It happened after a long night of drinking.
I actually thought it happened because of the long night of drinking.
I thought i was drunk, but I've been drunk before, and this was completely different.
You're not going to believe me, but it spoke. The goddamn goat head hanging above my TV spoke.
I was sat on my lounge chair that was stained with tomato sauce from the nights I'd spent eating spaghetti on it watching crime night, and had more than a few burn holes from my cigarettes when it happened.
"Brush your teeth before you go to bed"
(great, a voice with a sense of hygiene)
First I ignored it, thinking it was just the voice in my own head. I turned out my cigarette in the ashtray balanced on the lounge chair's arm and began to walk towards my room (not in a straight line, mind you), when it happened again.
"Hey, that's still lit. Are you trying to burn down your house?"
This time, I stopped in my tracks. I slowly realised that my head voice did not sound like Anthony Hopkins crossed with that guy from Snatch.
"Whose there??" I said, frozen in a half step, head hunched and still while my eyes darted from one side of the room to the other looking for the voice.
"Up here, on the wall."
It was the fluorescent painted goat head hanging above my TV. I know you don't believe it. I didn't believe it either. But it was.
My friend had bought me that goat head as a gift from a shack shop on the beach a few months ago. He had heard about it through a friend of his who had bought this awesome retro 8 ball from there, so he decided to check it out, and ended up buying the goat head. It was meant as a tongue-in-cheek joke about how I always was playing the goat. I ended up hanging the head on my wall above the TV, where it witnessed my day to day life.
"Oh my ..." I began to stutter, as you would too, trust me.
"Didn't mean to startle you there. But it's time we talked," it said, and began to unravel the longest ball of story yarn I'd heard in a while.
His name was Shaman Billy apparently, and he had been bestowed with powers by Zeus (yeah, I know), and could speak with the tongue of man. His fellow goats had deemed him divine, not surprisingly, but the villagers soon took wind of his powers, and decided to eat him in attempt to claim some of it.
They ate his flesh and danced ritual dances, and then at the end of it, all that was left was his head. It was mounted and eventually was found, shipped and went from one end of the planet to the other until Shaman Billy ended up here. On my wall. He had heard all my phone conversations, seen me cry, seen me smoke and read, enjoyed listening to Seinfeld when I was watching it on TV, and was amused by my antics playing Guitar Hero. A lot.
And now I was conversing with a goat head.
"But now I have to go," he ended.
"Why? Are you bored? Did I do something wrong?"
"No. Not at all. But I've learned all I have to learn. I have to move on. Learning is never over." he replied.
"Ok.. Ok. I can understand that. What do I do? Is there some sort of ritual or something....?" I replied, stuttering slightly?
"Well, unless leaving me outside near the trashcans is a ritual, no," he said, smiling (You think it's hard to imagine a talking goat? Imagine one with a sense of humour who smiles...) "someone will pick me up sooner or later. Especially in this neighbourhood."
"Yea, ha. Yea, ok." I muttered smiling while I scratched the back of my head looking out the window at the semi-ghetto I call my home.
I got up on a chair and started to dismantle Shaman Billy. Funny how one becomes oh so much more careful handling furniture when it talks to you, you know?
As I stood outside in the dark, with the neighbour's dog humping the lawnmower only a few feet away, I looked at Shaman Billy in all his psychedelic colourfulness.
"This is it huh? I just leave you here?". Yeah, I was asking a goat.
"Yes. Simple really. I'll find my way." he said softly.
"Funny. For a legless thing, you've been around quite a bit," I remarked.
"Haha. True, true." he laughed. (I made a goat laugh. That's one for the grand kids)
"Listen," he said after composing himself. "You should know..."
"... You're doing ok. Don't worry. Keep going where you think you should be going, and it'll all be alright. I know it" he uttered. And you might find it strange, but I'd never been at such peace as I was after hearing those words coming out of Shaman Billy's mouth. Or muzzle or whatever.
Straight from the goat's mouth.
I smiled at Billy, reluctantly leaned him at the foot of the rubbish bin outside, and stood there, looking down at his gleaming eyes.
"I'm honoured to have had you around, even though I thought you were just a stuffed goat head..." the words seemed to choke me on the way out.
"Glad to have been on your wall. You should go now. It's late. " Billy replied.
I got the message. Goats don't like goodbyes. So I turned by back, and walked into my house, glancing briefly at the shape of the mount stenciled out of dust above my TV, walked into my room, and had beautiful dreams I couldn't remember the next morning.
Like a kid on Christmas morning, I rushed to the window the next day as soon as I woke up, to see if Shaman Billy was still there.
Yeah. You guessed it. He was gone. But you know what? It was ok.
In case you ever come across a brightly coloured goat head, word of advice. Don't scratch your crotch in front of it. And when it talks, listen.