t much she could do about it.
In a few minutes, I would punch in and begin my duties. Once I casually asked my boss, “So when the baby goats get bigger, what happens?”
She said, “Well, we put the females in with Fleetwood!”
Fleetwood, I learned, was the lone male goat on the farm. The stud.
“What do you do with the males?” I asked
“We sell them for leather!” She answered with entirely too much relish, “While they’re still young, their pelt is nice and soft, but you have to let them grow big enough so that when they skin ‘em, there’s enough leather. Ever hear of kid gloves? Handbags, jackets, boots….” And then she cackled, as though she was pre-emptively getting off on my discomfort with the answer. And then spat a gleaming, tan lugey onto the ground.
It wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear, at all, but there was work to be done. I would take a rusty wheelbarrow to a short silo, push a button and that would deposit a quantity of goat feed into it. I’d grab a large scoop and head into one of the barns.
This would be a good time to describe the complex: It was essentially three long, low buildings (called barns) that radiated out from a central “hub”. The hub is where the goats were milked. It was a large, brightly lit space with white cinderblock walls and a red quarry tile floor. It was immaculately clean. When the goats weren’t in there, it smelled like bleach. On the perimeter, through glass windows was a small office, and through another set of glass windows was a huge, stainless steel tank, where one could hear agitators and refrigeration equipment whirring constantly.
It had holding pens for the goats, and a system of railings that looked like nothing so much as the system of railings used in theme parks to keep long lines for rides in order. To direct the goats in a particular direction, it had gates that could be moved and shunted. And in the very center of the space was a huge, round stainless steel contraption that looked like an enormous steel Trivial Pursuit game piece, but open at the perimeter.
The goats would be herded into the pen, moved down the maze of railings, and inserted into one of the wedge shaped compartments of the contraption, and hooked up with milking equipment. It would rotate slowly, and at half a rotation the goat would be disengaged from the equipment, and deposited into another maze which would lead to another holding pen, and ultimately sent back to their respective barn. Thankfully, my job had nothing to do with the actual milking of the goats. My job was to simply feed the goats and get them into the hub.
Each of the barns had 200 goats, and were subdivided into four pens, with fifty goats in each pen. The two pens that were closest to the hub had an automatically controlled overhead door that would open directly to a holding pen in the hub. The two pens farthest from the hub were accessible by a central aisle that ran down the barn, with an overhead door that opened into the hub.
First thing to do was feed the goats. I’d enter through a door at the far end of one of the barns. The barn was a noisy, hot space that smelled strongly of goats, tinged with the smell of urine, hay and goat excrement. It would be a cacophony of bleating at various pitches, timbres and volumes, with overhead blade fans of industrial size but didn’t do much to move the air.
The goats were attuned to the sound of the door opening and the wheelbarrow rolling and would crowd to the feeding trough, bleating, kicking and butting each other out of the way. Any large space with animal feed has rats, so the first thing would be to bang the scoop on the side of the trough, and watch five or six rats make a hasty departure.
Then I would move down the aisle at warp speed, quickly dropping a scoop of feed fifty times to each pen. The wheelbarrow held enough feed for two pens worth: one hundred goats. I’d race the empty wheelbarrow back down the aisle, back out the door to the silo and repeat the process five more times, through each of the three barns.
At that point I had worked up a sweat, but apparently not enough for my boss, who was constantly clapping her hands in my face and barking at me to “speed things up!” I wondered what her actual function on the farm was, besides riding my ass. But now it was time for the goats to be milked.
My job was to simply get the goats into the hub to be milked, but getting one goat to do what you want it to do is not an easy task, let alone getting fifty at a time. I’d either open the overhead door to the hub, or send them up the aisle, depending on where the pen was. Then, I’d have to jump into the pen, where I would sink down ankle deep in hay and goat shit.
The goats would swarm around me, rub up against me, and chew on the ever growing rip in my jeans. I’d get behind them and call, “Come on come on come on! Let’s go goats! Come on come on! Hey, stop chewing on that! Let’s go!” as I’d waft them in the direction of the hub. But the goats wouldn’t go. They’d stall, they’d chew some more on my jeans, they’d stop to go to the bathroom, and generally be recalcitrant. It was a process. But eventually after the last goat was in the hub, I’d shut the overhead doors, shunt the gate in the right direction to end at the milking apparatus, and then head over to the next barn to prepare them to enter the hub. Repeat process twelve times. And return them to their pen, twelve times, with the same stubborn recalcitrance.
