Yan wasn't really a success. He'd grown up in cabbage country, and smelled like it. His rough look was "endearing", he told himself. He felt like it provided a sense of adventure. Yan was not correct.

What Yan didn't know was that he soon would be a success. That is to say, he would become successful. This success doesn't arrive through any conscious action of Yan's. One of those "right time and place" kind of things. Well, okay, maybe it has a little something to do with Yan's Yan-ness. Observe.

The city of Tarkansas (pronounced like the state) was known for its criminal activities. A good thief could make money, a good fighter could make even more, and a good banker could make out -- well, like a thief. But this story isn't about Tarkansas. Yan stood on a hill in Burid. From a hill in Burid, you could see Tarkansas on the horizon: a swirl of dazzling lights at night, a hazy mass of black in the day. Yan scratched himself and wondered, as faint strains of distant music from what must be a heck of a party drifted Burid-ward from the city, what to do for the rest of the night.

Turning back to his flock, Yan kept wondering. Not much to do besides wonder. Yan's a shepherd, by the way. Well, sort of. Remember how he's not really a success? Well, he's got one goat and a dog. Except the dog doesn't really look like a dog: a man had once asked to buy his furry stool. That was how Yan had named his dog, actually, from his quiet response: "'s a dog." Now he just said "Sdog" (no, not S-dog, think of the word smog, but with a "d") to the apparent furry stool which lounged about his feet, and it would briefly bound to life and be a stunning rendition of a terrier. One of the ones named for a British country. Then it would settle back into earnest stool-hood.

A man was walking up the path toward Yan -- this man was the instrument of Yan's success. He didn't know that yet. He did know a lot of things, though! This was a learned man, named Ebekenizer, but you can call him Eb. I tell you, Eb's got a penchant for making things happen. Once, he rolled over in bed and a war started. Another time he yawned and a man got shot. Maybe those things didn't happen. But I'm not lying about the general premise: old Eb gets things going. All you keeners out there might want to add to your notes that this next paragraph's what we in the biz like to call the inciting force.

Eb leaned casually on the fence (Yan has a fence! Good for him.) and stared at Yan's goat. A moment, and then Yan stopped wondering and looked at Eb. Yan next looked at his goat. Back to Eb. "What do you want?", Yan asked. "The goat?" Eb chuckled. "No one wants your goat, Yan, relax". Yan's disappointment was palpable at all levels. He was so disappointed on that hill in Burid that the partying people in Tarkansas probably calmed down a little. "Good", he said. Yan's easy to get downhearted lately. "Then, what?.

Eb stood back up, reaching his full fearsome five foot nine, and knuckled his back. "I forget. Talk to you tomorrow." Yan watched him stroll back down the path. Then he looked back to the Tarkansas lights. "Why doesn't anyone want my goat?" he asked Sdog. Sdog did one of those dog-yawns. That was the end of it: the next day, Yan would go to Tarkansas to sell his goat. Finally, he could get out of the rat-race shepherding business while he was still a young man. (Yan is not a young man.)

The next morning, Yan'd packed his things and started on his way out of the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood was his hut and Eb's cottage, and a well and an empty shack, on the edge of town. Don't knock Burid, it's just a place where people live. Eb was sitting on his chair in front of his house. The way he sat screamed "Where are you going", but Yan ignored it. He focused on pulling the goat along behind him, then Yan fell down the well. The goat laughed.

At the bottom of the well, which was mostly dry, just a little water, Yan's foot hurt pretty bad. He wasn't stuck for good or anything. People aren't barbarians in Burid; there was a town ladder. Eb was hopefully getting the ladder. Yan's eyes adjusted a bit. The bottom of this well, aside from being wet and kind of chilly, was kind of nice. Bigger than one might expect.

Yan's foot stopped hurting so much while he rubbed it, and he looked up to see Eb looking down at him. "Ladder's coming", Eb said. Neither of them had fallen into the well before, they're just chill dudes is all. "Thanks", Yan said, but Eb had already left. Where Eb had stood a moment ago, the edge of the sun had moved in. Suddenly the well was bright and stuff. Glinty.


Yan looked around in awe. Gleaming walls, a rainbow of the brightest colours any man has ever beheld, stood shining into his very soul. Yan wished his wife could have seen this. He sat down in the water, as the sun did its achingly slow dance across the top of the well. Yan drank the beauty, bathed in it. The sun continued along in timely fashion, and the opalescent, gem-studded walls turned back into the bottom of a well. Then Yan sat quietly, wondering. Sdog barked up above. The ladder.

A sore climb to the top and some handshakes and muttered thanks later, Yan was standing beside his goat. Eb picked up on the change. "You okay?" Yan nodded. He pulled his goat back to his hut. Who cares if anyone wants the goat? Yan was now out of the shepherd game for good.