So a raw goat head is sent to Wrigley and immediately the Americani editors think a Greek did it. Even an editor of Greek descent spread a terrible rumor that I might be the person of interest. Not.
Spaniards love goat meat, as do Mexicans, Portuguese, Jamaicans, Persians, Bedouins, Turks, Italians, Sardinians, Serbians, Croatians, Albanians. Almost everyone, that is, except the Cubs.
"They probably say it's Greeks because of the curse," sighed my friend, Sam Sianis, proprietor of the Billy Goat Tavern empire.
His uncle, Billy Sianis, put a curse on the Cubs in 1945 after they denied his goat Murphy the right to enter Wrigley. And the goat had a ticket.
"I love goats," said Sam, who has repeatedly taken his goat to Wrigley in the hopes of removing the curse. "The goat is a smart animal. And clean."
Have the detectives talked to you yet?
"No, are they coming over?" asked Sam. "I don't care what they say, to send a goat head is a terrible thing. I never will bring a dead goat to Wrigley. Never.
"Only a live goat. The fans love the living goat. And a live goat can talk to the people. You know what it says? It says, 'Maaaa.'"
I didn't want to tell Sam this, but if you listen carefully, goats don't say "Maaa."
They say, "Maaa-rmol … Maaa-r-mol … Maaa-rmol." All true Cubs fans know this.
Then we began telling our favorite goat stories. Sam's son Bill told one about a family vacation to his father's village of Paleopyrgo.
"One summer my brother Tom and I were about 6 and 7 then," said Bill, "and we didn't want to leave the village and go to our uncle's house in Athens. So the family said, you can take a baby goat as a pet if you can catch one."
Bill and Tom scampered up the mountain and found a herd of a couple hundred young goats. After hours of chasing, they grabbed one by a leg.
"We brought it to our uncle's house and kept it in the backyard like a pet," said Bill. "We'd go out and pet it. The next summer, when we visited, we asked, 'Where's our pet goat?' My uncle just said, 'It ran away.'"
A similar disappearance happened to my mother's pet goat in Guelph, Ontario. That pet was named Flicka. It was like a dog. She and my uncles ran and played with Flicka on the farm, and the gentle, tender Flicka grew and grew.
One fall afternoon, my grandfather gave each of them a quarter — a fortune in the Depression — to attend a football game and have snacks. Hours later they came home for dinner.
It was a delicious roast served with orzo baked in the meat juices and tomato. Afterward, my mom looked outside and noticed something was gone:
Flicka? Where's Flicka?
"Shh," said my grandmother. "Shhh."
True Cubs fans who remember manager Leo "The Lip" Durocher know it already.
Nice goats finish last.