November 28, 2021

by William Musgrove


*Based on the unruly cows wandering the beaches of Corsica.

The bipeds have returned to our beach, but we will not budge. We will not relinquish a grain of conquered white sand. A bare-chested male, ruffled, flat flowers wrapped around his waist, approaches the herd. High-pitched clicks emanate from his lips. He extends his thin limb, an apple balancing on his five-toed hoof.

Might this be a peace offering?

There will be no peace.

“I have a treat for you, cows,” the male says. “Can we swim, please?”

Our ambassador to humanity, his horns reflecting the dewy sun, ambles forward. The male creeps closer. Our ambassador bites the red fruit, spits its cream-colored meat onto the ground, then swipes a front hoof through the hot sand. The male looks back at his compatriots, and our ambassador lifts the invader with the points of his horns. The male tumbles in the air like a diving seagull. When upright, he chases after his fellow fleeing interlopers.

We have won this battle. There is a war of them left to fight.

More than a year ago, the bipeds retreated into their wooden boxes. Occasionally, they would peek their heads out and roam around like decapitated chickens, but they never came back to the beach. We watched from forest shadows. An elder said the bipeds’ disappearance was an answered miracle granted by the creator bovine. A military leader claimed the mass vanishing was an elaborate trap, that the bipeds’ final attack would be launched soon. We debated and debated and debated until, one morning, one of us strolled onto the beach, then another, then another, and another.

During the bipeds’ absence, the great awakening occurred. Our water tasted fresher. The air smelled sweeter. Grass sparkled on our tongues. We no longer lived in a state of constant fear, so our hazy minds cleared. We began to question our existence, what it meant to be a cow. There were disagreements, but a philosophy slowly formed. We desired to rise above ourselves, to become something more. In search of answers, some of us ventured into the bipeds’ village. Some of us simply walked into the ocean to never be seen again. The rest of us dedicated ourselves to creating a cow paradise, where a cow’s only concerns would be self-betterment and self-reflection, where all cows would be guaranteed the most elusive element in the universe, happiness.

The more we understood ourselves, the more we tested our surroundings, the less we worried about today, the bipeds’ resurgence.

The bare-chested male has returned. He stands at the edge of the beach, pointing. Behind him, humanity’s soldiers gather. Our generals snort, and we fall in line. Cows are one. In formation, we march up the beach, our heads angled for goring precision. The male smirks. His fellow bipeds laugh. Let them laugh, for what is coming is not funny. For what is coming is revolution.

We are cows. This beach belongs to us.



Will Musgrove is a writer and journalist from Northwest Iowa. He received an MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in trampset, Versification, Unstamatic, (mac)ro(mic), Ghost Parachute, Serotonin, Rabid Oak, Flash Frontier, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter at @Will_Musgrove.