Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Getaway Goat

It is all well and good planning your big bank heist and drilling a hole through the wall and cracking the safe and getting all the money out. But if you can't make a clean getaway, then where are you? Up the creek, that's where.

This is yet another reason why my daughter Hannah Belle has earned the title of Smartest Goat of All Time. You have to be smart to figure out how to get to the grain around here any more. We used to live in a barn but now we live in a massive hay tunnel, with stacks of hay everywhere and a tiny little walkway leading to the hidden grain barrels.

It's like that every year in mid-summer when hundreds of bales come in from the field. So to get to the grain you have to first wiggle through, or over, the gate - which is locked with not one but two chains - navigate the hay tunnels, and then take the lid off the grain barrel.

Well, of course Hannah Belle knows how to do that, and she did it all the time when she was younger. And then she would get busted with her head in the barrel, and she would get a swat on the behind and a good yelling-at and possibly even a brief stint in goat jail. Aka the horse trailer.

Well, who needs that kind of grief. So Hannah Belle has now taken her game to the next level.

She waits patiently for the farmer to go inside. Then leaps, wiggles, and worms her way to the grain. She takes the lid off the drum and knocks it over so that a buffet of grain spills onto the barn floor. She eats what she wants - picking the corn out of the cob mix - listening with one ear cocked for the sound of approaching farmers.

When she hears the kitchen door open, she leaps, wiggles, and worms her way back out, runs to the back of the herd, turns her head away and pretends to be contemplating the meadow down below.

"Who did this?" yells the farmer, upon discovering the spilled grain and knocked-over barrel. Then comes and looks at us. Hannah Belle will be at the back of the pack, napping, or maybe chewing her cud (with her stomach sucked in so she doesn't look too fat.)

"Who did this?" the farmer yells again.

No answer.

"I know it was you, Hannah Belle," the farmer yells. Hannah Belle stretches sleepily.

"I know you did it."

Hannah Belle looks up in pretended surprise at the mention of her name.

'Oh really?' her expression says. "Prove it."