The first period of the day is coming to an end. Three friends are exhausted from hearing their teachers talk all day about nonsense – time to skip class, smoke up, and relax. During the get-away, one of the friends finds himself in a difficult dilemma after being given the best advice of his life from an unlikely source.

Goat Wisdom is April’s flash fiction that brings readers into the eyes of a teenage boy who is stuck in a weed-induced conflict that will change his high school experience forever. Enjoy the story in written word, audio, artwork and soundscape.

Into the Macrocosm

Into the Macrocosm by Konn Lavery

Short Stories of the Dark Cosmic, Bizarre, and the Fantastic

This story is found within the collection.

Enter the expanding universe through the lives of 22 souls, as the Nameless One and their ghoulish companion attempt to unlock the mysterious past of how they died.

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In Hell

Today was one of thosedays at school. A day you wish you could just stay in bed because the teachers breathe down your neck about everything you do, and the other normie-kids talk about the stupid music they like and the lame TV shows they watch. Not to mention you see your crush hitting it off with her new boyfriend—the quarterback of the football team. Honestly, a day like this is a typical day at school. I can’t ever recall a good one. Oh well. Cheers to the best times of my life.

I fiddle with my pencil, carving the sharp lead into the wooden desktop, following the grain, and leaving behind a trail of graphite. It is a mundane, pointless activity that I like to do while I am in the classroom. Carving is better than listening to Mr. Patton ramble on about physics. Where am I even going to use this stuff? I don’t want to be some sort of Einstein. Apparently, we’re supposed to take all types of sciences in grade ten, so we can decide where we want to go. I know where I want to go: cloud nine.

“I want you all to turn to page twenty-seven,” says Mr. Patton. “Read the assignment. You can do the first portion for the rest of the class and the second half when you’re home.”

The whole class—about thirty kids—pull out their pencils, turn to the page, and begin reading. Some of the keeners in the front are the quickest, probably because they are following along with Mr. Patton. Nerds. I just flip open to a random page to look like I am paying attention.

“Hey man,” whispers the boy next to me.

I turn to look at the kid, Marcus, one of my good pals. For the first time today, I notice his Goat Lord T-shirt—a kick-ass death metal band we enjoy. They’re raunchy and forward-thinking. My favourite track is them warning us of Y2K; it’s going to shut down the whole world! How metal is that? Marcus and I actually have the same shirt and make sure we don’t wear it on the same day. He can wear his on Wednesdays. I wear mine on Tuesdays. The last time we matched shirts, the jokes about us being a couple were aplenty. Now we avoid that risk of embarrassment. What girl is going to show interest if they think Marcus and I are dating?

“Yeah?” I ask.

“You want to get out of here when we’re done class?” he asks.

“Damn right, I do,” I say.

“Word. You got some green in your locker?” Marcus lowers his voice.

“Sure do,” I say with a grin. “We should get Felicia in on this too.”

“You just want to try and stick your hands down her pants,” Marcus says.

I tighten the grip on the pencil. Marcus’s words irritate me because they are right. He’s a good friend and is entitled to remind me when I am doing something stupid. I just don’t want to hear it. I can’t understand why she would go for someone like Don. I suppose being the quarterback makes you cool, despite being a complete dud. Don’t even get me started on his goofy horse-face.

“Well,” I say, “if I run into Felicia, I will talk to her. If I don’t, we can just head to the ravine.”

“Sure, whatever you say,” Marcus says. “As long as she is cool with my music.”

“Totally, she’s into metal.”

“Yeah, the mainstream pussy-ass stuff,” he mumbles while staring down at his book.

Confusion paints his face as he reads the text—probably similar to my expression throughout the class. Neither of us is interested in physics. Gotta love that forced education system. We’re not going to use any of this shit when we graduate. For the rest of the period, we stare at our assignments, pretending to work. Marcus is trying while I’m doodling around the edges of the paper. Unfortunately, Mr. Patton watches everyone like a hawk, waiting to strike his prey. He loves catching students misbehaving and making them an example in front of the rest of the class. That’s why we pretend to work. Later, we can pay off one of the smarter kids to help us with our assignment. Smart kids like drugs, too.

