Ellis Goodwyn

writer. farmer. mother. teacher

This was one of my first attempts at flash fiction, and I was pretty pumped to get 3rd place in my group. For reference, I was given the genre: comedy, location: a ribbon cutting ceremony, and item required to include: mayonnaise. I hope you enjoy…

Everyone Loves Goats

Ribbon cutting events aren’t terribly exciting. They become downright mind-numbing when they’re celebrating something as uninteresting and scarcely attended as the one my boss, the mayor of our tiny town, suggested.

I settled into a chair in front of his desk, preparing for one of our regular debates over not doing stupid things that cost the town money and serve no purpose. Mayor Eli Whitby had a never-ending list of ridiculous pet projects, but this one seemed odd even for him.

“I don’t understand why we need a ribbon-cutting ceremony for this.”

He leaned forward, eyes wide, and waved his hands. “It’s a new park! We want people to be excited.”

“It’s a goat playground,” I replied flatly.

“Goats are trending right now. This will put Sutterville on the map.”

“It’s literally just a wooden ramp with a platform.”

“The goats are going to love it.”

I yawned, matching his enthusiasm with my lack thereof. “What goats? How often do people walk through town with goats in tow? And who’s going to show up to this thing?”

“Just you wait.” He grinned. “It’ll be huge. Barb already volunteered to cater, and we have the president of the local G.A.S. coming to speak.”


“Goat Appreciation Society.”

He had to be making this up. “We have a Goat Appreciation Society?”

“I told you. They’re popular. Everyone loves goats.”


“And this lady from Memphis is coming to lead a goat yoga session.”

“Goat Yoga? Is that even a thing?”

“Oh, it’s totally a thing.” He rubbed his hands together. “People are going to love it.”

Mayor Whitby’s Goat Appreciation Day finally arrived, but without the enormous fanfare he’d expected. It surprised me that anyone showed up other than us and the two people he’d paid to be there. 

Actually, only one of the people he’d paid had arrived: Arnie Buckner, President of the Sutter County G.A.S. The yoga instructor had yet to make an appearance.

Around twenty people gathered on the small patch of grass my boss generously referred to as a park. A few turned up with goats on leashes and in costumes. When a tiny pygmy goat walked by dressed as a garden gnome, I knew it was going to be an odd day.

Mayor Whitby came bustling up next to me. 

“Okay, we may need a slight change in plans.”

“Okay?” Not a surprise—all his plans tended to go awry.

“Yoga lady can’t make it.”

“What? You already paid her to be here!”

“Apparently, I gave her the wrong date.”

I sighed and closed my eyes. Of course he did. “So what’s the plan, then?”

“Your daughter does yoga, right?”

“She’s six.”

“I don’t think anyone will mind.”

“She’s not really qualified to— “

He waved away my reservations. “It’ll be fine.”

“She’s never done it with goats? How does that even work?”

“It’s just like regular yoga, but with goats walking around.”

I stared at him.

“Was Yoga Lady bringing goats with her?”

“Yes, but there’s other goats here. We’ll just let them walk around instead.”

I pointed across the park. “You mean like the one that’s been trying to hump all the others for the past ten minutes?”

“It’ll be fine.”

“Can we just get this over with?”

“Arnie’s grabbing a bite to eat from Barb. As soon as he’s back, we’ll get started.”


A few minutes later, a large man in overalls and a flannel shirt wandered over, chewing a mouthful of food. He turned his attention to Mayor Whitby, his brow creased.

“Are there eggs in these?” He held up a chicken biscuit.

“Shouldn’t be.” Whitby darted over to the serving table with me at his heels. “Barb!”

 She shuffled up to the counter. 

“There’s no eggs in any of the food for today, right?”

“No, sir. You said no eggs. My biscuits don’t have eggs and the chicken is just slathered with my special ingredient and flour.” She jabbed a thumb towards an extra large jar of mayonnaise on the prep table behind her.

I rubbed my forehead. “Mayonnaise has eggs in it, Barb.”

Arnie flopped onto the bench beside us, scratching at his throat and coughing.

Whitby put a hand on his shoulder. “I’m so sorry. I’ll get help. Do you have an epipen?”

Large red splotches had formed on Arnie’s neck. “No.” He coughed again. “I don’t—” He stopped, realizing Whitby had vanished, and glanced up. “I just need some water and benadryl. I’ll be fine.”

As I returned, water and pills in hand, Whitby raced across the grass to where Arnie lay on the park bench. 

“It’s ok. I got Doris’ epipen. She’s had it in her purse for a couple of years, but hopefully it’ll do the trick.” He jerked the cap off, raised it over his head, and plunged it toward Arnie’s leg. 

Arnie’s arm shot up and shoved Whitby’s hand away, sending the epipen straight into the mayor’s thigh. “I don’t need a shot!” Arnie shouted. 

“You said you were allergic.”

“I tried to tell you—I get hives. It’s not life-threatening.”

The mayor stumbled backward and sat down, his face pale. Beads of sweat slipped down his face. “Am I having a heart attack?”

Doris came running over, having seen the whole episode. “What are you doing, Eli?”

“It was an accident,” he mumbled.

More like an ass-ident.

“I’ll get the boys to drive him to the hospital, but he should be fine. Darryl stabbed Larry with it once, and he’s okay… Well, sorta.”

Whitby turned to me. “You’ll have to do the ribbon-cutting.”

I glanced at Arnie. 

“I’m not going up there looking like this.”

“Barb?” I pleaded.

“I’m just here to serve food.”

Twenty minutes later, I trudged onto the ridiculously small stage standing in front of the “goat playground” and turned to face the expectant crowd of people, goats, and the town reporter, waiting with his camera.

I rocked back and forth on my heels and cleared my throat. “So….goats?”

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