Night of the Bloody Goat Heads, Bad Dreams as a Child.
They're Coming To Get You!
They're Keeping Me Up All Night...
Many people had a big brother growing up. I had one. Mine was mean to me, down right cruel. When I was six, he was twelve. No six-year-old is going to defend their self against a twelve year old, especially a twelve-year-old who is quite comfortable being a jerk and getting away with it. I never tattled on my brother because he always blackmailed me with concepts like, “I might get a spanking, but you’re still going to get beat up and it is going to hurt bad.” I believed him because it was true, he would.
We lived on a farm, kind of. We had about nine horses, 10-12 cows, a bunch of chickens, some turkeys and three dogs. I think that’s about it. Excluding the horses, my parents were into raising things to eat. Unfortunately, along with raising your own food, comes the day when “yonder critter” is reduced to food status. For many folks this is a task they prefer not to do and I understand that. It’s a messy business and for those with a big heart, it’s a pretty sad business, but there just isn’t any way to get around it if you want “yonder critter” on “yonder dinner table.” Point being, as a farm family we were pretty used to butchering critters.
Big critters, like cows, we’d call a mobile butcher who would come and do the dirty work, typically right there in the pasture. “Butcher Day” was no casual event to the kids who lived round about for a couple miles or so. They could see the butcher truck coming down the ol’ dirt road and kids would literally pop out of the wood-work, grab their bike and race after the butcher truck. Why, there was a butchering about to commence and no decent farm kid wanted to miss out on a good bloody butchering.
One year we had some folks sell out on the farm next to us, and some of them younger “hippy” folks moved in from the city to try their hand at farming. Dad said he knew the guy was a “dork” when he said he wanted to raise goats. Maybe it was just our area, but the school of thought at the time was “real men” raise cows, only “dorks” raise goats. I think it was a common sentiment between cattle owners and goat owners. Dad had his “Archie Bunker” moments.
Thus hippy-Mike the neighbor raised goats and after a spell decided it was time to butcher up a few. Naturally, a bunch of us kids were “front and center” for the show. I’d never seen a goat butchered before, lots of cows, chickens and turkeys, but never a goat. This was going to be interesting.
Butchering goats was different than cows. Actually, I think cows got the better deal.
With a cow, the butcher would take a rifle and stand 10 feet away or so and put ol’ Betsy’s lights out with a shot between the eyes. It was generally quick and painless for the cow.
It sucks to be a goat on butchering day. Personally, I don’t see any reason to butcher a goat. I definitely would not eat it. It just doesn’t compute for me. But, it did for hippy-Mike and he lined up several goats for the event.
I watched from my perch on the fence as the butcher took out a big knife and sharpened it for a few minutes on a leather strap just like in the old days… only it WAS the old days. When the knife was good and sharp the butcher turned and faced the goat. He bent down some and reached his left arm around the goat’s horns and pulled the head and horns right up against his chest. With his right arm he reached up under the goat’s throat with the knife and cut its throat deep and held on tight.
The goat bucked and lunged forward slamming the butcher into the side of his death truck, but he held on tight to its horns, keeping its head pinned in close. After a minute or so the goat stumbled around and fell to the ground making a gurgling sound from its wound and struggled in the grass as the lights faded out.
The butcher then pulled the goat aside and grabbed the next one and repeated the process until all the goats were laying on the ground. Then he proceeded to remove their heads and toss them aside in a pile. I had a certain amount of shock taxing my brain. I had never seen anything this graphic before. It just seemed so useless to my seven year old brain because nobody ate goat meat, I’d never heard of it. But for my older brother, it was a golden opportunity.
In those days when one butchered an animal, anything that wasn’t used for steaks and burger etc., was left lying in the field for the birds and the night critters to haul off and eat. Sometimes you had to shew your dog away from gnawing on a steaming pile of guts. In a few days, it was all gone. On this day, hippy-Mike’s field had a pile of bloody goat heads. I seemed focused on them, they bothered me. I stared at the open, lifeless eyes, the blood all over the fur and the bloody stump that was once connected to its body.
“You know what is gonna happen now don’t you?” My brother asked from behind me.
“Nope,” I said. “What?”
“Well, because you just sat there and watched and didn’t say anything or try to help them, tonight sometime after dark, those bloody goat heads are going to come back to life; only they will grow fangs and teeth like a wolf and have glowing red eyes; they will float through the air and come looking for you; and when they see you through your bedroom window they’ll butt their horns on the glass and break it. Then they will float into your room and tear you to shreds with their sharp fangs, tear you up and eat you in your bed because you did nothing to help save them.”
“Nu uh!” I said.
“Oh yes they will,” he assured me.
“How could I save them?” I protested. “ They were Mike’s goats.”
“Oh, that doesn’t matter…” said my brother. “The only thing that matters now is that you sat there and watched and did nothing and now when it gets dark out, those goat heads will spring to life and come floating through the air to hunt you down and tear you to shreds with their sharp fangs.”
“Nu Uh! You big liar!” I whined.
“Ok…” my brother said confidently. “That’s fine, just remember when they come butting against your window, don’t come running to me.”
The butcher hung the goats on a metal beam that poked out the back of his truck. He gutted and skinned them and slid the carcasses inside the truck to transport to his butcher shop where he would further process them into steaks and such.
I walked home along the side of the road. It was a typical evening, nothing really significant outside of our normal family routine. At the appointed time I took my bath and got ready for bed.
I slipped into my covers on my bed and glanced up at the window. It was dark outside. Suddenly a jolt of fear hit me like a bolt of lightening. “AFTER DARK…BLOODY GOAT HEADS.” I wanted to get up and close my curtains, but I couldn’t. What if I went up there to close the curtain and a bloody goat head was floating by and saw me. It would smash the window and come after me. But, if I didn’t close the curtain it would see me in bed and do the same thing. Unless….. I hid under the covers. I knew it wasn’t true, but it didn’t matter. I was still terrified.
Thus, I hid under the covers, which did little to comfort me - rather the opposite. Now I couldn’t breathe, I was sweating to death, too scared to sleep and too scared to come out from under the covers. I laid there all night with visions of bloody goat heads crashing through my window, floating above my bed and swooping down taking flesh shredding bites at me through the covers.
This went on for a few nights with my brother taking every opportunity to remind me, “If they didn’t come for you last night it was because they shredded up some other little boy down the road. They’ll come for you tonight.”
I hope they come soon, several years of chicken heads are waiting their turn.