It’s New Year’s Day, so I broke out my horrifying fox stole and wore it for a walk around the lake.
I cannot be blamed. Look to my inner teenager. She’s got a wicked sense of humor and is terribly bright, but she bores easily. I need to take her out and do interesting things to keep her mind occupied. She’s the one who wanted to wear Foxy, legs and face and claws and all. As we strolled down the hill towards the water, we imagined encountering some rational human person who would find our choice in outerwear abhorrent.
Teenage Sarah would shrug. “The fact is that the warmest textile just happens to be a hollowed out, furry, animal carcass. I didn’t make the rules.”
“But fur is murder!” the hippie rightly identifies. Her nose is running; it’s quite nippy out, even for Northern California. High forties. Yipes.
“You are not wrong,” Teenage Sarah concedes. “Foxy here was Grandma’s service animal in her twilight years. After she passed, Foxy came to live with us, of course. Oh, she was a wonderful pet, and got along marvelously with the dogs and the cats, and the alpaca. There was that one time that Foxy woke up Pa in the middle of the night when little Janie was choking. Foxy was more than a pet; she was family. She lived to be twenty-eight years old. Twenty-eight, can you imagine that? That’s just unheard of.
“Fur is undoubtedly murder, you really hit the nail on the head with that one. Of course, Foxy couldn’t live forever. After she contracted the Fox Pox (foxes can get Lou Gehrig’s disease now, did you know?), it was a painful downward spiral. It actually brought the family closer together, but Pete got very depressed. Pete the alpaca. He’s never quite been the same since… well…”
We like to let this incredibly intimate and awkward moment linger in our minds for much, much too long. We sigh, Teenage Sarah and I, and look out over Lake Merritt, gently fondling one of Foxy’s feet and gazing forlornly at the fading evening sky.
“I was the one who had to do it. No one else had the guts. I called our vet, Shermin Lee, best exotic pet vet in the Bay Area, I’ll give you his number if you want it, he’s in Iceland right now but he’ll be back in March, very talented, very tender touch Shermin has. And I held our Foxy and sang to him that little song we always sang to him at feeding time:
“Foxy, Foxy, you’ve got Moxy
Foxy, Foxy, eyes so bright,
Foxy, Foxy, sleeps in his box-ie
You’re so cute that I just might...
EAT! YOUR! FACE!
“And that was it. Sherman administered the medicine and our little Foxy was… gone. That was the last time I really held Foxy, but of course as you can see, I’ve never really been able to let go.”
This is our favorite part of the story, where Teenage Sarah and I turn back to the hippie. It’s difficult to imagine exactly what expression would be on their face. We think it would be interesting to study that expression. But it’s cold out, and we need to be on our way.
“Oh goodness. I’ve overshared. Anyway neighbor, yes indeed, fur is murder, thank you for reminding me. Happy New Year!”
Sarah Elovich is a writer and performer based in Oakland, CA.