Tuesday, 10 September 2013

New writing prompt-Mr Humphry's goat.

In a few weeks time I'll finally begin the creative writing course that I originally set out to do 3 years ago now. Little did I know the journey that I was beginning and the different experiences and friends that I would make along the way. I never dreamt that I would join a choir, appear on television or sing a solo in front of an audience. All I can say is that I'm really enjoying the ride!  
Here is the latest in the series of short stories I've written in response to writing prompts by my fellow open university students. It's based on a true story in her local newspaper but with my own twist on it. Enjoy!
Mr Humphrey’s goat.
Mr Humphrey hauled his rheumatoid racked body from his warm and cosy bed. Padding into the kitchen he made himself a pot of his special herbal tea from the herbs he grew in his allotment. Gradually his joints started to loosen and his gnarled fingers uncurled slightly. Now it was time for him to start his day. Normally of a surly, morose nature, today he almost had a smile playing around his lips. Quite out of character for him he’d decided to buy a goat to keep on his allotment. He’d never had a pet before. As a child he’d always preferred the creepy, crawly creatures to the fluffy ones. But a few days ago at the agricultural show, this goat had stared back at him with the same sour expression, almost as if he was looking in the mirror. Before he knew it he had handed over an exorbitant amount of money and arranged for him to be delivered today.
Hobbling as fast as his arthritic knees would let him, he arrived at his allotment and did an inspection of the fence and shelter he’d spent the past couple of days erecting and satisfied that they would be sufficient, he passed the time by hoeing the weeds that had sprung up around his plants. Finally at midday a land rover pulling a horsebox appeared. All the other allotment owners stopped what they were doing and gaped in astonishment as a white goat with black patches was dragged from the horsebox, his little legs rigid as he desperately tried to resist being extricated from the box. Next minute the farmer was bowled over as the goat changed his mind and charged at him head first. Startled by the sudden roars of laughter, the goat crashed through the lovingly erected fence and careened into one of the posts holding up the new shelter which then collapsed onto the startled goat. Momentarily stunned, Mr Humphrey managed to grab the goat’s lead and tied it to the stake he’d installed earlier. Normally ignored by the other allotment holders because of his morose and surly nature, Mr Humphrey temporarily became the centre of attention as they crowded round laughing and chattering, wanting to know all about the goat. He even had many offers to assist in repairing the fence, with one man declaring that he would build a ‘proper little stable’ for the goat to shelter in over winter.
Jonathan, as Mr Humphrey named him, soon became a local attraction. Children would stop by with little titbits on their way to school and would often save a bit of their packed lunches to sneak to him on their way home. Even the crusty old allotment holders would find themselves with the odd carrot or bit of broccoli, his favourite, in their pockets.
At first Mr Humphrey’s goat would spend his days quietly grazing and occasionally nibbling at Mr Humphrey’s crops. Surprisingly he didn’t seem to mind this and often picked some especially for him, smiling as the goat greedily munched away. He was tethered to the stake by a long rope giving him quite a bit of freedom to wander and was often to be seen being fussed over by kids of all ages.
Then, one morning the allotment owners arrived to a scene of complete and utter devastation. Somehow during the night Jonathan had managed to pull the stake out of the ground and had gone on a rampage. Carrots were crushed, cabbages tossed but worst of all the prize marrow that old Mr Rodgers had been carefully nurturing to enter into this year’s county show was reduced to a pulp, what was left of it anyway. Jonathan stood in the middle of the middle of it all nonchalantly nibbling, oblivious to the glares of the angry allotment holders. Pulling down his cap to hide his smirk, Mr Humphrey promised to make sure this didn’t happen again and grudgingly offered to pay compensation.
But over the days and weeks Jonathan’s behaviour became more and more erratic. He started running round in circles and despite being anchored, firstly to a larger stake with a strong chain, then a concrete post and finally even an oil drum filled with bricks, somehow he still managed to break free and regularly terrorised the locals forcing them to at times seek the safety of their sheds. Even the children now stayed away. Finally, the allotment holders had enough and complained to the local council. By this time even Mr Humphrey had had enough and readily agreed that it was time for Jonathan to move on.
As Jonathan was being dragged into the horse box he stared at Mr Humphrey, who could swear that he saw a twinkle in his eye. Puzzled, he made his way to his shed and made himself a cup of his special tea. Pondering on what could possibly have turned the goat from a stubborn but gentle creature into this force of destruction, he sighed as the brew once more relieved his aching limbs. Thank goodness for Marijuana he thought.

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