Sunday, September 15, 2013

/The old goat

Egad. I had paid my dues, had stopped getting rejection from publishers, and was making some kind of splash in NAIN ROUGE, an online magazine out of Detroit.
Ah, but de debbil.
There was a quarrel betwee NAIN ROUGE and its parent, WHITE CAT PUBLICATIONS.
NAIN ROUGE had suddenly ceased publication.
....Now what am I going to do with this story I had sent NAIN ROUGE?
Here is what I had sent in.
Submission to NAIN ROUGE magazine.
A story
by Ivan Prokopchuk
Ivan Prokopchuk
540 Timothy St. Apt. 304, Newmarket Ontario, CANADA. L3Y5N9
Suggested pin number l235
email address:
In an old  prairie dugout, there lived a goat.
Goats seem eternally peeved, that peeved expression, but Andreas the Goat was not really peeved; quite happy, really. Did he not have what he wanted, the supply of scraps  at the nearby junkyard, the good feeling  he got from the Jimson weed and chicory,  the late middle age  age which had now  cooled his passion, True,   the young  she-goats still showed interest, though this more for his  old daddy goat appeal than anything else. He was a handsome old goat.
One day, another goat  passed his way. A young-old nanny .. She still had a prance to her gambol, as if very young, but a little gray in her dapple showed she was almost as old as Andreas.  The old goat regarded the new arrival  with some interest. Meeehh. There was the Mee-ing response. Hello,come closer. What's   is your name, little  she-goat,what's your name? Come closer.
"Yasmine." she blated. She clacked along the gravel to his hideout and came closer. He could now see her face. The cutest little snout, though he could could see by the reddened blacks of her comma eyes that she had been into something.. Funny weed? Perhaps a bit of fermented barley down by the sump pump. She had certainly was on something. Oh not again, the old goat thought. These kids, always grazing on those devil weeds. And the adults just as bad.She was now right up to him and went to almost pass him, though rubbing a little along his rough hide.
It had struck Andreas that it had been so long, so long since there had been a horn-to-horn.  Or even close contact with a female.
But just as soon as she had come up, she suddenly turned on a cloven hoof and seemed about to run away..
But he followed and trotted beside her.
 "What's your last name," he asked.
"Yes. Yasmine Springbok."
":Icelandic," he asked.
"No, South African originally.
And with that, she seemed to just spring away from him, as she had done just before.,soon to disappear through silver-and-green Russian olive bushes.
These spacey drug freak nannies, they're all the same, the old goat thought. So much into power plays, games, control. Use you as a sounding board. Tease you and run off.
But her scent, the recent  nearness of a female, had awakened something in Andreas.
For some time, the old goat had noticed his thouhts were more in the past than the present, manger scenes, back in the days wheh he'd had a family, kids, barns, chickens. All gone now. All grown up. Or maybe worse. He winced at the thought.
Always the new she-goat. that's how it had always been up until he grew old. Never mind, Yasmine Bleat, or whatever your name is, I will tend to my grazing, see my reflection in the old glass windshields  around the garbage dump. What a fine old goat I am. I don't need anything or anybody.
But Yasmine kept coming around.
At first she seemed to ignore him as she gambolled past, but he had to admit she was raising old goat passions in him, not only the hint of an erection he was starting to feel along his scrabbly belly,  but alsosome sort of  promise that Yasmine seemed to hold.
One day she came right up to the old goat and said,"I will give you whattever you want. Anything at all. Whatever you want, real or imagined. "Nutcase," he decided. Off-the-wall she-goat probably Iberian. Gypsy.goat. Best keep to myself."
But on the third day she came back with an old soup can  can in her mouth, which suddenly, inexplicably, turned into a flower.
The old goat pawed at the ground, but here, suddenly was a bunch of carrots. "How you doo dat?" the old goat asked, trying to show casualness, not the sudden, strange supernatural fear.
I am she-goat, mistress of goathood. I can make you horny. I can make you magic. I know you better than you know yourself."
. Never met a goat like her before.
They took to running around together, past the trees, past the birds, past the clucky  stampeding  chickens, through the yard and into a grove of Russian olives, spiky and hard to get near, let alone eat.  "Got something to show you, said Yasmine. Come." Andreas followed, followed her down a glade to the hollowed-out stump of an old oak tree, ancient, thick, though the inside was rotted out, leaving a circular ruin all around. One end was open, and inside, there was  spacefor two or three goats, as if in a pen.  There, inside the old oak stump  there was a nest of spiders, just babies really, scrambling for cover. Yasmine suddenly went to stomp them, and in fact, trampled a couple. The others got away. Andreas was surprised at this sudden show of atavism. Who, what was she really? Andreas had a sudden feeling of unreality. the hollowed oak stump  seemed suddenly  alive, all ashimmer. . Do not be afraid, said Yasmine. This is only a show of my power. I can give you anything you want. Anything at all. And then she knelt  on her front legs and produced the vision of a  past manger  scene, the old goat's former mate, the kids,  the chickens. All he had to do was walk into it and there he would be.But Andreas just stood there tranfixed, wondering at the unreality of it all. And just as soon as the scene dissipated, she scrambled for a wall and was suddely gone.
It took a long time for the old goat to return to the dugout.
He was  much changed old goat.
Seven  years of rooting around the old dugout that he had lived in
And for the first time, he'd learned something. But what was it?
He yearned to see the youn-old she-goat again.
One morning, he saw two goats up on the rise, a fine billy and along with him, Yasmine.
Son of a wanton  goa! he thought. I should have known.
But the following day she was back, alone, her mysterious companion not there.
"I want you to love me," she said, rather matter-of-factly. I want you to love me. Spiritually, like a goat-knight.
I will give you anything you want." And suddenly, between them, there sprung a clump of olives. Andreas had a taste. Not at all like stale Campbell's soup. Something in those olives though. He could feel, sense the ramaining baby spiders in the stump's walls. Could see them spinning their little gossamer webs, and the mother now nearby.
He made to tell Yasmine how he was feeling, but she was not there now.. She was gone again..
She came back that evening, and, after some rubbing against him,  unexpectedly, presented herself to him. Andreas was in goat heaven. He took her from behind, as is the way of goats. And afterwards, without much ado, she went to run off again. "Stay," said
Andreas." But she gave him a quick nuzzle and she was again gone.Seven days went by. No Yasmine.
He saw the mysterious he-goat again, alone this time, up high on the knoll. Soon another goat joined the handsome stranger. Sean Connery goat. It was Yasmine. Andreas could see by the familiarity displayed between them that they were, it seemed, still in  love. "And me, what about me?"
She showed up alone the following evening.He was half-made with jealousy and woe.
"You can't get everyhing from just one goat," she asserted. I am with him, but I love you."
And she was gone again.
Nights were now spent in fits of jealousy and discontent. He would do this, he would do that. He would butt heads with the mysterious lover.
And one day he did. He saw the two of them up on the rise again and ran right up. "You got a problem? said handsome Sean Connery goat. "Yeah, I've got a roblem. You." And with that, he gave the handsome stranger a pretty good grazing. The stranger did not fifght  back. "Leave him alone," Yasmine bleated. "Leave my husband alone." Oohh. So that was it.
Andreas walked back down the hill, to his shed. He had a sense of clairvoyance. He thought, as he had run away that he heard Yasmine say, "There is a reason for everything. I had come to you for a reason."
He sulked in his "apartment." So that was it. They are married. Well,he had his pen, he had his food and he had his certainties. It was an episode, a learning experience, old as he was.
Yasmine did not come around again.
One morning,something compelled him to leave his pen, and leave fast. There was the sound of heavy machinery just above. He was out just before a massive bulldozer razed his home.
And high up on the knoll, again, he saw Yasmine. Alone and about to leave for home. He had no idea why, or what he would do, and could he do it. But he followed.


