By Mark Davis
Many years ago, when my wife of now 30 years and I were first married, we had a regular unwelcome visitor nearly every night. This visitor was a gray fox and it would make its way through the front yard of our rural home at around 2:30 to 3:30am, doing whatever it is foxes do at that time of night. Not a problem in and of itself, but this fox would sing the song of his people right outside our bedroom window which, being springtime, was open with only a screen separating us from the night life . . .
Now if you have never heard a gray fox sing the song of his people, it can best be described as a high pitched shrieking snarl. Really not the kind of thing that’s looked forward to, especially at such an ungodly hour. The first time I heard it, the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up. (That’s back when I actually had hair.)
After about a week of repeat performances, I decided I would put an end to these shenanigans. And so, I made a plan which, in hindsight, should have been thought out much more thoroughly. Before I went to bed one night, I removed the screen from the window. There might be a mosquito or two let in, but this would surely be a small price to pay to be rid of this interloper.
A five D cell Maglite was place strategically next to the window, and on the wall to the right of the window was a four-gun rack. At the very bottom of this rack was a shelf with various boxes of ammunition, around twenty in all. The bottom slot held a Winchester Model 70 Lightweight Carbine in .270. Above it was a Marlin 336 .30-30. The next one up was a Mossberg 500 20 gauge. The top space was occupied by a scoped Ruger 10/22 and that was the one I planned to use to bring this nightly serenade to a screeching halt. My plan was perfect.
I turned in next to my wife, my side of the bed being next to the window, and we were soon lulled to sleep by the soothing sounds of crickets and katydids. Sure enough, at the usual time, we were jarred awake by Mister Fox’s loud mouth. This was the moment I had waited and planned for! I eased out of bed, picked up the Maglite, and clicked the rubber button. Sure enough, there he was standing not a hundred feet from the house! “Got you now!”, I thought to myself as I reached for the Ruger. That’s when my plan went sideways.
As I lifted the rifle from the rack, its sling hung on the barrel of the Mossberg, and the entire rack, rifles, shotgun, ammo and all, pulled free from the wall and came crashing down on the nightstand beneath it, smashing the clock radio to bits, and sending rifles, shotgun, ammo and pieces of the table into a heap on the floor next to the bed. I swung the beam of the flashlight back to the yard just in time to see the bushy tail of my foe disappearing rapidly off into the woods, leaving me standing dumbfounded in my underwear. I had not only failed, but failed in a most spectacular manner.
The next thing I heard was what I thought was muffled crying from my wife’s side of the bed. I thought, “Oh my God, she’s been traumatized.” But no, what I heard turned out to be her laughing nearly to the point of hysterics. Thank you, darling for your support in my time of crisis. As it turned out, my plan actually worked out in the end. The fox never returned. But then again, it took my dignity a while to return, too.