Ten days ago, a goat appeared in my mailbox. It was a small goat, carved of wood with a couple of crazy-ass eyes that did conjure thoughts of Krampus, the half goat, half man Christmas demon. It was wrapped in tissue with “On The First Day…” scrawled on the paper. Immediately, as one does in situations such as this, I began to sing. (When faced with a mystery everyone sings right? Didn’t Matlock?) In my sought-after style resembling a tone-deaf church lady, I sang, “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a goat in my mailbox.” Hubba whaaa? I am known for my extreme skill at misquoting lyrics, (You will never convince me it’s not really Big ‘ole Jeff left the lights on instead of Big ‘ole jet airliner) but I could’ve sworn it was a partridge in a pear tree.
Entrenched in end of semester grading and swimming through the pain that is the lead up to Christmas break, I didn’t have any extra brain cells to spend on my mailbox Krampus so I tucked him in the napkin bin and chalked it up to something quirky in my strangely friendly neighborhood. (For real, people bring you baked goods in this ‘hood and they are not even laced with weed or trying to convince you to becoming a Jehovah’s Witness. Definitely unlike all of our old ‘hoods.)
It was all rather innocuous until the Turk found the goat and with a quiver of panic in his voice said, “Wat is dis? Is religious thing?”
My darling husband The Turk, simply by being from a Muslim country, frequently finds himself the recipient of unwarranted advances from the devout of Indiana hoping to save his soul. (If only they knew it was a lost cause long before he married this lapsed Catholic infidel.) The poor guy has received more invitations to attend church than a Kardashian has had butt lifts. (I don’t get the whole ‘come to church with me thing’. In the Catholicism I grew up with, if you weren’t part of the club by birth, we offered you nothing more than a cool welcome and a rear pew.)
Given his experiences, it made sense that he assumed the goat was another attempt to convert the foreign neighbor to some form of Christianity. I however, not nearly as sane as my husband, went to a much darker place.
As a long-time crime show connoisseur and the proud owner of a ridiculously wild imagination, I surmised I knew the real meaning behind the goat in my mailbox and when two more goats arrived on day three, my suspicions were all confirmed.
On day three, upon returning home from a long day at school I opened my mailbox to find 2 more carved animals with the crazy-ass Krampus eyes. A snowstorm had forced my stalker to double up on a delivery. A total of three tissue clad, goats was too many. It was time to open an investigation.
Thanks to my incredibly warped and well trained mind, I concluded I had 9 days left to live as I was now facing death by bludgeoning with a goat horn underneath my Christmas tree, orphaning my children and leaving my Turk a widower. (Which also meant I had 9 days to line him up with a new wife because I love him that crazy bastard too much to leave him to handle life on his own.) While changing into my evening yoga pants, I took a quick glance through my closet to choose my 12th day of Christmas ensemble because even though I’d be dead, I still wanted to look good when they showed footage of the crime scene on Dateline.
Once I’d covered those important things, I laid out my investigation. (Using the scientific method of course, because when you spend your days drilling it into the minds of middle schoolers, it infects your world.)
Question: Who is leaving secret messages in my mailbox and what is their motive?
Hypothesis: I hypothesize that the messages are a warning that I will be killed by a crazy-eyed goat on the 12th day of Christmas.
- Establish a perimeter
- Dust mailbox for prints
- Set up surveillance
- Swab goats for DNA and run any findings through CODIS
- Install a camera in the mailbox, record all criminal activity. Isolate images of any questionable individuals and run the images through FBI facial recognition software.
- Interview neighbors in the hopes of identifying suspicious behavior.
Since steps 1 – 5 were hard and would likely be a lot of work and I had laundry to do and dinner to make, I decided to skip ahead to step 6. I sent a text to my neighbor on the right.
Me: Weird question, but have you been receiving any small carved goats in your mailbox recently?
Her : Um no. It’s 4:00. Are you drinking already?
Me: Perhaps. Do you think these are a sign that someone is coming to kill me?
Her: Totally. You should have some wine to relax.
I told you this neighborhood was idyllic.
Having reached a dead end with the right side neighbor, I went left.
Me: Odd question – have you been receiving small carved goats in your mailbox or is this a message that someone is coming to kill me?
Her: No but we got them last year.
Me: OMG. Really? Did someone try to kill you? I didn’t see it in the HOA newsletter.
Her: No attempted murder. It’s a surprise gift from a neighbor. It will be a nativity set in the end.
Me: Ahhhhhhhhh. Good to know.
Her: No need to panic.
Me: Well, I am from Philly…and Turkey…sooooo….
And there you have it. Word is that this is not a message from a serial killer or a secret summonsing from Krampus. But so far I’ve got 3 goats, 4 wise men (Even though I’m sure Sister Nora said there were only three.) and what may be a shepherd or a member of Al Qaida, I’m not yet sure.
I’m not sure I believe the story so if you never hear from me again, I ask only two things – make sure you watch my Dateline episode so I win at ratings postumously and more importantly, make sure the Turk doesn’t marry a whore.
Merry Christmas to all!!