Samuel Ligon ~ The Little Goat

There were once a girl and a boy who lay on a hill of grav­el kiss­ing until their lips were raw. Kissing was the best thing that had ever hap­pened to the boy and the girl, and so they rode their bicy­cles to the grav­el pit every Sunday in pur­suit of that sweet, sin­gu­lar pastime.

One Sunday, the boy pulled his t‑shirt over his head. He kissed the girl and the girl kissed him back and then the girl pulled her t‑shirt over her head. The girl didn’t have much need for a bra, but her grand­moth­er had tak­en her bra shop­ping in the spring and now the girl wore a bra every day, whether she need­ed it or not. Without her shirt on, the girl want­ed to crush her­self against the boy. The boy could not believe the girl’s radi­ant smooth­ness. Her bra was a mir­a­cle. It was like a biki­ni top, but it was not a biki­ni top. It was the girl’s bra.

The girl ran her hands over the boy’s back. The boy ran his hands over the girl’s back, over her har­ness and its hook, which he final­ly opened. The girl’s breasts were warm and soft and the boy thought touch­ing them was the best thing that had ever hap­pened to him. Later, when the girl pressed her­self against the boy and he pressed him­self against her, there was noth­ing between them to inter­rupt their skin and they kissed each oth­er until their lips were raw.

In July the girl went to the sea­side with her grand­moth­er. The boy couldn’t see the girl then and the girl couldn’t see the boy and they both thought they would die from not see­ing each oth­er. Awake and asleep, they dreamed about the grav­el pit, about kiss­ing and tak­ing off their shirts and crush­ing them­selves against each oth­er. July was awful.

But in August, the boy and the girl were reunit­ed. They lay on their bed of grav­el kiss­ing and tak­ing off their shirts until they could hard­ly breathe. The girl felt a feel­ing in her chest and the boy felt a feel­ing in his stom­ach. They kissed each oth­er and ran their hands over each oth­er. The girl liked the way the boy’s hands felt on her body, cre­at­ing a kind of lever­age for their crush­ing. The feel­ing was like but­ter about to run, but­ter still hold­ing its shape but about to melt com­plete­ly. The girl loved the smell of the boy and the boy loved the smell of the girl. He loved her touch and she loved his touch. They breathed each oth­er and touched each oth­er and kissed each oth­er until their lips were raw.

Neither the girl nor the boy saw or heard the lit­tle goat descend the grav­el hill they lay upon kiss­ing. Neither smelled the goat as it stood along­side them, watch­ing them kiss and touch. The girl and the boy were lost in each oth­er. The lit­tle goat cleared its throat, low­ered its face to their faces, and bleat­ed, caus­ing the girl and the boy to jerk upright, away from each other.

The boy struck the lit­tle goat’s snout.

The lit­tle goat bleat­ed again.

What do you want?” the girl said, cov­er­ing her breasts with her hands. “Why are you here?”

You’re not doing it right,” the lit­tle goat said.

Doing what right?” the girl said.

What you’re doing,” the lit­tle goat said.

Get out of here,” the boy said.

The lit­tle goat had slit­ted dev­il eyes.

We don’t want you watch­ing us,” the girl said.

Are you ashamed?” the lit­tle goat said.

It’s pri­vate,” the girl said, “what we’re doing.”

This is a pub­lic place,” the lit­tle goat said.

Nobody knows this place except us,” the boy said.

It’s a free coun­try,” the lit­tle goat said.

No it isn’t,” the boy said.

Wait,” the girl said. “I think I know this goat from a fairy tale. I think we’re going to become rich and famous.” She turned to the goat. “Bleat my lit­tle goat, bleat,” she said. “Give me some­thing good to eat.”

Nothing hap­pened.

I’m not that goat,” the lit­tle goat said.

Which goat are you?” the boy said.

A dif­fer­ent goat,” the lit­tle goat said.

I’m going to kill you,” the boy said, pick­ing up a hand­ful of gravel.

Don’t kill him,” the girl said.

He’s ruin­ing every­thing,” the boy said.

He’s harm­less,” the girl said. “And kind.”

He’s not kind,” the boy said.

I’m real­ly not that kind,” the lit­tle goat said.

Still,” the girl said, and turn­ing to the boy: “You know how I feel about animals.”

The boy did know how the girl felt about animals.

All right,” the boy said. “Can we go back to kiss­ing then?”

Not with the goat here,” the girl said.

You’re not doing it right any­way,” the goat said.

That’s none of your busi­ness,” the boy said, and the goat said, “What do you think my busi­ness is?”

How would I know?” the boy said.

Are you a spir­it goat?” the girl said. “Are you sup­posed to rep­re­sent something?”

No,” the lit­tle goat said.

Don’t you know when you’re not want­ed?” the boy said.

I have every right to be here,” the lit­tle goat said.

No you don’t,” the boy said.

You’re both using too much tongue,” the lit­tle goat said, “if you want to know the truth. Back off a lit­tle. Get a lit­tle more air into your kiss­ing. A lit­tle more breath.”

