Into the Vortex
by Brian Eckert
(Terror House Press, 2020)

“Clip-clop. Clip-clop. Clip-clop.” — Goatman, Into the Vortex

I like to think of myself as a goatman. I run freely through the pastures. These are what my dreams are of. Biting the grass as I sprint like a Chihuahua at an old lady’s ankles. The weak sun appearing from around a mountain. Sprinting and pissing myself as I race toward the highlands. I do not wonder why I head for them, just as a Chihuahua does not know why it instantly becomes a wolf again. A goat becoming a mountain goat. Clippity-clop up the steep rock face, like it was nothing.

The world wants answers and I answer them: BAAA-A-A-AAAAA.

I bleat. That’s what I do. I am a goat that bleats and pisses itself. I am free in lush grasses.

Eckert’s Into the Vortex is what is needed as some sort of plague runs rampant over the world. Some say this is a virus. The experts say this. A virus. What exactly is a virus? Is it an insect? As far as I know, it is an insect. I am not going to wiki this. If the experts said this was a satanic revenge ritual of Richard Simmons jacking off into a bonfire, I would not hesitate to accept their Science. They are never wrong.

The hero of Vortex is a man by the name of Zayne Moxley. He is a man after my own heart because he, too, is a goatman. An asshole wearing the trendiest sports attire, he is a rather nasty farm goat. I’ve always liked assholes to the extent they do not care for social norms. Always trying to elicit a response from the mass accepted morality of a culture. I remember being at the Coke machine at work and an asshole employee asked me if I was of the actual retarded ilk, and I answered, “BAAAAA- A-A-AAAAA.”

Moxley is a goat true to its instincts. He would be the best goat in the barn. A successful writer of the farm. His life a succession of following his own radiating nerve fibers in the guts, from instinctively choosing journalism as a major to seeking out a New Age cult in Sedona to climbing mountains—clippity-clop—to sweatpants from designer suits, to reluctant Internet folk hero, to other grander things in the novel that I will not divulge for the sake of the reader.

People look at an animal like a goat and think, how in the fuck did it get up to the top of a radio antenna? Like Moxley, the goat does not know. But it is just not blind stupidity urging animals like Moxley on. They are following the whisper from inside in the lower regions. Following is, perhaps, a bad way of putting it. The whisper is the true self. The Holy Ghost. Like Moxley ponders, “If humanity is indeed something to be overcome, regression is as effective as progression.” It is the pre-apple eating Adam and Eve. Only after that fruit was eaten did man become an “Idea of Man” rather than the near-animal, near-goat Being of Man.

Moxley was chosen just for this reason by the supernatural. He was chosen to receive transmissions from the beyond in Sedona because they saw in him the excellence of his listening by other means than the ear. The Holy Ghost in him was glowing and appreciated. He was rewarded by being made a mountain goat. Hunter Mountain. Slide Mountain in the Catskills. Mount Mansfield in Vermont. Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Without mental reason, he began climbing mountains, each one successively taller.

I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me; and to me
High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
Of human cities torture

Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

It was almost like the Romantics refused to eat the apple.

Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal
Large codes of fraud and woe; not understood
By all, but which the wise, and great, and good
Interpret, or make felt, or deeply feel.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Mont Blanc”

Like a throwback to times unviolated by the mind, reason, and ideals, the Romantics put the feeling into words. But Moxley follows the moods into active living. He puts trust into the thighs which teach by exhaustion and burning to the peaks across America. The thighs, I assure you, teach you more than thoughts. The more they shake before accessing tiptops as you clippity-clop, the better.

Here, the unsurprisingly Libra, Eckert writes of the wisdom of the thighs:

Reaching a dead end of smooth rock, the only option was to lower himself and find a different path to the top. Tentatively, he eased his foot down until it found a hold. His boot slipped as it contacted a patch of moisture trickling out of the rock, but held. His face plastered against the cool stone, he experienced a spasm of terror. Swallows pirouetted in the air around him from their cliffside nests. He felt absolute indifference from the stone, the sky, and the woods. At that moment, he understood that death is impersonal.

I keep obsessively thinking about this passage. It is sublime in the purest Longinus sense. The uncaring nature manifested in the blank rock face while swallows dance in the air. The mountain face to face with Moxley. Two skulls with one assailed by the swallows of thoughts.

The genius is found in daring. People, I think, forget genius was not always seen as it is now. Now it is seen as more of an anomaly that occurs due to genetics, chemical aberration, getting kicked in the head by a mule, rather than a guardian spirit in each of us. I like to think of it as the Holy Ghost beyond the spark of the parents, the thing that makes you individual and relishes in the fact of the individual and separate.

So, in sum, even with Richard Simmons’ cum demon running amuck out there, please do not get caught up with the dark goats on the farm, as Moxley describes the populace in his interview with McFarlan:

Ren McFarlan: Are you saying people want to see the world destroyed?

Zayne Moxley: That sounds about right. If it’s not one end of the world scenario, it’s another, religious and secular alike. People seem to intuitively know that mankind is fallen and that we will destroy ourselves.

Moxley is indifferent concerning the entire matter. Trust me, I am just trying to protect you. When the world gives us ample chance to be successful, we stare obliviously at them whilst pissing ourselves. That is what Moxley tells us to do. He dares us to try out our hooves. If the other goats think you are Baphomet, let them think and be served as dinner like good little farm goats. They are meaningless and, worse, have sinned against the Holy Ghost.

Let’s go clippity-clopping up the mountainsides. At the highest Teton Teats, we shall all become beluga whales.

Click here to buy Into the Vortex from Terror House Press.