I live on a farm where we keep over a hundred goats. One of the yearlings – a  frighteningly skinny creature with eyes of differing hues – has been acting very strangely lately. That is to say, he has taken to appearing suddenly and unexpectedly in the most inaccessible of places. It started as I was sitting astride the barn roof repairing a loose sheet of steel last week when I looked up and saw Loki (the goat) balancing precariously on the roof ridge, staring fixedly at me. I don’t know how he got there, or what he wanted, but he did so silently and in the space of a tiny moment. Since then Loki has continued to appear in various situations – always silently, always instantaneously and always with his gaze fixed on me: In the basement of my house while I was rotating the cheeses; in the next pew over in church on Sunday morning; in the passenger seat of my Honda Civic while driving to visit my brother in Albuquerque. How is he doing this? 

Staring Contest in New Mexico 


Let’s all be perfectly honest: You were asking for it, naming your goat Loki. True names are remarkably powerful, and when you start with something as vapid and blank as a goat, a powerful name can end up with a disproportionate effect. What you have now is a goat that is bearing striking resemblance to the trickster of Norse myth. He’s unable to change back to his full – and, by human standards, absurdly powerful – form, as he’s just a goat. Follow the logic yourself, and you will see that the inevitable conclusion is that the man who shears, feeds, and profits by you is somehow responsible. You can wait for a burly nephew to show up, or you can search for weaknesses in your captor.

Bruce’s aunt has an excellent recipe for garlic-stuffed goat that I’d be happy share