I’ll make a stew of you,” the boy said.

I think he might be right,” the girl said. “About the air.”

He’s not right,” the boy said. “About anything.”

Let’s try what he said,” the girl said.

With him here?”

It’s okay,” the girl said.

She low­ered her hands from her breasts and pulled the boy into an embrace.

This just feels so—”

The girl kissed the boy.

Breathe her breath,” the lit­tle goat said.

Shut up,” the boy said.

Also,” the goat said, “you’re going to have to take off your pants.”

Still kiss­ing the girl, the boy grabbed the goat by a horn and twist­ed its head.

You’re hurt­ing me,” the lit­tle goat said.

Ignore him,” the girl said. “But I think he might be right about the pants.”

The boy let go of the goat’s horn.

He kissed the girl and breathed her breath, and the girl breathed the boy’s breath too, kiss­ing him.

All ani­mals do this,” the lit­tle goat said. “There’s noth­ing spe­cial about it.”

Kill him,” the girl said, still kiss­ing the boy and breath­ing his breath.

The boy kept kiss­ing the girl as he twist­ed the lit­tle goat’s head by a horn.

Ouch,” the lit­tle goat said. “Listen to me. There are oth­er things to do.”

We know that,” the girl said. “We don’t need your help.”

You don’t know any­thing,” the lit­tle goat said. “You need plen­ty of help.”

We hate your guts,” the boy said, twist­ing the lit­tle goat’s head.

The girl kissed the boy and pushed her­self against him.

The boy kissed the girl and pushed him­self against her.

The lit­tle goat bleat­ed, a mourn­ful sound, like a child crying.

The boy and the girl could hard­ly breathe.

Let him go,” the girl said.

Let’s go some­where else,” the boy said.

The lit­tle goat bleated.

The boy twist­ed the lit­tle goat’s head by a horn, caus­ing him to crum­ple in the gravel.

We should take off our pants now,” the girl said.

Yes,” the lit­tle goat said. “You can kiss with your pants off.”

The boy twist­ed the lit­tle goat’s head until the lit­tle goat bleat­ed again.

You’re hurt­ing me!” the lit­tle goat cried.

The girl unbut­toned the but­tons on her shorts and slid them off.

Let him go,” the girl said. She touched the waist­band of the boy’s shorts. “Take these off,” the girl said.

The boy let the lit­tle goat go. The girl’s panties were a mir­a­cle. They were like a biki­ni bot­tom, but they were not a biki­ni bot­tom. They were the girl’s panties.

This is one of my favorite parts,” the lit­tle goat said.

Shut up,” the boy said.

You can watch,” the girl said, “but you can’t talk anymore.”

All right,” the lit­tle goat said.

The girl watched the boy slide out of his shorts.

Everything was about to happen.

The girl slid her panties down, watch­ing the boy watch her, hun­gry and murderous.

The boy helped the girl climb on top of him. He could smell the girl’s sweet smell and he could smell the lit­tle goat and he could smell some­thing he’d nev­er smelled before that made him feel des­per­ate. The girl rubbed her­self against the boy.

Now we’re talk­ing,” the lit­tle goat said.

Pay no atten­tion to him,” the girl said. She was heavy and light, full of air and breathless.

The boy had his hands on her hips. Everything was going black around them, with her sparkling at the cen­ter, her face a face he’d nev­er seen before as she low­ered her mouth to his, dark­er and more beau­ti­ful than any human face he’d ever encoun­tered. He breathed her breath and she rubbed her­self against him and then it was anoth­er thing entire­ly as she enveloped him, his hips mov­ing with her, know­ing now what to do and how to move, the two of them flu­id and rolling, inside and out­side, sweat and their mouths and their bod­ies hot and liq­uid and ful­ly con­tained, salt, blood, meat and but­ter, and yes, the girl thought, and yes, the boy thought, and they could hear each oth­er breath­ing and growl­ing and falling out of time completely.

Then they lay togeth­er, breath­ing their own breath, stuck and sticky against each other.

So now you know,” the lit­tle goat said.

Don’t think I won’t kill you,” the boy said.

Do we become famous now?” the girl said.

No,” the lit­tle goat said.

Why do you want to be famous?” the boy said.

I don’t know,” the girl said. “I just do.”

The boy felt a feel­ing in his stomach.

The girl pulled on her underpants.

Leave those off,” the boy said.

All right,” the girl said.

Let’s do it again,” the boy said, and the girl said, “Let’s always be doing it.”

Neither of them could imag­ine any­thing bet­ter than what they were about to do again. Neither of them saw the lit­tle goat climb the hill of grav­el and disappear.


Samuel Ligon is the author of two nov­els—Among the Dead and Dreaming and Safe in Heaven Dead—and two col­lec­tions of sto­ries, Wonderland, illus­trat­ed by Stephen Knezovich, and Drift and Swerve. He edits the jour­nal Willow Springs, teach­es at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, and is the artis­tic direc­tor of the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference.