Mr. Fox Takes His Lunch

While on my morning walk the other day, deep into a technical explanation in the Alan Turing biography I am listening to, I suddenly noticed a large dog off to my right. I don’t normally see dogs without owners, so I paused to look at him (or, perhaps, her). I realized at once it wasn’t a dog at all, but our local neighborhood fox. I’ve spotted it before, once even in our front yard. There was no one else around, and the fox appeared as taken aback as I was. We both froze for a moment.

The fox then dashed across the bike path on which I was walking, across a small parallel street, and into the back yard of a nearby house, where it went behind a bush and pretended it couldn’t be seen.

The fox was much bigger up close than I remembered. It also carried with it its lunch. From both sides of its jaws was the limp body of a squirrel1. When we first ran into each other, I was too startled to snap a photo, and then he moved so quickly that I didn’t have a chance until he’d attempted to hide himself away behind a bush. That part was amusing because it was like an elephant trying to hide itself behind a thin tree.

I managed to get a photo of it there from a distance, and I’ve tried to focus the image as best as I can on Mr. Fox. It’s not a great picture because he’d run so far by this point.

The fox hides between tree and bush.

It made me laugh. I imagined him thinking, I am invisible. No one can see me. Not with this tree over here and this bush over there. I’ll just wait until this fellow passes and then I’ll be on my way.

Normally, this particular part of the bike path is full of people at this time of day, and I suspect it was the fact that it was empty that the fox and I had our little encounter.

  1. It took 3 tries for me to spell squirrel correctly.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.

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