Da Blind Goat

Submitted into Contest #136 in response to: Set your story on a baseball field.... view prompt

3 comments

Fiction American Urban Fantasy

At the far end of a baseball field in the Northern Suburbs of Chicago, a goat stood still. When Don Bellushi, who was responsible for the maintenance, refused to believe that it wasn't a joke, he came to view the goat. 


"What the hell is going on?" Don demanded to know and Stefan Grabowski, the janitor, who ran all the way to the office to tell his boss about the goat, could not stop laughing and told him that the goat got there on its own.


“I want it out, fast,” Don exclaimed as if Stefan knew how to move a goat. 


Stefan approached the goat, still laughing, and said "Come on, Billy goat, let's dip! I can buy you a sammich or something, what do you say?”


Though the goat was a fun way to change their daily routines, Don wasn't in a laughing mood. "Do goats drink pop?" he asked. “I have some over by there.”


“I don’t believe they do,” Stefan replied. “But we can try a couple, two, three sammiches and see if Billy likes them.”


“Where can we get them?” Don asked without taking his eyes off the goat. 


“I can go to Jewels and bring some,” Stefan answered. 


"No, that would be a waste of money," Don said as he realized he hadn't been to the local grocery store in a long time. He hasn't gone there since he discovered Mr. Cubs frequents it. He then decided to stay away from the only man he hated in Chicago.


"We can scare him with a mop then," the janitor suggested. 


“I don’t care how you do it," Don said and waved his hands in front of the goat, but when the animal turned and stared at him, he stepped back.


Then, Don walked back into the office, taking big steps as if he was protesting. More than anyone else, Don Bellushi needed a protest to remind himself of how much he had lost from his dignity over the past year.


His wife, Sarah Bellushi, is an example. It had been only a few months since she had renewed her relationship with her former friend, Jerome Cubs. The infamous Mr. Cubs. It was after she realized that her husband had changed that she did that.


In the past, when Sarah mentioned any mischief she had with the old friends and Mr. Cubs as the group leader, Don would ask to silence her or raise the sound of the music or encourage the neighbor to start playing the flute earlier. As years went by, she mentioned Jerome Cubs less and less, but he never ceased to be a treasure trove of memories from her youth and early adulthood.


Last year, however, was different. Her husband grew old all at once, changing the color of his hair, the texture of his skin, even the size of his body. Within one year, Don Bellushi became a skinny old man. In addition, he began to say things he had never said before, such as how the world is conspiring against him in so many ways. Then Jerome Cubs returned.


While Sarah Bellushi still loved her husband and kept faith with him, she and he knew the world had changed for them and there was no guarantee of the direction the wind would blow.


At six p.m., two hours after Don's ultimatum ended, the goat was still more or less standing on the same plot of clay, sand, and slit it had been standing on all day. Don peeked out of his window, and tried to give himself advice, how to get rid of the goat. Possibly, the question would have been less important if a private party had not been planned for the baseball academy CEO that evening. Don applied for the salary raise after a month of hesitating and did not wish to risk his chance. His point of view was that everyone appreciates a substantial raise, including Sarah Bellushi.


So, Don Bellushi began losing his temper. Angrily, he circled the goat and shouted at it. “Go away! Go to where you came from!”


Don could have sat down with the goat and explained to it that it is unbearable that so many things happen to him in life but none of them can make him happy. The very last thing he needed was a goat on his baseball field. 


As Don self-pyted, Sarah Bellushi appeared in the office frunchroom. Stefan noticed her from the distance, because she was the only woman carrying a white umbrella covered with anemones, whether it was winter or summer. Don signaled to his wife to come towards them and Mrs. Bellushi began walking on the wet dirt. Raindrops fell on the two men and the goat as they watched the woman approach with the umbrella.


She took some time to walk the 150 yards or so between the office frunchroom and where the three of them were standing. When she finally reached them, panting and glistening under a light drizzle, she smiled, in the most humble way, at Stefan. She then said, looking at her husband of forty years, "I've decided to get a divorce.".


Although his wife's words undoubtedly went through his ears, Don did not listen to them. His anger increased. He asked her for the floral umbrella and then slid the umbrella shut and in the thin, annoying rain, he aimed the umbrella's tip at the goat's body. It was about to be stuck into the body of the furry creature like a bayonet.


