Chapter 1: Goat's Head Soup

Author: Alex Keaton
Date: 11th July 1997

"Fuck!" said Erica with feeling.

It had not been a good day. It was bad enough that she had only lost her job as beauty editor on Cosmopolitan a few weeks before, and simply because she'd refused to run a piece of advertorial that suggested that royal jelly might be a useful lubricant.

Erica Sheen suffered few delusions about her work; she knew that what half Australia's women apparently viewed as serious, objective beauty advice was just a series of mildly rewritten press releases from companies who were either currently advertising in the magazine, or who were being enticed to advertise in the future. But even she had to draw the line at an article proposal called "Royal Jollies" which had been put together just because some new bunch of cosmetics con artists called Bee Yourself thought they it might flog a bit more of what was basically insect droppings by suggesting liberal application before getting lubricious.

Having tried the honey/friction experience (as recommended by The Joy Of Sex) and found her sheets stuck to the mattress for a week, Erica was convinced that bees and sex had very little to do with each other. Besides, the deputy editor was a complete cow.

But that wasn't what was causing Erica to say "Fuck!" Nor was it the fact that she had only been able to find a job as a sales assistant at Price Attack in the Queen Victoria Building, where she suffered the humiliation of selling cosmetics that weren't even name brands. Erica uttered the word "Fuck!" for much simpler and entirely understandable reasons.

Erica was saying "Fuck!" because somebody had nailed a fresh goat's head to her apartment door.

Animal Liberation and the rarity of goats in the urban environment have ensured that this is not a common experience. Yet despite that, Erica had a fairly shrewd idea who might be responsible. Two days before, she had broken up with her psychotic boyfriend Brett, a blonde gym junkie who couldn't understand why she was so opposed to the royal jelly lubricant angle, and had even suggested they try it out themselves. She'd let him finish his minestrone, then she'd thrown him out.

Erica was fairly sure that Brett had a goat-farming cousin in the Southern Highlands, so getting the head would have been fairly easy. However, a brief examination of the head showed it had been fixed to the door with a nail gun. Brett had a pathological fear of nail guns, owing to an unfortunate experience with a sadistic uncle in his formative years. It seemed unlikely he could have handled a nail gun for long enough to pin a goat's head to the door. But if not him, then who?

"I'm too tired to think about this," she said to herself. "I need a nice cup of Milo." Shaken, but not stirred, she unlocked the door and entered the apartment. What she saw made her gasp out loud with shock.

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