Created by OK David
“...and I felt how it feels to be a thing so completely clandestine as an urban beast, born into the heart of a Man-made place, London”
This December evening I saw a mange-ridden fox with lumps in the full glare of a bulb in the street. Conspicuous from most angles, in the lemon streetlight, then from specific others, so shadowy…
A glance told me it was not as street-smart as other urban foxes because it showed no guile: a-prowling at 90 degrees to the railings skirting the pavement, looking long-nosed and furtive but highly conspicuous to me as I walked along the pavement looking down the length of the street. The railings were low enough for me to look over and down and see it. The fox looked stupid and vulnerable.
The blundering animal clocked me staring at it and our eyes each found the other’s. Its eyes gleamed sinisterly like milk and who knows how it would have described mine, because at that instant I felt something happening to me: I hopped bodies and became myself the fox, David the Fox, or Coughs the Fox, and I felt how it feels to be a thing so completely clandestine as an urban beast, born into the heart of a Man-made place, London. But equally any city.
A network of corridors and doors that Man holds the keys to. Man strutting upright with its rigid insectoid habits: in columns at significant times of day. Some Men travel within devilishly fast metal pods that stream by like glimmering fish, and transfix me with long glares from cold, brilliant eyes. They tear along without stopping for me, so I stay away from them. I have had friends who limped leaking, with dark fur shuddering, to pass away beneath an object, unseen until daybreak. Mortally wounded by the quick fish.
My whole life I creep feeling hunted, hiding briefly in the city's shady groins until the coast is clear and I can dart out to the next hiding spot. Flatten my body and slink, do not be seen. I tug at binbags with my mouth, desperate for food.
A concrete warren that goes on and on on all sides. I know its alleys well yet it will always be alien to me. I creep between dazzling signs that I cannot read, deep in the belly of the beast. The smells of the city are completely bewildering, complex with factors: everything is artificial, addictive sugars drive me wild.
I don’t understand the buildings. A garden, a park, a simple wall: at least these offer a bit of calm, but people always come and I have to flee. 'Look!' They react as if I am unnatural. Me, in their park. And yet incomprehensibly in this foxy dreamscape I see dogs: dogs who the Men think are also Men like them, who live in their homes and stroll together down the streets. They shit like dogs, but then afterwards do this brisk shake, like Men.
We smell each other – them us from the pavements and us them from the grottoes. Perfumed. They even ride the metal fishes, and pull faces out the sides, and look more like Men than ever when they do that.
Just seeing the fox meant that it had been foiled. Loping back towards the estate, totally wretched and scummy as hell… as I watched the fox go wherever it was going my human brain returned and I realised I'd like to have beetroot for dinner. And then I thought about how beetroot turns your pee pink, and I can't remember what else.
OK David is an illustrator and writer.