Eventually, the heavens hear our agony, and the bell rings. Finally. That class could not have ended soon enough.

Gathering the Goods

Marcus and I pack up our things and hurry out of the classroom. We have our exit strategy on routine and are often the first ones to leave, despite being in the back of the room. Today we’re slow, splitting when we exit the doorway. Our lockers are in opposite wings of the school. It’s kind of a bummer, but we always know where to meet up when ditching school. Physics is dull, but the next period is social sciences. God no.

I hurry through the hall to get to my locker. My route while leaving physics class takes me right past Felicia’s locker. She has math during this period. On most days, I can see her making out with Don. That buck-toothed ass always has his hands groping her body. The rage I feel comes from jealousy. Truthfully, all I want to do is fondle her up and down. Just like every other day, she’s at her locker. Lucky for me, Don isn’t here. It looks like Felicia can have some fun.

I slow my pace to a relaxed stride. Damn, her red hair is hot. I approach Felicia as she fumbles through her locker. I gather my cool attitude and nod at her, saying, “Hey, sup?”

“Hey!” Felicia jumps, smiling at me. There it is, that deadly smile of an angel, pushing her right cheek higher. An expression that freezes even the most willful of boys. The snake-bite piercings just add to the rock-and-roll charm. She has a way with her grin, and maybe her whole mouth—I’d love to find out. Either way, I sometimes wonder if she is friendly to everyone, or if she actually likes me. We’ve known each other since junior high. My feelings for her have just multiplied over the years. Probably something to do with teenage hormones.

“Marcus and I are going to the ravine to have some dope. You want in?” I ask.

“Fly!” Felicia shuts her locker and adjusts her backpack. “We bouncing now?”

“Yep, going to meet Marcus just out by the east wing.”

“Think we have some time to grab Don?” Felicia asks.

“Uh, as if,” I say. “Doesn’t he have to go slap some boy-ass on the football field?” I smile to make sure she knows I’m joking.

Felicia giggles and brushes her red hair aside, exposing her pale neck. I want to kiss it. She says, “So how was Mr. Patton? Is he still running that dictatorship of a classroom?”

“You betcha,” I say as the two of us walk. She’s close. I can smell that gentle aroma, a mixture of freshly washed hair and her natural feminine scent. We brush shoulders. Oh man, I’d better not get a boner. “How about you?” I ask.

“Oh, you know, math is math. The teacher is clowning, but I don’t mind it. I just can’t wait to get the hell out of here.”

“Two more years,” I say.

Felicia and I reach my locker, where I snag the small jar that contains the joint. I always try to reduce the smell by hiding it inside a glass container with a cork. The method isn’t perfect, but as long as I keep it at the bottom of my backpack, no one knows. With the joint obtained, Felicia and I leave my locker and head for the east wing. We chat during the walk about the same stuff we usually do: movies, music, and video games. Time is a blur with this girl.

Blow This Pop Stand

Felicia and I exit the school, finding Marcus outside, leaning against the brick wall of the building. He perks up, saying, “There you are, fart-knocker.”

The words are obviously directed towards me. Marcus is not too fond of Felicia. He sees how this girl has me wrapped around her finger—whether she knows it or not. Plus, Marcus is kind of a purist when it comes to music. If someone doesn’t fit within his criteria of taste, they aren’t cool enough to hang. He probably tolerates Felicia just because I like her a lot. Again, he’s a good friend.

“Yeah, man,” I say. “I was just grabbing my stuff.”

“No duh,” Marcus says, heading over and walking with us.

“I’m so glad you guys can get your hands on weed,” Felicia says. “My dad would kill me if he knew I was into this.”

“Mine too,” I say. “I just don’t give a fuck.”

The three of us laugh while walking across the grass. Felicia’s eyes stray to the football field. The team is training together in their deep blue uniforms. Their coach directs them to perform specific tasks that never look fun. But I know Felicia isn’t thinking about that. She is trying to see if Don is there. That douche. I wonder if his dick resembles a horse like his face does. That’d explain why Felicia can stand his ugliness.

