After Sadie Hawkins bonfire and dance, I let the Goat hang in the closet and tried to ignore it. It was getting kind of scary. Every time I opened the closet to get dressed for school or something, there it was with its horsehair shagginess and empty mask eyes and goat mouth grin. It made me think how Miss Brudgditter and Sylvia Smith didn’t know who it was who helped them on Halloween, how I shared a secret with them they didn’t even know. And it made me think of after the bonfire and letting the air out of OD’s tires with the noises of him grunting and June’s squealing getting louder and louder and that old Chevy shuddering and shaking as I knelt and pushed that little rock against the valve stem and let the air out. I got a sick hollow feeling in my gut thinking about all of it and had to do something to get thinking about something else. A couple of times, I just about threw it out. But Mom put a lot of effort into making it like she did all my Halloween camouflages.
Also, every time I thought about throwing it out, I remembered how it hid me, how when I was in it, I was somebody else, like I was part of the grass and noise in the willows and the sound of water watching things from the shadows. And when anybody did look at me, they didn’t see me. And if they saw me, they saw Goatman, not Jody. Even me, when I looked in the mirror or in a puddle of water when I had it on, I didn’t see Jody, but a horned goat with shaggy fur looking back at me. That was scary, too.
When I had Goat on, I felt like I could do anything and nobody would know who did it. I liked how when I had it on, Miss Brudgditter wasn’t a teacher anymore, but a scared girl who asked Goatman for help, or how I wasn’t a puny little seventh grader to Sylvia any more, but Goatman who helped her get home Halloween night, after OD ditched her. With the Goat on, I could do stuff I would never do if I was just plain old Jody Dahl, like let the air out of tires to screw up OD’s perfect evening. That was part of the scariness. It was also part of why I didn’t throw it out, I guess.