Living with the Betel goose

The main difficulty in befriending a Betel goose is the wings. For one thing, they’re not wings at all, but molecular-bond disruption planes that flicker within an 11-dimensional space. Mostly, you don’t notice it, but every now and then the flickering collapses a local tesseract probability, and an annoying film settles over every surface for a moment. Plus, they smell like ozone, and the wings get pretty warm.No one’s ever figured out just how the gooses travel. (Say ‘geese’ and you might as well set your comm to broadcast ‘TERRAN’. Only locals can pull off the half-guttural ‘jhooses’. Don’t try.) One minute, they’re hovering motionless across the room, and the next they’re sitting on your shoulder, crisping your ear-hair. Ultra-sonic flight, some say. Teleportation, say others. Me, I think they just walk. Those three legs have to be doing something, don’t they? I think they’re just walking in another dimension, and it takes a while for ours to catch up.You’re never quite sure you’re communicating with a goose (or jhoose). You can talk to it all you want, but they never say anything. Still, one morning you’ll wake up to find your blankets are made of super-soft Rtarian plum-skin, or that your sock drawer has been organized by total thread length. Or that you have a sock drawer. Take it all in stride, and you’re in for a beautiful friendship.

No one’s really sure what the jhooses get out of it. Theodore likes to perch on top of my rear head, which is good on cool days. I asked it (it’s not clear whether they have gender) once, on our first anniversary, what I could do to make it happy, and that very night, all my pots turned into durna-fiber – completely indestructible, a great heat conductor, and I can just fold them up to put them in the drawer. I admit, I haven’t yet found the trick of getting the durna-fiber to hold its shape, so it’s a bit like cooking in a bag. That’s life with a Betel goose, though. You never quite know what’s coming next.

from the notebooks of B. Morris Allen

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