I should also mention that the goats were classified and housed according to where they were on their “milk cycle” and it was notated by the bar code and color of their ear tag, however, one incorrect move of a gate could mix two goats that were classified separately, which would beget a long process of separating out the goats into their respective pen. Luckily that never happened, but I was sure if it did, either that would be the end of my job there, or I would be tasked with the long process of sorting the stubborn goats well into the night, off the clock.
Another thing I was to watch out for was a the subtle difference between a goat stubbornly sitting down versus squatting. My boss warned me, “If a goat is squatting down, that means she is kidding!”
“Kidding?” I repeated, “What would they be kidding about? Like faking illness?”
She shot me a withering look, ”Giving birth!” she snarled contemptuously, ”If that happens, get me!”
Then there was Fleetwood.
Let me tell you about Fleetwood.
Fleetwood lived in a pen abutting the hub with forty nine other goats. And his sole and only job on the farm was impregnating the other 599 goats there; a job he took very seriously. A job, for whatever reason, to which he viewed me an impediment.
You’d smell him before you’d see him: a pungent, uriney, mangy odor. He was a big, shaggy thing that glowered out of a pair of malevolent black eyes. He had a pair of sharp horns he aimed directly at me, as he snarled and snorted from his corner of the pen. It was very obvious about how he felt towards me, and I had no particular affection for him either.
If all I had to do was feed the goats, Fleetwood would be a non-issue, but no. When it was time to open the door to send the goats into the hub to get milked, my job was to prevent Fleetwood from following the other goats in, something it seemed was his sole mission in life to do. Male goats, of course, can’t be milked. I mean, I guess they could, but it would be a fruitless effort that would only result in a pissed off goat. Moreover, I was given to understand that if a male goat was present, the female goat would release a hormone, which would spoil their milk, and make it taste like the male. I wasn’t sure how that worked, but I was pretty sure nobody would want Fleetwood flavored goat milk. Not based on how he smelled.
Fleetwood didn’t like being “redirected” from following the goats into the hub. Fleetwood liked being able to get laid when he wanted, and he sure as hell didn’t want me jumping into the pen, grabbing him by his horns and moving him in the opposite direction he wanted to go. And in addition to being smelly and mean, he was also strong.
It took a lot of muscle, let alone coordination, to move the other goats in the hub, all while preventing Fleetwood from going there. He’d snarl and snort. He’s move his head, attempt to kick me. And when all else failed, he’d urinate on my boot in a high pressure, steaming, reeking arc. Once I let go of his horns, I had to get out of the pen fast, because he’d then attempt to gore me. The pen containing Fleetwood was the last to be milked. I dreaded it, and I loathed Fleetwood. And he loathed me right back.
But fortunately, after Fleetwood’s pen had been milked, there wasn’t much else to do, so I would drag my smelly, exhausted self out to the parking lot, get in the car and drive home. I’d respect the speed limit, but barely, considering that under New York State’s draconian speeding laws, new drivers who sped would have their license suspended. Once at home, showered, and having endured the wisecracks of my brother and dad, and even my mom sometimes, I’d have something to eat. I was still thirsty, but my dad bought beer by the case, which he’d keep a few in the fridge. Once he had retired to the living room, I’d grab a bottle from the fridge, and replace it with one from the case. The past few weeks, the beer distributer must have had a sale on Molson Golden, which was a hell of a lot better than the “Old Milwaukee” he had a seemingly endless supply of before.
I’d discreetly take the beer off to my room, hold the green bottle against my face, which was still hot from the work, before I’d open it to drink, and begin studying my coursework until 9 PM, when the “night rate” for long distance calls began, and then I’d call my girlfriend.
I attempted to tell her about my day: About English 101, and Outdoor Activities, and Our Town rehearsal. The different classes, and goings on, and personalities of the community college environment I was now in, but there was a disconnect. It seemed out of context, disjointed, out of whack. When I told her about my work day at the goat farm, there was a pause, where I waited for her commentary.
“I’m sure you must smell wonderful,” she said in that flat voice she reserved for things she was not impressed with.
As though the stink of the goat farm had worked its way through seventy five miles of phone cable and had offended the air of the neat little Cape Cod style house where she lived with her parents in Westchester County. I didn’t want her thinking of me smelling “wonderful”. I knew what it smelled like, I knew what Fleetwood smelled like, and I did not want that to even cross her mind. There was no room for it in her world, and I did not want it to be there, not even in her imagination. I resolved with my next paycheck to buy some Drakkar Noir, in its flat black oval bottle. That’s what I wanted her to imagine me smelling like. That would make me feel better.
She’d tell me about her day. About her college prep classes, band rehearsal, chorus rehearsal, and her youth group affiliated with her church. Her membership in the National Honor Society. She told me that Michael Dukakis would be visiting her high school because it was a Federal School of Excellence. It all sounded so idyllic, so orderly. The trajectory sounded so clear.
