The Goat-Spy Diaries – Black Nipple


A Spy called Jassasa

Click on Page 1 to read the diary from the beginning

Page the FourthIn which one-half of the face of metropolitan evil is presented to Jassasa who makes small talk and a funny discovery

AS I WAS led up the narrow staircase and into the presence of the gang leader, I was already working out the agenda for the meeting in my mind. Master and I were the principal condiments of the jarred Apocalypse pickle. The canned pictogram was a new spice that had sped up the pickling process but carried unknown consequences for flavour and taste. On my part, I did not have any regrets about leaving the island early, but let us not forget that I was duped into it through artificial means. The diplomatic protocol was breached moreover, by the verbal excesses of 2-in-1 Eye. I had been had twice and was determined that anyone reaching for a third helping of me should get the full Jassasa.

I worked myself up in preparation for my meeting to which I was accompanied by 2-in-1 Eye and Panni-Pack.

2-in-1 rapped once at the door and we were in the gangster’s den.

I have since gone through the standard texts and all the iconic movies on gangsters, their psychology, and their universe, but I have nowhere come across the heavy ether and petulant gloominess that enwrapped Black Nipple. A man in his late thirties, bald-pated and clean-shaved, he was someone on whom a cultivated air of self -importance sat uneasily with a deep sense of personal inadequacy.

2-in-1 Eye went and stood behind his chair. Panni-Pack remained by my side.

“Jassasa! Jassasa! Welcome to the City of Lights!” Black Nipple raised a hand heavily adorned with rings from the table and took a sip from the cup he was holding in his other hand. I noticed approvingly the large bottle of single malt standing on his desk.

He had not gotten up to greet me. That called for heavy negative marking on the spot. I answered his greeting with all the dignity it merited, by showing him some teeth. It bothered him a little because he quickly turned his gaze into his cup. I could see that it bothered 2-in-1 Eye a whole lot more.

“And an advance welcome to your Master, the great Dajjal!” Black Nipple continued as he took another sip.

Quick-pacing a conversation is a game at which two can play. I now thought it prudent to set him straight.

“Master has sent you a message!” I said.

“A message? For me?” Black Nipple leaned forward then looked up at 2-in-1 who seemed confused.

“Master says, Fuck you!”

I don’t remember if I have mentioned anywhere in these pages that I am very good at playing it by the ear.

Everything moved rather quickly after that, what with 2-in-1 reaching for something nesting in his butt cleavage, my shouting, “Leash your bitch, Nipple!” and the latter raising an arm to restrain 2-in-1, and just as things were stabilizing, a foamy gob of spit flying from my mouth and audibly landing onto Black Nipple’s glass-topped desk.

“That’s hello from me!” said I.

Crimson in the face, Black Nipple rose from his desk with such urgency and violence that it knocked down his cup from the table, spilling all the good single malt.

I used the occasion to raise my right rear hoof and leisurely scratch behind my right ear and under the chin. From the corner of my eye I noticed Panni-Pack staring at me rather oddly. But I was pensive. I had just noticed a rather large paper bag on the chair before me writ with the words Chairman Mao. The Chinese were also involved?

I was feeling tired, and stepping forward I pulled out a chair and heavily threw myself onto it.

After rolling his eyes sideways sullenly, Black Nipple turned them upon me.

“I’m also very sorry for the misunderstanding!” I said earnestly.

Black Nipple lowered his eyes, looked up to exchange a quick glance with Panni-Pack standing behind me, and then his still crimson face broke into a diabolic smile. An economic laugh later he entered with, “What a fucking country!”

It would have been premature to make comment. I kept my quiet.

“Clean up this mess,” Black Nipple turned toward 2-in-1 Eye. “And pour me and buddy Jassasa here a drink. Show some respect to our guest!”

That was a nice touch. Black Nipple had realised that 2-in-1 Eye had now entered into my bad graces. To please me he wished to humiliate his minion by making him clean up the mess when he could have as easily asked Panni-Pack to do it. That would conveniently put him in his place.

“Thank you,” I said as I received my drink from 2-in-1 Eye. He avoided my gaze. I heard Panni-Pack chuckle.

“Now leave us, we’ll have a nice chat together,” Black Nipple said.

I guess the “sizing up” ceremony was over and I had been found of full measure.

Black Nipple was reaching for the Chairman Mao bag. It turned out to be food. I then remembered Master reading me some received wisdom about the way to a man’s heart passing through his big intestine. Or was it the small intestine? Either way, this Chairman Mao knew it and was trying to get to his man. I must look him up one of these days.

“Cheers!” Black Nipple said.

“Cheers!” I said, and took a sip.

