Marilyn Kinsella


It was a dark and stormy night.  The Grogan family hauled into their old blue Chevy pick-up truck and headed for town.  There was a town meeting in the back of Jackson's feed store.  Bill's wife, Mary and their son, Jack would catch the Tom Mix movie at the movie house.  But... the family never got to town.

They were about halfway to town when a pair of yellow glowing eyes seemed to appear out of nowhere - the yellow light reflecting in truck's headlight. Bill slammed on the breaks to avoid heading whatever it was in the middle of the road. Young Jack jumped out of the truck's cab to see what it was.

"Dad, come here.  You won't believe this.  It's a goat - a baby goat.  Just a kid. Gosh, Dad, we can't leave it here.  Can we take it home? Can we?

 "Well, what in tarnation is a baby goat doin' out here in the middle of nowhere on a night like this?  Ole Scratch himself must have put him out here."

 Bill had a funny feelin' about that goat.  But he knew he couldn't leave it out there so he said, "Oh, put in the back of the truck.  We'll take him home.  Bet nobody shows up for the meetin' anyway.  This night isn't fit for man nor beast."

 By the time they got home that poor little goat was tremblin' and looked to be half drowned.  Jack took the goat to the barn and grabbed some towels to dry him off. After that, Jack got some hay and put it in the corner stall and placed the goat down so it could go to sleep.  As he carefully laid the towels over the stall to dry, he looked down at the goat and said, "There you go little fellow.  Now you're all nice and dry and ready for a good night's sleep."  But that goat didn't make any noise- just stared at Jack as he walked away.  Jack blew out the lantern and it was dark...real dark.  Jack felt the hair on the back of his neck something was starin' at him.  He turned around.  And there in the darkness he could see those two yellow eyes like burning embers starin' at him.  Jack stopped short as he remembered his father's words, "Ole Scratch himself must have put him out here..."  and a shiver ran down Jack's spine.

 The next morning the rooster crowed to greet a cloudless sky. When Jack walked outside he noticed right off that it was quiet... almost too quiet. Jack went to the barn to check on the goat.  But the goat was gone.  The stall was empty - no goat, no towels, no hay.  Just an empty stall.  It was then that Jack saw the goat silhouetted in the doorway of the barn.  Jack thought maybe it was a trick of the light, but that little goat didn't seem as little as it had the night before.  It seemed bigger and... hairier.  As Jack passed by that goat he saw those yellow eyes starin' at him as he made his way to the back kitchen door.

 Jack ran inside. "Mom? Mom, did you wash those towels I used last night?"

 "Land sakes Jack.  I'm busy gettin' breakfast ready.  What makes you think that I've got time to do the wash?"

 "That's not what I meant.  What I mean is the that the towels are missing that I used."

 "Well, you probably threw them in the corner like you do all your clothes."

 "No, I remember laying them over the stall to dry."

   Just then Bill walked in.

 "Dad, did you pick up the towels in the barn?"

 "Really, Jack, I can't be worried about no towels.  Three of my best layin' hens disappeared last night.  That ole fox must be back."

 "Did you see the fox?"

 "Nope, didn't see any trace of him.  There's no chickens, no feathers, no nothin'... nothin' but that goat we picked up last night.  Say, you know I thought that was a little kid goat, but he doesn't look so little this morning."

 "I know," said Jack, "I know."

 That night when Jack went to bed he couldn't sleep.  He kept seeing those yellow eyes.  And now he knew what those yellow eyes were thinking..."I'm hungry...I'm hungry."

 Jack hid under the covers.  Finally his mother came to check on him.  "Law, Jack, what are doin' under those covers?"

 "Oh, nothin', Ma.  Say would you mind keepin' the night light on for me tonight."

 "Okay, Jack, whatever.  Just get some sleep."

But, even with the light on, he could still see those yellow eyes peeking out of the closet or under the bed.

The next morning there was no doubt about it.  The goat was bigger and hairier.  It had a long beard and hair all around its long face.  But, even so, you still see those eyes.

And, since that goat had come, all sorts of things disappeared - a horse blanket, three cans of garbage (which nobody really missed), a 50 lb bag of cement, a tractor tire and it seemed to Bill that his sheep herd was lookin' a little light.

Bill had had enough. So he took a metal chain and chained that goat to a metal pole in the middle of the barnyard.  "There you go you ole rascal. See if you can get out this.  I'll call you Houdini, ifn' you do!"

Bill left to go work in the fields.  While he was away the goat made himself comfortable under an oak tree and pretended to sleep.

Mary came outside to finish the wash.  She had to wash her Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes for tomorrows church services.  She had an old leaky wringer washer that she kept outside so it didn't mess up her floors.  She took Bill's favorite red flannel shirt, her new red silk blouse and Jack's red T-shirt washed them, rinsed them and put them on the line to dry.  Then she went back inside to finish her baking.

Now that old goat was not asleep.  He watched Mary through half-closed eyes and waited till she left.  After she was gone, he walked over to that clothes line and proceeded to eat those clothes, the clothesline, and topped it all off with the washing machine.

Bill turned the corner just in time to see the goat wolfing down the last of the wringer.

"That does it!  You've done et your last!  The devil probably put you out on that road cause you were eatin' the Old Man out of house and home."

Bill was so angry that he took a stick and gave that goat 4 or 5 mighty whacks.  It didn't even phase that goat.  He just looked at Bill with those yellow eyes and said, "I'm baaaaaad! I'm real baaaad!"

Bill wasn't gonna take no lip from no old goat, so he took the goat to the back forty where the train tracks bordered his farm.

Bill worked feverishly to get that goat strapped down before the 4-20 came on it way to Bakersville.

As he walked away, he could hear the whistle blowin.  "Good riddance!"  And he never looked back.

That goat was down, but he wasn't out.  He began gagging and spitting.  He coughed and sputtered tryin' to bring up those shirts to flag the train.  He almost had it too...except the buttons from Bill's flannel shirt got caught in his throat.

What happened next no mere words can describe.  Just to let you know that there weren't nothing...I mean nothin' left of that goat.  It makes the words "blown to kingdom come" take on new meaning.  So there's nothin' left of that goat except this song.  You might know a different version than me so let sing it with a call and response.

Bill Grogans goat/ Ate all kinds of matter/ BGG/ Grew fatter and fatter.

He ate three chickens/ And the kitchen sink/ he ate some sheep/ as quick as a wink.

BGG/ was feelin' mean/ Ate three red shirts/ And the washing machine.

Bill took a stick/ And gave him some whacks/ And tied him to/ the railroad tracks.

The whistle blew/ The train drew nigh/ Bill Grogan's goat/ would surely die.

That goat it shook/ And gasped in pain/ Coughing up those shirts/ to flag the train.

But the buttons got stuck/ In the middle of his throat/ And that was the end/ Of Bill Grogan's goat.

So when you go to bed/ and turn off the light/ two yellow eyes/ will give you a fright.

It's BGG/ lookin' for to eat/ He'll eat your head/ down to your feet.

So don't you cry/ and don't you moan/ Or Bill Grogan's goat/ Will chew your bones.

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