Charles Gramlich said...

Good thing we have blogs. They come in handy at times like this. :) said...


Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

Word on the Street is this Sunday - it's the Canlit high holiday. I'll be on stage twice at the Halifax Word on the Street (on the waterfront near the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic). First will be at 11 am talking magazine writing with Stephen Kimber and Jon Tattrie, moderated by Halifax Magazine editor Trevor Adams. Second will be at 1:45 talking short fiction with Russel Wangersky, David Fleming and Bretton Loney. If you're in Halifax, come on out for a full day (11 am to 5 pm) of words and books. While you're there you can also pick up a free copy of Atlantic Books Today - I've got a story I wrote about prolific Atlantic Canlit icon Lesley Choyce in there. Or you can see it online at - page 14.

Speaking of short fiction, Salty Ink did a nice review of the Everything Is So Political anthology and talked a lot about my story as one of the highlights of the book. That was a nice treat.

Also, I'll be making a couple of book-related trips to Edmonton in Oct. If you know anyone there feel free to pass this info along. On Oct. 3, 4 to 6 pm, I'll be telling stories from my Eco-Innovators book, related to green entrepreneurship, at the Paul Byrne Room at MacEwan University. Then, on Oct 20 I'll be at Litfest (, Alberta's nonfiction literary festival.

Lastly, a while ago I wrote an article about a journalist with a disability on PEI who was kicked out of the press gallery. The story highlights an ongoing battle for legitimacy between old and new media and physical accessibility issues for disabled members of the fourth estate. You can read it at

Happy reading.


Ivan's note: (Chris Bengamin is a fastly-growing popular Canadian author). said...

Chris Benjamin:

I hear through the grapevine that the iconic new broadcaster Gian Gameshi might drop around, though I am not sure.

Mona said...

hmm. magic realism in metanarrative...

I guessed rightly that the piece was written by you, back then... said...

Hi Mona.

Long time no see.

Yeah, I've been sort of recycling myself.
I've been told that's a dangerous thing for a writer. :-)

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