The Goatmen of Aguirra is one of my favorite stories and, based on comments, popular among my readers (thankee!). It appears in my self-published Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, as an individual ebook The Goatmen of Aguirra: A Tale Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, and was serialized in Piker Press in 2019.
I’m sharing it here because a friend is having some challenges using 1st Person POV, and The Goatmen of Aguirra uses 1st Person POV throughout.
Hope you enjoy.
The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 9)
815015:0800 – The recorder signaled The Merrimack’s request for my immediate return sometime during my study of the black root. Has my intention for participant observation caused Sanders concern? Has Robin conscripted my pay for this rigging and Sanders needs my consent before he’ll approve? Damn him, By-the-Book Sanders. For the first time in years I feel useful, like I’m accomplishing something, and I’ll be damned if any petty squabbles will keep it from me now.
I had not noticed before, but some of the billies are not in the village. Have they gone back to inspect “the home who wants to be a rock”? Is this Sanders’ concern?
835015:1700 – No entries yesterday. It seems I slept. Gomer tells me this is common for those first exposed to the Wa’asis, the proper name of the black root. He also tells me we didn’t get to the Theisen. I could not make the journey, he said, something which is also common. When I asked why he said nothing.
More of the Goatmen have left this village, some even as I enter this, and I note that the majority of those leaving are the young ones. Regarding that, several of the females are pregnant and, Gomer tells me, will start kidding soon. I asked him if there are any natural abortions or stillborns and he answered no, but not directly. There are no words in his language for either stillborn or abortion. This is the strongest evidence such things don’t exist.
I’ve also asked about natural predators. The lowlands have several, he tells me. Original planetary findings confirm this. “Is that why your people came here to live?”
“No, we have always been here.”
I haven’t as yet heard any of their oral tradition or myths – if indeed they have any. I’m sure they would be fascinating.
This opens our discussion again to Tenku and I question him about the Wa’asis. Whatever it is, only Tenku and a few others have it and administer it. What happens when these others are no more? Then one like them will chew it. “Will you chew it?” He has no answer.
This brings up another point. Are these the only goatmen on all of Aguirra? Where are the other “tribes”?
I ask about the Goatman – here again Gomer laughs at “Goat Man”. He butts me but this time knows I’m delicate and it is a tap, barely felt yet frightening never-the-less – the individual who stared at me when we sent out the rumbler.
Gomer tells me no such person – Goatman – exists. I describe the individual in detail and he asks me to go on, to tell him more. It is here I realize something else about these Goatmen and perhaps all aboriginals I’ve ever known.
The Goatmen’s observational skills are based on a delicate yet pervasive matrix of focused attention directed to minute detail, the constant exercise of a rich cultural memory, and the predication of all experience into oral history. This latter is prevalent in all pre-ecririen societies. This could be true of all aboriginal peoples but I have no way of knowing.
845015:0430 – Gomer has returned with Tenku. Tenku asks me to tell him who I saw with the other People when they came to the Blind.
It is not that he’s dissatisfied with my description, it’s simply that he feels there is more. He doesn’t question what I’ve told him, only asks “Where are you?”
“I am here.”
Quickly, he lifts me. I think he is old and still he demonstrates formidable strength. Holding me against him, I smell his scent quite strongly. It is the same and subtly different from the others and the community smell I’d gotten used to. He smells, I realize, of the Wa’asis. His breath is sweet with the stuff, and being this close it is intoxicating.
“Where are you?” he asks me.
“I am here, I told you.”
He put me down. Something strange happened then, something I’d noticed but had not referenced in this work before.
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