Cognac in Southwark (Don Augusto’s Limits to Progress)

Don Augusto shuffled in once more. This time not Strawbs Bar, Leeds; but St Christopher’s Inn, Southwark.

‘Mind your semantics,’ I smirked, as he grimly placed his cap upon the cracked barrel next to my lap.

He began to mutter again under his breath.

‘As for semantics… semantics, semantics, semantics, semantics…’

I closed my eyes, lay back, and smirked.

Tattered fragments of his long-dead philosophical superego swarmed around my skull like harmless birds of paradise.

Did the Occident reach peak civilization shortly before September the Eleven? 

Is it all down the hill from this place? 

The Club of Rome have spoken of ‘Limits to Growth.’ 

Have we already been hitting the ‘Limits to Progress,’ without already realizing it? 

Is the truly liberal thing now primarily (if not necessarily exclusively) a matter of preserving and in some cases (sad to say) even restoring and renewing the historical gains of liberalism? 

It seems that once you push beyond a certain point, you end up somersaulting back into far right territory. 

The Social Justice Left have more in common with white supremacist fascists and Islamists than with true liberals. 

And the Humanitarian Left have also flown too high, like Daedalus…

Eventually, I was wakened by a warm, not-so-sticky heat around my loins.

I looked down, and the vodka had finally done its work.

Augusto stared glumly at my crotch.

‘Got anything to wipe it off with?’ I muttered, half sarcastically.

Augusto frowned, stuck his tongue out, tapped his head…

And then the silence began again.

A drunken peddler reeled past with his cigarette lighters.

‘Two for a pound?’ he chanted.

Don Augusto’s eyes grew wide with horror.

‘Never mind,’ the peddlar sneered.

A coy lass strode by.

‘You’ll be needing something for that!’ she winked, in her hard-edged, hard-hearted Eastender way.

I closed my eyes, too lazy to go home and change my underwear.

‘Where do the lice come from?’ I luxuriously murmured.

‘Where do the, where do the, where do the… EEK! EEK! EEK!’ Don Augusto began to scream in agony, as though the miniscule, mediocre drops of cheap-ish Cognac (by the standards of some down here, in the Big Smoke of All Smokemups), had suddenly caught ablaze, and set his bollocks on fire.

When I awoke from what was not quite a nightmare, but hardly a particularly auspicious dream, I realised I had not thought about death in quite a while…


One day, I hope to have a collection of Don Augusto stories. In the meantime, please have a look at my existing books, such as the Gang of Sneers series.


Image attribution:

By Evan Swigart from Chicago, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons



No endorsement of Strawbs Bar or St Christopher’s Inn either intended or implied.

Nor, indeed, any criticism.

No endorsement or criticism in either direction; me to them, or them to me.

I simply think they are nice, evocative settings for stories. This is why Strawbs has been mentioned in two of my Don Augusto stories, and St Christopher’s Inn is mentioned in one of them.

Author: Wallace Runnymede

Wallace is the editor of Brian K. White's epic website, Glossy News! Email him with your content at (Should be @, not #!) Or if you'd like me to help you tease out some ideas that you can't quite put into concrete form, I'd love to have some dialogue with you! Catch me on Patreon too, or better still, help out our great writers on the official Glossy News Patreon (see the bottom of the homepage!) Don't forget to favourite Glossy News in your browser, and like us on Facebook too! And last but VERY MUCH not the least of all... Share, share, SHARE! Thanks so much for taking the time to check out our awesome site!