I have just realised that all my life I have had an unusual super-power that sets me apart from the common run of mankind and elevates me above the rest of you even more than my vast intelligence and incredible good looks. Like all such powers, it is as much a curse as a blessing. It must be hidden from the superstitious and those who would exploit it for commercial gain, and it should be used wisely if at all.
My uncanny power is this: I am attractive to cows. Moo-cows, that is, not nasty women. I exert an unhealthy fascination over dairy herds.
It started in my youth. I was out cycling in a country lane near my house one day and came a cropper somehow - most likely one of the recurrent flared-jeans/bicycle-chain interactions that made cycling so tiresome back then. And while I was picking myself up and putting my bike right, I noticed that a herd of cows had gathered to watch.
It didn't worry me at first; cows don't have much in their lives, after all. It did strike me as odd that not merely the nearest two or three had ambled over, but the whole herd had assembled, stragglers drifting in from the farthest corners of the field, and were leaning over the fence and staring at me eagerly.
I didn't give them any encouragement but carried on fixing my bike. I like cows on the whole; there is something, well, feminine about them. But in a large gang they can be very creepy. And while at times they look winsome or plaintive, at other times their eyes can look very blank and black and alien.
I started to wheel my bike up the lane, not very fast as I was bruised from my tumble. And the cows shadowed me, the whole lot of them plodding up the field alongside me, all eyes fixed on me. And then we came to a place where the fence was weak - there was no hedge there and the posts were higgledy-piggledy and the wires slack. And they started to press against it en masse. I could hear it creaking ominously. I got on the bike and started to pedal. I hadn't got very far when I heard the crash. The fence had collapsed. The cows had escaped into the lane and every single one was plodding towards me.
I observed the countryman's code of looking round to make sure no-one had seen my involvement and buggered off.
And the cows followed me. I looked back when I got to the first corner and they were still coming after me. If you've ever been chased by cows, as opposed to bulls, it's very like being chased by zombies, slow but relentless, and all the more unnerving for that. I slammed the gear-stick of my Raleigh Chopper into fifth and powered off home.
Only it didn't end there. In the middle of the night I was visited by an irresistible urge to obtain a glass of water, or it may have been a slice of cake, and tiptoed down through the sleeping house. Pottering round the kitchen, I suddenly heard a strange noise outside. I looked out the window and the water, or as it might have been cake, froze halfway to my mouth. For on the other side, not six inches from the glass, was this huge... cow head, is the only way to describe it, staring sinisterly in at me. Behind it were other cow heads, jostling for position at the window, and attached to them a bloody great herd of cow bodies, milling round the driveway in the moonlight.
Slowly but surely, the herd of cows had followed me home. The distance involved was a mile or so, the route quite complicated, there were any number of other turnings they could have taken and more likely houses to wander into first. They had tracked me down somehow.
I wish I had the pen of Poe or Lovecraft to describe how eerie it was. They were utterly silent, I remember, and that just made it all the more horrible somehow. They didn't do anything at all menacing, although they trampled some flowers and left some dents in my Dad's car just by sheer force of numbers. They just... stared at me. And it was disturbing beyond words. I don't think we had the word 'stalking' in those days, but that's what they were doing, they were stalking me.
Anyway the farmer had to come and get them while I hid upstairs. I was altogether too old to get into bed with my mum and dad but I definitely hung around their bedroom until the cows had gone.
All of this is true, and if I haven't mentioned it before it's because it's not the sort of thing one likes to admit, that a herd of cows once developed a fixation on one, and besides the memory had been mercifully repressed... until today. Because today it very nearly happened again. In fact for all I know it has happened again and they're outside waiting for me as I write.
I was walking up the road past a field full of cows, and there was one rather pretty one with a very sweet expression, watching me rather intently. And I said, 'Oh, hello, cow, aren't you pretty?' Which was mere politeness, nothing more. At this it came over to the fence to get better acquainted. And I sort of gingerly patted it on the head, at which its eyes rolled and it tried to - well, it tried to lick me, or put its tongue down my throat quite possibly.
Have you ever seen a cow's tongue? It was like something out of 'Alien', like something out of an alien. It had the length and speed of the tongue of a toad or an anteater or something, only very thick and slobbery, and it shot out straight towards my head and I barely managed to dodge it.
At this point I made my excuses and sauntered off because (a) I very definitely didn't want to be licked and (b) there was a car coming up the road and I didn't want to be seen as the type of person who enjoys being licked by cows - we are rural here but we are not Devon. But not only did the first cow start to move parallel to me, but the whole damn herd of them came over and pressed against the fence, yearning towards me, and started to follow me up the road.
Just then something clicked and I suddenly remembered the earlier occasion for the first time in years, and while I didn't exactly run away, I certainly broke into a brisk trot. And at this point, like deja vu, they started piling en masse against the weakest part of the fence, and I could hear it creaking behind me...
Of course, it is my bull-like virility they are drawn to - and who can blame them? It's very flattering, but I am not that type of boy. So now I am barricaded in the house with the doors locked and the curtains drawn, hoping not to hear a slow, relentless plod outside...
But, but - should I not embrace my unusual power? Imagine, what might I not accomplish if I accept my destiny as the bovine svengali, the cow Messiah, the St. Francis of the dairy herd... I could rule England with my cow army, descend on London with 100,000 of the buggers, lead them into Parliament and drown the place in shit and squirting milk... I can picture Blair's face as I lay siege to Downing Street, the placid but implacable heads butting against the door... he climbs out the back window but everywhere he runs a terrible 'Mooooo...' echoes through the deserted streets, and a sound of inexorable plodding hooves...dramatically enlarged, Harry Lime-like four-legged shadows are thrown against the walls around every corner...where can he turn?...suicide herds hurl themselves off tall buildings at him...frantically, gibbering with terror, incipient madness in his eyes, the poor man seeks shelter in the Underground...a train is rattling towards the platform...he is saved! He can escape the doomed city, flee to Army HQ, rally his forces...a fevered glance over his shoulder, can cows get down escalators?...hurry up train! Quick!...the train pulls into the station...but...THE TRAIN IS DRIVEN BY A COW!! Close-up of Blair's bloodshot, utterly insane eyes as his scream reverberates through the tunnels...
24th April 05