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THE GOOSE WITH ZERO DOWN • by Marisa Mangione

No, you can’t have that water gun. Put it back. I told you, Mommy only brought money for food. Not for toys. Tommy, you put that box down or we’re going right back to the car. I mean it. Sit down in the cart, and I’ll tell you a story. Do you want to hear a story, or do you want to go to the car? You want a story? Okay, quit crying and sit down.

Once there was this guy who had this goose. The goose was gold. And the guy would go around buying stuff, but he never had any money. So then he’d have to be like “Just a minute, I think my goose is about to lay an egg.”

Where did he get the goose? It doesn’t matter where he got the goose. He just had it, okay? Maybe it came in the mail.

Then he’d pay with the egg, which was also gold, like the goose, and everything would be cool, but sometimes the goose would take a while to lay the egg, and some punks started thinking to themselves, “I’m sick of waiting. I’ve got to get a piece of that goose!”

So the punks would lunge at the goose, but they’d just get stuck to its toosh. And this kept happening. These punks would see that there were all these other mooks stuck to the goose’s tooshie, but it didn’t stop them from trying to snatch it.

I don’t know how they were stuck to the goose. They just were, okay? Once they decided they wanted a piece of that goose, there was no shaking them.

So then the guy was walking around with his goose and a bunch of mooks stuck to the goose’s toosh, and it was getting old. He didn’t even want to go out with the goose anymore because he just couldn’t handle it.

But, you know, sometimes he had to go out to buy some milk, or bread, or eggs… the regular kind, not the gold ones. And he had all these mooks to feed, and it was just getting out of control. And he never carried cash, because why would he? He’s got the goose! So then he had to go shopping with the whole entourage, and they all want what they want, and they were all pawing at the goose, and the goose just could not lay any more eggs than it was already laying. The poor bird just couldn’t keep up.

So it was this whole big mess, and the guy couldn’t see his way out of it.

Why doesn’t he get another goose? It’s not that easy because you can only imagine how many dopes will be coming out of the woodwork if they see him with two golden gooses. Besides, the goose is magic, and where is he going to get another one of those? I know, in the mail. You’re very smart. Now sit down.

So then this giant came along, and he said, “Hey, I’ll take care of those guys for you, but I’m keeping the goose.”

Where did the giant come from? It doesn’t matter where the giant came from. He’s enormous. He can see everything that’s going on.

So the guy said okay, and the giant stepped on all the mooks and squashed them like they were bugs. And then he reached down, grabbed the goose, and he just yanked it. I mean, he just ripped it toward him, and the goose came up, except maybe it still had a hand stuck to it or something. But the giant didn’t care because maybe the hands would just fall off later or he’d eat them or something. It’s not important.

So the guy was happy because he could come and go without worrying about all the mooks hanging around, but he had no goose, so now he had to go out and find a better job and worry about paying his bills with cash, and it was a huge headache.

And that’s why you can’t have a water gun.


Marisa Mangione is a Jersey girl who writes about medicine and other weird, gross, and magical things.


GD Star Rating
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THE GOOSE WITH ZERO DOWN • by Marisa Mangione, 4.1 out of 5 based on 62 ratings
Posted on August 11, 2014 in Humour/Satire, Stories
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  • Paul A. Freeman

    We’ve all been there! Great story, great voice. I’m sure you’ve got the Brothers Grimm turning in their grave.

  • Lisa Walpole Finch

    Loved it. It was well-told, engaging and fun.

  • Tibor Simic

    A beautifully crafted piece capturing the essence of a life experience. Also rises interesting questions about the storytelling. Overall, a thought-provoking work. The voice and the attitude are a delicious icing on the cake. Full five stars.

  • Beth Goldie

    Marisa, you nailed it! Now I’m looking to see what else you’ve written.

  • Cassandra Jane Parkin

    Absolutely loved this – the sinister retelling, the slightly distracted voice of the narrator, the presence of her child, the perfect last line. Five stars from me.

  • Genghis Bob

    Loved this; loved it. And by that I mean, I really, really liked it.

    There; bona fides out of the way, here’s the stuff I specifically didn’t fancy:

    “Punks”. Seemed out of character with the rest of the story.

    “Toosh”. Every right-thinking person knows it’s “tush”. Really.

    Stuff I especially liked:

    “Mooks”. What a great word, and perfectly deployed.

    ” . . . but he had no goose, so now he had to go out and find a better job and worry about paying his bills with cash, and it was a huge headache.

    And that’s why you can’t have a water gun.”

    This is life, distilled to its essence. That’s why four stars.

  • Eva

    This is pretty magical! Love it!

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    I’m with you on everything. Plus–it’s “geese.” I get the Jersey voice here–but it’s still “geese.”

  • Carl Steiger

    I concur on “punks.” But I do believe “toosh” and “gooses” might actually be used in a conversation with a small child (not that I’d ever do it myself, mind you)..

