Goldie by Pat Byrne


There’s a small glen not far from our house. On a good day I go up there to read my paper. It’s quiet in the mornings apart from the odd person out walking their dog. Sometimes I sit for a while and watch the rabbits or maybe a fox – there tends to be more of them nowadays.

I’d never seen one on a lead before. At first I thought it was a dog slinking by the man’s side. Its burnished coat gave it away. The man’s hair was the same russet colour. Perhaps dyed to match his pet. Likely he’d taught it to give a paw to entertain his friends.  Poor thing. 

I went back to my paper as he drew near.  Nice day, he said.

I nodded and looked at the fox, a brilliant creature, bright topaz eyes, winged ears. He stopped and the vixen sat, winding her exceptional tail around her body.  He bent and stroked the ruff of her neck. It looked soft, shampooed.

Depressing, he said, pointing to the headline on my paper.  The country’s in a mess.

Aye, bloody Tories. Better aff independent.

I agree, he said. Make our own decisions.

The fox stood. Maybe see you again, he said. 

Martha had the table set when I got in.   She put down a plate with bacon and tottie scones. I’m not hungry. I’m too damn angry to eat. I told her about the fox on the lead and the arrogant man. 

Captured. It doesn’t even know it’s a fox.

She laughed. You’re no half jumping tae conclusions. That’s Sandy. He’s started taking Myra Patterson’s fox for a walk. Give it some exercise.  It’s awfie sad. 

Whit’s awfie sad?

Wee while ago now. Myra caught a fox in her kitchen eating oot the dog’s dish so she started leaving food at the back door. Came every day so it did.  Turned up wi four wee cubs.  So they all came, ate what was put down for them then the mother would sit in the grass and watch them playing. She was a good mum. Myra  was dead upset when they stopped coming. She watched and watched but no sign of them. Then one wee cub turned up by itsell Myra took it in.  Cries it Goldie. It disnae know it’s a fox. 

Pat Byrne, December, 2018

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This section: Seasonal Stories and Poems by Glasgow Writers, stories and poems

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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