Back to

Wilderdom Vignettes

Fox

James Neill
Last updated:
12 Dec 2004


My story could hardly end without explaining my killing of that fox.  A week before my wedding I heard a fox in the chicken coop. At first I had ignored the strange, weak cries of the chickens, thinking it was Tom (7 months) in his sleep.  It was 2am.  A feeling welled inside me which I can only now think of very cautiously. It was destiny. The big boots of destiny stomping inside me.  I’d had a couple of cones.

My face curls up now as I relive the experience for the first time since it happened. This is the real thing, the real smell of fear, the real smell of reality. As I neared the back door I could smell the battle ahead.

Chickens squawking, in the final throes of terror.

Backlight snaps on. I see his green eyes.

I walk to the coop.

I open the door and slip inside.

Fox.

Bloody chickens. Squawking.
It is hell.

I want to grab the fox and wring its neck.

I see its teeth.

I let some chickens and ducks out behind me.

I kick the fox in the head.
It works.

I find an iron bar.

I jab and bash at the fox. It is hard to get the fox cleanly. It is inside a box, but can’t get out. My blows only get fur, flesh and box. I want iron bar on skull.

I rest. I want to kill this fox. It is in fear. It climbs up the cage, I grab its tail, throw it on the ground and put the iron bar across its throat. I am 007. The fox wrenches free and tries to bite my hand. I pull away and as the fox returns to the box I bash down on its head. It falls. Bash bash bash bash bash…bash…..bash……bash.

I turn and go into the house. I wake Jackie with the stunned, panting news. When we go back the fox is rasping. Bash bash bash bash. We bury the chickens. One wounded rooster looks pretty bad. I put the fox by the backdoor but Jackie asks me to move it. I put it on the septic tank. Everything stinks of fox – the chicken coop, my hands, my shoes, my mind.

I go to work the next day.
I tell everyone about the fox.
I come home and talk more about the fox.
I get up the next morning and I skin the fox.
I use the kitchen knife and my hands. I use the kitchen salt. I love this fox. I bond with this fox. I feel its fat on my fingers. I get to know every sinew. I admire its fur. I like every part of this lean, brave fox. He is male. I respect that. I respect his smell. I look into my soul. I look out of the fox’s face and take on its life. By killing this animal I am now fox. I am fox. It’s life was for me. The chickens eat bits of fox meat. This strange irony – victim and victor. He became me.