This story available on Jul 18, 2020

Spike the Cyclops Goat

by

Cathy Smith

 

Om Dass considered it good when his nanny goat Lakshmi gave birth to her latest kid. She often produced more than enough milk to feed her master’s family as well as her babies. He had no trouble selling the kids on the market.

He even paid for the services of a vet to assure a healthy birth rather than using a shepherd to do the job. Ganesh Singh kept a cowherd on hand as his assistant. Om wasn’t sure if the young man were a legitimate apprentice or merely an extra set of hands to help him on his rounds.

Though Raj was useless this day. He ran out of the pen muttering about curses and refused to come back. Om was expecting the birth to take longer and preparing some tea for the vet when he heard the disturbance.

 

He took the kettle off the stove so it wouldn’t boil over while he spoke to the vet, “What’s wrong?”

 

The worst he expected was a stillborn. That would’ve been disappointing, but hardly a sign he was cursed by the gods.

Ganesh sighed, “It’s best you see for yourself.”

 

The kid was black, and fat, which Om thought was a sign of good health. Then it turned to face him. He gasped when he saw it only had one eye.

 

It baaed for Lakshmi’s milk, and she nuzzled her kid and fed him.

 

“So Raj ran away because he found the kid ugly?” he sniffed. “I don’t care if he doesn’t place in the county fair so long as he’s healthy.”

 

Ganesh sighed, “That’s the problem. Cyclopism brings about a host of problems with it. His breathing will be off, his brain underdeveloped. He won’t live more than a few days. It’d be best to put him to sleep.”

 

Om looked at Lakshmi nuzzling her kid. The kid who was lustily sucking milk, “I’ll let him live as long as the Gods’ will and do nothing to shorten his days.”

 

~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~

Om saw fit to take a picture of the kid for his Facebook account and name him “Spike.” It delighted him when the post went viral and received 100’s of reshares and likes.

 

He took a daily picture for a week. By the eighth day people journeyed to his farm to take selfies with Spike. They came with lotus garlands they placed around Spike. His mother Lakshmi ate all the garlands.

 

When the visitors heard of Spike’s vet bills, they left donations in person. Some more tech-savvy ones set up a GoFundMe page for him.

 

This meant Om could afford Spike’s special needs, and as long as that was the case, Spike lived. Spike’s care generated so much extra business for Gajesh, he volunteered his time for free. His only payment was for Om to allow him to post video’s of Spike’s latest checkup.

 

Spike blossomed under the attention, and Om created a Facebook Fan page for him.

 

Two months later he was visited by a photojournalist from National Geographic. The article they wrote got international attention for Spike.

 

The only thing that marred his joy over Spike was the online troll Kaimar. Kaimar left a message on Spike’s fan page.I offer you 50 rupees to butcher Spike. He’s unfit and shouldn’t infect the gene pool.

 

~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~

He forgot his depression over the troll when Spike’s latest medical update got a reply video.

 

Gajesh showed it to him, “I swear these people must be goat fetishists.”

 

A bulky man in a gray hoodie and visor sunglasses that hid the upper half of his face had a selfie of him next to a herd of goats.

 

Om shuddered at this. Perhaps he was a goat herder, but why would he hide his face? Was he up to something distasteful? The man’s name on the avatar was “Crion Iason,” but who knew if that was his real name?

 

“Weird,” Om agreed.

 

He would’ve thought nothing more of it, if Crion Iason didn’t like all of Spike’s posts. “Is it possible for a goat to have a stalker?” Om wondered.

This dampened his joy in his 15 minutes of fame, but he wasn’t about to shut down Spike’s page while he still lived.

 

~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~

Spike defied the odds and thrived. Growing bigger and fatter from all the lotus garlands he took to eating himself. You’d think there was nothing wrong with him but for having one eye. Gajesh came once a week. Spike’s childhood was uneventful, other than the regular difficulties any kid had.

 

Finally he grew into a good-sized buck, and Om noted that breeding season was soon. “Would you believe Spike is almost ready to breed?”

