It wasn’t one of those private intuitions you have when catching the eye of an attractive woman and instantaneously decide to approach her regardless of how scuffed your Pumas may look. Nah. Returning home from the long run, I stopped to cool-down/walk a half-block past my homestead. The final leg of any run I take off Bloomington Ave. ends inevitably with a full-sprint up the giant hill outside my house. It’s the last hurrah, the come-to-Jesus (as they would say at the U of MN Track & Field Team for the split second I was on it), the high-knee drill, etc. However, now at the top, and cooling down, the alarm going off in my brain isn’t anything to do with “runner’s high”, or again something internal. My Spider-Sense went off, pulling my left ear back to staring at the creek across my driveway. Almost to the back door, my torso in full twist, still breathing heavily… and stopped. It all stopped.
The brightest hue of orange creatures trotted across the street. As if to escape the concrete and retreat back to the small stretch of untouched woods within the city, the fox stopped quicker than expected. We held a prom-night stare for what seemed to be an entire slow dance, more realistically 30 seconds. Sweet Jesus, what the fuck is a fox doing in my backyard? Is this Minneapolis? Mother of mercy I need to get the hell outta this town. Maybe this is a sign I need to leave for Los Angeles sooner than intended, or just means- Ahhhh, where is it going? You really shouldn’t be chasing down wild animals, Toussaint… especially with the health insurance you have. If that thing bites you, you’re gonna have to lay down and let what higher power graduate you to the hereafter in a painful fit of rabies & blood-loss. Meh, curiosity can win today- I bolt for the house, grab a handful of dog food from Henry’s tin, and sprint back to the fox. Noice, it’s still in the open. Thinking the orange beaut would stay put if I approached, I engaged slowly… no dice, this thing’s on the f’ng run. It meticulously mirrors every move I make (ref: Afro Droid vs. Afro Samurai).
Blocking its next move towards the thick of woods, I toss a piece of the dog food as far as I can. Fox picks it up, begins eating like it hasn’t had a meal since N’SYNC had a hit. I sprawl the rest of the dog food into the air. The fox goes haywire for the food… and then stops, gives me that deadly prom-night stare again. I crouch down, stare back- and at this point, I’d like you to please imagine looking out your living room window to see a 20-something man in short shorts, running shoes, whilst crouching & giving death-stares to a wild fox… Done? Yeah, I’d call the cops too.
Fox bolts into the small wilderness of the creek. “Holy shit”, to myself out loud. I walk back to my humble abode. The logic then sinks in… what about Stashi? Sidenote: Stashi is our housecat. She’s small, quirky, befriends dogs & any new incomers to the household… but she’s also a cold-blooded killer. One afternoon, she left a perfectly split baby rabbit on our back door. No blood shed, no guts, no nothing… just the bottom half of a baby bunny. I’m sensitive like that, and somewhat resent the f’ng absolute inevitable make-up to Stashi’s genetics that results in gruesome attacks on infantile rabbits. What the fuck is next, dead puppies on my doorstep? Meh, can take the cat out the jungle, can’t take the jungle out the… If Stashi were to meet this fox, it would assuredly result in an epic battle of domesticated killer vs. wild animal… Again, the sensitive-Stanley in me couldn’t take spectating Stashi coming home disemboweled by a wild fox, or in the other case bringing home a disemboweled wild fox.
Maybe the dog food was an accident. Maybe the fox comes back for more, and instead finds the fight of its life against a remorseless mass-murderering housecat… I didn’t have to guess, I knew this wasn’t the last I’d see of the neighborhood fox.