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.
It was one of those days at school. A day you wish you didn’t have to go because the teachers breathe down your neck about everything you do, and the other normie-kids talk about stupid music and TV shows. 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 was a typical day at school. I can’t really recall a good one. Oh well. Cheers to the best times of my life.
I fiddle with my pencil, carving into the desk’s wood, following the texture of the plank, filling it with lead. It was a mundane, pointless activity that I like to do while I was in the classroom. Carving lead into the desk was 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 10 so we can decide where we want to go. I know where I want to go: cloud 9.
“I want you all to turn to page 27,” said Mr. Patton. “Read the assignment. You can do the first portion of the assignment for the rest of the class and the second portion when you’re home.”
The whole class – of about 30 –pulled out their pencils, turned to the right page and began reading. Some of the keeners in the front were the quickest to turn the page, probably because they were following along with Mr. Patton unlike me. I just flipped open to a random page to look like I was paying attention.
“Hey man,” whispered the boy next to me.
I turned to look at the boy, Alex, one of my good pals. For the first time today, I noticed his Goat Lord T-shirt – a kick ass death metal band we enjoyed. We actually had the same shirt and made sure we didn’t wear it on the same day. He could wear it on Wednesdays, I wore mine on Tuesdays. The last time we matched shirts, the jokes were aplenty about us being a couple. Now we avoid that risk.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“You want to get out of here when we are done class?” He asked.
“Damn right I do,” I said.
“Right on, you got some green in your locker?” Alex asked.
“Sure do,” I said with a grin. “We should get Felicia in on this too.”
“You just want to try and stick your hands down her pants,” Alex said.
I tightened the grip on the pencil. Alex’s words irritated me because they were right. He was a good friend and had the rights to remind me if I was doing something stupid. I just didn’t want to hear it. I couldn’t understand why she would go for someone like Don. I suppose being quarterback made you cool despite being a complete dud. Then there was his goofy face.
“Well,” I said. “If I run into Felicia, I will talk to her. If I don’t, we can just head to the ravine instead.”
“Sure, whatever you say,” Alex said. “As long as she is cool with my mixtape.”
“Totally, she’s into metal.”
“Yeah, the mainstream stuff,” he mumbled while staring down at his book. His face painted confusion while reading the text – probably a very similar version of my own expression throughout the class. Neither of us was interested in physics. Got to love that forced education system hey?
For the rest of the period, we stared at our assignments, pretending to work. Alex was doing something in the book while I doodled around the edges of the paper. Unfortunately, Mr. Patton watched everyone like a hawk, waiting to strike its prey. He loved catching students misbehaving. That’s why we pretended to work. Later, we would pay off one of the smarter kids to help us with our assignment. Smart kids like drugs too.
Eventually, the heavens heard our agony, and the bell rang.
Finally, I thought. That class could not have ended soon enough.
Gathering the Goods
Alex and I packed up our things and hurried out of the classroom. We had our exit strategy on routine and were often the first one to leave the class, despite being in the back of the room. Alex and I walked through the hallway to our lockers. They were at the opposite wings of the school. It was kind of a bummer, but we always knew where to meet up when skipping class. Physics was pretty dull, but the next period was social sciences. God no.
I hurried through the hall to get my locker. My route when leaving physics class took me right past Felicia’s locker. On most days I could see her making out with Don. That creep would have his hands all over her body. The rage I felt mostly comes from jealousy. Truthfully, that’s what I wanted you to her.
Just like every other day, she was at her locker. Lucky for me, today, Don was not here.
Looks like Felicia can have some fun, I thought.
Slowing my pace to a relaxed stride, I approached Felicia as she sifted through her locker. I nodded my head at her, saying, “hey sup?”
“Hey!” Felicia jumped and smiled at me. There it was, that deadly smile, one that could freeze even the most willful of souls. She had a way with her grin – and maybe her whole mouth. I’d love to find out. Either way, I sometimes wondered if she was friendly to everyone or she actually liked me. We’ve known each other since junior high. My feelings for her just multiplied over the years. It probably had something to do with teenage hormones.
“Alex and I are going to the ravine to have some dope. You want in?” I asked.
“Yes! I do.” Felicia shut her locker and adjusted her backpack. “We going now?”
“Yep, going to meet Alex just out by the east wing.”
“Think we have some time to grab Don?” Felicia asked.
“Uh, probably not,” I said. “Doesn’t he have to go chase around some boys on the football field?” I said humorously.
