“What I Did on My Summer Vacation,” by Jon Shorr

Mar 27th, 2019 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

by Job the Aramite

My goat fell into a well. Me and my dad built this stone wall around the opening a couple years ago, and we check it all the time.  I noticed my goat was missing when I went out to the stable to milk it.  First I thought maybe Eliphaz was out riding it, but then Eliphaz came over my house to play baserock, and I asked him if he’d put the goat back in the stable, and he’s like, “What goat?” and I’m like my goat, and he’s like, “I didn’t take your goat,” and I’m like, “Well where is he, then?” and he’s like, “I don’t know.” We wandered around looking for my goat, but we couldn’t find him.

The next day we were playing baserock, and my mom told me since we couldn’t find the goat, would I go to the store and get some milk, and while I was there would I get some spelt and millet.  I said I’d go soon as me and Eliphaz finished the inning, but Mom said she needed it right away for Shabbos, so we stopped playing and she gave me some money and we went to the store.  When we got there, we told Gehunah the Shunamite what we needed.  While he was back in the stockroom, me and Eliphaz looked at a couple comic scrolls.  Then he came back and told me how much it would cost, and it was almost exactly what my mom said it would cost, and I reached into my bag to get the money my mom had given us, but it was gone. Gehunah the Shunamite was pretty ticked off at us; he thought we were just jerking him around, but I told him my mom really needed that stuff and she really had given me money for it but the money was gone.  And I don’t know if he believed me or not, but he told us we had to leave.

So on the way back, we were trying to figure out what to tell my mom, and we thought about telling her the truth, but then we thought maybe we could tell her that a group of Tishabites stopped us on the road and took our money, but then she’d probably tell my dad, and he’d get all ticked off at the Tishabites and maybe go after them, and that seemed like it only could’ve gone downhill from there.  Then we thought we could say I fell into a well, and I was able climb out, but the money must’ve fallen out of my bag in the well, and she’d be so glad that I wasn’t hurt that she’d forget I lost the money.  So we’re walking over to the well, and as we get closer, we see some people gathered around it, and there’s this smell, and Gehazi the Moabitess is pointing and yelling, “There’s a dead goat in the well, there’s a dead goat in the well.”  And I looked, and sure enough, there was a dead goat in the well, and I was pretty sure it was mine. 

You can only imagine my mom’s mood when we got home and told her that the goat was dead, the well was polluted, and I didn’t have the milk and spelt and millet because I’d lost the money.  (I wanted to say, “Hey, Mom, don’t cry over spelt, milk,” but I didn’t think she’d think it was very funny under the circumstances.)

A couple weeks later, we had to shoot the donkey. I mean, that’s not a euphemism; we really had to shoot the donkey.  Me and Eliphaz and Bildad were riding around one night: I was on my dad’s donkey; they were on their dad’s goats.  It started out just like any other summer night, looking for girls, figure-eights around the palm trees.  It was one of those nights when you’re just in a goofy mood, you know?  And my donkey steps in this hole and lets out this bray and just falls over.

“Oh, man,” Bildad said, “you wrecked your dad’s donkey. Are you gonna get it!”

“Tell me something I don’t know, asshole,” I said.

“Takes one to ride one,” he said.

“OK, OK,” I said, “Just go get help.”

“Who do you think I am, Lassie?” Bildad said anachronistically.

“Just do it!” I said, feeling more and more like I was in a time warp.

By the time the Abrahamic Ass Association cart arrived, it was too late; they couldn’t save him. 

One day in August, me and my friends were playing baserock: Eliphaz and I were on one team; Bildad and Zophar were on the other. They were up by one; I’d whiffed all my other times at stick.  “Zophar, so good,” Bildad yelled from the sidelines, practically falling over laughing; all three of us rolled our eyes.  Zophar rolls the rock in his hand, looks me in the eye, smirks a little, and whips the rock.  I watched it come at me, held my breath, cocked my stick, and swung.  When I first felt the stick and the rock connect, I couldn’t even move, I was so surprised.  Then I heard Eliphaz yelling “run, dummy!”  And then I heard Bildad yell, “Oh man, you’re in trouble now.”  I stopped midway between first and second and looked at Bildad pointing.  I’d hit it through Jemimah the Negevitess’s window and broken her new Shabbos wine pitcher and three of her fleischick plates. 

Last week, my dad took a few days off work, and we went to the oasis.  When we got back our house had burned down.

I know this paper doesn’t seem very polished, but my new goat ate the one I worked really hard on, and I had to rewrite it this morning.

I’m blameless in this.



Jon Shorr has been a freelance writer for magazines and has done pro bono advertising and PR work for a variety of nonprofit and educational institutions. His fiction has been published in local and national journals and anthologies. He was also a teacher for a long time. Several of his emails have been widely circulated, the result, unfortunately, of having hit “reply all” by accident. 

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