It was a warm and humid day on the Rype & Readi Farm Market; not necessarily a debilitating level of heat, no, but every breath required a measure of effort to achieve.
This heaviness of breath was especially apparent in the larger animals that lived on the Market, the most notable in one of the larger mammals on the Market, Gomez the goat. Currently, the poor ungulate was panting heavily as he sweated off any excess fat he ever might have accumulated in the past week or so, all but baking in his coat of fur.
“So ho-o-o-ot…” Gomez bemoaned weakly. “And so bo-o-o-ored… wish there was something I could do-o-o-o…”
“Well then how about goin’ on an adventure with me, eh?”
Gomez blinked when a weight suddenly settled on his back, and he cast an inquisitive glance over his shoulder. “He-e-e-ello, Ducky,” he bleated wearily, his lack of enthusiasm born purely of his physical heat-induced exhaustion. In any other situation, the goat would have been perfectly glad to meet the water fowl with enthusiasm, but in this instance? He just couldn’t find the energy for it.
Ducky’s smiling beak fell into a sympathetic frown. “Eesh, you’re melting too, huh? You’re lucky, your fur’s got nothing on the sheep’s coats. Still, sorry ‘bout that… but hey!” The duck perked up swiftly, his grin returning with a vengeance. “I know how ta cheer you up! Wanna go out for a bit and get something nice to eat? Betcha you won’t find it anywhere here on the market!”
Gomez perked up slightly at that, though his enthusiasm was tempered by his memory. “I dunno-o-o-o about that. The last few ti-i-i-imes my ma and I-I-I-I have left the Market? It ain’t ended we-e-e-ell for us…”
“Pish posh, don’t worry about it!” Ducky waved his wing dismissively. “We won’t even be going far, just a quick jaunt down and across the way!”
“Down and across… you mean the disti-i-i-illery?” Gomez bleated a lot more nervously. “I-I-I-I dunno, I’m no-o-o-ot anywhere near old enough ta-a-a-a drink, and I really don’t want ma-a-a-a to tan my hide if’n she finds o-o-o-out…”
“Oh come on, what, do you have goat cheese in your ears or something?” The duck quacked out with a quick laugh. “I said we’d have a snack, not a drink! I heard something about there being such a thing as ‘fermented nuts’, and, well, c’mon!” Ducky waved his wing towards the road. “Distillery means fermented drinks, so that means fermented nuts! Right?”
“Hm-m-m-mmmm…” Gomez scratched at his chin thoughtfully. “We-e-e-ell, your logic do-o-o-oes track… and I do-o-o-o like nuts…”
“Then allons-y, my friend! Allons-y!” Ducky quacked eagerly.
And with that, the pair left the Farm Market, ready and eager to have a fun time!
Ten minutes later, Gomez slowly cracked his eyes open with a pained groan, a headache pounding in his skull. “What the…?” He muttered blearily.
“Ah, so-o-o-o you’re awake?”
Gomez worked his way up into a sitting position and blinked at the being standing over him. “Ma? Wha-owww…” The goat kneaded his forehead miserably. “Wha-a-a-at happened?”
“Depends,” Bailey sniffed. “Wha-a-a-at’s the last thing you re-e-e-member?”
“Uh…” Gomez scratched his head with a wince. “Me and Ducky snuck into the disti-i-i-illery with a tour group, to try-y-y-y and get some fermented nu-u-u-uts… then I got re-e-e-eally dizzy… and then that’s it…. Ah!” Gomez blinked in shock. “Do-o-o-on’t tell me… did I get drunk or so-o-o-omething?”
Bailey shook her head with an exasperated sigh. “No… lo-o-o-ooks like I need to tell you four things no-o-o-ow…”
“Four things?” Gomez questioned.
“Thing o-o-o-one,” Bailey stamped her hoof firmly. “The-e-e-re’s no such thing as fermented nuts, but there i-i-i-s fermented nut cheese, but they don’t sell any at the disti-i-i-illery.”
“Ah… i-i-is that so…”
“Thing two-o-o-o,” Bailey forged on. “Ya-a-a-a can’t get drunk ju-u-u-st by being near alcohol.”
“Re-e-e-eally? Then how-?”
“Thing three,” Bailey snorted, cutting her son off impatiently. “Is that when you’re really really hot, make su-u-u-ure to drink plenty of water, espe-e-e-ecially before you do something as going into a re-e-e-eally hot and humid room, otherwise you’ll get heat stroke.”
“Ooooh…” Gomez winced self-consciously preparing to apologize… before blinking as something occurred to him. “Wait, one, two… that’s only three things, wha-a-a-at’s number four?”
“Oh, that’s e-e-e-easy,” Bailey grinned pleasantly. “Ya know that sayin’ about askin’ fo-o-o-orgiveness over permi-i-i-isson?”
Gomez nodded in confusion… and then paled right down to the tips of his horns when Bailey snorted furiously in his face.
“That saying doesn’t. Apply. To mothers.”
Gomez swallowed heavily. “I-I-I-I’m pickin’ up litter for a week, aren’t I.”
“Yeah, I-I-I-I figured…”
By Baxter Balick, contributing writer to Rype & Readi, Flagler College Sophomore