I need to tell you a story about a goose and a water bottle.

posted in People on Jul 23, 2010

Tonight something magical happened. I don’t know what happened in the universe to premeditate the events that unfolded. The planets were aligned, oracle bones have foretold this day for centuries. Something went on in the far reaches of the globe that trickled down through the ages to culminate in what I, and someone who I will affectionately refer to as Spicy, saw while standing like two major badasses on a porch.

Let me paint you a picture. In an affluent neighborhood in northern OKC, because where else would I be on a Thursday night but slumming it with the richies, under a cerulean sky actively devoid of clouds, I drove up to see Spicy waiting – as I soon would be – for the rest of our friends to arrive. Lawns with perfectly green grass manicured to an equal height of 1.5 inches, a sprinkler in the distance spraying both the grass and street equally, producing a wonderful full-on – almost double – rainbow; these things were all around us, waiting to be consumed by our eyes, the visual information flipped in our heads to create meaning from our immediate vicinity.

I took it all in, this visual splendor. That is until I saw it. Low and down, obviously a dark, dark day for the creature, a goose lay in the middle of the street. Dead. A dead-ass goose. Right there. Right in the middle of the street. The visual hit me and everything else ceased to exist for a moment, as though the world went dark and there was one spotlight angling down from heaven on the poor bastard, pieces of dust flicking in the light. My mind did a double take. “Wait is that…is that a goose? That’s a goose, right?” “Yes, yes! It must be. Telltale feathers, black head, webbed feets. All signs point to goose!” Color returned to my immediate surroundings. I turned to Spicy, who was standing in a contemplative pose, his face expressing the knowledge that all of what just happened to me happened to him just moments ago. He simply nodded.

My mind raced. Attempting to find the proper etiquette for just this situation, my thoughts jumped through meaningless rooms of stored information, random things appearing in my mind’s eye. “Umm…uhh…Dance? No!” “Dead goose, dead goose…hmmm…ah, popsicles! Blast!” Finally, after several failed attempts, my mind simply collapsed upon itself and reverted back to simpler thoughts. It was running in Safe-Mode now, pulling infantile responses to infantile queries. But it came through. Looking back on it, what I did next is not so strange. I did what any self respecting twenty-six year old individual would do in this situation: I poked that shit with a stick.

Looking for a proper pokin’ stick and finding none (there is a process in finding a good pokin’ stick that is ingrained into any young boy’s heart), I settled instead for something much less capable but that would still provide a buffer between me and the quickly bloating lump on the ground. The stick measured about three inches long. I eased down towards the mighty beast, fearful that any moment the limp and twisted neck might shoot out and snap at my face like a cobra. The stick did its job, indenting the feathers for just a moment, just long enough for me to jump back like a 1950s housewife who just saw a mouse in the kitchen. Had one been there and within arm’s reach, I would have standing on the nearest stool available. But since no such apparatus existed in the middle of the street, I scurried back towards Spicy who was taking in the whole affair.

“That was a mighty stick you had there,” He reflected.

I explained that it was the only thing I could find and that proper dead-animal-poking procedure involved the use of a stick, no matter the size. We healthily chatted about the goose and the possibility of a mass of other geese that could come and fly down to inspect their fallen brother. My hope would be that they would lift the poor bird onto their feathery shoulders, the beaked pallbearers waddling off into the distance. Maybe they would give him a viking funeral in a nearby pond, shove him off of the beach and watch him float into the distance. One last goose with a lighted arrow, its flame illuminating his face as he closes one black, soulless eye in a effort to aim. A flash of heat in the air, a lighted streak. Our fallen hero bursts into an inferno of tasty tasty smelling meat.

But that didn’t happen.

What did happen was equally amazing as a viking goose funeral. As Spicy and I spoke, to our right a car door slams. Across the street an elderly gentleman had just closed the passenger side door of his most awesome new Mercedes Benz hard top convertible. It was black as night with silver accents that gleamed in the late afternoon sun. Wearing a nice, flat, straw hat, the kind you see people who golf or who frequent a country club might sport, the kind that has a flower print wrapped around it, the man walked around the car and opened the driver’s door. He sat as old men tend to do, not gingerly with obvious concerted strength in the motion, but with a short fall as though he was throwing sack of grain from a dock into a ship. The Mercedes flexed under its new burden and effortlessly bounced back. A weight such as this, an elderly man with bones hollow like a sparrow’s, was no match for precision tuned shocks fit for a racing machine. What he forgot, however, would soon be ever important in his coming travels.

On top of the vehicle, standing out like a lighthouse at the end of a peer, contrasting with all its surroundings, was a clear plastic bottle of water newly pulled from the fridge. This forgotten item of the voyage, this life giving water, this gift from the gods that was of the utmost import for the survival of this man, sweating in the afternoon heat, sat there as a testament to a life fully lived, a life that itself was transferring from afternoon to evening and soon to twilight. I could tell this recent forgetfulness was not uncommon. I could visualize the interior of the home behind him. On the couch lay myriad remote controls; none of which he had knowledge of their use. On a kitchen wall several hooks with keys hanging heavy. Under them on the counter a pillbox with labels M-T-W-TH-F-S-S, only M and T were open, W through S had pills incubating inside.

Outside – literally and of my thoughts – the man started the car, its engine coming alive with aplomb. A few clandestine motions behind the dash triggered the object of both Spicy and my horror. The water bottle was in motion, but it was not forward motion. The solid roof had begun its trek into the trunk and it had a passenger. Oblivious, the man stared on, enjoying his surroundings all the while.

I pointed at him from across the street in an effort to gather his attention. Seeing a point from that distance, I only assume he thought I was admiring his perfectly sculpted shrubberies and that I was telling my friend about them.

The back of the trunk lifted up. Several hinges collapsed onto themselves, pulling the roof ever closer.

I shook my pointed finger. From across the street the elderly gentleman saw a young man very excited about shrubberies.

With the roof fully seated, the trunk lid continued on with his job, but there was an obstruction, a clear plastic obstruction.

The man’s face became quizzical. It was obvious to him that the amount of time for this process had lapsed. With an epiphany he remembered and jerked his head around, pulling the bottle out before it could be crushed and forced to spill its contained goods. He breathed a sigh of relief. With his water and his convertible fully converted, the man was set to go. Spicy and I watched as he left.

I would be remiss to tell you what happened exactly two seconds after this man thought he had all of this priorities straight. It would be criminal of me. I’m bound by law to tell you.

Two seconds, 2,000 milliseconds, a foot on the pedal, a roar of the engine. The car jumped to life and out of the driveway…

…directly into a recently deceased goose. The old man hit a giant, dead goose that was laying in the middle of the road like a boil. And he didn’t just hit it, he ran it over as though it was his mission in life. Everything up until that point, college, his wedding day, the birthing of his first born child, was simply a preparation for this event. This goose…so dead in that road, so underneath that wheel, rolled a few feet as it bounced up and hit the rear bumper of the car. It then fell back to stone cold silence. Its last resting place forever that street.

In what could only be a sign of gratitude, the man – unknowing of what he just did, apparently – stopped for a short second and waved at both Spicy and me. From instinct we waved back, but it felt dirty after the things we had seen. I had given him a wave that was not earned, and a little part of me died in that moment. And then the man blasted off down the street, never to be seen from again.

Exchanging glances, Spicy and myself decided that the best recourse would be to TELL EVERY LIVING SOUL WHAT HAD JUST HAPPENED. Shortly after, our late friends arrived, and they soon knew about goosageddon. What I only hope is that they share it with others, perpetually, for ever after.