There is a song that says: “Sweet, sweet tomato, I feel the same for the potato.” I really don’t know what I mean by this. I simply prepared to narrate a new episode of the adventures of Squattedman and I got it into my head. (I’ll write it down for my psychiatrist.) Actually I should have started this episode by saying that the New York mayor elections were just around the corner. Tammany Hall’s henchmen did not stop visiting immigrant neighborhoods trying to convince those poor people that voting for the Tammany Hall candidate was the best for Tammany Hall’s interests. Those who were reluctant were beaten to reconsider their position. In the event that their position was immovable, drastic measures were taken so that the voters in question were equally unable to move to the polling station on election day. A festive atmosphere reigned in the streets and Tammany Hall was present everywhere. If a ten-pin bowling championship was held, there were ten members of Tammany Hall offering themselves as pins, dropping themselves to simulate a strike even if the ball had not even grazed them. If a beer festival was going to be held, Tammany Hall provided barrels filled with that foamy drink and voters were urged to drink without measure, since a drunk voter was easier to convince than a sober one. In exchange for the vote, favors were also promised, such as refraining from breaking the voter’s legs or guaranteeing him a secure position in the city’s penitentiary system, without specifying whether the position was that of a prison guard or that of an inmate. As long as you voted for the Tammany Hall candidate, you had the right to vote. It didn’t matter if you were already dead or if you had never been alive: Tammany Hall’s henchmen assured your registration in the voter census. As for the candidate, that was the least of it. Even in two consecutive elections, the Tammany Hall candidate had been a wooden puppet that was handled with threads, and both times it had won an overwhelming victory.
Cupid, the only candidate who had dared to face Tammany Hall, had finally appeared floating in the Hudson River with a tomahawk stuck in his head. There was much speculation in the press about the circumstances of his death: it was said that it had been an accident or a suicide or that the tomahawk had acted on his own without consulting anyone. The fact is that the police immediately shelved the case.
In sum, it was election time and Tammany Hall’s corruption machinery worked at full capacity. What they did not know is that Squattedman worked at full capacity as well. He thought that when unmasking Tammany Hall’s shadow leadership (that elusive guy called “Cow Head”), the rest of the organization would bring down like a house of cards. Therefore, he focused all his efforts on finding out who was behind that bovine mask. “Cow Head” had to hide somewhere where he would go unnoticed, so Squattedman toured the entire New York state asking each farmer if he had noticed any strange behavior in any of his cows, such as driving cars or dating women. But the answer was negative in all cases. (Except for a Finger Lakes farmer who said that one of his cows liked to play riddles, but that in everything else it behaved like any other cow.)
Then Squattedman thought that surely “Cow Head” would reside in the very New York City, where he would lead two parallel lives (as he himself was leading). Probably, he was a socially prominent figure. Like a politician of prestige and apparently flawless career. Or like the Statue of Liberty. Or like, most probably, one of The Four Hundred (the New York social elite). For this reason, Squattedman began to socialize, just as he had done in Paris before becoming a superhero and emigrating to America. So, under the false identity of a French aristocrat, he began to frequent the salons of the luxurious mansions of 5th Avenue.