Stumbling into my apartment, red wine merry and with the evidence staining the edges of my thin mouth scarlet, I searched my mind for what I wanted. It is only at times of heightened emotion that we can really tune into ourselves and ask:
What is it I want, not need, but want? Tell me what you want, what you really, really want.
This is what happens to me when I have been drinking wine and the grapes take over. Usually what I want, more than anything else in the world, is a sandwich. Two slices of soft bread with more condiments slathered between the layers than any of the other fillings I have managed to salvage from the fridge. I make it messily, swaying in the kitchen, then tip toe it into my room, devouring it under the covers as though I am hiding it from the many starving people sleeping soundlessly under my bed.
My housemate last year told me that she always knew that I’d come home drunk by the peanut butter stains she found on all the cupboards in the morning. I am not one for hiding the evidence.
But this night it was not a sandwich that I required to quench my hollow want. No food would do. I wanted something more nourishing, something more substantial. I wanted Golden Goose.
Golden Goose is a fairy story which surprisingly involves a goose, who can lay golden eggs. It has a moral, as all good fairytales do, and this one is about greed. The goose won’t lay for anyone who wants the golden eggs to make them rich, it will only lay them for those who don’t mind if he lays normal eggs or golden eggs. He is a real champ.
We performed Golden Goose in my school when I was about eight or nine. I was a greedy sister and had to wear a braided wig made out of brown wool with a little hat stitched on top. The only thing I can say about it is that it wasn’t as itchy as it looked. A little boy with a blonde bowl haircut and thick Harry Potter glasses played the goose and had to jump around the stage in a yellow tissue paper costume. I highly admired the teacher’s casting choices.
I don’t know whether it was a combination of having a semi-main part in the show, or the strength of the story, but I became obsessed with the Golden Goose. I thought about it all the time, constantly sang the songs (the lyrics were mainly just “golden goose, golden goose!”) and listened to my audio book cassette of the story every night, for months.
I don’t know how it came into my head that night, as I searched the fridge for sandwich fillers that I knew weren’t there, but suddenly I knew I could never be happy again until I listened to that audio recording of The Golden Goose. Not any old recording, MY recording. With the actor’s voices that had filled my head all those years ago, and that special bell noise that told you when it was time to turn the cassette over to the next side.
The problem is that many many people have recorded the story as, apparently, it’s quite popular in the world. In my compromised state I was sure that a quick Google search would lead me to all my childhood dreams. Alas, all I could find were the wrong recordings, people with unfamiliar voices saying those familiar lines did little to comfort me.
I can remember vividly the noise effect they used for the goose when he was laying an egg, the squawk, squawk of his beak. It sounded not dissimilar to someone having a difficult time in the toliet. That was all I wanted to hear, was that too much to ask for?
Even though I had work early the next day, I stayed up trawling the internet, like a teenage boy who had just discovered free porn, with only the words ‘Golden Goose Audio’ to direct me. I needed an injection of nostalgia but couldn’t find a dealer to give me the goods. I had the demand but not the supply. I was flogging a dead horse (which is a very un-vegan thing to say).
Eventually fell asleep on my keyboard, the letter G dancing across the Google search box as my nose hit off it as I gently whispered in my sleep, “Golden goose, golden goose…”
Next time I am just going to make a sandwich and go to bed, and not give into my incessant drunken need to relive my childhood in the quiet hum of the early morning shadows. That’s what Golden Goose would do.