THE GOOSE WITH ZERO DOWN • by Marisa Mangione

No, you can’t have that water gun. Put it back. I told you, Mommy only brought money for food. Not for toys. Tommy, you put that box down or we’re going right back to the car. I mean it. Sit down in the cart, and I’ll tell you a story. Do you want to hear a story, or do you want to go to the car? You want a story? Okay, quit crying and sit down.

Once there was this guy who had this goose. The goose was gold. And the guy would go around buying stuff, but he never had any money. So then he’d have to be like, “Just a minute, I think my goose is about to lay an egg.”

Where did he get the goose? It doesn’t matter where he got the goose. He just had it, okay? Maybe it came in the mail.

Then he’d pay with the egg, which was also gold, like the goose, and everything would be cool, but sometimes the goose would take a while to lay the egg, and some punks started thinking to themselves, “I’m sick of waiting. I’ve got to get a piece of that goose!”

So the punks would lunge at the goose, but they’d just get stuck to its toosh. And this kept happening. These punks would see that there were all these other mooks stuck to the goose’s tooshie, but it didn’t stop them from trying to snatch it.

I don’t know how they were stuck to the goose. They just were, okay? Once they decided they wanted a piece of that goose, there was no shaking them.

So then the guy was walking around with his goose and a bunch of mooks stuck to the goose’s toosh, and it was getting old. He didn’t even want to go out with the goose anymore because he just couldn’t handle it.

But, you know, sometimes he had to go out to buy some milk, or bread, or eggs… the regular kind, not the gold ones. And he had all these mooks to feed, and it was just getting out of control. And he never carried cash, because why would he? He’s got the goose! So then he had to go shopping with the whole entourage, and they all want what they want, and they were all pawing at the goose, and the goose just could not lay any more eggs than it was already laying. The poor bird just couldn’t keep up.

So it was this whole big mess, and the guy couldn’t see his way out of it.

Why doesn’t he get another goose? It’s not that easy because you can only imagine how many dopes will be coming out of the woodwork if they see him with two golden gooses. Besides, the goose is magic, and where is he going to get another one of those? I know, in the mail. You’re very smart. Now sit down.

So then this giant came along, and he said, “Hey, I’ll take care of those guys for you, but I’m keeping the goose.”

Where did the giant come from? It doesn’t matter where the giant came from. He’s enormous. He can see everything that’s going on.

So the guy said okay, and the giant stepped on all the mooks and squashed them like they were bugs. And then he reached down, grabbed the goose, and he just yanked it. I mean, he just ripped it toward him, and the goose came up, except maybe it still had a hand stuck to it or something. But the giant didn’t care because maybe the hands would just fall off later or he’d eat them or something. It’s not important.

So the guy was happy because he could come and go without worrying about all the mooks hanging around, but he had no goose, so now he had to go out and find a better job and worry about paying his bills with cash, and it was a huge headache.

And that’s why you can’t have a water gun.

Marisa Mangione is a Jersey girl who writes about medicine and other weird, gross, and magical things.

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