Illustration: Chelsea Cardinal/Bloomsbury
Here is how you do it:
Take a deep breth. Look left and look rite, very vigrus. Careful, careful.
Go. Go go go! Do not even paws.
FoxViewCommons is now bowncing, because you are galupping so fast.
A Kar almost gets you! Do a panic-yip. Stop. Take a slite brake under another Kar. Try to go. Too bad, you cant. Too skared! Do a miner worry-yip.
Look again, look again. Go. Stop! Look again.
Just reely buk it!
You made it!
And are not ded.
But now there was a problem we had not mulled, which is: a Dore. Dores being a problem for Foxes, due to being hevy, plus there handels may be hi.
But luk was with us.
Just then, a very Yung Yuman, a meer Todler, todled past with a smile of possibly thinking we are Dogs. There in her hand, we noted: some fud! It looked gud and smelled grate. It is a Bun! All ofthe suden, we desided to enter into aFare Deel with her, whereby we wud share her Bun, by us taking it.
But then, quik as the wink, she is intaken into the Mawl, with one hand in the hand of her Mother and, in the other hand, our Bun! And before we knew it, we too, lerd by her fud, had been intaken into FoxViewCommons, rite threw their Dore!
There is a hi music sound. The ground is like glas. Or ise.
And o my frends, the things we saw!
We saw the Gap! We saw Eye Openers! We saw a Pet Store, with captured Kats! We saw a small River that, tho flowing, did not smell rite. We saw some Fake Rox. We saw Trees. Reel Trees, inside FoxViewCommons! It made us want todig a Den! We saw a groop of Yung Yumans, waring brite close and dansing fast, and some Old Yumans we think are there mothers, hopping about kwite eksited, yeling advise, such as, Pik it up, Kristal! Or Smile, Kara, why look so sad wile dansing, babe? We saw a round thing which had Fake Horses upon it, on which they are enslaved and made to go circular, as Yung Yumans enjoy it by being plased on bak of them. I was left to wonder: Why wud Old Yumans enjoy putting Yung Yumans on Fake Horses? It was a total mistery. And remanes so. It is as if an Old Fox enjoys putting his Yung Fox on a Fake Deer. Ifor one wud not enjoy that. Altho it might be funy at first.
Yumans wud walk by and go: Hey, look, Foxes. And drop a bit of fud at us.Soon we had karmel korn, sevral parshul biskits, plus a pare so fresh it did not even stink.
I woslike: This must be Fud Cort.
Fox 7 woslike: I gess so.
We were so happy we sat between those Fake Rox, speeking dreemy lee of our future, such as: We wud get some pants and glases. We wud ride in a Kar, plasing a coffee on are breefcase. We wud make such gud frends with the Yumans, they wud cut a Fox Dore in there Mawl.
Never had Yumans seemed so cul. We were sarounded by splender no Foxcud curate. Hense were fild with respek. Cud a Fox do this? Bild a Mawl? Fat chanse! The best we can do is dig are Dens.
Then it was time to go home.
For we now had fud sufishent to save the lifes of our frends.
Holding that fud in are mowths, we troted bak threw FoxViewCommons, heds held hi, having such a feeling ofpride, being probly the first Foxesoreven Animals ever inside FoxViewCommons, except for those captured Kats.
Out we went.
Here again was the Sun! Here again Clowds! I cud not wate to see Fox 41, and go: Hi, Fox 41, perfeshunal turd, care for some fud?
But upon reaching the edge of Par King, guess what we did not find? Fox41.
Or are other Foxes.
Or are Den.
It woslike we had gone out a hole difrent Dore than we had gone in threw.
Now, one thing I lerned from Storys is, when something big is about to okur, a riter will go: Then it hapened!
This tells the reeder: Get Reddy.
Here I go:
Then it hapened!
There at the edj of Par King was ateem of two Yumans doing some digging. One woslike: Holy krap, Foxes! As if he had never seen a Fox before. My feeling was: Yes, yes, we are Foxes, hello frends, we have just seen the wunder that is your Mawl, we congradulate you! We glampsed your fake River, obserbed your cute yung ones dansing, gladly acsepted your generus gift of Fud. You are so nise! What a grate day for the Fox/Yuman conection!