It threw my world into sharp relief, which was not idyllic, and anything but orderly, what with the seemingly piecemeal feel of my class schedule, my smelly and exhausting job. My house with the sloping, creaking floors and the bat problem. My brother and my dad yodeling about my job. My mother and my sister fighting like a pair of cats in a bag on my sister’s weekends home from the state college. My dad thumping on the door of my room and yelling that a phone bill was not a good use of my funds. And every fucking day, getting pissed on, shat on, kicked and almost gored by Fleetwood.
It felt chaotic, yet pedestrian, mundane, and uncertain. My identity was straddling a yawning chasm, and I wasn’t sure what was on each side, what side I wanted to be on, and where it would even lead. If my girlfriend’s trajectory was a straight line on a 45 degree angle in an upward direction, mine wasn’t even a trajectory; it looked like the jagged readout of a polygraph, where the subject was lying through their teeth and nobody knew which way to hold the paper to get an accurate reading.
V MULGERE HIRCUM
It was three weeks into September now, and Upstate New York stubbornly clung to the summer humidity, as thought it was as resistant to comply with the logical course of events as Fleetwood. While I was conceiving an exit strategy from the goat farm, the execution of it seemed unattainable. I had classmates who had jobs considerably less grueling, less messy, less smelly and closer to home. I had a friend who worked in the AV department of the college. I had another one who bagged groceries at a supermarket. I had to snag one of those: the goat farm was taking my sanity, and the more it took, the less was left. But how? Back to square 1?
The ripped jeans I wore to work at the goat farm were fast being chewed to pieces. When I started, they were simply jeans with rips in the knees. Now one leg was barely hanging on. The goats had gnawed through the stitching on the sides. I did not want to replace them; I did not want to destroy another pair of jeans. Nor did I want to simply cut the legs off entirely; if the goats didn’t have jeans to chew on, they might instead opt for my bare leg. The army boots had impacted goat shit in the waffling, and the legs of my jeans were flapping around like the fingers on a leper, just before they drop off.
And on Tuesday of the third week of September, I got my first B. For the small assignments I had been doing for my various classes, I had been maintaining straight As. Two weeks is not a long time to sustain a straight A average, but I viewed the B (not even a B+) as a foreshadowing of things to come; an exponential decline. And people would start questioning why I was even in college, whether I even belonged there. I’d be uncovered as a fraud and sent back to my chaotic high school, complete with the bells, the pushing and shoving, the sardonic teachers, and the everpresent possibility of an ass kicking right around the corner for no apparent reason. Was I burning out or was I simply not cut out for this?
My B paper in hand, as I walked down the corridor, I saw “Tempest” mincing towards me in his signature Aviator sunglasses.
“Hey man. We adjusted the rehearsal schedule. We’re gonna need you at 2 PM today”
“You know I have to work then. Can’t I come at the original time?”
“No, dude. We expect you at two.”
“I have to work,” I reiterated, “You are giving me only a day’s notice on this.”
“What can I say, man? This play’s a commitment. If you weren’t up for it…”
“The schedule worked fine before you changed it on me. I can’t make it. Give me more notice next time.”
“I’m not accepting that, man, I’m not accepting that. I’m expecting you there, dude. Make it work.”
And then he walked away.
Who the fuck was he, anyway? Did his girlfriend, the actual director, send him as a messenger boy because she was too chickenshit to tell people she was jerking them around on the schedule? I was tired of Wayne. “Tempest”. I didn’t know what his deal was, but he was a jackass.
Much as I disliked Wayne, it did give me pause. What if I just went to play rehearsal and just didn’t go to my job at the goat farm? I’d be fired to be sure, but I wanted out of that job anyway. Although given the nature of just about every human being I had met at the goat farm, collecting my final paycheck after that stunt might be an exercise in mulgere hircum: to milk a male goat. An impossible, unproductive task.
I did consider it. Play rehearsal, developing my character, with friends I had made, even if it involved having to endure “Tempest” every now and then was exponentially preferable to herding 599 goats and wrangling Fleetwood. Maybe I could call in sick. I had never malingered before, but it would be just my luck for a friend of a friend of someone at the goat farm to see me rehearsing in the small black box theatre, healthy as can be, and I’d be called out on my lies, fired, and likely not paid for the work I had already done. I couldn’t risk it.
At 2 PM I wearily got into my ripped jeans, nasty Tshirt, and shitty boots. I got into the car and drove out to the end of the earth, to the coarse county route, to the dirt road. Halfway down the dirt road, there was a blast of a horn, and barreling towards me was an 18 wheeler truck, with a glossy black cab and a shiny metal grill. The trucker blasted the horn again, in a long, menacing blare.
