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Goats in the Village


They were mean as our wives.

They were loud as our kids.

Were as rude as a Beastscowl

And had the scent of a skid.

As a father o’er his children

Or a Redfist o’er his kin,

Breastion tended his goats

’Til the day of his end.

And with the grace of a woman deep in her grief,

The matron of his clan sat us down to a feast.

She fed us his goats with a laugh and a sigh,

And we ate every beast with a curse and a cry.

Cleaning the bones, tossing them to the hound,

We called out to the villains with a laugh and a pound,

Yelling, “Villains they were! One and all, all in one!

But the goats of Breastion taste good on the tongue!”


See the thing is, in 2018 I spent two months writing a 65-verse drinking song about goats. My wife hounded me and tricked me, used her wiles. She used everything but violence to get me to write this. It was never supposed to happen. When I did write it, it was a grueling task. One verse a day, two verses every Saturday, with no days off. It was an endurance trial. I had to live it and fight my way through it. I knew I would need some kind of inspiration, some kind of big motivator to get me through the project. We decided on a party.


There was Mason we called her,

For she stacked every stone,

Would make us a pile

With a grunt, sigh and moan.

She was gray as charcoal

With teeth jagged and worn.

She was spiced with cracked pepper

In a stew with hot corn.



When I got as far as Mason, my son felt inspired and he drew a picture of her standing next to a pile of stones. We used it to make buttons and we used it for the cover of the book the song was sold in. And we had our party. Fourteen people showed up to the first one, in our basement. A friend of mine wrote the music for it. We got a keg, and after every chorus, we took a drink. Things started to lighten up after the fifteenth chorus had been sung. And by the end of the night, everyone in attendance made me promise to throw the party every year.


There was Banshee we called her

’Cause she was a screamer.

She would wail and she’d holler

As if we all beat her.

She sounded like a woman

Giving birth to a baby.

The matron, she fried her

And served her with gravy.



The next year was bigger. Most everybody who had attended the first year came for the second, but we had a few surprises in store for them. First, you might not know this, I don’t know how many barbarian drinking parties you’ve been to, but everybody has to bring their own mug. We all did blind ballot voting to find first, second, and third place in a mug contest. We had a third place medal, a second place medal, and a first place trophy. Just like the first party, we had goat meat chili available, and goat cheese. Only this time we brought the chili downstairs to the basement in a large crock pot. And unlike the first year, on the second year, it was all gone.


There was Sweetie we called her,

And she was our heart.

She loved us, obeyed us,

Was good from the start,

With a long golden coat

And a soul pure as sugar.

We just couldn’t do it.

We decided to keep her.



Then came 2020, the lockdown, the pandemic. The party has to be annually. We can’t miss a year. So the Teller family went into the office. There was a mug contest where people voted online when we showed them our pictures. But no trophies this year, no medals. Willow at the time was interested in the drums, and he played like the Muppets Animal, complete with the growling and spitting. I pulled out my bass, and over the course of the next six months, I wrote a complicated bass line. It was the first piece of music I’d ever written. And just like every year before, Willow drew a goat. We made pins every year with those goats. The Festival of Goats had survived the pandemic. And everybody who had attended one was warmed a little when they saw signs of 2020’s celebration on the internet. The 2020 Festival of Goats gave everybody a little hope that things were gonna one day return to normal.


There was Clothes Pin we called her.

She was trying to help.

She would put in her effort,

Make everyone yelp.

Always chewing up laundry

And belching out lint.

They broiled her slowly,

Served her with mint.



We were back in business in 2021, late in the year. This time attendance was so high everyone had to bring their own camp chairs. We couldn’t rely on our couches and loveseats. This time our drummer was back. We had our guitarist back, and I was playing bass again. It was a celebration of all of us having survived a horrible event in the world. And by some chance and miracle, I had managed to get a person from the Springfield community who volunteered at every fantasy convention to come to my party. He interviewed me on the Visioncon YouTube channel. And we were on our way.


There was Battle we called him,

For he was a fighter.

He fought beside us

Against those mightier.

He was tough as a weapon,

And if you need proof,

When Mitctin bit into him,

He shattered a tooth.



I was going to Visioncon anyway. But when I had the recommendation from the man who had been at the 2021 Goats, it worked. I’m not sure how, but it actually worked. And now the Goats will be set free in the village of Springfield. The Goats of Breastion barbarian drinking song will be performed at Visioncon on April 30 at 6:30 p.m. There will be chili. There will be lemonade, sweet tea, unsweet tea, and water. And just like every year, there’ll be buttons for everyone. I bought the trophies, a trophy for first, second, and third. Much bigger than ever before, because we’re getting bolder. What was a small celebration among friends in 2018 will now be an unknown number of friends and strangers, all together, singing the chorus and taking a drink.

The Goats are being set free in the village of Springfield. And maybe in other places around the country some day. If we’re called and requested, we might end up in your town.


I’ve been invited to attend Tremendicon, June 17-19. I will be sitting three panels where we will discuss writing and certain topics meant to make aspiring authors better at their craft. I’m debuting a lecture I have been working on called Writing Like a Gangster. And I’m not sure, just maybe, if I can sell them on it, we might hear a herd of goats rumbling through the hall.

The Silent War of the Sour Eye

Here's your access to The Silent War of the Sour Eye. The updated short story collection includes "The Banshee," "The Slave," "The Gilded Mares," "Son of the Demontser," "The Forge of Souls," plus the newest chapter of the Sour Eye, "The Master of the Hoodsmen."

Jesse Teller


January | February | March

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Jesse Teller, 2443 S. Ventura Ave., Springfield, MO  65804 USA

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