Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Talking Heads “Road To Nowhere”
 Dire Straits “Walk of Life”
 Billy Joel “A Matter of Trust”
 Paris “The Devil Made Me Do It”
Nice goose you’ve got there. Where are you taking it? To town you say? Mind if I tag along? Don’t worry I’m not a nutbag or anything like that; just a regular guy and the facial twitch is just an allergic reaction. To what? Well goose feathers silly. I know right? You’d think what’s good for the goose would also suit the gander wouldn’t you? As a matter of fact, I have a gaggle of my own back at the farm. Their names are Gary, Graham, and Greta. I used to have a Gregory too but he got snagged up in my electric fence and the less said about that the better. I know what you’re thinking right now. Glutton for punishment right? Actually no, you see all three of them come from broken homes and are unable to feather. The very worst I’ve had to contend with is occasionally breaking out in a rash inside my groin creases and it’s worth every scratch to see them so happy and carefree.
Only last week, Gary and I bonded in a way that man and geese seldom do. He laid a speckled egg on the front doorstep and I was so proud of him as I needed one more to prepare an omelette. He must’ve overheard me cursing in the kitchen and took it upon himself to play provider even though he’s still recovering from an anal tear. Just for the record, that had nothing whatsoever to do with me as I’m slap-happy with the lubricant. He just sat down in some thistles. Anyhoots, moving swiftly on, he put himself through living hell to come up with the goods and I rewarded him with some home-baked macaroons that I’d been commissioned to prepare for the upcoming village fete. Mrs. Banbury was livid when she found out that I’d failed to fulfil my quota but I never liked her much anyway, ever since she slapped Graham’s beak with the back of her palm for attempting to take a gander up her petticoat. How was he supposed to know that her bloomers were in the wash and she’d gone commando that day?
Good behavior deserves to be rewarded in my book and Graham guzzled down those Bakewell delights like a goose who’d just been granted fresh purpose. Since then he’s been helping out in the backyard, pulling his weight loading the dishwasher when he knows I’m up against it, and even told a joke last Thursday. It wasn’t particularly amusing, in fact, it was downright insipid. But do you know what? I laughed at it anyway, until such time as I peed a little in my jockeys. Do you know what else? I’d do it again too just to see the look of swollen pride on his face. You see, we don’t get many visitors down on the ranch. Indeed you’re the first villager outside of Mrs. Banbury who I’ve opened up to in over seven months. Greta didn’t approve of my weekly book club commitments and the last thing I need is her quacking her disgust when I’m endeavoring to make it through War & Peace for my homework assignment. I’ve been reading that bloody book since last Fall and it still looks fatter at the rear end than front.
So that’s a bit about me and I’d love for you to divulge something too as a journey shared is a journey halved I hear. Not feeling chatty huh? That’s quite alright, I like the sound of my own voice. I must admit to being vaguely curious as to the sexual orientation of your prize goose. Would you mind terribly if I lift its rear section and see what we’re dealing with here? I can see that you would and all I can do is apologize for being presumptuous. That said, it would appear that your goose is also suffering from minor tearing of the rectal tissue. Those brambles are a liability right? I promise I wasn’t looking but could have glanced my fingertips across something that may or may not have been male genitalia. Not saying I did. That would be overstepping the mark and I can see we’re not quite at that point yet. Your caution is understandable, after all, it’s not every day that some random stranger feels up your knock-off swan is it? Strictly theoretically of course. One should never goose the goose as I hear that can result in an acute case of helmet itch and I’m flea-bitten enough as it is.
Have I offended thee? What was it? The knock-off swan comment? It’s not my terminology, Gary and Graham conjured that one up after indulging in one too many magical mushrooms during a lunchtime ramble in the thicket. What do you want me to say? They’re wild geese for chrissakes. Greta’s not, she’s more of your stay at home type and has absolutely no time for hallucinogens. But you try explaining to a pair of cluckers whacked out of their heads on psychotropic fungi that they’ll regret their actions come sunrise. The best I can do is to leave the front door key under the mat and let them get on with it as I’ll never get any sense out of them while they’re tripping bollocks in my back yard. When you consider that a swan is deemed a thing of grace and poise, it’s not really even an insult. I mean, it’s not like being labelled a counterfeit chinchilla or a third-rate terrapin. All I’m asking for here is a dash of perspective. Jeez you’re thin-skinned.
No need to get your noodles in a knot; I’m just trying to keep the conversation going here and that’s no easy feat when it feels suspiciously like you’re cocking a deaf ‘un. Actually it’s more like selective hearing as you don’t appear to miss a solitary trick when it entails me cramming my other size nine into my maw. This is just a suggestion and feel free to pooh-pooh it if your pickle isn’t feeling ticklish but a two-way dynamic may assist in making our pilgrimage together more pleasurable. It’s easy once you know how; just part those bee-stung lips of yours and they’ll flap of their own accord should the wind be blowing in from the sides. What comes out doesn’t have to make the faintest lick of sense as I happen to be rather partial to a spot of gobbledygook, incase you haven’t noticed. Let’s not get carried away here; I know the difference between my gammon and salmon but they both taste delightful wedged between two slices of granary loaf with accompanying pickle. Besides, Greta goes ga-ga for the resulting breadcrumbs.
