In honor of the mid-term elections being over, and the recent spate of short stories that this blog has run, (and also the theme of our next video omg omg omg) I thought I would run a short story of my own. It was written back in 2008, soon after California passed Proposition 8 (the so-called "California Marriage Protection Act"), which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, thereby making illegal gay marriage in the state.
The story is an alternate history and a satirical parable. In it, Bill Number 9 has just been passed in an unnamed American state; rather than criminalizing gay marriage, however, THIS BILL has legalized it. What follows is a satire of a very popular idea amongst gay marriage opponents, that legalization would lead down a slippery slope (here's a delightful recent example), thereby leading to an apocalypse of family values.
I hope you enjoy more than my thesis adviser did.
Story Written on the Occasion of the Passing of Bill Number 9, Which Legalized Gay Marriage in A Certain State
“Isn’t it wonderful that the voters of our state elected to pass The Bill, thereby creating a snowball effect that destroyed the sanctity of marriage?” one of my wives said to me the other day. “Without it, we would have been in love, but we wouldn’t have been married—not that marriage means anything nowadays, since we destroyed the sanctity of it.”
“Shut up,” I said, waving my hand at her. “I’m trying to watch this deviant pornographic video on Nickelodeon. Besides, they passed that Bill months ago; it’s old news. And what’s more—how is it, exactly, that you are able to talk to me? You can’t speak: you’re a goat.”
“I may be a goat,” my goat-wife responded to me, “but I can talk. Along with the sanctity of marriage, many other previous sacrosanct ideals were destroyed when that Bill was passed—for example, the linguistic principle that higher-order syntactical language is unique to humans…the sanctity of that principle was wiped right out, part of that destructive snowball effect I mentioned earlier.”
My goat-wife nuzzled my cheek with that beard thing that goats have. I lowered the volume on the deviant pornography and turned to her, because somehow I could tell that she had something important to say. Call it a sixth sense, the kind of telepathic, non-verbal communication that takes place between two beings in unity, with a special connection, like a pair of twins, or a man and one of his goat-wives.
“I’m sorry to keep harking on The Bill, Sweetheart” she said, and she really did sound apologetic. “It’s just that—I get so sad sometimes, thinking about where you and I would be without it. We owe much gratitude to the electorate of this state, who had the courage, the compassion, and the effrontery to Christian morals to pass a bill like that.”
“Yes, I too am thankful; more thankful than you know, perhaps. Why, every night, before I go to sleep, I kneel down at the side of my bed, and I bow my head in prayer, and I thank the Lord—who I consider to be Satan, the Dark Prince, because I am a heathen, of course—for giving us the votes to pass The Bill.”
“Amen to that: O, Praise to the Evil Lord Beelzebub! Think of all the rights that would be deprived of us…you wouldn’t be able to visit me in the hospital!”
“Goats don’t go to the hospital,” I smartly pointed out.
“The veterinary hospital,” she countered.
“True enough; but I don’t need to be married to you to visit you in the veterinary hospital. That isn’t why I married you.”
“Then why did you marry me?” she asked me. There was an urgency to her question, doubt in her voice. In her eyes there was sincerity, in her face there was genuine worry, and in her mouth there was something fuzzy and reddish, perhaps a carpet sample, or maybe just a piece of the carpet that she had ripped up with her teeth.
“I married you because I love you, of course,” I said to her, patting her horns, and she smiled, or showed me her teeth, or something. I should mention here that I refer to my goat-wife as “she” and “her” even though I have no accurate way of determining whether said goat is a male or a female. I call my goat-wife—all of my goat-wives, really—I call my goat-wives “she” and “her” because, well, I like to think of myself as a heterosexual.
“Of course I love you, Dear” I assured her again. I quickly ran through the list of my wives to try to remember if I was married to an actual deer, but I didn’t think I was, so I was in the clear with that pet name. “I love you, Dear.”
“And I love you,” she said to me. “Oh, now I remember why I needed to talk to you: I wanted to remind you that your brother Eric’s wedding is today.”
“Oh yes, I almost forgot.” I can be very forgetful at times. “Who is he getting married to this time?” I asked.
“A plate of beef lo mein,” my wife responded.
“Well, he always did love Asians,” I said. We both laughed.
“It should be a lovely ceremony. And we should really get going soon, if we want to get him a gift.”
“A gift? Is that really necessary?”
“Oh yes. Ever since the passage of The Bill, the purchasing of wedding gifts is the only thing keeping our American economy stimulated. Now that The Bill has been passed, no one goes to work anymore; everyone just stays at home, marrying each other, copulating freely, participating in tribal drum circles.”
“Well, fine, we can go buy him a gift. A sex shop just opened up by the elementary school on Cobb Avenue. We can go there.”
“That’s a good idea. Now let’s get—OW!” she cried. Walking toward the door, she had slammed her front leg into an end table.
“Are you okay?” I asked her. “Are you bleeding?”
“I’m always bleating,” she said. “I’m a goat.”
We laughed for a long time after that.