My mother said this would happen.

This morning started just like any other; the sun popped over the horizon, roosters crowed, and the train whistle sounded at exactly five.

I hopped out of bed, pulled on some semi-clean Carhartts, and headed out to the barn. My girls were expecting a stork to stop by, and I heard the new babies as I stepped over the threshold.

Two sets of twins greeted me; both of my momma-goats did well. I made sure the teats were stripped and giving a good flow. I liked my kids to get big quickly, as there were a lot of weeds to eat on the south forty.

I tossed the cows and horses a few flakes of hay to keep them busy. The new momma-goats were in for a treat. I scooped a few handfuls of grain into their feeding trough. They turned their little snouts into vacuums, snarfing up as much grain as they could. The kids were already hopping around. I dug around the back of the barn and found a five gallon plastic bucket, half-filled with water. I put it in the pen, but the goats wouldn’t drink. I guess they were plum tuckered out.

I let the cows out to pasture, and started brushing down my Fjord horses. The barn was warm, and the drone of bottle-flies and their dragonfly friends made me a bit sleepy. I know, farmers are s’posed to be up and running from dusk till dawn, but I was too content and peaceful to fight the sandman. Besides, I didn’t get my cup of coffee to jump-start my brain.

I nodded off for a few winks, when I heard an awful ruckus. I jumped up quick – a might too quick. Sparky, my big stallion, got spooked and kicked me square in the backside. I went sailing through the stall and over the door. It hurt something fierce, I tell ya. I think Sparky broke my tailbone, or whatever other bone is in your rump.

The momma-goats were thrashing around, making all manner of noises and crashes. I hobbled over to their pen. I counted one… two… three little beeping kids. Now, where could that other one have gone off to? I started looking through some of the little piles of hay and under the tractor. No luck, that little pipsqueak had wandered off somewhere and riled up his momma.

One of the goats was beating the plastic bucket with her head. I looked in, and the fourth little kid had hopped himself right into the bucket. He looked drowned, but I didn’t want to let my girls down.

I told my girls to keep their fleece on; I was gonna save that little kid, no matter what.

I ran out to the driveway, carrying the limp little baby. I tried smacking its little butt, just like they did on the television. Didn’t work. I started whacking it harder and harder, and all it did was make my hand redder. I was gonna try even harder, but I got distracted when Deputy Steve saw me and pulled his cruiser into my driveway. Boy, I was a happy farmer, I tell ya.

“Hey, Sheriff,” I yelled. “Help me beat my kid!”

I didn’t wait for an answer, ‘cuz I had another idea I remembered from television. I put my mouth over the baby goat’s snout, held it up so gravity would be helping, and tried to suck the water out. That worked, and I swallowed a big mouthful. The only problem was it wasn’t water. It was moonshine my brother had made over the weekend. He uses it to degrease engine parts.

Once that little kid was empty, he woke up and started yelling for his momma. I was proud, right then. I turned my big smiling face towards Deputy Steve.

Well, the Deputy ran over and started beating me over the head with his nightstick. I always got along well with the law, so I never saw it coming. I woke up in jail, and now they got me in front of you, Judge.

So here I stand, a broke-ass, kid-beating drunk, just like my mother said would happen. I just wish she didn’t listen to Country and Western music so much.

And that, Judge, is God’s honest truth.

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