I was literally facing down the grill, not five feet from the hood of the car and we were at a standoff. I wasn’t sure what to do. The road was too narrow for the truck, barely wide enough for the Volkswagen. I couldn’t squeeze past the truck, I couldn’t turn around. I hadn’t been driving very long, and going half a mile in reverse seemed like a daunting task. Plus I was running late.
The truck blasted the horn again, and revved the engine, sending a plume of black smoke up the pipe. Then it started moving towards me in an attempt to run me off the road. I had no choice but to move to the right, into the weeds, and at that moment, I felt the tire of the car hit something sharp, there was a sort of pop, and a hiss and the car sank.
The truck blazed past me, and I noticed the trailer was an animal carrier, and it was emblazoned with the name of a leather tannery.
The tire had been punctured; that much was obvious, and I was due at work in about three minutes. The goat farm was another three quarters of a mile down the road. I knew, on some level, how to change a tire, but I had never done it with this car. I opened the hatch, located the spare “donut” tire, the jack and the wrench. I wasn’t sure how long it would take to change the tire, and I was already late. I knew that after working, the last thing I would want to do would be to change the tire, but I decided to get the car off the road as best I could, leave it, and walk the rest of the way to the goat farm.
I walked into the parking lot twenty minutes late, with my boss with her hands on her hips. I was drenched in sweat, and the cloud of dust the truck had kicked up was still in my nose and lungs.
“Sorry I’m late,” I wheezed, “I got a flat tire back there, so I had to walk. That truck….”
she cut me off
“Excuses aren’t going to get the goats fed,” she growled, ”Get moving.”
“OK, let me punch in”.
And as I walked towards the hub, I noticed the pen with the kids was half empty. They were never coming back.
I began my duties, just as I had every day before. I got the wheelbarrow and the scoop as though they both weighed several tons, and there was several more tons on my back. I slogged to the barn. If it was my bosses job to ride my ass, today she did it with a vengeance. It was merciless. The barking, the hand clapping in front of my face, the kicking of the troughs. The criticizing, the threats (although getting fired at this point would be sweet relief).
If the goats were recalcitrant every day, today they were doubly so. Everything was a fight. Everything was like pulling teeth. The goats chewed forcefully on my jeans that I was amazed they were still hanging on. The smell of goat shit was eye watering. The rats no longer feared me, and I couldn’t get one second’s peace from my boss.
Then I got to Fleetwood’s pen.
Fleetwood, today, was dead set on following the goats into the hub. He was determined. No force in nature, certainly not a scrawny sixteen year old was going to thwart that effort. He was prepared to fight to the death.
I jumped into the pen. Fleetwood positioned his horns and charged me, but I got out of the way. Fleetwood snarled and snorted and breathed foul smelling vapor into the air. He moved towards me again, but this time, I grabbed him by the horns, and he did his usual trick of moving his head and attempting to kick me.
I moved to the overhead door, pushed the button, and as it opened, managed to waft the goats through it into the hub.
Fleetwood attempted to follow them. He grunted, kicked, pissed and shat. I managed to get the door closed, as the last goat entered, but Fleetwood had decided this was war. I managed to get out of the pen before he poked two large holes in me, but his expression told me that if I entered that pen again, there would be blood.
I had to enter the pen again. I had to return the other goats to the pen and keep him out of the hub.
So ten minutes later, when I jumped into the pen, Fleetwood was ready for me. I moved towards the overhead door, to let the other goats in, and he charged me. I moved out of his way and grabbed his horns. As the goats filled the space, he moved his head with super goat strength. I couldn’t close the door, or let go of Fleetwood until all the goats were present in the pen.
Fleetwood growled, then landed a well placed kick to the shin. I winced in pain, and knew it was going to leave an ugly bruise. But I didn’t let go. Fleetwood then grabbed the leg of my jeans in his teeth and pulled. There was a ripping sound.
“Hey, let go!”
Fleetwood wasn’t letting go. And he landed another kick.
“HEY! LET! GO!”
With another jerk, a violent ripping noise, Fleetwood tore the leg of my jeans right off. He had it in his teeth, I still had him by the horns. He aimed his penis strategically and deployed a forceful stream of hot, stinking piss on my bare leg, landing a third violent kick as a parting gift.
Then he went off to the corner, with the jeans leg still in his teeth, snorting, snarling and flapping it up and down like a trophy.
This was my cue to shut the overhead door and get the hell out of the pen. I was not going to try to retrieve my jeans leg, which was now a tattered denim rag.
