SUCKING THE OXYGEN OUT OF THE ROOM…
Billy goats, in an effort to attract members of the opposite sex, repeatedly urinate on their beard.
By D. “Bing” Bingham
When I walked in the door, the salesman got a funny look on his face—as if he’d just sucked the yolk out of a rotten egg.
The regulars at the Dusty Dog Cafe and Coffeeshop know that running errands is like washing dirty dishes; it’s hard to imagine anyone who enjoys the process. Still, the job needs to be done.
My wife and I had a list of errands when we went to town that day. With practiced efficiency, one by one, we checked them off our list. Next up, we were scheduled to swing south and look at a couple goats we thought might fit into our program.
“They’re back in the pen,” one of the owners said.
Billy goats, in an effort to attract members of the opposite sex, repeatedly urinate on their beard. After a mating season of sexual arousal, the smell is a rank male musk that, once sniffed, creates an olfactory memory carried for life.
It didn’t take long for us to identify the odor, as we approached the pen.
The goats were good-looking and well cared for. They appeared to be happy and healthy. However, it was the wrong time of the year for them to be in season.
It turns out the owners weren’t familiar with rhythms and seasons of livestock. In their ignorance, they had played with the young goats by donning football helmets and challenging them to a head-butting game.
This game must have been loads of fun for all parties. However, while the humans were busy risking spinal injury, they managed to keep the goats in a near constant state of sexual arousal. There was no abuse or neglect—they just didn’t know what they didn’t know.
Gazing through the fence, the overwhelming stink was burning our eyes. The goat’s beards were stiff with accumulated dust from months of oozing urine.
My wife and I stepped away from the pen, took a breath, and talked it over. It would take time, but it was likely we could get the situation under control and turn the goats into useful livestock.
I donned my work gloves and—arms extended full length, so the goats couldn’t rub against my clothing—carefully led them into our stock trailer. Working near ground-zero, my sense of smell completely overwhelmed.
Back on the highway, enroute to our final errand, we swapped jokes about being stopped by the sheriff for not posting ‘Bio-Hazard’ signs on our trailer.
An hour later, we pulled into the parking lot where I was scheduled to pickup a new order of Dusty Dog Cafe ballcaps. Out of consideration for others, we parked at the far end of the lot.
“Hey, Bing,” the salesman said when I walked in the door, “how’s it going?”
“Not bad,” I told him, “it’s been a busy day and I’m looking forward to getting home.”
That’s when he got a funny look on his face.
“Ummmmm….,” he paused, meaningfully, “what’ve you been up to?”
“Well, we picked up a couple of goats and they turned out to be intact.”
“THAT’S WHAT I SMELL!!” He hollered, dropping what he was doing and running into the printing room, “Hey! You guys c’mon out and get a whiff of this!”
A couple of confused-looking employees stepped into the showroom. Together, like a couple of raccoons checking goodie-laden garbage cans, they sniffed me up one side and down the other.
I stood there feeling like a pubescent schoolboy who just farted loud enough to register on the Richter scale while his buddies were checking the odor chart.
Nasal passages seared, the employees wandered off, snorting and blowing to clear their sinuses.
“You smell like an old billy goat, Bing,” the salesman pronounced.
I sighed, “I appreciate knowing that, but I can’t think of a way to thank you.”
“Well, we took the liberty of wrapping your ballcaps in plastic so they don’t end up smelling like you,” he grinned, handing me a box and opening the door so I could leave, “and don’t worry about paying, you can do it later.”
I climbed into our truck and headed home. Back on the ranch, we off-loaded the goats in a pen well downwind of our house. Then, I stripped and took a looooooong, hot shower. It may have been one of the finest showers I’ve ever taken.
Bing Bingham is a writer, rancher and storyteller. He promises that the cafe caps don’t stink. If you’re interested in more stories of the rural American West, check the Dusty Dog Cafe page on Facebook.