They say the world is a scarier place now, than when we were young. If that’s the case, maybe I owe my mother a thank you for training us at such an early age in scare tactics.
The news likes to tell you about the silent killer hiding in your kitchen, (Spoiler, it’s your sponge) and the other silent killer hiding in your walls (black mold? lead paint!? DIY wiring!?). Amateurs. Only my mother could instill a crippling fear of the large, plastic lawn goose in your living room.
What, you don’t have lawn decorations in your living room? I’d wager you probably have a lawn, then. We had a fichus and some moss. That’s a backyard for apartment dwellers.
And we had the goose.
Mom never came right out and said the goose was haunted. That would sound crazy. She just pointed out one day, in an offhand way, that the goose was a little creepy. Nothing specific, just kind of…creepy. Isn’t that silly, she laughed, then looked uneasily at the goose and went to make dinner.
That’s all it took for the idea to take root in our fertile minds. Whiskey and I used to discuss the goose in hushed whispers before bed. There was something off about it. Something about that blank look in its eyes that wasn’t quite blank enough.
Then mom started to move the goose. Just a little at first. “Were you kids playing with the goose,” she’d ask. “I’m sure it was facing the other way before.”
Our eyes would get huge. Hell no we weren’t playing with the goose. If she hadn’t taken away all of Whiskey’s fireworks we’d have blown that thing up by now.
Then, come morning, the goose would be a few feet away from the fichus. It had definitely moved. Mom covered her guilt by accusing us. We were too young to know that trick, yet. We bought into it completely. The goose was clearly possessed. It was watching us. The look in its eyes was one of murder. I’d already seen Poltergeist by then (because my parents were awesome, clearly), so I knew I’d be the first to go. The little blond girl gets it first.
This went on for a month. Not constantly, but enough to keep us concerned. And by concerned, I mean we were barricading the bedroom door at night.
Then, one evening while we were finishing dinner, mom pointed out what should have been obvious. The goose was gone.
Relief warred with fear. The goose was gone…but was it? Or was it hiding? Not knowing where the goose was was even more terrifying than knowing there was a demon-possessed plastic lawn decoration in our living room.
Oh. God. It was making its move. We were done for.
Mom got us worked up. She let a little panic creep into her voice, but just a little, like she was trying to keep it together for the kids. WHERE WAS THE GOOSE!? No one was safe.
Then, her eyes went all crazy. She started doing that lunatic laugh she did when it was time to run. And so, by God, we ran.
Whiskey, the fastest of us, took off for the bedroom before mom could stand up. I was right behind him but he was way faster. He was in there in a flash, the door slammed in my face. A second later, I heard a blood curdling scream that pinned my feet to the floor, my hands frozen on the doorknob. Mom was there instantly, looking like a normal, concerned mom again. She brushed me aside and threw open the door. Whiskey was rolling on the floor, clutching his groin.
The covers were thrown back on the bed.
The goose was in his bed.
Apparently, he had leapt into the safety of “under-the-covers” without doing a goose check and got…well he got goosed in the balls.
Mom felt terrible.
This was an important lesson for all of us; There are consequences to being weird. Just…usually not for the weirdest person in the room. The takeaway: always be the weirdest person in the room. Inflict consequences on others.
Lesson learned, mom. Lesson learned.