This story originally appeared in The Feathertale Review 14
Writing from southeast corner of goat pen, beside Rodney (comatose, gelatinous) and Lisa (my undying love).
Day five without fainting. Nothing to panic about anymore — our corner of petting zoo closed indefinitely (pregnant Patricia, three kids soon).
Still no fainting. New hope that legs will never seize again. Knees feel limber and mean. Found discarded paper cup in mud today —good omen. Pop inside tastes sweet and like freedom, unfainting legs.
Soon I will overcome paralyzing fear, speak to Lisa (does she know I’ve been here for three years?).
Will remind Rodney that night is a time for sleeping or escaping, not philandering with the roosters next door. The cows have begun to talk.
As well, Patricia is enormous, will blow soon.
Rodney fainted today. Escaped pen in search of cosmetic wax for his hooves, ran into birthday party (age six). Returned with stories of violent and sticky hands, piercing screams, and educational iPad apps. His words made my knees itch like they did once when the chicken coop collapsed in the night (for record, was Rodney, climbing roof to failed suicide — see above: gelatinous). Lisa would never go for a guy like that. Have not spoken to her once.
Still no fainting. But this does not bode well.
Word around pen is that we have gone viral with our mass fainting spell one month ago (brought on by yelling teenagers with spiteful hearts and smartphones). Lisa is bitter, says despite our quick fame we have only a third of the views of the screaming kind of goats. I made argument: can only be good at one thing. Meant to sound sensible, reassuring, but she was rebuffed and sleeps behind water trough.
The hay tonight tasted like foreboding.
Thirteen days without fainting. Salvaged pair of empty plastic yogurt cups from chaotic picnic in pasture nearby (matched my eye colour, caught attention of Lisa, briefly — heart pounded conspicuously). Life is looking up.
Importantly, Patricia gave birth today. Three kids with faces like Rodney, but I didn’t say that. They’re walking already, on unsteady knees, and — right now Lisa is walking towards me.
This minute. And she’s giving me eyes.
And Rodney is yelling something from far away.
And behind him a screaming schoolteacher, following twenty kids. Now I can see them. Their mouths are as black as my late mother’s fungal disease, and sticky hands, and the screaming, and Lisa doesn’t see.
A weakening in my heart.
Strange feeling in my knees.
Don’t panic — !