Now I know my single malt. Both Master and I have a hard time keeping off it, and we have tapered off our excesses with the bottle after great struggle and mutual bonding. Thanks to the small dramas weekly enacted in the sea between the coast guards and the smugglers, we have often had occasion to fish out with Master’s long pole crates of the very best waters thrown overboard by the smugglers, and floating in the big saline in styrofoam packs, before they can return to collect them.

I can swear on my testicles that Black Nipple, this man who was supposed to be pulling the strings of Karachi underground puppet theater, was not drinking it. A city where even gangster lords do not know the difference between A-grade stuff and swill must be really something. Black Nipple had got something right after all. What a fucking country!

Page 5 (coming soon)

The Goat-Spy Diaries – From Dajjal Island to Keemari Jetty


A Spy called Jassasa

Click on Page 1 to read the diary from the beginning

Page the ThirdIn which Jassasa learns the truth about the infamous Dajjal Island and the circumstances of his landing at Keemari Jetty
A VAGUE ANXIETY took hold of me as I steered my vessel toward the source of light which was now blinking in a signal. Who were these men? How did they know my name? I was equally baffled by the phenomenon of the other shore materialising so near the island. I had been barely a half hour in the sea, and, as I believe, going in circles, before I was hailed. Had I entered a parallel world where time and distances shrank and strangers could informally ID me? I privately cursed myself, too, for losing my composure when they called out my name. I should have made a more dignified entry into their first impressions.

Soon I was at the pier where I was received by a party of three men. I needed no introduction, it seemed. I was not only amply expected, but from the passionate bodily greetings lavished on meI got an indication of how powerfully welcome I should feel among them. The leader of the delegation introduced himself as Nazru 2-in-1 Eye. He greeted me with voluble emotion and informed me that his boss awaited me “with open arms”. Soon thereafter his two lieutenants, smiley faced Pappu Panni-Pack and the robustly spiritless Chhotu Charsi, covered our small party with a bed-sheet and we rushed toward a waiting jeep under its fluttering cover. If I had not lately consigned my fate into the hands of Providence, I would have inquired the why and wherefore from my hosts. But I thought that perhaps it was some religious ritual; it did make me feel all excited about the adventures that awaited me.

I was seated in the rear between Charsi and Panni Pack. The 2-in-1 Eye man drove, and the jeep soon left the jetty and turned into a street.

I was eager to satisfy my curiosity about the location of our island but wished to broach the matter discreetly. I leaned forward and asked 2-in-1 Eye in a whisper if I was in the designated land. He nodded his head. I next asked how far I had come. He expectorated a stream of betel juice into the breeze before answering, “One mile.” Perplexing as his answer was, I must say I was prepared for it after the experience of my micro journey. But I wondered how Master would receive the information that all this time we had lived at a stone’s throw from the designated land.

A while later I noticed 2-in-1 Eye watching me in the rear-view mirror. But as I stared back thinking he was trying to convey a message, he looked away. We kept driving in silence through the streets and I had a feeling that we were randomly choosing the alleys and side streets into which we made turns. Was someone tailing us and was 2-in-1 Eye trying to shake him off?

As we turned into Burns Road I got the strangely terrifying smell of burning goat flesh. My hair on end, I rose in panic from my seat and let out a nervous bleat. I was quickly pulled down by Charsi. Both he and Panni-Pack laughed but 2-in-1 Eye became apoplectic. “Shut him up! Shut him up! He will get us all killed!” he shouted. I was stunned by his outburst. All his affability had vanished. Charsi and Panni-Pack also sobered up. The latter put a hand over my muzzle but his grip was not suffocating.

As we drove onwards I considered my situation. Even disregarding the impolite bump our new friendship had received, I should realize that my life was in some danger. But what? Maybe the meeting with his boss would clarify matters. I leaned back in the seat resignedly. I was wrong to assume that I had had a soft landing.

We were now travelling in the dark recesses of Kharadar. We came to a stop outside a building that seemed to be tottering on its foundations. 2-in-1 Eye got down and disappeared into a dark staircase through an entrance. Charsi got down to relieve himself and have a smoke, and I found myself in the grinning company of Panni-Pack.

I wished to take back some of my fate into my own hands now and decided to query my companion about the circumstances of our meeting. I knew I had little time and I had to be careful with my words so as not to raise any suspicions. But Panni-Pack proved a tap that was turned on all too easily. Besides, he was intimately involved from the beginning in the operation that led to my presence there. The summarised tale he made of it knocked my cognitive faculties into a mad disarray.

From his account I realised I had been received into the hands of a gang. Their leadera man with spiritual tendencieshad thought of the original idea of recruiting to his cause the Dajjal when he appeared. He planned to use Master’s powers to eliminate members of the rival gang with whom his men fought daily battles for the control of the city. In search of clues about the whereabouts of the Dajjal, and to learn of his expected time of advent, he had visited a fortuneteller at the shrine of Pir Abdullah Shah Ghazi. The fortuneteller had drawn lots with the help of a parrot and learned that Dajjal and his goat-spy were occultating away on the Oyster Rocks islets a short distance from the Karachi beach. However, Master’s advent was a good ten years away.

