Once there was a girl named Destiny Cannon and she wanted to be a goat.
"Why do you want to be a goat?" asked her friends, who wanted to be a doctor, an anthropologist, a wife, an art teacher, and a library.
"I don't know," Destiny said. But she did know. She admired goats for their curiosity, intelligence, rectangular pupils, courage, beards, and nimbleness.
Destiny Cannon had not been blessed with nimbleness. She was awkward, ungainly, and myopic. In gym class, she was always getting hit in the head with a volley ball she hadn't seen coming. She drooped over the pummel horse like a melted crayon and hung from the rings like an anchor. On her mile-long walk to school each morning, sometimes her ankles would spontaneously turn under her feet, causing her to stumble, usually just as someone was coming the other way.
Being a goat would change her life, she was sure of it.
Her parents asked her to wait until after college to make her final decision. And up until her senior year, Destiny intended to comply with their request. But one Friday evening that spring she went to opening night of the Drama Club's production of Equus, in which the future anthropologist had a starring role.
As she entered the theater, Destiny turned to say hello to the future art teacher. In doing so, she missed a step, causing her to tumble down the theater stairs all the way to the stage.
The laughter that filled the theater wasn't unkind, and Destiny wasn't hurt. Though she was clumsy, her bones were sturdy — one might even say caprine. Still, Destiny knew the time had come to act.
Rather than joining the cast and crew at Friendly's for a Fribble after the performance, she headed home. She said a quick goodnight to her parents, who were lying in the darkened living room watching Quantum Leap, and then retired to her bedroom. She pulled down the blinds and removed her clothes, hanging them carefully in the closet. Then she made her transformation.
When it was finished, Destiny looked in the full-length mirror. There were the rectangular pupils, the beard, and the jaunty tail, not to mention a darling pair of nubby little horns.
Just for good measure, Destiny added a few accessories. But something didn't seem quite right. Destiny needed feedback, but she didn't want to ask her parents, afraid they'd be upset. Instead she called a cab. Twenty minutes later, it pulled into the parking lot of a 7-Eleven that sat just outside the gate of the small liberal arts college located on the outskirts of town.
Lingering in the parking lot, Destiny watched the customers coming and going. She needed someone ... but it had to be the right someone.
She watched for a long time. Finally she noticed two young women coming out of the store. They crossed the parking lot and started walking up the hill toward the college.
Though the college had a snooty reputation, these two didn't look snooty. They were wearing oversized overcoats, and flapping along like bats.
She hurried after them, then crossed the street and rushed ahead, hiding in the bushes that lined the entrance to the school. When they drew even with her, she jumped out. "Ladies, how do I look?"
The young women reared back. One of them reached into the pocket of her coat, where Destiny could see her hand scrambling around. But after a moment, their faces relaxed.
Destiny trotted to and fro along the sidewalk, so they could get a good look at her.
"You look great!" the one in the brown coat said.
"Just terrific," Gray Coat agreed.
Pleased, Destiny walked home, stopping to graze on some dandelions along the way.
But the next evening, after a pleasant day spent jumping fences and eating a nice bucket of corn, which her father delivered to her using a pulley system of her own design, Destiny felt a sense of unease descending upon her again. She returned to the room of her childhood and gazed into the mirror. What she saw there didn't match her dream.
In no time at all she was standing in front of the 7-Eleven again. After a while, two young women emerged from the store. They were wearing paisley print A-line dresses from several decades gone by.
When she was sure the pair was heading up the hill, once again she hurried ahead.
"Ladies, how do I look?"
The paisley-dressed women scowled at each other. Destiny felt a feeling of foreboding in her caprine bones, but she gamely trotted to and fro so they could see.
"Hm, I don't know," the one in the green dress said. "The shofar, the pentagram, the presence of both male and female reproductive organs? It's all a little cliché, don't you think?"
"And that t-shirt!" Pink Dress added. " 'No Sheep?' I mean, I know what you're going for, but instead of picking on the poor sheep, wouldn't it be better to acknowledge that the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats is an invention of the patriarchy, a false binary that pits allies against each other and enslaves all of us equally?"
Destiny could hardly bear to look at them. "Thank you," she bleated, and she hurried away, a sad round tear falling from her rectangular-pupiled eye.
But back at home, once she'd had a good cry and nibbled on one of her mother's old wicker handbags, she tossed aside her t-shirt and the other accoutrements of goatness she'd donned like a costume because she'd felt her transformation, in and of itself, had not been complete.
She removed them all and stood before the mirror. What did she see? Curiosity, intelligence, rectangular pupils, courage, a beard, and nimbleness.
That would do. Yes.