Despite not getting inside the flash, the tip was enough to cause the goat to bleat and move a bit. It was now the goat's turn. This one knew what made his opponent rage. At least, that's how Don himself saw it. In an attempt to escape intimidation, the goat started to circle Don, his wife and Stefan and emerged behind them.


By now, the umbrella tip focused on the goat's eyes. Don was sweating and weakening. Although he asked for strength, neither God nor his body gave him the strength he needed. His wife asked him to stop immediately and even suggested he might be going through some kind of crisis, but that did not change his behavior. After a few minutes of confronting her husband, she just left.


It was quiet on the baseball field again. Stefan stayed close to Don. Even though he was tired of it, he didn't want to show his boss that he was giving up. In his youth, Don Bellushi taught him how to pitch, throw, run, and catch. He knew his boss wasn't at his best, but he still admired him.


You won't be able to move it from here," Stefan said to Don. "I have already tried everything. I yelled, waved, threw practice baseballs at it... Nothing worked. This goat insists on being here with us. Maybe it's just lonely."


Don Bellushi remained silent. Earlier he had not thought of the goat as a being who could feel loneliness, but this now made sense to him after listening to Stefan. Loneliness. That could be it. 


He had one more thought. Taking a deep breath, he began running toward the goat and landed the umbrella tip into his ribs. When he saw how the tip stuck into the animal, he knew it was injured, and he felt the same way about himself. 


The goat bleated really hard this time. It had a nasty wound. If Sarah, who heard loud voices and came back to see what was happening, hadn't called her best friend, who is married to a veterinarian, the goat might have died instantly. 


Don Bellushi was still present when Benjamin Zucks, who just retired after saving animals for 40 years, arrived and kept the goat alive. He said that this goat was old and blind. Then the goat was taken. 


**


Though he was not invited, Don Bellushi attended Sarah’s second wedding party. This time, her first name was accompanied by the last name Cubs, a slight change from the first wedding when she was Sarah Bellushi. As the guests paid their respects to the couple who had deserved to be married forty-five years earlier, it was hard not to notice the look on the old man's face.


Don on his behalf did not care about whispers. Even if Sarah’s joy was a mirror image of his own deep sadness. As he learned about the wedding and how close it was to the baseball field, just a few L stops away, he pondered whether he must attend, and decided that it is the most significant event in his life, and therefore he must attend.


Mr. Cubs did not treat him with hostility, but rather with pity. He had long hated him for taking the woman with whom he could have had a better life, but at that moment of transcendence only drops of pity remained. Just like the raindrops that returned. The same drizzly, annoying rain.


Stefan, who was some kind of kinship with Jerome Cubs' brother, stood aside and held a glass of grape juice in his hand. Don stood next to him and they both watched the event.


"They say you've gone crazy, you know," Stefan began. 


Don Bellushi hummed something and then said, "But I wonder how many of them would be able to expel a goat with their own hands at my age."


Stefan served Don with a glass of grape juice. As he was thirsty, hungry, and weak, Don felt that the sight of his wife in a white dress was the only thing that could bring a little emotion into his heart.


"You’re right, Don," Stefan said. "You've always been special. I guess they don't know you like I do."


"No, they don’t," Don said and then changed his gaze and smiled. 


While he was caught up in the hustle of the wedding, Stefan saw what he had never seen before. Under the dry skin, the wrinkles, the crooked smile, and the tired eyes of the one he had called the boss all those years, he saw the face of a boy. So young, so daring, so ambitious. 


March 07, 2022 19:23

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3 comments

Colin Strivelli
17:32 Mar 16, 2022

This turned out to be quite interesting. I came in with the expectation of a humorous story about a goat, but was surprised to find a well written metaphor through the goat about an again man unchangingb in his ways at the cost of his family. Well done!

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Tsvi Jolles
20:21 Mar 16, 2022

Colin, thank you very much. I am glad you enjoyed it. I hadn't thought of the goat as a metaphor, but now that you mention it, it seems very obvious to me. It's always fun when readers provide you with new insights. Hope to be able to do the same with one of your stories.

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Tricia Shulist
16:56 Mar 12, 2022

Interesting story. Thanks for this.

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