Saturday, 2 July 2011

Half Goat, Half Pigeon

It’s been a funny summer so far. By “funny” I don’t mean funny ha ha, I mean funny peculiar, and at about ten to five this afternoon it got even more so.

I was at work - I have a job in a shed building warships - and was just knocking off a frigate for the King of Spain when I became aware that I was not alone. There was an indescribable something lurking somewhere around the periphery of my awareness, and it had been lurking there since some time after lunch. When I looked for whatever it was there was nothing to be seen, so I turned the other way and pretended it wasn’t there: whereupon it sprang sharply into view.

There, in the corner of the shed, happily munching away on cavity wall insulation and electrical cable and as bald as you like, was a skygoat.

I hardly believed it myself. It’s not every day you see a skygoat. In fact, up until that moment I had been under the illusion that they were mythical creatures, like parrots.

But there it was, like I say – its beady eye fixed upon me like some deranged old lady – in the corner of the shed on the edge of awareness nonchalantly destroying everything around it.

For those of you unfamiliar with skygoats, they’re interesting and amusing creatures: half goat, half pigeon. They are beasts that enjoy a particular ontological status: they cannot be said to exist; nor can they be said not to exist. The first reported sightings happened across France at the time of the plague, but were dismissed by the world at large as some kind of mass hysteria. They pointed out that the French were always getting hysterical about something, and they had a point. Consequently the seers of skygoats were condemned as dangerous lunatics and stoned to death, ostracized from society or chained up in caves outside the village where there was wailing and gnashing of teeth.

You’d think that in modern times – “the Age of Reason” – such closed-mindedness would be a thing of the past, but - to society's shame - this is not the case. We may as well be in the Dark Ages.  Even now, “science” claims that the sighting of a skygoat is nothing more than a hallucination in the mind of a madman; the symptom of a deeper and more sinister underlying mental instability. Doctors and the courts - those government lackeys – treat the seers of skygoats with derision, contempt, mind-numbing doses of Largactil and interminable stays in maximum security hospitals.

But it is written: “He who commands a skygoat commands the world.”

Things will be changing tomorrow.

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