If Fleetwood wanted to keep it as a trophy, he could have it.
In a daze, I hobbled out to the parking lot with one leg on my jeans, but barely. I looked around for the car, but then I remembered it was half a mile down the dirt road with a flat tire that still had yet to be changed. Painfully, I dragged myself down the road to the car, which was sitting like a derelict, halfway in the weeds. I opened the hatch, hauled out the donut spare tire, the jack and the tire iron, moved the car onto the road and lay in the dirt to get the jack under the car.
I managed to get the tire off, but as I was going back to get the donut, I tripped over my feet and spilled the lugs into the weeds. It was another half hour, on my hands and knees in the waning light, but thankfully, thankfully, I located them all and managed to get the donut tire attached, and the flat tire into the trunk.
But at that moment, a beat up grey pickup truck came down the road at me and began honking impatiently. It was my boss behind the wheel. And she just leaned on the horn. I had no choice but to back the car down the half mile of dirt road with my boss honking impatiently.
I peeled out onto the county route and onto the state route, where I put the car in 5th gear and stepped on it to get home. Except there would be some time before I would be going home as I saw the red light flashing in my rear window. Wellp, there goes my license.
I pulled the car over to the shoulder, and after an eternity, with the red lights flashing in my mirror a police officer stepped out of the car and came towards me.
“License and registration, please”
I handed them over.
“How’re you doing this evening?”
I gulped. “OK”.
I wasn’t ok, but I wasn’t having that conversation with a cop.
“Where are you heading?” he asked
“Home.” I answered.
“Where’s home?” he inquired.
I gave him my address, although he had it on my license. He seemed satisfied with it.
“Where are you coming from?” he asked
“Work” I answered miserably.
“The goat farm back there. Up the county route.”
“What is it you do there?” he asked. He seemed genuinely interested.
“I feed the goats. And I herd them to get milked.”
“You herd goats?” he asked, “That makes you a goatherd!” he chuckled. And I waited for him to start yodeling. What is the appropriate reaction if a cop who just pulled you over starts yodeling at you?
Fortunately he didn’t.
“Do you know why I pulled you over?” he asked
“I don’t” I answered honestly.
“Do you know how fast you were going?” he asked
“Too fast?” I guessed
“Is your speedometer broken, or were you simply not paying attention?”
“You were going 73 miles an hour. The speed limit here, and in the state of New York is 55. That’s 18 miles over the speed limit.”
“Wow is right. Your license is only a few months old. Any moving violation during that probationary period results in a suspension”
I didn’t know what to say to that. He was right.
It was then he noticed the donut tire.
“What happened there?” he asked
“I got a flat on the way to work.”
“You know you are only supposed to go about 30 miles an hour on the spare tire, right?”
“You need to keep your speed down.” He continued.
He studied my license again. “Is your dad still teaching?”
“Yes” I answered.
“I had him for one of my classes. Tell him I said hi. Keep your speed down”
He handed my license back, and as he sauntered back to his car, I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask him his name. But I could hear him whistling “The Lonely Goatherd” on the way back to his car.
And I sat in the driver seat hyperventilating and waiting for my pulse to return to its rightful pace. But the police car still sat there with its lights flashing and it was obvious it wasn’t going anywhere till I got back out there on the road. So I reluctantly got back out onto the road and drove home at a judicious 30 miles an hour.
As soon as I was in the door, my brother took a look at me; dusty from head to toe, with one leg of my jeans ripped off.
“What happened to YOU?” he asked
“Fuck you” I snarled.
“Hey mom!” my brother called “Look at Robert’s jeans!”
“Did one of the goats eat the leg of your jeans?” my mother asked.
“Never mind that,” I sighed, ”Let me just get a shower.”
As the warm water spilled over me, with varying degrees of pressure (that was another thing; the shower head needed to be fixed), I wondered how it had come to this. Why couldn’t I have a normal job like every other kid. Why couldn’t I have a normal class schedule like every other kid my age? Why couldn’t I have a normal, peaceful house, with a brother who knew how to shut his mouth when it would behoove him? Why couldn’t I just have a normal, streamlined existence like everybody else? Why did my life have to be invaded by smelly goats and assholes like Wayne? Why did a day at work have to include the sadness that came with the knowledge that baby goats had been skinned? I cursed in the steam as I let the hot water run over the bruises on my shins, until my mother thumped on the door and told me I had been in there long enough; I was going to run the hot water out.
