Mad Cows & Englishmen
Here is a small bonus: we're working on a grant application that uses this tale, so we're sharing a page or so with everyone and Patreons can read the remaining 6k words.

Mad Cows and Englishmen


A popular way of thinking about choice is to imagine a situation that

merely requires selecting either chocolate or vanilla. Justifying the

choice is not the point and is no part of the act of choosing; one

just chooses because one does so. My coming to London, on the other

hand, was very much a decision, not a choice, in this way of looking

at things.

For my entire adult existence, I had acted as a bright red mole,

trying to burrow a path to a less capitalist and more socialist

future. I had the extensive FBI file to prove my bona fides in this

regard, which for years, until roughly 2010 anyway, merely amused the

police at traffic stops, but recently had them fondling their

Tazomatics and loosening their pistols and eyeing me as if I might

have bombs strapped around my midsection or a pulsar ready to let fly.

As a 'pinko,' commie, social democratic secret

agent-without-portfolio, leaving America behind had become


The United States, after all, had become not only fascistic but

delusional. Our leaders all seemed to be either morons selected

because they played at being 'good old boys' fairly well, or smoothly

organized operatives elected in order to diminish our anger at how

cocked-up everything had become. Moreover, the USA's only response to

multiple intersecting disasters had been to improve its automatic kill

response, via macro and micro machines of differing levels of lethal


England, as much as any other 'operational center' around the

globe, had demonstrated real leadership about the crises

characteristic of our increasingly 'interesting times.' What are we

to eat? How are we to find clean water? How will we constitute a

workable economy? How can we keep from killing and skinning one

another? These and other pertinent issues actually seemed to elicit

rational discussion among the citizens of the United Kingdom, although

their answers, in the event, seem often to have come down to how to

make the worsening possibilities in some sense palatable for the

teeming masses, without necessitating anything transformational among

the upper classes.

As well, of course, the English speak English, which has long been

more or less my 'stock-in-trade,' as the saying goes. So I found

myself in a ghetto warren in an increasingly chic quarter of the

'South End,' in a third floor flat serendipitously warmed by

Pakistanis beneath me who couldn't countenance the damp claw of an

English chill. I sold reviews; I tutored neighbors and students in

the Bard's tongue; I suppose that I was something of a spy since I

also drafted 'essays' that were much more like reports about what Le

Carre liked to refer to as 'the Cousins' business,' based on both my

knowledge of aspects of America and my continuing contacts in the


Unfortunately, with beef no longer part of the marketplace, pork

priced like gold, and even chicken almost a luxury, I was always

extremely horny for money. That the World Wide Web continued to

operate was miraculous in innumerable ways, the ones of which mattered

to me concerning remuneration and opportunity. I could be a

reasonably good spy at a distance, for instance.

To return to the original topic of discourse, therefore, my

finding myself in Britain was basically a matter of calculation, of

adding and subtracting pros and cons and then multiplying remainders

to find a product that was, in the final analysis, greater than zero.

I had not chosen merely for the choice itself, because 'that was

that,' as the saying goes. Such an approach requires either a measure

more of luxury, or of courage, than I had been willing and able to

display. Perhaps, inevitably, both valor and opportunity were

necessary for true choice to occur.

Anyway, one day, as I pondered how to eat in 'jolly old England,'

I came across 'an advert' while trolling the net. My response to this

solicitation most definitely accounts, in the sense of being the

'proximate cause,' for the experiences on which this tale rests--I've

confirmed this. "Subjects Sought," said the little pop-up on my

portable, the voice a liquid female ooze that interrupted my stream of

voice-to-text input about the crowd gathering for the latest

'screamer' by Brenton Higgins, the newest rage among bottom feeders

and TFK's on the prowl for authentically visceral cultural connection.

continued here