 

Within the hour Crion Iason posted a video of a herd of nanny goats bleating urgently as if they were in heat. I want to purchase Spike as a stud, was added as a comment.

 

Om turned to Gajesh and showed him the post. “Do you think this is a legit offer or is he making a disgraceful proposition?”

 

Crion’s interest in Spike appeared to intense sometimes, but Om didn’t block him. He couldn’t afford to offend Crion since Crion was the biggest contributor to Spike’s Patreon.

 

“I’d like to set Spike up with a herd of nannies. He’s got his fans but no one wants to set him up with their herds locally.”

 

Om didn’t know how to craft an appropriate response. The best he could come up with was, I wouldn’t mind finding mates for Spike, but I want proof that this is a genuine offer.

 

I ‘ll send you a payment and pick him up by the end of the week.

 

Om gasped at this and talked to Gajesh.

 

“Meet him in a public place if you accept his offer.”

 

“I’ve accepted visits from pilgrims in my home,” Om frowned.

 

“You understand, villagers. You don’t understand this creepy foreigner even if his money has been good.”

 

“Perhaps I should meet him at the village square to make sure he remains respectful.” Om laughed.

 

“It may help,” Gajesh said.

 

~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~

Hopefully I can move on with my life after he pays me. Om hoped.

 

Spike gave an irritated bleat to remind Om it’d be good to find a home with a harem of nanny goats for him.

 

The villagers came to the roadside. They threw rice and garlands along the way as if it were a prince’s procession. Spike took high steps as if this was his due.

 

There was a foreign man who could’ve been a wrestler in civilian gear waiting for them at the square. He wore a black visor that hid the upper half of his face. He smiled at the sight of Spike, and Om shuddered since he had massive molars that could crush stones. The briefcase in his hand looked like it was a child’s but that was an illusion caused by his massive paws.

 

Opposite him stood a man in a charcoal tailored suit. Om assumed he was a prosperous local business man. His hair, face and body were slick and sleek.

 

The brutish foreigner said, “There’s the stud,” while the businessman sniffed in distaste.

 

The businessman spoke, “I am Kaimar. I offer you two lakhs to geld that abomination so his bad genes don’t pollute the gene pool.”

 

“Geld him! Geld him!” Crion snarled. “You can’t maim him.” He said to Om.

 

Kaimar snorted. “Spike was already born severely disfigured. Gelding him won’t mar him more than he already is.”

The villagers booed and hissed.

 

Crion took out his smartphone and filed off a series of texts, “I can offer 5 lakhs for Spike.”

 

“5 lakhs!” Om gasped.

 

Kaimar frowned and glared at Spike. “He isn’t worth it.” He walked away with a snort.

 

Crion sniffed at this.

 

Om wondered if he had buyer’s remorse now that Kaimar wasn’t goading him to increase the price.

 

Crion paid the 5 lakhs to Om’s account. It was the most money he’d ever seen in his life. He wondered how Crion made such money and what did he wanted Spike for? He mentioned Spike would be a ‘stud,’ but he couldn't imagine anyone wanting a herd of cyclops goats.

 

Spike was sent away with a dozen garlands and loaded into a first-class horse trailer.

 

~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~

Crion inspected Spike when they were alone. He herded Spike into an air crate before he loaded him into a private plane. He pulled his visor down to reveal the single eye on his forehead. Spike baaed as Crion gave him a one-eyed wink.

 

~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~•~

Where is Spike now? Someone asked rhetorically in an online meme two weeks later. They had a screen capture of Spike’s listing for a goat breeding app and posted it to Om’s profile.

 

Om looked it up online. “Billy Goats” was based on Crete and sold semen and offered “in-person” visits to goat herds. They listed Spike as one of their top producers. Om sighed. At least he knew Spike was happy.

 

THE END

Cathy Smith is an aboriginal writer who lives on an Indian Reservation. She has sixteen publication credits. She has also won an honorable mention from the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and is a co-winner of the 2016 Imagining Indigenous Futurism Contest.

 

You can follow her latest projects at

Wordpress,  Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter: @khiatons Instagram:@cathy2891

Interview available on Jul 20, 2020

About the Author

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