Eventually, the path takes us to the fence at the end of the school property, right beside the river valley, down a dirt path mostly worn down by students over the years. It isn’t paved or covered in gravel, which makes roots stick out everywhere. The bumps and ditches are whack with roots sticking up every which way, muddy patches, and steep dips, making us pay close attention to where we step as we descend deep into the ravine. We find our familiar spot, just off the beaten path. It’s difficult to see due to the thick foliage and dense trees, making it a perfect crib for getting high.

Cloud Nine

“Secluded enough?” Felicia asks.

“Well, we don’t want to get caught,” Marcus says as he pulls out his portable mini boombox from his backpack.

“This is the usual spot Marcus and I go to start trippin’,” I say while taking the glass container and a lighter out of my backpack.

Felicia plays with her hair. “Boy, I feel special.” She smiles. That deadly smile. It catches me, and I can’t look away. The moment lasts forever. Her green eyes. Those lips.

FUCK YOUR WHORE MOUTH!!!

The lyrics blare from the mini boom box, metal music shooting me back to reality. I look away from the girl. Damn it, Marcus! Oh well, at least he put his Goat Lord CD on. I hadn’t even realized how long I’d been staring at Felicia. Strangely enough, she was gazing back at me. She still is. Wicked. I have goosebumps. She’s into me, I think. Oh, how I would love to make some kind of move on her.

Felicia leaves her trance and looks at the boom box. “What is this?” she asks. She seems a bit annoyed.

“Goat Lord,” Marcus says with pride, sitting down beside us.

I take the joint out of the glass container with a rush of confidence. With a flick of the lighter, I bring the joint to my lips and take a puff, embracing that sweet taste of green. The pungent marijuana cloud fills my lungs and the air around us. I pass the joint to Felicia. She inhales the green and exhales slowly, letting the smoke ease its way out of her mouth.

“That’s smooth,” Felicia says, passing the joint to Marcus.

“The best,” Marcus says while taking the joint.

We continue to pass the weed around, embracing the wonderfulness of the drug. Each puff we have increases the weed’s effect on our systems. We laugh, joke, chat about school, complain how stupid our parents are, and so on until there is nothing left of the joint. At this point, all three of us are feeling pretty blitzed. Each of us gazes off into different directions, submerged in the blaring double kick drums, shredding guitars, and demonic growls of Goat Lord. Felicia begins to play with her hair while using a stick to draw in the dirt. Marcus is lying on his back, looking up at the leaves. His head rests on his hands. He has a funny smile on his face that doesn’t go away. That’s what makes weed so awesome—it always puts you in a good mood.

As for me, I’m trying not to stare at Felicia. Man, she is so hot.

My mind wanders from the girl and into bigger-picture stuff, like what is the purpose of school? Society forces the youth to work so hard at pointless subjects. They want us to learn things we don’t care about. We barely even know ourselves, and we are trying to understand how particles move? What is x, anyway? It’s ridiculous. The other part of my mind gets sucked back into the Felicia fantasy. She sits close to me. I’m not sure if it’s the weed, or if she is leaning a little closer. It’s a bit hard to tell while high.

“KISS HER,” comes a whisper.

I look around, trying to see where the voice had come from. It had to be Marcus. The voice was raspy and male.

“DO IT NOW,” the voice says.

The voice is coming from Marcus’s direction, yet his lips aren’t moving. Where is it coming from?

“KISS FELICIA,” the voice says again. This time I can see that the sound is coming from the Goat Lord T-shirt Marcus wears. The animal’s mouth moves as it speaks.

No way. This is the most intense trip I have ever had on weed. That goat is talking to me.

“KISS HER NOW, OR YOU WILL REGRET YOUR ACTIONS ALWAYS,” the goat says. The illustration of the goat looks directly at me while talking. The mouth moves as if it were human.

I’m not a fool; I know that T-shirts can’t talk, let alone give pretty good advice. Even though I know it is the drug talking, I like what the goat has to say. Just look at Felicia. Her red hair, green eyes, smooth legs, that ass . . . everything about her. The goat is a reflection of my deepest desires coming to the forefront, confronting me. All I want to do is take Felicia into my arms and start playing suck-face. It’s all I ever wanted to do. From what I can tell, she is into me, too, despite being with horse-face.