Felicia giggled and brushed her red hair aside, exposing her neck. “So how was Mr. Patton, Is he still running that dictatorship of a classroom?”
“You betcha,” I said as the two of us began to walk. “How about you?”
“Oh, you know, math is math. I don’t mind it. I just can’t wait to get the hell out of here.”
“Two more years,” I said.
Felicia and I reached my locker where I snagged the small jar that contained joint. I always tried to reduce the smell by hiding it inside a glass container with the cork. It reduced the scent a bit. The method wasn’t perfect though. As long as I kept it at the bottom of my backpack, no one would know as we left the school. With the joint obtained, Felicia and I left my locker and went to find Alex.
The two of us continued to walk down the hall to the opposite wing of the school. Alex’s locker was right beside the exit to the football field and the track and field course. The two of us chatted during the walk about the same stuff we usually did: movies, music, and video games. Time was a blur with that girl.
Blow This Pop Stand
Felicia and I exited the school find Alex leaning against the brick wall. The boy saw us and perked up.
“There you are,” Alex said. The statement was obviously directed towards me. Alex was not too fond Felicia. He could see how this girl had me wrapped around her finger – whether she knew it or not. Plus, Alex was kind of a purist when it came to music. If anyone didn’t fit within his criteria of taste, they were not cool enough to hang out with them. He probably tolerated Felicia just because I liked her.
“Yeah man,” I said. “I was just grabbing my stuff.”
“Cool,” Alex said while walking with Felicia and I.
“I’m so glad you guys can get your hands on some dope,” Felicia said. “My dad would kill me if he knew I was into this.”
“Me too,” I said. “I just don’t give a shit.”
The three of us laughed as we walked across the grass. Felicia’s eyes seemed to look at the football field as we moved by it. The football players were all training together in their uniforms while the coach directed them to perform specific tasks. That never looked fun. But I knew Felicia was not looking at the scene, she was trying to see if Don was there.
That douche, I thought.
Eventually, our path took us to the fence at the end of the school’s property. This fence was directly beside the river valley where we were able to move down the dirt path. This path was made mostly by students. It wasn’t paved or covered in gravel which meant roots were sticking out. Bumps and ditches were also throughout the trail. The three of us had to pay close attention as we descended deep the ravine. We continued through the forest until we found our familiar secluded spot. It was off the beaten path and difficult to see due to the thick foliage and dense trees.
“Secluded enough?” Felicia said.
“Well, we don’t want to get caught,” Alex said as he pulled out his portable boombox from his backpack.
“This is the usual spot Alex and I go to smoke,” I said while taking the glass container out of my backpack along with a lighter.
Felicia began to play with her hair saying, “boy I feel special.” She smiled. That deadly smile again. It caught me, and I couldn’t look away.
Blaring metal music shot me back into reality, and I looked away from the girl to see Alex had put a CD into the boombox – good old Goat Lord. I didn’t even realize how long I was staring at Felicia for. Thankfully, she was staring at me, and she didn’t look away after the music started.
She’s into me, I thought. Oh, how I would love to make some kind of move on her.
Feeling cool since I had Felicia’s attention, I took the joint out of the glass container and lit it. I brought it to my lips and took a puff, embracing that sweet taste of green. The smell of marijuana filled my lungs and the air around us. I passed the joint to Felicia. She inhaled and then exhaled slowly, letting the smoke ease its way out of her mouth and past her lips.
“That’s smooth,” Felicia said while passing the joint Alex.
“The best,” Alex said while taking the joint and having a puff.
We continue to pass the joint around, each embracing the wonderfulness of the drug. Each puff that we had caused the weed’s effects to grow stronger in our systems. We laughed, joked, and chatted until there was nothing left of the joint. At this point, all three of us were feeling pretty good. Each of us gazed into different directions, downing our ears to Goat Lord. Felicia began playing with her hair while using a stick drawing the dirt. Alex was laying on his back looking up at the leaves. His head rested on his hands. He had a funny smile on his face that just wouldn’t go away. That is what made weed so awesome – it always put you in a good mood.
As for me, I tried not to stare at Felicia. Man, she is hot.
My mind wandered from the girl into bigger picture stuff, like what was the purpose of school? Society forced 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? It’s ridiculous. The other part of my mind got sucked back into the Felicia fantasy. She sat close to me. I wasn’t sure if it was the weed, or if she actually was leaning a little closer. It was a bit hard to tell while being high.
“KISS HER,” came a whisper.
