Weekly Writing Challenge #33 – The Trip

Prompt – Write a story in which something transforms into something else.

The bus gently rolled to a stop near the main plaza of Palenque. A small town deep in the heart of Mexico. It had been a two day journey from El Paso, Texas and we were worn out completely. My fellow companions and I looked forward to exploring the nearby Mayan ruins. The humid air and hot temperatures had our shirts sticking to us drenched in sweat. Before venturing into the jungles, we were going to stay overnight at the Casa de la Cruz hotel. A good shower and a cool beer sounded inviting.

As we were gathering our luggage, I spied out of the corner of my eye a goat. In disbelief, I saw the goat had a bright red bandana and an incredibly small flashy sombrero. As I turned my head to look, the goat paused and looked at me with it’s slitted eyes, then turned and went around the corner of the building.

“Did anyone else see that?”, I asked.

My companions looked at me quizzically. Perhaps they thought the heat was getting to me. they looked around and one of them said, “See what?”

I opened my mouth to reply and realized that maybe I had hallucinated the goat. Prudently, I shook my head and said, “Never mind, the heat must be getting to me.”

As we checked into the hotel, I hung back and when my companions had departed for their rooms, I leaned toward the clerk and in a low voice asked if he had ever seen a goat with a bandana and a small sombrero around town.

He laughed nervously and shook his head. Before I could ask him again, he made the sign of the cross and then abruptly turned and went through the door behind the counter. I knew things would be different in a foreign country, but I had not expected this. Grasping my key tightly, I made my way to my room and quickly got undressed and jumped into the shower. As the water cascaded down upon me, I felt relieved. Any thoughts of strange goats and even stranger behaviors’ of hotel clerks melted away.

Toweling myself dry, I wrapped the towel around me and opened the door to my room. Quickly donning fresh clothes from my packed luggage, I strode back to the bathroom to give myself a quick look in the mirror. There, in the shower, the goat was back. I stumbled to a halt, my breath caught and I felt my heart skip a beat. For a long minute, the goat stared at me and I stared back. Finally, I blinked my eyes, and the goat vanished. I leaned against the counter with my head in my hands.

Had I lost my mind?

What I needed right then was a good stiff drink. I poked my head into my room looking for the goat. Not seeing it, I quickly left my room and headed downstairs to the hotel cantina. I sidled up to the bar glancing every which way but not seeing the goat. I sidled up to the bar and ordered a beer and a shot of tequila. Quickly I downed the shot and glanced into the mirror behind the bar.

The goat was right behind me. I quickly turned around and astonishingly the goat had disappeared yet again. With a grimace, I turned and ordered a double shot of tequila. I knew i needed to get massively drunk at this point. This time, I closed my eyes and threw the shot of tequila down my throat. Opening them cautiously, I didn’t see the goat in the mirror. I slowly looked to the left and then I looked to the right.

A man dressed in a Mexican suit wearing a red bandana and a ridiculously small flashy sombrero stood next to me. Hesitantly, I poked him in the shoulder with my finger. I expected my finger to go right through him, but instead it pressed against his shoulder.

“Senor, I’ve been watching you.”

I fell back onto the bar stool aghast. This was no hallucination. Somehow the imaginary goat had transformed into a man with a swarthy complexion and a pencil thin mustache.

“What… what…what do you mean by that?”, I sputtered. “Are you the goat?”

He smiled slyly, “What do you think?”

“I think I’ve lost my mind.”

A voice from behind me said, “Who you talking to?”

I turned and saw it was John, one of my traveling companions. He was sipping his beer looking at me with narrowed eyes. I looked back over my shoulder and the swarthy man was gone once again.

“Um, quite frankly, I don’t have the damnedest idea. Have you seen a goat or a man with a red bandana and a really small sombrero around?”

John eyebrows went up at that remark. Then he started laughing softly. “I think I know what’s going on. Didn’t I see Carol give you a cookie on the bus right before we hit town?”

I searched my memory and thought hard about it. “I think so, it’s kind of fuzzy at the moment.”

He threw his head back in gales of laughter. Catching his breath eventually, John put his hand around my shoulder and leaned toward me. “I think it was one of Carol’s special cookies. My friend she laced a few of them with LSD and then forgot which ones were which. Seems like you got lucky or unlucky depending on how you see it.”

“Oh thank God! I thought I was going crazy there for a while!”

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc