When Anton's alarm clock began to beep, it was 8 am on a Wednesday morning, and the sun had just barely begun its cheerful ascent. It took a few moments for it to rouse Anton from his dreaming, but when it did, he shot up from under his covers in an explosion of sheets and stuffed animals.
"Today is not a day for going to school," said Anton, resetting his alarm and fetching a coat from his closet.
"Today is a day for buying a pet goat."
Anton had a quick breakfast before he slipped out. It consisted largely of chocolate marshmallow puffs and partly of a potato. Anton was in the process of conducting a series of experiments whereby he was set to find out whether it was possible to make vegetables taste good. The idea was kind of crazy but in the event that he found a solution he did not doubt that a few Nobel Prizes might be found waiting at his doorstep the next morning. Probably wrapped in bubblewrap to keep them from getting all scuffed.
As soon as he finished his potato he zipped out of the house. A few seconds later he had returned.
"I will need the money with which to buy my new goat."
Anton fetched his piggy bank. It was empty, as always. This happened because Anton's neighbors had got into the habit of insisting that he pay them back for all the things of theirs that he had broken.
"There is only one thing to do," he remarked, after his most grave assessment of the situation, "I will have to take out a loan from the mafia."
The mafia was not far away. They were hanging out at a bistro down the street.
"Excuse me," interrupted Anton, "I need to take out a loan."
"A loan!" the big man with hairy ears exclaimed as they all laughed, "What's a little tyke like you gonna do with a loan?"
"I need to buy a goat," was his simple reply.
"Is that right? Fellas the kid needs a goat. You got any goats, Eddy?"
"No, Joey, fresh out."
"Look kid, we don't got any goats, and we ain't gonna give you any money, so you's better scram. We got business here we gotta do."
The mobsters turned back to their discussion. Anton was going to interrupt them again but then he saw that the big man's wallet was hanging out of his suit jacket.
"I'll just save them doing up the paper work" murmured Anton quietly to himself, as he snuck up and filched the wallet. "I better leave them some collateral, though."
He replaced the wallet with a large mushy ball which he had been building up from his used chewing gum. He figured it must be worth at least a thousand dollars on account of being art. It suddenly occurred to him that he might be able to trade it for the goat instead of taking out a loan, so he tried to switch it back for the wallet again, but it was already firmly adhering to the fabric of the coat. "Oh well," he thought.
In no time at all Anton had made it down the block to the bus stop where he caught a bus into the city. He didn't have any quarters but the bus driver didn't seem to mind taking one of the bills that was in the mob bosses' wallet. In fact, for a few more, the bus driver said he would take him wherever he wanted to go. This was quite alright with Anton, who wanted to go to the petting zoo. It did not take him long to convince the petting zoo that they should sell him a goat, although the man there told him not to mention it to anyone.
When the bus driver took him back home Anton gave him the rest of the bills in the wallet, since he did not think it likely he would need to buy anymore goats that day. The bus driver tipped his hat and sped off to go pick up his now-very-angry morning passengers.
"Come on, goat!"
Anton half-pulled, half-coaxed the goat into his house.
"Goat, you must learn to obey what I say! Now. . . stay!"
Anton was pleased that the goat did not seem very intent on leaving the foyer as he raced off to the kitchen to find something for it to eat.
"Hmm. . . ."
In the end Anton grabbed an armful of things and ran back to the foyer.
The goat had emigrated from the foyer into the living room, and was eating the antimacassar off of his father's armchair.
"Goat, I have brought you real food. Do not eat that. Did you eat the curtains, too? Bad goat! Very bad! Have some ice cream."
The goat seemed to like the ice cream. It ate half a carton, plus three bags of cheetos, some carrots, a bagel, and two boxes of chocolate donuts. After that, it waddled around for a bit, before falling over and going to sleep.
"Now it is time to test your goat skills!" declared Anton.
While the goat was napping he began collecting things from around the house and piling them on top of the living room sofa.
When he was finished, he nudged the goat awake.
"Come on, goat, it is time to climb a mountain, just like back home."
After substantial effort, Anton managed to get the goat to make an embarrassed stumble up onto his sofa.
Anton could not be happier that the goat had passed his first test of goatliness.
However, he was getting very tired of pulling the goat everywhere when he wanted it to do something. If only there were a way to make that easier? Of course!
It only took about an hour to drag the goat outside to the middle of the street and to find some old rollerskates from his closet. But getting the skates on the goat was a lot trickier than he had anticipated, as the goat did not like being off balance on any one of its legs.
Anton had almost given up all hope when he remembered the jack his dad used for working on his car. Also, the horse saddle stored up in the attic.
So Anton went and fetched the jack and the saddle. He then proceeded to strap the saddle under the goat's belly and use the jack to lift it off the ground, after which he strapped the roller skates on to each hoof, and then lowered the goat back down again.
Now Anton could pull the goat wherever he wanted. His family could probably even tow it behind their RV on camping trips and whatnot. It was the perfect combination of nature and technology. The six million dollar goat.
This wonderful elation of success lasted approximately thirty seconds.
"Come on, goat!"
Anton gave the goat a big tug and it rolled forward like he wanted. Not like he wanted, it continued to roll. The street in front of them had started off mostly level but as the goat continued forward the slope increased. And the goat went faster and faster down the road.
"Goat, wait! Stop! Stop, goat! Stop!"
What happened next went something like this. One car swerved to avoid the goat and ran into a barber shop. One swerved to avoid the swerving car and ran into a fire hydrant. One car came to a screeching halt and was consequently rear ended by the car behind it. A lot of people on the sidewalks were screaming and running variously from swerving cars and bicyclists and of course one very fast approaching goat, which, suddenly aware of its desperate situation, had begun to bleat pitiably. At the base of the hill the road came to a T, the head of this T being formed by Mrs. Daugherty's bridal shower emporium, the doors to which hung conveniently open as the goat rocketed inside and continued to propel through six or seven display racks, accumulating some very sexy looking lingerie in the process.
By the time Anton managed to navigate his way through the ensuing calamity to the base of the hill, the police had already taken his goat into custody.
"Officer! Officer! Wait! That's my goat!"
The officer balked.
"This little whirlwind of destruction is yours?"
The officer did not make this sound like it was going to be a good thing for Anton. In fact, Anton was vaguely suspicious that he might now be in some kind of serious trouble.
"Look, officer, I don't have any more money, but you can have this."
Anton handed him the wallet he had filched from the mob boss. The officer opened it up, looked back at Anton in astonishment, and then continued to sort through its contents. He recognized who it belonged to as well as lists of accomplices and meetings, with some very significant dates next to them.
He looked back down at Anton as though he did not quite know what to make of him.
"Tell you what, son," he said, putting his hand on Anton's shoulder, "It's really good that you gave me this. I might even be hero out of it. But this goat. . . even if I tried my best, I wouldn't be able to get him back to you. And, honestly, it would be pretty good for you not to mention that he was yours. But I'll make sure he gets put in a good home where he'll be happy and enjoy himself. And I won't say anything about you. But you better get out of here. You don't want people thinking any of this was your fault."
Anton loved his goat more than anything, but he knew a good deal when he heard it. He ran up to give the goat a hug, and then he ran home, where his parents grounded him for an entire month.
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