The International Writers Magazine
: The League of Certifiable Oddballs

The League of Certifiable Oddballs
Mike Knowles

On reflection, I wish I’d never eaten that crocodile. It came in a tin cooked in a Thai green curry. Obviously, it wasn’t a whole crocodile.

Otherwise the tin would have been considerably bigger than it was. It was a gift, so I felt obliged to eat it. To my astonishment, although the meat was tasty, it left me feeling decidedly guilty. My wife found this amusing. “That crocodile would have had no qualms about eating you,” she said. “And what about the poor man who had to hunt it. He was risking his life.”
I told her in that case he should have gone after something less dangerous. Like this acquaintance of mine called Brett Puddin who likes to go fox hunting. Brett and his mates are just as wily as the creature they chase. That’s why they’re running rings around the law. My wife commented that I was a fine one to talk. I’d just consumed a wild animal. Albeit a rather unattractive one. In my defence I pointed out that some poor Digger in Australia minus a limb or two would treat me to a Fosters for doing what I’d just done. Hypocrisy or not, I reminded her that I was supposed to be an anarchist. Actually I’m a middle-class anarchist who edits a civil service magazine aimed at higher management in Local Government. Which, I suppose is a bit of a contradiction. Anyway, it’s all the fault of that former gunnery sergeant in the US Marine Corps, who lives in a DIY iron lung in our loft. But that’s another story.
The problem, as I see it, is this: you have the anti-hunters who focus on the issue of animal suffering, and on the other you have Brett, who would argue that killing foxes benefits the countryside. A classical Mexican Standoff. Brett would no doubt claim he got a lot of fresh air and enjoyment out of it. So there’s the health benefit to consider. All right, he would confess, it’s not healthy for the fox. But he’d call that nature in the raw. I once suggested it might be more humane to shoot or gas the thing and he scoffed at the idea. “You must be joking!” he’d bellowed. “I want to see it suffer first.”
Leaning over to whisper in my ear, he said there was a sexual angle. “When old Reynard’s getting chewed up,” he’d said, “I get so excited I have an erection.” He was beginning to breathe heavily so I’d moved away quickly. If Brett was going to have an orgasm, I didn’t want to be anywhere near him. Maybe they’re all a bunch of deviants like Brett. Obviously they’d never admit to it. Instead, they’d stick to the old argument that foxes are vermin who destroy livestock and spread diseases.
But who does the most damage to the environment? Who’s responsible for global warming? “We are,” said my wife. “Good old Homo Sapiens.” I told her she was right. So, instead of hunting the real vermin who are polluting this planet, those inbred yokels would rather hunt the fox. My wife pointed out that I should be saying this to Brett. I told her I was waiting for the right moment. Maybe when he’s too old and frail to retaliate. The guy was built like the proverbial brick shithouse and I had no desire to raise his dander. “I thought the fox did that?” laughed my wife.
I ignored her. You see, in my book, there’s no difference between pro-hunters and the people who experiment on animals. Both groups are moral retards. Consider vivisection. Have you ever wondered why those laboratories use the animals they do? It’s because they’re easily dominated. That’s why you don’t see lions, tigers or crocodiles wired up to those machines. “You won’t see any crocodiles, dear,” said my wife. “You’ve eaten them all.” She was clearly enjoying herself, so I left her to it. She knew very well that if you’d tried experimenting on those animals you’d soon be in trouble.  And, because the animals can’t talk, they can’t complain. It would take a hard heart to experiment on an animal that looks up at you and says,“Please don’t hurt me. I don’t want to die.” Yes, those scientists would rather experiment on something that can’t fight back. The pro-hunters and pro-vivisectionists may not have the guts to come out with it, but what they do is a clear example of the strong preying on the weak. In other words, might is right.

I know what you’re thinking. The pro-vivisectionists would argue that the animal rights people are letting their hearts rule their heads. Rubbish! You don’t need to be a genius to work out it would be more logical to use humans for these experiments. With another species, you have to make all kinds of complicated calculations. That’s how mistakes happen. Humans are perfect. But the pro-vivisectionists don’t want to use humans. That would be inhumane. Ergo: they’re the ones who allow their hearts to rule their heads. I paused dramatically and waited for some reaction from my wife. “That American up there,” she said, “has a lot to answer for.”
I took no notice. Instead, I asked my wife if she remembered the Voyager 1 probe they sent into deep space. She nodded. “Vaguely,” she said. “Why? Did it have a crocodile in it?”
“Very droll, love,” I retorted. “ If drollness had been on the university curriculum you would have got a first class honours degree.”
I went on to tell her that this is what they should have written on the plaque they put on the side: “Through Science we humans intend to master nature itself. If inferior creatures have to suffer and die so that we can achieve this aim, then so be it. Whilst their death and suffering is regrettable, nothing must stand in our way. Because we are lazy, we humans strive to create labour saving devices to make life easier for us. We use these devices in abundance, even when we suspect they may be hazardous to our health or cause us to pollute our environment. Because we understand that pollution is bad for us, we will try to prevent it. But only if this can be done cheaply, inconveniently and without sacrificing any of the labour saving devices we have created. Because we are superior, we have given ourselves the right to exploit inferior creatures for whatever purpose we deem necessary to ensure our survival, expand our knowledge and maintain our high standard of living. We also have the right to exploit whatever vegetation, water and mineral deposits we see fit. Because we are superior, the earth belongs to us. We will pay lip service to those misguided individuals who are concerned about the environment. We will give them areas of land and sea designated as conservation sites. But, what is given can also be taken away. Finally, we can kill our own species for religious, legal or political reasons. But we cannot kill them for the benefit of medical science. This, then, is the Creed of the Human Race.”

For added affect I spoke these words in the voice of Hal, the computer in Kubrick’s classic sci-fi movie, 2001. Or as near to the voice as I could get. My wife cackled and said it sounded more like a crocodile. Shrugging this latest insult off, I went on. I told her that if it’s morally right for us to experiment on inferior creatures, then it must be morally right for a superior species to experiment on us. This is called payback. So we’d better pray that if those aliens ever do come down here they’ve got their act together and have found a better way of testing their pharmaceuticals.
“Well?” I asked. But she appeared to be doing something rather disgusting with a vibrator.

 © Mike Knowles February 2006

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