Then that first Yuman, kwite huje, took off a blue hat he was wearing. And I woslike, in my brane: It must be a form of saloot? So did a Fox saloot back, which is: reach out with front legs, bow, yawn. Only then, running toward us in a startling maner, he threw that hat at us! From the sound it made upon not hitting us, but only Par King, I saw it must be made of rok. I gave Fox 7 a glanse, like: What did we do rong? Then the other Yuman, kwite small, ran at us, and threw his hat, and o my frends, what hapened next is hard to rite. Because that hat wonked Fox 7 skware in his face! And sudenly his nees go week, and he gives me one last fond look, and drops over on his side, with blud trikling out his snout! I breefly tried to revive him, by sniffing. But here comes the huje and the small Yuman, running as if in viktree, making a noise that made my hare stand on my nek, and what cud I do but flee?
Glansing bak wile troting, I saw the huje and small Yuman doing such things to Fox 7 as: further hits with their hats, and kiks and stomps, wile making adishunal noises Ihad never herd a Yuman make, as if this is fun, as if this is funy, as if they are prowd of what they are akomplishing! Reeching a dirt klod big as me, I lay behind it, panting wile shaking. Which is when Isaw the last straw of there croolty, which was: the small Yuman pikked up Fox 7, now ded, and flung him threw the air! Poor Fox 7, my frend, was spinning wile saling, like something long with awate at one end! And what did those Yumans do? Stood bent over, laffing so hard! Then retreeved there crool hats and went bak to werk, slaping hands, as if what they had done was gud, and cul, and had made them glad.
Rest of the day I hid amung those dirt klods, kwietly wimpering.
When darkness fell I snuk over and vewed what remaned of Fox 7.
I had herd many Storys at that window but never had I herd a Story in which anything like what hapened to pore Fox 7 hapened. I did not know a Fox cud look that way. Even our Foxes who got hit by Kars did not look as bad as Fox 7.
And it was Yumans had done it.
I troted all nite, tray stunned. I wud stop to sleep, but dreem of Fox 7 and his sad last glanse. Kwaking there under the moon, I wud remember the nise way Fox 7 had of doing a nose-nudge, if a frend of his mite be feeling low. Then I wud rise and run, trying to ferget.
And by morning was kwite lost.
For days I romed, lerning many things, such as: A rode can pass over aRiver. There is more than one Mawl. A tree can flote in a lake. Sometimes Yumans run in groops, waring yelow. Once on a sine is a picture of a Duk chopping down a tree with another Duk, who looks tray mad. Soon my pads are bludy. There is no fud. Sometimes I cud find a Grasshopper. Once I fownd aded Berd, who had been ded so long he had bad hi gene. So I cud not eat him. I tryed but no way.
Perhaps, reeder, you have herd thatfrase called: It was the best of times, it was the werst of times? (It is from a buk. Once that Mother tried reeding that buk to her cubs. But it pruved boring, with too many werds. Therebuy her cubs began doing what Yung Yumans do when bord, which is, rolling around with fingers up nose, pinching there baby brother.)
All I cud think was, Fox 7 is ded, and it is all my fawlt. Why had I ever had that dum idea of entering the Mawl? Why was I born so weerd? Why cud Inot be a simple Fox, having no day-dreems, speeking just Fox, obaying myGrate Leeder?
It was the werst of times, it was the werst of times.
And tell the truth, my hart went slite lee bad.
Troting thru a forest, I wud heer such things as Berds swoping down prasing all nature, and Mise saying it is a super day, and Cows in a nearby feeld going, O wow, isnt the werld grate and so farth, we are just reely luvving this super grass. That is how Animals are: kwite cheer full. But I was not like that now. And knew I wud not be like that again. Now their songs of luv seemed like the dopy chater Fox 7 and I had been saying to each other as we lay all hapy between those Fake Rox in the Mawl, sharing are hope full plans of getting pants and glases and so farth, and inviting Yumans to are Den, serving them some froot if we have some, all that time watching those Yumans with such luv, not knowing what was coming next, like two little Babys, fast asleep in the middle of a horeable werld, who did not yet know how horeable it reely is.