  • MaryAlice Meli

    Lighten up, yinz guys. Geez. Mook-goose-toosh – they like have the same soul sound, y’know? And funnier than being accurate. This was a total blast, Marisa. I loved, loved it.

  • Rose Gardener

    Fabulous voice and story telling. Love how I was able to imagine the kids questions in my mind. 5 stars

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    Thing is–they don’t–and when you’ve got the MC’s voice in your head and you’re right there with her, and then a vowel trips you up like an unexpected boulder–throws off that great rhythm you were enjoying so much. Mook sounds like tush and neither of ‘em sounds like goose. Sure it’s a small thing, but the Juysi voice was so almost perfectly spot-on…and with slang, I think, you do have to be accurate. But anyway I did love the story.

  • Carl Steiger

    Five minutes of online research shows that a debate over how to pronounce “mook” has been going on for some years. For the sake of this story (which I also loved), I’ll go with “mook rhymes with duke.”

  • Chris Antenen

    Anyone who has ever been in a store with a ‘cart and a kid’ will get this story amd not even care about the rhyming or not rhyming words. She’s makmg it up om the fly. Great jpb, real, funny, and thoughtful. 5 big stars.

  • S Conroy

    Really enjoyed this one. The story in the story worked so well.

  • MPmcgurty

    Well-written and well-told. Wonderful, wonderful voice. Five stars (plus another for making my eyes water with laughter). Please, please don’t change “gooses” to “geese”.

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    Thing is, I saw her as a tough, smart, savvy mom, speaking in her natural vernacular, and the slang was sharp and funny and dead-on. But the use of “gooses” made me think of a slang connotation of that word, and just distracted me from the great flow of the story.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Funnily enough, I read this with a male, father’s voice.

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    I should have written “saw the MC as…”
    I think any parent would easily identify with the protagonist.

  • Chris Antenen

    BTW, I thought the title very funny on so many levels. Would love to know this author as a friend. She could probably make the sun shine on the worst day, but alas I am 82 and have (and had) more than my share of really good friends. I suspect she does, too. — Write a lot, Marisa,. You have a unique voice.

  • Dustin Adams

    Loved this one early on, still do. Great job Marisa!

  • terrytvgal

    fun! 4stars

  • MPmcgurty

    I believe the MC is the mommy. She says it in the first paragraph, doesn’t she? But it reads easily as either.

  • MPmcgurty

    I really do get what you’re saying, and I’ve had that happen to me, where you’re sailing along and a word or phrase pops you out of the moment. This one got a pass from me, even made me laugh harder. Maybe I’ve read too many Damon Runyon stories. :)

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    I really appreciated that the author didn’t “dese,” “dems” and “dose” us to death–and I could see her as the type to call out her kid on bad usage i.e. “so what’s wrong with you? You can’t speak English?” That’s why I liked her use of slang so much–it’s very localized flavor but doesn’t disrespect the brains of her protagonist. So “gooses” just threw me out of the rhythm. Just a very tiny quibble over an otherwise great story.

  • Andrew

    The story behind this story was funny

  • http://lynnlipinski.me Lynn Lipinski

    Oh my, what a fun read! Loved the side notes to the kiddies and the wild imaginings of a distracted mommy.

  • D McMillan

    Harrassed mum, irritating acquisitive child, a little magic and a great punchline. What’s not to like!

  • Lillian Duggan

    I love this! It’s so easy to be right there with the mom, which is a sign of a well-crafted story.

  • Carl Steiger

    At first, I envisioned the entire family on this shopping trip, with Mommy holding the purse and Daddy pushing the cart and dealing with the kid. But you’re right, Mommy must be the one doing the talking here.
    And I must have really enjoyed this, as I keep coming back to read more comments…

  • Nisi Prius

    When I got to the punchline, I imagined that the story may not be entirely random — what if Mom had an annuity (settlement?), fell behind on debts and had to sell it? Now has to survive on an income from a modestly-paying job, and therefore cannot afford to appease her son at the store (like perhaps she used to). Much enjoyed.

  • joanna b.

    everyone’s said everything so i’ll just say, “loved the voice.” and, also, this is one fairy tale that hasn’t been rewritten by 8 million writers. what a blessing!

  • Cranky Steven

    Thanks for the laugh! :)

  • MPmcgurty

    The best short fiction makes us imagine scenarios like that, don’t they? We see this mother in the moment, dealing with life in a good-natured way, and it stands alone as a story, leaving us curious but not confused.

  • http://www.derekmcmillan.com/ Derek McMillan

    Harrassed mum, irritating acquisitive child, a little magic and a great punchline. What’s not to like!

  • Sarah Russell

    Love, love love this story! And I love gooses instead of geese, and mooks and punks ( because that’s what they are, after all). Perfect 5 stars from this fan!

  • Pingback: Interview with Marisa Mangione: EDF’s Top Author for August « Flash Fiction Chronicles

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