I threw the jeans in the garbage in the basement; they were useless now and went upstairs to get some food, but physically hungry as I was, every piece seemed to stick in my throat. When my parents retired to the living room, I opened the fridge, and found we were back to the Old Milwaukee beer, in its brown bottle. As usual, I snuck it to my room, sipped it as I tried to study my work, but my mind couldn’t focus. All I wanted was to talk to my girlfriend, so I waited impatiently until 9.
That didn’t go well, either. I was already in such a state, and was impervious to reason. Nobody could talk me down, not my girlfriend, not anybody, although that is a lot to put on a teenage girl with her own set of responsibilities. As I got more and more and more worked up, I invented imaginary slights against me, and eventually the conversation devolved into a frustrating, circular, exhausting litany, where I deployed all my negativity on her. The call ended, and I went to bed exhausted, ashamed, upset and unable to sleep.
VI THE GOAT THAT DIED FOR YOUR SINS
I did manage to drift off into a fitful, uncomfortable semi-slumber at about 4 AM, only to be woken by my alarm: a box with a read digital display that bleated not unlike a goat. In a fog, I made my morning ablutions and headed off the class, and as I saw the car, caked in dust and with its donut spare tire, I felt like 40 miles of bad road. I was exhausted and nervous. I was embarrassed by the conversation I had with my girlfriend. I dreaded my day of classes and dreaded even more my slog of hell at the goat farm.
First class was English 101, and I immediately got one of my papers back, but through the back of the sheet, I could see it was marked up by red pen. I was going to flunk out. I knew it. I couldn’t even make it in community college. The professor was a scholarly guy with a red beard, glasses and a dry sense of humor, who chain smoked outside the north entrance of the main building. He set the paper, face down on my desk, and with dread I slowly flipped it over.
It was an A. The comment at the top of the page stated “This was an excellent read!”
in the margins he had scribbled witty comments, asked thought provoking questions, and occasionally made a wry joke. He complimented my writing style, offered a few suggestions and reminded me to take the side tracks off the paper next time. As I left the classroom he looked over at me.
“Really nice job. You might consider majoring in writing.”
I had some time to kill, so I sat on one of the wood benches outside the student center as the bands around my chest loosened, and I took the first few breaths that felt natural in close to 24 hours. I had one class until play rehearsal, and soon I was seated in the black box theatre, awaiting instruction. Our Town was coming together nicely, and I enjoyed the company of my cast mates.
But for some reason, in the air, there was a faint odor of goat. I knew that smell, I had been smelling it for hours at a time. It wasn’t me. It couldn’t be. I kept my work clothes separate, I conscientiously showered after every day at work. But there it was; this kind of faint, musky, goaty smell. It was not as pungent as Fleetwood, and I am pretty sure there was no place in the cast of Our Town for a goat. I didn’t see a goat wandering around the campus. I didn’t see a goat anywhere near the arts building, or the black box theatre. Was I losing my mind?
And then I saw him.
His back was turned. But there he was.
Fucking Wayne. Fucking “Tempest”.
In a pair of skin tight jeans. And a tan leather jacket with fringes on the sleeves. The leather looked soft and supple, and I recognized it immediately as goat leather. Goat leather has a distinctive odor as well as a distinctive look. To complete the ensemble, he was also wearing a pair of fringed ankle boots, also of goat leather. And his signature sunglasses from his rotating collection, despite the darkness of the black box.
Wayne was standing not five yards away from me, dressed in the pelts of baby goats.
I had to do a double take. I had to do a triple take. How many goats, I wonder? How many baby goats died so a complete and utter asswipe like Wayne could wear them on his back and his feet? To complement his idiotic mullet and asinine shades? What an absolute prick! And here I was, in the same room with him.
Wayne slowly turned around and saw me.
I said nothing. I was still processing it.
“Hey man, I didn’t appreciate you blew off rehearsal yesterday.”
“I had to work” I said through gritted teeth, “I told you that!”
“Yeah, well dude, a lot of people would quit their job for an opportunity like this. You need to shit or get off the pot.”
I stared at him.
“Yeah, man. It’s really disrespectful to the Assistant Student Director to just not show up for rehearsal”
I opened my mouth to say something, but somebody else in the theatre beat me to the punch.
“Shut up, Wayne!” came the voice.
Wayne turned around, “Who asked you, man? And my name is Tempest!”
“Fuck you!” I exploded, “Standing there in your stupid-ass goat jacket, and those goofy ass boots!”
“Hey dude, they were $600”
“You’re a total jackass, Wayne!” I continued.
“WHAT did you call me?” he asked
“You’re a jackass.” I repeated
“Hey man, I’m cooler than you’ll ever be.”
“Grow the fuck up, Wayne!” I raged
“It’s Tempest!” he whined.