The unexpected news of Dajjal’s close proximity and easy accessibility convinced the gangster that he could carry out his plan by expediting Dajjal’s advent. But it could only be spurred by the goat-spy leaving the islet of his own volition.

At a meeting of the gang, Panni-Pack’s droll imagination furnished the idea of sending the bottled messages to rouse Dajjal. His was the hand that had drawn the ones I so admired. When I told him that I was a fan of his work, Panni-Pack sheepishly admitted that when Dajjal was not roused by the bottled messages it was he who had stolen into our cave one day when it lay vacant and learned of my canned toy collection. That had given him the idea to address one directly to me which led to my presence on those shores. He had left the steamer there and returned on an inflatable boat.

I looked hard at Panni-Pack. He lowered his eyes. Somehow I could not find it in my heart to be angry with him.

But I braced myself. I had appeared in the designated land ten years ahead of time and there was no knowing what shape things would now take. I had to expedite Master’s advent as well by a full ten years, which would have its own set of unknown consequences. It was all very irregular and held the promise to become even more so.

We heard footsteps coming down the stairwell. 2-in-1 Eye had come to take me to their boss. As Charsi slowly materialised from the shadows, I asked Panni-Pack in a whisper, “What’s the name of your boss?”

He laughed a sad laugh and answered, “Black Nipple.”

Page 4

The Goat-Spy Diaries – “Oye, Jassasa!”

A Spy called Jassasa

Click on Page 1 to read the diary from the beginning

Page the SecondIn which is revealed how Jassasa started in search of the designated land aboard a steamer furnished by Providence

NO SOONER DID I inform Master about the End of Time thing than he turned upon me with an I knew it! They have got to you! You’re now in league with them! accusation. He pulled me out of the cave by my ear, and pointing toward the watery horizon with his other hand shouted, “Go then! Go into the world and fulfill your destiny. But remember, I shall not be in the offing. Not in a year’s time, not in a hundred. Tell it to the scrawling apes who sent the summons.” With that he roughly pushed me away and returned to his cave.

And there you have in thumbnail sketch my fickle Master and his usual lording over a small, helpless goat. I have put up with a great deal over the years without a bleat, but the injustice of the words accusing me of treachery broke my heart. Now why would he say such a thing to his own Jassasa? Perhaps a short separation from Master would not be a bad thing after all? It would teach him the value of a goat friend.

Lately, I have felt too in my wattles a longing to explore the terraqueous globe whose centre Master and I have inhabited in stationary isolation for so long. I headed for the shore, asking for a sign from Providence the while if indeed it was time and it wished me up and about my business. Lo and behold, close to the mangrove causeway an unmarked steamer of immaculate construction had materialized to carry me away to my waiting destiny. It flew a green and white flag. I was going to the land of grass and water.

That settled it. Master willing or not, I would not shirk my responsibility to find him the designated land where he must announce his adventa place which some prolix grammarian had described as “ringing with the profane cacophony of men in ecstasies of depraved thought.” Guessing from the pictogram missives received on these shores, the place surely existed. It was just a matter of finding it for Master to yoke to his cause. I decided to go unarmed, but for appearances alone: My little cranial projections are hard as chisels and keen-edged as daggers. Having no longings for martyrdom myself I can always lend a helping horn to others so inclined.

I knew I’d see Master soon enough, but a feeling was growing inside me that it was the last I was seeing of the island where all my prissy billy youth was spent. I trotted away with tearful eyes to say farewell to my favourite haunts. Ours being a small island, it did not take me long, and I returned to the quay to check how sturdy was the vessel.

I guess one cannot find fault with steamers furnished by Providence, but it could have done with a spot of cleaning. The passages were marked with betel juice and there was more than a whiff of uric acid about the place. I went on the deck for a breather and found a lounge-chaise where I lay down to stretch myself.

The gentle undulation of the steamer on the waves lulled me to sleep. I woke up with a start upon hearing a loud thud which was followed by Master’s bellow, “Jassasa, come help!” I looked down and saw Master standing on the quay laden with sacks of beans he had been hoarding in the cave for my departure day. He had thrown one onto the deck and was struggling under the weight of a large one.

“You have a long journey ahead of you!” he said as he held it up one to me.

That’s typical of him. Rather than apologize for any words said or deeds done, he just carries on as if nothing has happened. At another time I’d have taken a stand to force him to apologize, but I did not wish to leave on a bitter note. I quietly pulled up the sack which he offered me. He kept bringing more and just the sight of them made my heart sink. I would not be long in reaching the Other Shore on a prolonged diet of beans!

By sunset the steamer was fully loaded, and now the prospect of our separation was fully upon us.