This may be totally out of left-field but I do have one suggestion that could make this whole exchange a little more gratifying for you and it will just take a smidgen of blind faith on your part. If you don’t mind me asking, how much does that goose of yours weigh? I’m guessing at around the 6.5 kg mark which may not seem that much of a burden but we’re still 2 km from our destination and I can see it’s beginning to take its toll. The last thing we need is you twisting your ankle and having to wait around in agony while I locate the nearest abandoned wheelbarrow to transport you to market before they run out of cured ham. As I already mentioned, this will entail a degree of trust on your part as we all heard what happened to Mother Goose on her way back from the annual harvest festival. I’d like to remind you that this was an isolated incident and only the third reported case of poultry snatching since the mid-seventies.
Besides, I’ve long since suspected that she masterminded the ambush, as it is no secret that she was struggling to cope with the stress of raising nineteen clingy cluckers single-handedly. The old dear hasn’t been quite the same since Father Goose engaged in extracurricular fowl play with his secretary, Lucy Jane Mallard, and fled the nest for pastures new without so much as a “sayonara slag”. Thus I reckon she had a hand in their abduction. What I’m saying is that there’s really no just cause for your trepidation. The very worst that could happen is that I scarper with your thoroughbred and slow roast it in my kiln and that’s a ludicrous thought to entertain. I mean, what would Gary, Graham, and Greta have to say about that? Moreover, would that be an adequate way to celebrate Gregory’s memory? Not sure whether you’ve ever come across a goose with a grudge but it ain’t a purty picture believe you me.
I tell you what, I’ll even go as far as surrendering my wristwatch until such time as I deliver your precious cargo to our destination intact. It’s got a built-in calculator don’t you know and was given to me by my great-uncle, Bernie, after he returned from one of his bi-monthly business trips to Phuket. He said he was an Olympic ping-pong coach but I heard on the grapevine that he was running an illegal cock-fighting ring and that may be the reason he was indicted on an assault and battery charge. At any rate, before the authorities showed up to escort him away, he offered me his favorite timepiece to look after until his trial concluded. That was nineteen years ago now and, the last I heard, he was doing rather splendidly on the Cantonese comedy circuit under the stage name “Funnie Bernie”. Convinced that these were merely Chinese whispers, I googled him and, as sure as eggs have legs, he’s absolutely coining it in.
Chances are he’ll tour this neck of the woods soon and return to collect his rightful property. After all, it was only ever a loan. I have no right to claim this wristwatch as my own, yet still I’m prepared to entrust it to your safekeeping as I have absolutely no intention of screwing you over at the first available opportunity. That’s what second available opportunities are for right? Just kidding, I do wish you’d loosen up a tad. Listen buster, I’ve got my own livestock to contend with already and another beak to feed right now would be madness. I promise I’ll be gentle and respectful and, at no point, will I insert my thumb and give it a playful wiggle. That said, I’ve seen a lot of geese in my time and rarely have I come across one so dashing as yours. Considering you have no inclination towards providing him a title, I think I shall go ahead and name him on your behalf. From this point forward and by the power vested in me, he shall be known as Ryan The Gosling.
There you go, that wasn’t so bad was it? As you can see, I’m an expert handler and Ryan couldn’t be in safer hands right now. Already you look like a massive weight has been lifted and I’m overjoyed to have played some small part in your relief. Regrettably I was spinning you a yarn about my uncle Bernie as I picked that busted timepiece up from an old bric-a-brac store on Penny Lane for a shilling and have always found it unsightly and pointless. Just to clarify, I fully intend on snatching Ryan away and leaving you mourning his loss. You see, while he may look like butter wouldn’t melt in his bill, I know precisely what he has been getting up to on the sly after finding a handful of feathers on my front porch the other week. Greta is a sensitive soul and struggles with low self-esteem at the best of times. So when Ryan swore blind he would call her after the two of them shared a tender moment down by the river bank and doubled back on his word; it was yours truly left to pick up the pieces.
If I let Ryan get away with this despicable act then what kind of a message is that sending out to any impressionable geese looking to follow in his webbed footsteps? He may be easy on the eye but so is Jennifer Lopez and I’ve heard she’s a real jumped up moosebag in person. Now I’m not about to instigate a full-blown smear campaign against sweet, defenceless little Jenny from the block as I never much cared for hearsay. But when a goose with no sense of morals messes with one of my own, well let’s just say I have a can of whoop set aside for such eventualities and make absolutely no qualms about tugging its ring-pull either. The bottom line is this: in around twenty minutes or so, I’ll be bringing this rapscallion gently to the boil and there’s not a solitary thing you can do to unseal his fate. It’s nothing personal, at least not against you, just karma’s suggestion and I happen to be easily led. Besides, I don’t have $49.99 handy and Greta’s sick and tired of Pork Chop Wednesday.
I’m quite aware I’ve broken your trust and, for that, I truly am sorry. But I hear revenge is a dish best served on a bed of lettuce leaves with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and that is precisely where Ryan is headed the moment the stove warms up. If you have any last words for the accused, then I would suggest spitting them out in the next few seconds as our paths are set to deviate any time now. I also may have massaged the truth about heading into town as I live on a farm and have all the provisions I need right beneath my nose silly. For what it’s worth, one thing I didn’t fabricate was the rash on my inner thigh and it is beginning to chafe like a bastard so I guess I’d better bid you adieu and deliver Ryan to his final simmering place. I’d love to say that it’s been fun but, the truth is, I find you deeply unpleasant. You’ve had countless opportunities to pipe up but have never once made me feel welcome. Besides, like the saying goes – no harm, no fowl. Enjoy your long walk into town and, if you see that Mrs. Banbury on your travels, be a dear and give the old scab a dry slap from Graham would you?