“And get out of my sight with that goat pelt!”
He stepped towards me, ”You little punk. I ought to break your fucking neck.”
“Try it, douchebag.” I snarled, ”See what happens”
He stood there for a second, and I thought he was going to take a poke at me, but the door opened and in walked his girlfriend: the student director, the girl with the theatre masks tattooed on her body.
I thought this was the end of my being in the play; that I would be immediately kicked out for antagonizing her boyfriend: the “Assistant Student Director”.
But all she said was “Wayne, get out of here! I told you to leave me alone!”
“It’s Tempest,” he whined
“Get out of here!” she demanded.
He slunk towards the door and left, but as a final act of defiance, reopened the door and slammed it.
“Asshole” somebody said under their breath.
At rehearsal that day, I took everything I had accrued in the past 24 hours, and put it into my role, and I don’t think I was even able to replicate it on performance day.
On the way out of rehearsal, the student director said to me, ”That was good stuff. You should consider a theatre major.”
VII FLEETWOOD REDUX
I was exhausted, and lurking in the next few hours was the goat farm and Fleetwood. I had to allow extra time to get there, on account of the donut tire on the car. I think this had to be my last day. I couldn’t do it anymore. I went home, searched in my dresser for a pair of jeans almost as dilapidated as the pair I had just discarded, and put them on with my other work clothes and began the now forty minute drive out to the goat farm.
When I pulled up in the dusty parking lot, my boss was standing there and holding something in her hand. It looked like a tattered piece of blue cloth, but upon closer examination, it was a piece of denim. It was torn and mangled and shredded beyond belief, but it was unmistakable a piece of denim. Like it had once been from a pair of jeans. I wonder whose jeans they had come from. Gee, I wonder.
As I exited the car, she held up the cloth. “What is this?” she demanded.
“Looks like a rag,” I answered.
“Did you give this to Fleetwood?”
“Did I give this to Fleetwood? No.” I answered
“Well, he sure as hell didn’t find it himself. This was found in his pen today. He has eaten some of it. Somebody gave it to him. You were the last one in his pen”
“I didn’t give it to him,” I repeated, “He tore it off of my jeans”
“Well, why did you let him? It’s your responsibili…… Never mind” she continued nastily. “You see that car?”
She gestured to a black BMW that was in the parking lot. I had never seen it before. It looked out of place among the farm vehicles, the beat up pick up trucks, and even my red Volkswagen. It had been shiny, but it had a light coat of dust on it from having driven up the dirt road.
“Yes, I see the car.”
“That car belongs to the owner of the farm,” she said, ”He’s here today,”
Her baritonal voice dropped to a low, guttural, menacing basso, “I’m going to be watching you. You better not mess up.”
I got a glimpse of the owner throughout the day: in the barns, in the hub, puttering around the office. He was a pretty normal looking guy in jeans and a plaid shirt.
If my boss had been tyrannical yesterday, she was positively Atilla the Hun today. She stepped it up another notch, with the barking, roaring, bellowing, hand clapping and snarling. She was on my tail like flies to dung. Since I had worked there, I had never seen her do a lick of actual work, short of following me around and cracking the whip.
The owner walked around, as if he was a guest in a museum that he was vaguely familiar with. He stopped here and there, to absentmindedly pet a goat, nod to me, lean over the railing and watch the goats getting milked.
But when I got to Fleetwood’s pen, he was in the process of cajoling Fleetwood over.
“Here Fleetwood! Here Fleetwood! Who’s the good boy? Is Fleetwood the good boy? Yes, he is! Fleetwood’s the good boy!”
Fleetwood was not a good boy. Fleetwood was a malicious, smelly, disgusting creature. Fleetwood had a pair of horns he wanted nothing more than to gore me with. Fleetwood kicked me to leave bruises that had turned green in the past twenty four hours. Fleetwood pissed on my bare leg. Fleetwood ripped the leg of my jeans off, and I got the blame for it. Fleetwood was not a good boy.
But the owner continued blandishments in a cringeworthy, falsetto motherese, replete with rhetorical questions as to whether he was a good boy.
“Yes, Fleetwood’s a good boy! Yes, Fleetwood’s a good boy!”
Fleetwood lumbered over and breathed a foul smelling vapor in his face, turned around and took a shit.
“Did Fleetwood just go potty? Yes he did! Yes he did!”
Fleetwood retreated back to his corner, stopping on the way to shag one of the other goats.
I still had to get Fleetwood’s pen milked, and get those goats into the hub, so a short time later, I entered the pen and pressed the button to open the overhead door into the hub. Fleetwood, as usual, stormed towards me with his horns aimed. As usual, I sidestepped, and grabbed the horns. And as usual, Fleetwood, fought me tooth and hoof. Literally. Nasty bruise # 4.
