It was a warm and sunny day at the Rype & Readi Farm Market… but in all honesty, that was something of an understatement.
In truth, it was a blazing hot day at the Farm Market, and every animal that lived within its walls wanted to do nothing more than curl up in the shade and wait out the heat until they got a reprieve.
Sadly, on account of how there was an almost endless supply of jobs waiting to be completed by the inhabitants, that just wasn’t a valid option for the poor animals. As such, they all picked themselves up, steeled their nerves, and went out to work.
…all of them, that is, save for a single stubborn goat that either didn’t get the memo, or didn’t care.
A goat, it should be noted, whose mother was not tolerant of receiving guff. A stance she made quite clear as she loomed over her lazing son and snorted fiercely.
“Go-o-o-omez,” his mother, Bailey, bleated irritably. “You’ve slept lo-o-o-ong enough. It’s time to get up and do your cho-o-o-ores.”
Gomez tilted his head for a moment as he considered her words… before waving her off with a yawn. “Na-a-a-ah. Too hot. I don’t wa-a-a-anna.”
Bailey snorted firmly. “Well too ba-a-a-ad. Everyone e-e-e-else is doin’ chores, so you gotta, too.”
“Says the ma-a-a-arket rules, of course!” Bailey stamped her hoof for emphasis. “Everyone does their fair share, as simple as tha-a-a-at, so hop to it.”
“Eeeeeh… na-a-a-ah,” Gomez rolled over onto his back and crossed his hooves behind his head with a contented sigh. “Don’t wanna, and you ca-a-a-an’t make me. After all, not like it’s a cri-i-i-ime to be lazy, heheheh.”
The elder goat raised a hoof, preparing to reprimand her son… then slowly lowered it, a devious grin spread. “No-o-o-ot yet it ain’t,” she muttered to herself as she turned around and trotted off.
A few minutes later and a short walk down the street, Bailey pushed her way into the lobby of the Saint Augustine Police Department. She took a moment to admire how pristine the room looked before trotting up to the front desk and rearing up on her front hooves so that she could talk to the person behind it.
“Excu-u-u-se me,” she bleated as politely as she could. “But I heard something about a ‘sca-a-a-ared straight’ program awhile back, and I was wondering if you’ve still got it around? I’d like to put the fear of the la-a-a-aw in my son.”
The receptionist stared at the goat blankly for a moment before slowly nodding. “Of course, ma’am. If you’d just wait a moment?”
And as promised, a moment later Bailey felt a tap on her shoulder, and turned around to come face to face with a frowning police officer.
“If you could follow me, please,” the officer ordered more than anything, gesturing into the police station.
Bailey acquiesced with a polite nod, but even as she walked she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was in trouble.
A few hours later, that feeling proved to be correct.
“I do hope you realize the gravity of the steaming heap of trouble you landed yourself in, don’t you?” Henrietta asked as she paced back and forth before the bars of one of the SAPD’s jail cells.
“I got the message when they started readin’ me my ri-i-i-ights…” Bailey groaned as she kneaded her brow with her hoof. “How was I supposed to know the police didn’t take ki-i-i-indly to animals wastin’ their time?”
“Common sense, maybe?”
Bailey waved her off with an aggrieved groan. “Ba-a-a-ah… look, just tell me what my punishment is, all right?”
“Well, that’s where your fortune swings around a bit,” Henrietta puffed her chest out with pride. “It was touch and go for a bit, but I managed to wear them down to community service. Just do a few hours and you’ll be good to go!”
“Aww, really?” Bailey bowed her head in disappointment. “Couldn’t you have gotten me house arre-e-e-est or somethin’?”
“Well, I would have done better, but, ah…” Henrietta waved her wing at the cell she was locked in with a grimace. “It’s a bit hard to act effectively as a lawyer when you’re due to be on trial yourself.”
Bailey conceded the point with a huff and turned to leave, but before she did she cast a curious look over her shoulder. “Remind me, what exa-a-a-actly are they charging you with again?”
“Misrepresentation as a member of the bar… also criminal incompetence.”
“As in you were incompetent as my la-a-a-awyer or you were incompetent in pretendin’ to be-e-e-e a lawyer?”
“Goin’ by the look the judge gave me when I laid an egg on the witness stand? I think ‘both’ sounds about right.”
“Well, goo-o-o-od luck to you.”
And with that, Bailey was off to find whatever means she could to fill her community service.
“Ra-a-a-azza frazzin, no-good opportunity-less city…” Bailey muttered acridly to herself as she bit into a tin can and dropped it in the pouch hanging at her side.
Unfortunately, the only means the old goat could find was in helping to pick up trash in the hot and humid Floridian heat.
Honestly, the whole ordeal probably wouldn’t have been so bad, if not for a certain…
“One more time! ‘I fought the law a-a-and, I won! I fought the law a-a-and, I won!’”
Annoyance keeping Bailey company.
Bailey shot a scathing glare at her grinning son. “Ya don’t nee-e-ed ta gloat, ya know. And didn’t you have to go to the bathroom?”
“I know you don’t need it, I just wa-a-a-ant to!” Gomez snickered. “And I already went, too. ‘Ain’t no law against it or nothin’!”
Bailey started to grin as she waved her hoof, gaining the attention of her supervising officer. “Funny thing about that…”
“‘I fought the law and, the law won! I fought the law and, the law won!’” Bailey sang happily as she worked, picking up piece of garbage after garbage with glee.
“Ahhh hush up, ya old goat…” Gomez grumbled around the plastic bag he had gripped in his mouth.
by Baxter Balick, Rype & Readi Contributing Writer, Flagler Sophomore College Student
Editor’s Note: The goats really did visit the St. Augustine Police Department when they escaped from their pen one day. Management was alerted and promptly ran over there, scooped them up, and brought them back to their abode. As far as we know, they haven’t been back since!
P.S. A Note to The SAPD: If our goats visit you again, you have our permission to put them to work in Community Service projects.