Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Goat Head

You ever wonder about people that you meet only once but who left an impression on you? I was wondering the other day about this one kid I met ten years ago. I don't know what his name was, but let's call him Moses because he brought the truth.

When I met Moses, he was chewing on a cooked goat head. He was wearing a dirty bandage on his ear.

The goat head was from a barbeque we were having. There were twenty friends and me staying at a lakeside resort in East Africa, swimming, drinking, living. Earlier that day, I had been dispatched with a buddy of mine to go get meat for the barbeque. We drove around until we find this goatherd with a robust looking flock. We paid for a goat, and the goatherd told us to pick one. They all looked alike. One of them was kind of doing its own thing and had a bad attitude. We picked him because we thought he wouldn't be missed by the others. On the ride back to the resort, the goat was rather well-behaved. And pleasant. I think he actually laughed at one of my jokes. I turned to him at one point and said, "Its a shame we're going to have to eat you." He bleated and licked my hand. He tasted damn good.

Moses explained that his left ear got bitten off by a wild, marauding group of dogs as he had been sleeping on the beach the night before. The dogs had been terrorizing the resort that week we were there. I'd had first hand experience with them. A day earlier, my girlfried at the time and I had been walking hand-in-hand towards the beach, when the pack of crazy, rabid dogs (about ten of them) came charging right at us.

As I pondered how to protect us both, she wrenched her hand free and lept through a window of a building we had been standing near. She then shut it behind her and locked it. I stood staring at her in awe, as the dogs ran by, thankfully ignoring me. When she finally unlocked the window and climbed out, I asked her why she closed the window THEN LOCKED IT behind her as if the dogs would have otherwise opened the window, broken into the liquor stash, made martinis and then, eventually, have gotten her. She shrugged her shoulders. She wasn't very bright.

So, there he was, Moses. When we first saw him, he was earless, clearly very high and chewing on what little meat there was left on our goat (We later named the goat "Martyr." Marty for short. We missed him as much as we enjoyed Marty). The grease from the goat head dripping down Moses' chin.

We'd been playing truth or dare. About twenty of us. It was a scene and pretty out of control. Moses busted in, giggled a lot and just issued dares. All of which involved him demanding that the girls make out with him. The only one who took him up on it was my then girlfriend. When I asked her WHY SHE MADE OUT WITH A GREASY-LIPPED STRANGER, she just shrugged and said she thought that was what she was supposed to do. Again, she wasn't that bright. I never kissed her again.

At some point we lost track of Moses, and I never saw him again. I was talking with a friend of mine who had been there that summer evening when we hung with Moses. She knew him actually fairly well. She told me he died a couple of years ago. That made me sad.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having shared that trip with you I will comment. I remember "Moses", though not all points of your story...

"Moses" had evolved sometime after that summer to a man who dresssed in the style of a muslim (east african style) and chewed copious amounts of chat. Sadly it is true, he died. Despite the position of his relative (President of that nation - but was he in or out at that time I can't remember) and relative wealth, the consensus among all in the know was that it was from lack of basic medical care.

People really liked him though. He was fun.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Chemical Billy said...

RIP Moses. And Marty.

This is a ripping post, Joseph.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Joseph K said...

Anonymous: That was a fun time, huh? I like to remember him not as some reformed, relgious-type. But, as the kid eating a greasy goathead. It makes him seem more heroic.

7:41 PM  
Blogger InadvertentTemptations said...

There's a girl I met when I was about 5/6 in school and I remember her name to this day. Charlene Bernard. I remember her because she taught me to tie my shoes. Mum and Dad attempted to teach me many times but I'd never catch on. Charlene taught me differently though and people can't understand how my way works :o)

10:06 AM  
Blogger Joseph K said...

Inadtempt...nice comment. Hope to see you around and commenting more in the future.

8:30 PM  

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