I lean in slowly towards the girl and pause. A moment of clarity hits me: if I kiss Felicia, what would that mean? Felicia is seeing Don, and things seem to be going well with them. I’m already not in the football team’s good books. How much more difficult could they make my life? At the core of my relationship with Felicia, I am her friend. I genuinely care about her. What if she isn’t giving me hints, and I did kiss her? She would feel betrayed and creeped out, and Don would kick my ass. I should step off.

“DO IT NOW!” the commanding voice of the goat illustration booms. “DO IT NOW, BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.”

I freeze. This is a dilemma I never thought I would have to experience. On the one hand, the girl I want is right beside me—getting questionably close. On the other hand, I can’t tell if this is all just the weed. After all, I’m getting advice from a talking goat drawing on a T-shirt.

“YOU MUST,” the goat says.

“No!” I say.

My shout catches the attention of Felicia and Marcus. Hell, I startled myself too. The sudden sound throws us off, killing the good weed-vibe. Felicia scoots away from me while Marcus stands up, brushing the dirt and grass from the back of his shirt.

“What time is it?” Felicia asks.

“Probably getting close to the end of the period,” Marcus says, pressing stop on the boom box.

I stare at Marcus’s T-shirt, my eyes fixated on the static goat illustration. The eyes are as lifeless as they were before the weed. Its mouth doesn’t move, and there are no voices. Damn it.

Regret

I get up and scratch my neck, feeling nervous about the fact that I shouted out a word to my friends who have no context to the situation. I know I must look like a total weirdo.

“Smoke much, man?” Marcus says with a grin.

“Word. Shit, I had some whack thoughts,” I say. “I’m wondering if that thing was laced with something else.”

“Worked wonders for me,” Felicia says.

“I doubt it’s laced,” Marcus says. “I think you just tripped some serious balls.”

Felicia giggles. I blush, wanting to tell my friends about the ridiculous experience I just had with the auditory hallucination. The rational part of me says no. It is a stupid story, and it might weird Felicia out. Maybe I can tell Marcus later. For now, this stays with me. With that, the three of us exit the ravine and return up the path to the school property. We walk across the grass until we near the football field, where the team is just finishing up their training routine.

One football player notices us, and he steps away from the group, waving. Right away, I know it is Don, the goofy horse-face of a douche. Felicia waves at the boy. He jogs— Sorry, he trots towards us as Felicia hurries to him, leaving me with Marcus.

“There goes your girl,” Marcus says.

“Dope,” I say with zero enthusiasm. There really isn’t much else to say. Felicia has the most popular guy in school for her boyfriend. I am just her stoner buddy, watching in disgust as she and Don embrace one another. Her arms wrap around his neck. His hands firmly grip her hips. The two of them make out disgustingly with tongue and all. I just can’t look at it anymore.

“Man, she was such a flirt with you today, hey?” Marcus says.

I didn’t need to hear that. I sigh, saying, “Let’s get something to eat.”

The goat had been right. In that doped-up state of existence, I’d heard words of wisdom from an unlikely source. Instead of listening to the strange goat’s words, I froze. I wasn’t bold. I took a coward’s way out. With a clear head, I recall the scene in the ravine: Felicia’s knees nearly touching mine; she played with her hair while leaning towards me, brushing it aside so I could see her pale, smooth neck. She was just too shy to make a move—just like me. The goat was the clarity, trying to guide me into something that could have been hella fly. The goat wisdom that I had not listened to. I should have never doubted the Goat Lord.


Into the Macrocosm

Into the Macrocosm by Konn Lavery

Short Stories of the Dark Cosmic, Bizarre, and the Fantastic

This story is found within the collection.

Enter the expanding universe through the lives of 22 souls, as the Nameless One and their ghoulish companion attempt to unlock the mysterious past of how they died.

Goat Wisdom by Konn Lavery
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Konn Lavery

About Konn Lavery

Konn Lavery is a Canadian author whose work has been recognized by Edmonton’s top five bestseller charts and by reviewers such as Readers’ Favorite, and Literary Titan.

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