Friday, 20 August 2010

Kids These Days

I was hopping a boleia to Macia with a relative of David's last Friday, as they were on their way to a festa. The driver was David's cousin, and in the passenger seat was David's uncle, a little, excitable old man with a subtle speech impediment, probably due to years of neglected oral hygiene. It was what one would call a sweet boleia - red, four-door BMW (probably obtained from South Africa via Chokwé's infamous black market), black interior still intact, cush seats, best sound system I've seen in this country... no complaints here. Both men were dressed in suits. I sat in the back seat next to boxes of Cokes and Amarula and behind the little excitable old man, so that he had to turn in his seat and peek out from behind the headrest to excitably tell me all about the festa and interrogate me.

After about ten minutes, over the music and the little excitable old man's rambling to his silent companion, I hear something from behind my seat. Just a little noise, like something's moving around in the trunk. But just once for a minute. I ignore it and focus on the conversation.
"Is she still back there?" this from the younger man, who otherwise hasn't said a word. "She's awfully quiet."
A little rude, I think, but I lean forward to say something. Maybe he hasn't noticed I'm speaking Portuguese. Little excitable old man cuts me off.
"Of course! She's a good one. Nothing will ruin this festa, unless your uncle Naftal shows up..."etc.
I try to ignore the comment, let the little man keep talking.
Then something hits the back of my seat, as though coming through the trunk.
Oh Dear Lord, I think, David lied and sent me with these unsuspicious-looking men to lure me into a trap and they've got the last person who asked for a boleia tied up in the trunk.
The excitable little old man keeps babbling, moving his excitable little old arms.
Suddenly, there's a truly agonizing scream from behind me. I involuntarily jerk away from my seat as much as I can in my seatbelt. Even the excitable little old man stops talking.
Then it screams again. And there's a very audible kick against my back seat.
The excitable little old man chuckles.
And then it dawns on me.
" there a goat in the trunk?"
The excitable little old man's face peers from behind the headrest.
"Yeah!" he says, "We're going to party!"

Other favorite places to see goats:

  • On a bicycle. Usually strapped over the back tire, but there has been at least one occasion when the poor creature was sitting with front hooves tossed over the handlebars, posterior on the bar in front of the seat. The fact that you couldn’t see there was even someone on the bike behind him and that his frantic bleating was so constant that I actually experienced the Doppler effect as he rode by only made the image that much more bizarre.

  • Crossing a river. On the shoulders of a person, of course. You could only see the top half of the woman above the water and the goat, bleating like there’s no tomorrow, wrapped around her head, slipping slowly through the water.

  • In a purse. No kidding. When walking past a goatherder on my way home one day, the man had a herding stick in one hand and a woven purse in the other, and what should appear but – madly bleating, of course – the head of a tiny newborn goat, apparently not big enough to keep up with the crowd on the way home. I'd take one of these over a chihuahua any day.
  • On top of a bus. Like any other piece of luggage, usually tied down. Usually.

  • In my living room. Just kidding, not my favorite place. He made it all the way to my bedroom door before I realized it and chased him out. We were both bleating by the end of it.

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