If the goat had not come into the house, nothing would have changed. Meggy and Fore would probably still be married, Dick Alsmond would probably still be alive, and the house at 6123 Flordock Road would probably still be pale beige like all the other houses on Flordock Road. But enter the house the goat did. Through a door left open by Dick Alsmond who was stepping by to assess the amenability of Meggy.
Dick Alsmod’s house on Flordock Road was a paler shade of beige than Meggy’s and Fore’s, and it had a deck. All houses on Flordock Road had a back door that may or may not exit onto a deck. Meggy’s and Fore’s house was one of those that may not have had a deck. These factoids proved critical.
Dick Alsmond’s house also did not have a goat. But Meggy and Fore had a goat because someone had tied him to a lamp post on their property shortly after they moved in. The goat was called “goddamned old goat.” Whether or not this was its name is not clear. But from the day it was caught gnawing on Meggy’s bikini bottom while she was sunbathing it was called that “goddamned old goat.”
Dick Alsmond found Meggy amenable. Fore was not at home. Nobody knows where Fore was. He just wasn’t there at that moment.
If Fore had been home when Dick Alsmond came to check out Meggy’s amenability, he probably would have closed the door behind Dick Alsmond; and so the goat probably would not have entered the house. After closing the door to prevent goat entry, Fore would probably have exchanged unimaginative but friendly pleasantries with Dick Alsmond. Following the unimaginative but friendly pleasantries Dick—seeing that Meggy (amenable or not) was in no position to present her amenability–would probably have left. Fore would probably have closed the door behind Dick, and Meggy would have simmered in the stew of her amenability.
Even if Fore did not close the door, and the goat had invaded, the invasion would not have been catastrophic. There may have been some goat shit on the floor; there may have been a goat scrambling, hoof on hardwood, followed by an open door slamming shut; and there may have been someone, probably Meggy, screaming “who left the goddamned door open.” Almost certainly Fore would have grumbled “goddamned old goat.” No catastrophe in this. And that would have probably been the end of it because Fore did not have the imagination to see Meggy’s amenable simmer, nor Dick Alsmond’s sinister lust. It takes imagination to see or sense fault in the familiar. And Meggy and Fore had been married and familiar for eight or ten years by this time.
But Fore wasn’t home. The goat nudged the ajar door open. The goat started eating the blossoms from the potted tea rose in the hallway. The pot banged on the floor and the wall. This ruckus caused consternation on the part of Meggy and Dick Alsmond, which consternation ended Dick’s exploration of Meggy’s presentation of her amenability. Which consternation also caused Dick Alsmond to grab what clothing he could and head for the back door.
Of course, Meggy screamed. This caused the goat to scramble, hoof to hardwood, which pushed the door shut, which meant that there was no escape for the goat—except perhaps by following Dick Alsmond’s lead through the back door, if the goat could find it.
But the goat scrambling and closing the door and looking for the back door is really not important at this point in our misadventure. It will have minor significance later, but at this point there are more serious things to report. Not the least of which is the reason that Meggy was screaming.
Meggy was screaming because, in the five or six years Meggy and Fore had lived in the house at 6123 Flordock Road, neither of them had built the deck out the back door. The previous owner had not built that deck out there either. But he had nailed up a one-by-six plank across the doorway. It was a pathetically rotten one-by-six, as both Meggy and Fore had observed. And the reason that Meggy screamed is that, absent a deck and/or a board across the doorway there was nothing but a 28 foot sheer drop from the back door to the bottom of Oxlate’s Ravine. Dick Alsmond probably did not know about the no-deck; probably did not know about the board across the doorway; probably did not know that the board he was unacquainted with was rotten. He may have known about Oxlate’s Ravine, but knowing Dick Alsmond, it is unlikely he understood the significance of that piece of geography as it relates to the house at 6123 Flordock Road.
Meggy was screaming because Dick Alsmond (carrying shirt, jeans, one shoe, both pairs of socks and underwear) having, unlike the goat, found the back door, opened it, and ran right through the rotten one-by-six plank. He dropped, with a little squeal and squelched scream, out of sight into the rocky bottom of Oxlate’s Ravine.
That proved to be the end of Dick Alsmond’s adventures. The ambulance, then the hearse came to 6123 Flordock Road. The goat shit on the floor. The Sheriff came and took notes. Meggy was comforted. A spare shoe was found. The Sheriff let the goat out the front door. Fore showed up. The shoe that was found wasn’t his. The Sheriff made a note of this in his note book. What was left of Dick Alsmond was hauled off to Burke and Briken Mortuary and Funeral Emporium.
Reports were made.
Fore said, “goddamned old goat.” He said this twice as relates to this incident. The first time he said it he was referring to the eaten tea rose and the goat shit on the floor. But he had gained some imagination and so, after Meggy took her amenability and walked out the front door, he said, “goddamned old goat,” again. This time he was referring to Dick Alsmond.
He painted the house blue because he had become imaginative and because blue is how he felt about the whole mess.