Goats of Plaza de Toro
Now goats are often mistaken as the dragons of the neighborhood. Especially after watching Saturday morning TV and the attack of the Apache. Now, since we did not have a horse or pony, the Billy goat had to be the steed to be broken and ridden. Of course the goat was not consulted in the matter and typically ignored us while munching on the limited grass in the corral. However, the goat includes convenient "reins" in the form of horns. The stature of the goat is portioned to that of boys; however, the heart of the Billy goat was underestimated.
The Matadors of the Mash includes Harry the Waddington, Hollie the lesser Waddington, Billy Basham, Ray the snake, Nora the abnormal and Geraldine. A few stragglers would join the Matadors similar to the groupies of today just for the chance to be included in this right of summer. Of course, your truly was subjected to the demands of the summer gang and required to participate. I am certain I participated only due to not to be rejected by the gang. Hey, it was my idea anyway.
One must approach the goat pen with respect and certain ceremony. The Matadors of the Mash arrayed in respective uniform accompanied by the Madams of the trailer park, Harry being the largest of the attackers was resplendent in frayed shorts, t-shirt stretched to limits, similar to Under Armor of today was a force to be reconded with.
Ray the Snake was not to be seen without the tight jeans, just like Jerry Lee, Billy had a physique similar to mine, relegated to the chubby section of the jeans and shorts. Most of the Matadors were proud of the sponsor patches displayed in various portions of our jeans. Of course, our sponsor patches were nameless and succeeded in covering our knees, butts and other portions. Our Moms were adapt at the iron on patches which soon curled at the corners and made the Matadors display the aire of worldly experienced fighters.
Nora the Abnormal always arrived in a flimsy summer dress. Nora was very quiet, you know the cerebral type. While she displayed the famine qualities desired by 10 year olds, we were not impressed. The Goats received much more respect. Geraldine was the opposite of Nora. Geraldine was well respected for her ability to kick, pull, pinch and generally kick ass of the Boys. She has been known to stare a goat to death under the right circumstance. No feminine qualities here.
The correct ethic of the Goat Fights required the leadership of Harry the Waddington. Besides, Harry was the largest and meanest of the Gang. Harry’s challenge to all was to first run across the corral in temptation of the majestic goat. A quick touch of the tail or horns was similar to the strike of the Picador in ..:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Spain.
Now Harry was not a quick fellow, but very brave. The wide image of Harry was charging across the wasted earth in challenge of the Goat was impressive. We can only assume the Goat was shocked by the audacity of Harry to trespass on his territory. However, the Goat was slow to react to the first Matador and Harry typically succeeded in reaching the opposite side of the fence. Little did we know, we were forever marked by the Goat now alert to our folly.
Geraldine was the kick butt kind of girl. Geraldine vaulted the fence, slapped the goat, pulled the tail and dared it to ever look at the face of Death. Geraldine slowly walked to the safe area and if the lower morals of today were in fashion, the finger of disdain would be flashed to all of the timid.
Now alerted, the Goat of the Plaza de Toro was like Dick Butkas of the Chicago Bears, ready to stuff it to us upon our entry into the forsaken ground. Harry the Waddington continued to taunt the less ones, supported by the female counterpart.
Ray the Snake vaulted the fence with the grace of a wounded wildebeest. The speed possessed by Snake and the skinny legs propelled him past the goat leaving only a streak of dust and undoubtedly some stains in his shorts. Snake was a dominating kind of guy, known to smoke, cuss and general kick ass of the fuller figured of the gang. He made the trek to the safe side of the corral without slightest poke of the Goat. Really boring if you were to ask us.
Nora the Abnormal and Billy showed the least guts. Nora swished around the corral in her little summer dress like she really had something to show us. Billy remained quite smitten by Nora but we all know he was not destined for greatness. After all, great men do not chase a wee skirt when a great Goat is the challenge of the day.
No story is complete without the final challenge of the evil spirit. Namely the Goat. The remaining matador, I, must challenge the beast. After all, it was somewhat my idea.
Not possessing great speed, it was my idea to surprise the vaunted beast. The attack from the rear with surprise seemed the conservative approach. Much like President Eisenhower, as my Dad described him. After many hours watching the Lone Ranger vault over the hindquarters of Silver, I knew this was my surprise mount of the great Beast. After all, no one had dared ride this "bull" and my Hemingway genes were called to action.
While the Beast munched on his cud, eyed Norma the Abnormal and envied Harry the Waddington his rolls of fat, I began my attack through the boards of the fence. Stealth is one of my best qualities. Some would call it sneaky. No class. I did complete Grapevine School.
Rolled under the fence board, my timing was perfect. The Goat was enthralled with the great Gang of Oakdale, not having put a horn in the backside of this worldly gang. Running like those sprinters seen in Roller Derby, I closed the distance between this matador and the Beast. I could not permit goat droppings to distract my charge to the rear of this challenge to my manhood.
Dust, sweat, droppings, and fear must be the scents of the Matadors of Spain. I know I share their courage and joy of the drama. Fortunately, the Goat was enjoying the sight of the Gang, his cud and bowel movement as I approach. Like the Lone Ranger I vaulted the ass of the devil goat, landing on what must be similar to a wooden camel saddle. Having surprised the beast, I grabbed the horns like Silver’s reins, dug in my Space Ball Jets in the flanks, and was determined to ride the bull till the whistle.
My plan of attached was perfect up to this point. However, I must have underestimated the cat like reflexes of the great Goat. He moved both up and laterals, out of the Shute like the bull of Hemingway, bucked, spit, shit and stopped like a BMW. I was launched over the horns, gracefully of course, landing like the kid in chubby jeans, on my back amid the dust and goat shit.
The dust cleared, somewhat amazed I survived the fall, and I looked up into the yellow eyes of the demon of Oakdale. I think I saw the slightest grin around its yellow eyes. As the drool spilled from its wide gaping mouth, I rolled through the dust, collected by wits and ran for hell to the fence, rolling under the last rail. To hell with courage when you have been bucked off a Billy goat. The Lone Ranger was never so humiliated.
Over 40 years have passed since the challenge of the Goat of De Plaza de Toro. Our Gang of Oakdale has gone on to many lesser exploits since, but none of greater imagination. The imagination of a 10 year old is grander than Dr. Seuss. After all the trails, wounds and embarrassment of the Goat, we all can rejoice in the knowledge, that the Great Goat was enjoyed on the plates of the Waddington Restaurant as the best Mutton in Hopkins County. Harry, Hollie and I had the greatest satisfaction in delivering the slop from the restaurant to the pigs of Waddington, in the best recycling program ever in Madisonville. Pigs of Waddington, another story.
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