Out of my peripheral vision, however, I caught sight of one of the goats in the adjacent pen in an unusual posture. Not sitting down, exactly. Squatting. And when a goat is squatting, she is kidding. She’s giving birth. And I remembered what I had been told.
I still had Fleetwood by the horns, but I yelled “HEY!” to whoever was there.
Nobody was in the barn except the 151 goats, including the goat that was kidding.
“HEY!” I yelled again.
I had to let go of Fleetwood, and I ran into the hub.
“Hey!” I called above the din of the machinery and the goats, “One of the goats is kidding!”
“Kidding?” the owner repeated, “Kidding about what?”
“Giving birth!” I explained, “We gotta get somebody!”
I saw my boss in the hub
“Hey, hey hey!” I called her over
She came over with a murderous look on her face. “Why are you in here? Why are you not doing your job!”
“One of the goats is kidding!” I answered, ”In there!”
She ran towards the door towards the barn; the owner followed.
“Right there!” I pointed to the goat.
I believe they whisked the birthing goat out of the pen, but the owner had lost interest at this point.
When I looked at Fleetwood’s pen, it was empty, and it took a few seconds to register.
“Where’s Fleetwood?” I heard a voice behind me. It was the owner.
We both looked through the doorway into the hub, that was still yawning open.
Fleetwood was in the hub, mounting goats in a frenzied state. One right after the other. Fleetwood, the horny bastard, was going to town. In the hub. Where the goats were milked. The owner and I watched, in stunned silence for about twenty seconds, as Fleetwood continued to burn off every ounce of sexual steam he had. I believe all forty nine goats were shagged by Fleetwood in the hub in a space of about ten minutes.
A beat passed. Two.
Finally, the owner spoke.
“Whose job is it to prevent Fleetwood from entering the milking area?”
“Mine,” I said confidently.
“Not anymore it isn’t”.
I walked through the doorway to the hub, into the cacophony of bleating, the goats being led down the maze of railings, the flattened goat shit on the red quarry tile floor. The roar of the machinery, and Fleetwood fucking every goat in there. I crossed the room to the small office where the time clock was, opened the door. One of the goats tried to follow me in.
“Hey, get out of here”
I located my time card and punched out. I was about to leave, but the owner threw open the door and yelled “You just destroyed $7000 worth of goat milk!”
I looked at him calmly.
“So I did.”
The door from the milking hub to the office was open, but I went out the other door to the lobby.
The last thing I saw there was a swarm of goats entering the office, surrounding the owner, licking his hands, chewing on his pants. Bleating, shitting and butting heads. And Fleetwood was close behind them.
As a courtesy to him, I shut the door behind me. I thought he might like to spend some time with his goats. And Fleetwood, since Fleetwood was such a good boy.
I went to the car, and before I went home I stopped off at the car wash, and watched the muddy water sluice off the car.
As routine, I went home, showered and got something to eat.
“How was work?” my dad asked.
“I got fired” I answered.
“Eh, it was too far anyway. You’ll get another job”
“Famous last words,” I retorted, “I destroyed $7,000 worth of goat milk”
“How’d you manage THAT?” my dad asked
“I don’t think you would believe me” I answered.
And when I called my girlfriend that night, and told her I got fired, I didn’t tell her why, because I don’t think she would have believed me either. She didn’t seem to hold my firing against me, though. I patched things up from our previous conversation, and I went to sleep that night secure and contented. Everything was going to be fine.
IIX LOOSE ENDS, THE END
You probably want to know if I got paid for that week, after having destroyed $7000 worth of goat milk, and the answer is yes I did. I wasn’t sure: much as I never wanted to see that God forsaken goat farm for the rest of my days, I was prepared to show up there and get my pay, if it was necessary. While I wasn’t prepared to show up there with a tire iron to extract my pay, I was not going to countenance being stiffed for my work.
Turns out it wasn’t necessary. A week later, a check in the mail arrived, counted to the last hour, in the amount of everything they owed me.
I had secured another job, too. I was bagging groceries in a supermarket alongside a friend I had met in my “Outdoor Activities” phys ed class at the college. He clued me into the fact they had a position, and they hired me on the spot. At $5 an hour.
The day I got the final check from the goat farm, I went out for pizza with my friends, two from college, two from high school and we had a blast.
That Saturday, I went down to see my girlfriend, and had a blast.
My first semester of community college resulted in a GPA of 3.5
Once again I had a future. I had a trajectory.
And I also had a job.
And I never went to a goat farm again.