So I finally tracked down the goat last night, after many back-channel talks and the delivery of a bag of cash to an undisclosed location where some shady characters in trench coats were waiting.
(Actually, I just offered the goat a beer. And the glass in which it came. But this sounds better).
(And if, at this point, you have to ask "What goat?", you're at the wrong address. Vacate this post immediately).
Anyway ... I talked to the goat. The topic of conversation, of course, was karma, of which the goat knows much, and which is threatening to undergo a sea change on the north side of Chicago.
The goat is not pleased with this development.
"You come on my turf, you better be prepared to throw down," he says.
This upon the news that the Cubs have elected to leave the baseball Kyle Schwarber hit the other night where Kyle Schwarber hit it, i.e. the top of Wrigley Field's mammoth new videoboard. There it will remain until the conclusion of the playoffs, a sort of anti-Bartman ball designed to emit waves of positive energy in the days/weeks to come.
"Bartman," the goat snorts. "That poser."
Then he shakes his head mournfully.
"I swear, these Cubs people," he goes on. "Year after year, they let themselves get sucked in, and year after year I have to go upside their let's-play-two, Jody-Davis-throwback-jersey-wearin' melons with the Curse. It's like they think they're normal fans of a normal baseball team or somethin'. Sad, man.
"Now they think all they gotta do is leave a baseball on top of a scoreboard and it's all good, the Curse is lifted, I'm just another entree for their post-World Series barbecue. Because, you know, it's destiny, right? It's these young kids and Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon and his pet flamingo, and, sweet Jesus, how can they lose? How can it possibly go Dixie on them this time?"
The goat takes a bite out of the beer glass, chuckles mirthlessly, swallows.
"Damn fools," he says.
"I mean, for the love of Harry and Jack, didn't we hear this same crap in 1984? Didn't we hear it in '89? And in 2003, wasn't it an absolute can't miss, the Cubs coming back to Wrigley with Prior and Wood going and the Cubbies up 3-2?
"And what happens? Thaaat's right. Moises Alou comes unglued over a ball he probably couldn't have caught anyway. The most reliable glove in baseball boots a surefire double play ball -- Alex Gonzalez must hit his knees every night thanking God for Steve Bartman -- and the Cubs do what the Cubs do.
"They lose. Spectacularly."
The goat shakes his head again.
"Now they've got Arrieta and Lester lined up to start the NLCS, and the kids are launching baseballs into space like the north side is Cape Canaveral in 1962, and, ooh, it's gonna happen this time, it really is," he says. "And I'm the one who's gotta remind them how eerily reminiscent of 2003 all that is. I'm the one who's gotta point out this is just the 2.0 version of Prior and Wood on the bump and Sammy 'n' them sending baseballs into lunar orbit."
The goat falls silent. And I interject that, well, maybe, but the 2003 Cubs didn't have what the 2015 Cubs have. They didn't have the Schwarber Ball up there on top of the scoreboard. They didn't have karma working for them instead of against them for once.
The goat eyes me balefully.
"Yeah?" he sneers. "Well, I've been doing the karma thing since '45, sonny. The Schwarber Ball's been doing it for, what, five minutes? So let's go. Bring me that ball. I'll show it what destiny looks like. It looks like me kicking its ass."
"OK, so I probably won't kick its ass. I'll probably just eat it. But you get the -- Hey! Hey! Put me down! PUT ME DOWN!!
"AND WHERE'D THAT GRILL COME FRO--!?"