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THE GOOSE

    Once a goose declared it had a mission to accomplish. 
    A rather unimposing goose, this one might not have struck anybody as being destined to accomplish even the slightest of missions, but it concluded it had the right stuff for the task after hearing voices in its head announcing, “You got a mission, goose. Go!” 
    That the rest of the flock hadn’t heard these voices did not deter the goose in the least. It took this fact as proof, actually, of the unique and urgent nature of its mission. “If I’m the only one to hear voices in my head,” the goose told itself, “That just goes to prove I’m the one goose for this mission. I’ve been chosen to lead the way.” Any hesitation in answering the call and pursuing the mission without second thoughts might well jeopardize its success. Best to wing it on faith and see where winging it would lead. 
    So one day, as the flock moved in an orderly V across the sky, this goose summoned its courage and pushing to the front, declared, “Fella geese, I keep hearin’ voices in my head tellin’ me, an’ tellin’ me, I got this mission to accomplish, see. So I call on alla’ya to follow me into the wild blue yonder!”	
    “Just a moment,” came the response from various parts of the formation. “Shouldn’t we discuss these voices you claim to hear before flying off into who knows what just on your say so?”
    “No need,” the goose answered confidently. “They come from above, see, outta the blue, the yonder, er, the wild blue . . . up there somewhere! Now, you’re wastin’ time . . . time’s awastin’ . . . and that’s bad!”
    The goose’s claims might have been expected to raise a few additional questions among the more experienced of the flock, but when those flying at the head of the V gave it a little thought and decided such determined self-confidence in a goose must mean something, enough of them fell into line behind it to draw the rest along as well.
    Convinced it had a mandate now to follow its voices, the goose took off like a shot, straight up, leaving the earth behind as if it meant to escape the restraints of gravity altogether. As the other geese struggled to follow it ever higher and the air became ever thinner, the predictable consequences began to take their toll. One after another, beginning with the youngest, they started to go limp, hang in the air a moment, and then plummet to earth. 
    “What to do? What to do?” many asked themselves, but again, most of the leading geese gave it a little thought and decided to carry on a bit longer to see if the whole venture turned out okay in the end. This, after their leader, without looking back, warned any change in direction would mean those who’d already fallen had fallen in vain. Geese being geese, staying any course was second nature, so farther and farther away from solid ground they flapped, fewer and fewer all the time.
    Ultimately, the goose with a mission was winging along almost by itself. Other than a few dead-enders now, prepared to follow wherever it took them, the rest of the flock, once so numerous they filled the sky, lay scattered in fields and trees across the landscape. Yet still the goose refused to doubt its mission justified the cost. That confidence rang ever louder in its ears, filling the void ahead. As if heavenly choirs were now urging it on to glory and a place in the history books.
    “Voices ta the righta me. Voices ta the lefta me. Into the ozone soared the six . . . no, better make that five . . . no . . . no . . . four . . . three . . . two . . .”