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It was a strange, boring, foggy night in St. Mary's County: exactly like every other night in St. Mary's County, except that it was foggy. Mark was driving his gargantuan sedan-like vehicle, which had been named Loulio, (by virtue of a famous compromise), and was a beach simulator (by virtue of a dirty beach towel permanently affixed under the rear window). We had just left Francine's house, an unfamiliar address in a particularly rural and sinister area. At hand was the task of finding our way out of this strange, backwater neighborhood.

Through the thick fog, we could hear the moans of cows, somewhere nearby. Before then, I had never thought of cows as anything but peaceful, lumbering herbivores. But on that night, there was something menacing about their droning cries. Everyone felt it. Two of the riders simultaneously shared a waking nightmare of a cow viewed through the rear-view mirror, sitting in the back seat of Loulio, with a 'Michael Myers' Halloween mask stretched across its long head.

We became less and less at ease as we wound our way down the dark back roads, unsure of our path. We still heard the cries of the creatures, as they seductively called to us like the sirens of Ulysses. Our panic grew and we took a wrong turn. Mark made a corrective U-turn and we headed back the way we came. Not more than a few yards later, Mark slammed the brakes and we came to a screeching halt. Loulio's tires, and everyone in the car, screamed as we stopped.

There in the middle of the road, deserted only a minute before, was a small strike force of cows. They were staring directly at us, and their eyes glowed red in the lights of the beach simulator. Their malevolence and power was felt by all. The next several minutes are a blur of screams and panic in my memory. Somehow we did escape the beasts and Mark valiantly navigated us back to downtown Lexington Park, the unofficial center of power in St. Mary's. For a moment we felt safe in the light of Lexington Park's most historically important strip-mall. But once there, we crooked our heads to the sky, and the terror came again. For there, as it had always been, was a life-sized, concrete, full-color sculpture of cow. It towered there like an overlord, bathing the Belvedere Hotel and all the world below in its bovine malevolence. It was then we knew the horrible truth about the cows.

 


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