“I might come, after all,” Master muttered as he passed me on the deck.

“No need,” I said testily, recalling his earlier spoken harsh words.

Master abruptly turned tail, jumped down the steamer and scurried lumpishly away to his cave. I turned my face away.

We had both proved bad at saying our goodbyes at the first opportunity offered us. There was now nothing more to do but steam away. That I did.

Alas I did not realise that it was a moonless night. The darkness was soon upon the waters and the vessel, and my plans to watch the dance of moonlight on the waves had to be put in abeyance. I steered the boat with a steady hand but a feeling that I was going in circles did not leave me.

I switched off the engines and came up on deck. There was utter darkness all around.

I had begun wondering if darkness could be whiled away by a tryst with the beans when I thought I heard human voices nearby. Another ship? I asked myself. But where were its lights? I hoped it was not going to ram into the steamer. I stood at the bow peering into the darkness. Then a powerful light shone in my face and blinded me. As I raised a hoof to shade my eyes, a voice called out, “Oye, Jassasa!”

I got such a shock that I nearly fell into the sea.

Packets of coarse laughter bounced on the waves.

Page 3



The Goat-Spy Diaries


A Spy called Jassasa

Being the private papers of Jassasa, the goat-spy of the true False Messiah, the End-of-Times Deceiver, the One-Eyed Antichrist aka Dajjal

Page the 1stIn which is revealed how Dajjal and Jassasa were alerted to the approach of the End of Time

OKAY, SO NOW it’s confirmed: Evil’s really risen in the world.

This morning as I lay supine at the cave entrance, my Master returned from his walk by the seashore and tossed me a tin can. It was the kind in which one finds stuffed toys. They come to me by hazardthe same process by which other inedible items of value found washed up on our island have entered my collection. Already in possession of the stuffed moose and kangaroo in this particular series, I was hoping this time the bounty of the sea had capsized a boat to send me a stuffed elephant.

As I eagerly pulled at the tab with my teeth, Master came close to share in my joy. But the popping of the can was the knock-knocking of evil. When he saw what the can contained, Master let out an Arrrgh! and rushed out of the cave. It was not a stuffed animal that had fallen out of the can but a familiar piece of cardboard covered with pictograms depicting Master and me in attitudes that offered slanderous sexual comment on our Platonic relationship. When the first such message was received in a clear glass bottle about a month back, Master had reluctantly and haltingly explained to me what these reprehensible motifs signified. Seeing how upset he had become upon its receipt, I had quietly put the paper back into the bottle, sealed it as before and thrown it back into the sea. I did the same with the next few bottled messages. I read all of them and must admit that some of them were funny.

Once, when Master was out walking, with me following grazing lazily at a distance, I looked up and caught him hurling a bottle into the sea. I felt glad that he had learned to ignore those dirty messages. I did not realize that before returning the bottle to the sea, my impulsive Master had put in it a paper scrawled with a pictogram message, for the sender, after his own heart.

That was a big mistake. The person or persons sending those bottled messages, perhaps in the hope of finding some confirmation of Master’s presence in those aquatic environs, had finally received it in his own hand.

From the next day we daily found multiple bottles on our shores. Sometimes there were two, sometimes as many as four. I once also saw a fifth bottle floating in the waves but for some reason it did not make it to the island. The fecundity of a dirty mind is a phenomenon deserving close study. No two pictograms were alike, but there was clearly more than one party involved in the drawing of them. I had become an amateur of the genre from daily study and could see manifested in one particular style the mechanical thrashings of a caustic wit.

Master let me handle the gathering and disposal of the bottles. He had learned his lesson.

The present canned message, however, is a provocation addressed to me. Whoever sent it knows not only about our presence on the island, he also knows I like stuffed toys out of cans. To malign the innocent relationship between a man and his goat friend is one thing; to make a document of it and secret it away in an innocent can of promised toy something else altogether. It is the sign of malignant evil uncoiling itself and now in a slimy, slithering fashion fully afoot in the world.

It means of course that the time has come to set in motion the plans for Master’s foretold advent. I have to gently break it to him. He has more than once made it clear to me where he stands on that whole creating-rumpus-at-the-End-of-Time thing. He has done what he was required to do, imparting to me a training in disguise and such, but he has often told me of his absolute happiness in his life on the isle in my companionship, and that he would much rather spend his days there to the End of Time making gentle rumpus with his hairy paws splashing in the waves.

But alas, destiny is not for our own making as frequently as we would like it to be. Moreover, I have been poked cruelly in my soft emotions by the canned message received today, and I am full eager that the person or persons who have sent the unsigned pictograms should speedily encounter their just deserts.

I think I will tell the Master to prepare for his advent after he has had his supper. As soon as he finishes his sea-urchin torte I will spring him with a melodious “Hear, hear! Da End of Time’s here.”

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