THE PROFESSOR

I had a great Agricultural Studies professor in college who I consulted from time to time after graduating. We became good friends. He lived alone on a little hobby farm in Pennsylvania Dutch Country where he raised goats. He loved them like the family he never knew.

Three years ago the professor was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and nearly buckled under a ton of unfixable sorrow. I tended his goats and tried to make jokes while the visiting nurse changed his sheets and administered strong drugs.

His bed was surrounded by pill bottles and machines and leaning stacks of medical literature; the specter of death hovered over him, wringing its hands and never leaving the poor man alone for a moment of peace.

But I had an idea. I excused his nurse and tied one of his beloved goats to a table near his bedside.

While the professor watched in speechless wonderment, I attached clothespins to the goats eyebrows, nipples and butt cheeks. I humiliated the goat and covered it with thick layers of maple syrup. I forced the goat to wear special body-suits and I glued doll parts to its face. I repeatedly choked the goat to the brink of death and nursed it back to life. I injected the goat's milk directly into my own brain. I painted nude murals of the professor and his goats on tall city buildings which I then photographed, and I converted the professor's home into a professional dark room (at great expense to myself) where I developed the photographs and placed them in every picture frame around his house.

This went on for months until the professor finally died with a deeply confused expression on his face. Those months were easier, though. He was still dying but he didn't have time to think about it.

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