“It’s just… the blessing is going to start in a few minutes. Father Doug is walking around in his priest costume,” my girlfriend said worriedly, her slightly staticky voice warbling from the hands-free cradle. “They can’t do the presentation without a mascot! You remember three years ago when Herbie Hot Dog came down with gingivitis?”
“I’m doing the best I can, but I-84 is still backed up!” I swore. It had been several minutes since anyone had moved, and the constant, strident honking from the cars surrounding me grated my brain like chalkboard nails. “And please don’t let Pastor Doug hear you say ‘priest costume,’ Linda. They’re vestments. He’s very sensitive about it. I’m the only one in costume.” In the back seat, white oversized Mickey Mouse gloves lay atop a bright yellow curved headpiece. I wore a shirt and pants in the same shade, complete with periodic “salt” marks, represented by sprinkles of glitter glue.
“Well, that’s not entirely true,” Linda said. “The goats are in costume too! Well, most of them. There’s that snowman from Frozen, a BB-8 droid…one of them tried to eat my phone, and I think she was cosplaying either a dragon or a watermelon patch. It was actually really cute. You’ve got to see this, Chippers!”
I lifted my foot off the gas and the car rolled forward half a centimeter before I had to reapply the pressure. “Linda, until the second I’m able to park and throw myself into this get-up, I am very much a man, not a sentient potato chip.”
“A sentient potato chip would absolutely make that argument,” she replied. “You’re the mascot, David. You’re an inspiration to–” She paused, and when her voice reappeared, it was thick, emotive. “–the goats. Our furry friends are going to turn their lonely eyes to you.”
“Woo, woo, woo,” I said softly, staring ahead. The horizon ahead seemed hazy, perpetual rows of cars and irritated drivers. Movement. Function. They were lovely words.
A moment later, my phone chirped. I opened my text app and was greeted with a picture of a goat dressed like an Excel sheet. He was smiling toothily at me. As a caption, Linda had added “His race isn’t until 2:30! Spreadbleat 2003 is counting on you!”
Those eyes would not be denied. Spreadbleat 2003 was peering into my deepest self.
Trying, I typed, tapping the wheel impatiently with the other hand.
“Hang on, Spreadbleat,” I whispered. “Chippers is on the way.”
Last year, @therajill tweeted about a goat race she attended. It included goat costumes, a pastoral blessing, a Presentation of the Goats, and a giant potato chip who may or may not have arrived due to being stuck in traffic.
I couldn’t *not* write a story about this.