I looked around, trying to see where the voice came from. It had to be Alex. The sound was a raspy male voice.
“DO IT NOW,” came the voice.
The voice came from Alex’s direction, yet his lips weren’t moving. Where was it coming from?
“KISS FELICIA,” came the voice again. This time I could see that the sound came from the Goat Lord T-shirt. The animal’s mouth moved as it spoke.
No way, I thought. This was the most intense experience I had ever had on weed. That goat was actually talking to me.
“KISS HER NOW, OR YOU WILL REGRET IT,” said the goat. The illustration of the goat looked directly at me while it talked. The mouth moved in a very human-like motion.
I was not a fool, I knew that T-shirts couldn’t talk let alone give pretty good advice. Even though I knew it was the drug talking, I liked what the goat had to say.
I looked away from the goat illustration and at Felicia. Her red hair, green eyes, smooth legs… everything about her. That goat was a reflection of my deepest desires. All I wanted to do was take Felicia into my arms and start playing suck-face. It’s all I ever wanted to do. From what I could tell she was into me too, despite being with Don.
I leaned in slowly towards the girl and then paused. No, I thought.
A moment of clarity hit me: if I kissed Felicia, what would that mean? Felicia was seeing Don, and things seem to be going well with them. I was already not in the good books with the football team, how much more difficult would that make my life? At the core of my relationship with Felicia, I was her friend. I truly cared about her. What if she wasn’t giving me hints and I did kiss her? She would feel betrayed and creeped out. Don would kick my ass.
“DO IT NOW!” came the commanding voice of the goat illustration. “DO IT NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.”
I froze. This was a dilemma I never thought I would have to experience in my life. On the one hand, the girl wanted was right beside me – being questionably close. On the other hand, I could not tell if this was all just the weed. After all, I was getting advice from a talking goat illustration on a T-shirt.
“YOU MUST,” the goat said.
“No!” I shouted.
My shouting caught the attention of Felicia and Alex. Hell, I startled myself too. The sudden sound threw us all off, killing the weed-vibe we were experiencing. Felicia scooted away from me while Alex stood up, brushing the dirt and grass from the back of his shirt.
“What time is it?” Felicia asked.
“Probably getting close to the end of the period,” Alex said pressing stop on the boombox and grabbing it.
I stared at Alex’s T-shirt, my eyes fixated on the goat illustration. It was no longer animated. The eyes were as lifeless as they were before the weed. Its mouth didn’t move. There were no voices.
I got up on the grass scratched my neck, I felt nervous that I shouted out some words to my friends that had no context to the situation.
“Smoke much, man?” Alex said with a grin.
“I guess so. Shit, I had some bizarre thoughts,” I said. “I’m wondering if that thing laced with something else.”
“Doubt it. Seemed normal to me,” Alex said. “I think you just tripped some serious balls.”
Felicia giggled while the two of them began to walk back to the school. I followed them, and the three of us walked as a group. I wanted to tell my friends about the ridiculous experience I had with the auditory hallucination. The rational part of me said no. It was a ridiculous story, and it might weird Felicia out. Maybe I could tell Alex later. For now, this stayed with me.
The three of us exited the ravine and returned to the school property. We walked across the grass until we made it near the football field where the football team was just finishing up their training routine.
One football player noticed us, and he stepped away from the group, waving.
Oh no, I thought. Right away I knew it was Don.
Felicia waved at the boy at the football field. He began to jog toward us. Felicia hurried towards him, leaving me with Alex behind.
“There goes your girl,” Alex said.
“Yeah,” I said. There really wasn’t much else to say. Felicia had the most popular guys in school for her boyfriend. I was just her stoner buddy, watching in disgust as Don and Felicia embraced one another. Her arms wrapped around his neck. His hands firmly gripped her ass. The two of them began to make out disgustingly. I just couldn’t look at anymore.
“Let’s get something to eat,” I said. Truthfully, I wanted to get out of there.
He was right, I suddenly thought.
In that doped-up state-of-existence, I heard words of wisdom from an unlikely source. Instead of listening to the strange goat’s words, I decided not to. With a clear mind, I recalled the scene in the ravine: Felicia and my knees were nearly touching, she kept playing with her hair while leaning towards me, and she was looking at me for prolonged periods. She was just too shy to make a move – just like me. The goat was the voice of reason in the situation who was trying to guide me into something that would have been beautiful. The goat was providing words of wisdom, and I did not listen. I should have never doubted the Goat Lord.