September 16, 1996

From Gerald R. Lucas


A discussion prompt for ENG 1101.

I get involved in a game of strip poker. The others have somehow persuaded a cow to join in. The cow stands stupid and uncomfortable in the cigar smoke. My tablemates ply it with booze. It is decked out in a pathetic catalogue of bedroom apparel. Naturally it always plays a losing hand. It can’t manage with its garments, and everybody makes full use of the opportunity to handle it, in the name of assistance. I watch in disgust as a beefy bank-manager type fumbles with a lacy garter on the cow’s flank. His hands are trembling. “Will you look at those udders, will you look at those udders,” he keeps mumbling. His face is flushed crimson. The cow shifts a leg, quaking, big-eyed. “Count me out,” I mutter finally. I throw in my cards, for good. Without further ceremony I push back my chair and go onto the patio. I take a couple of deep breaths. The salacious laughter rises behind me. I hurry off unsteadily down the steps, drunk, feeling unclean and despicable. “These package vacations are a nightmare,” I think to myself. In this frame of mind I wander about the lakefront for an hour. Not a soul is about. Lugubriously I make my way back. I stop at the foot of the patio steps. The sound of mooing goes out into the night, above the swarming of abandoned laughter, thee yelps and the cries. Silhouetted shadows come and go in the French windows’ curtains; horns toss about and disappear. Sourly I turn to leave again, when the French windows burst open. The bank manager staggers out into the moonlight. He wheels down the steps, his shirt tails loose, his suspenders flapping at his knees, and lurches straight into me. “Oh my God, oh my God,” he moans, half in ecstasy, half in horror. I shove him away from me. His face is smeared with milk.