Sometimes, troting on my bludy padsthrew a Yuman zone, such as RiverWalkEstates, along such rodes as Hummingbird Way and Slow Stream Ave or even Melody Manner Passage, seeing so many grate Dens, with lites like indoor suns, and water shooting majik lee out of there grass at will, seeing that long line of Kars trot away so proud every morning full of Yumans, and the other splenders Yumans cud do, such as make grass short, such as cause flowrs to grow inside there Dens, I woslike: Why did the Curator do it so rong, making the groop with the gratest skils the meenest?
Then one day I came upon a Forest, the like of which I had never seen before, so deep and green and dark and grate-smelling it made those holes in my nose go super wide with sheer delite. O, the lite threw the Trees! The moving shadows when the wind wud blow! The millyun grate smells, such as water not far away! The wind in the hi part of the Trees, and sometimes a branch will crak!
All of the suden, I smelled Fox big-time. Then saw Foxes big-time. A holeother groop. Just like us. Only not. Compared to us they were (1) less skiny and had (2) no feer in eyes and (3) cotes of the pretiest red ever, a deep Fox lee red that made me ashamed of my own dul cote.
I told them my name and let them smell me, hoping they wud like me.
Which they did. They did smell me. They did like me. They tuk turns smelling and liking me.
I told them all that had be fallen me. They beleeved it about the Mawl. They did not beleev it about Fox 7. I cud tell. They looked at me funy. Then looked at each other funy.
Tell the truth, I wud not havebeleeved me either if I had showedupand told me that.
Those Foxes were super nise. One came over all shy and out of her mowth dropped afroot at my paw. One dropped a gift ofa part of a Berd. They showed me to a pond, where I drank so much they were slitely laffing.
And I woslike: There is no fud or gud water where I live.
One of them woslike: We kind of figgered.
Then, thanks to my habit of day-dreeming, I saw myself, in my brane, leeding my other Foxes to this paradice, one by one, threw FoxViewCommons. Iwud show them the Gap. I wud show them the Fake Rox. If one was skared Iwud say: Dont be skared. And make a joke. If one was slow I wud give a push from behind with an enkeraging snout. If one was looking around all freeked out, I wud calm lee go: Fokus, fokus. If one was old, such as are Grate Leeder, Iwud carry him or her on my bak.
Soon, in my mind, we are all safe lee there. And my other Foxes, looking at me with shyglanses upturned, are like: Fox 8, we cud not have been more rong. And they fan me with there fans.
I snapped out from that day-dreem to find the New Foxes regarding me with kind lee smiles.
When I told them my day-dreem, they were like: Cul. Bring your frends here, we can all live together very hapy. There is so much fud here it is like crazy.
Wud it be easy?
It wud not. It wud take Guts. But Ihave Guts. I once likked the tire of a Truk that was moving to see how it tasted, which the Groop teesed me about it, because hey Fox 8, why not wate until one found a Truk not moving, wud that not be easier?
Only too bad. If this was a buk, all it wud take is Guts, and I cud have done it. But no. It was reel life. For many weeks I tried to find my Old Foxes. My new frends even helped.
But no way.
We serched and serched but never fownd my frends, or even a trase of FoxViewCommons.
It is as if my beluvved Old Groop had fallen off the fase of Erth. (Gudby deer frends. I will not forgit you.)
So now I live here. I have fud. I have water. I have frends. One frend is Fox SmallNose/Alert+Funy. She is prety. She is nise. These new Foxes do there names somewhat difrent, having werds in there names. These werds tell what is note werthy about each Fox. Like oneFox is known as Fox Complanes Constantly/Yet Nise. One is known as Fox WhySoHefty? My frend Fox SmallNose/Alert+Funy has a small nose, plus is alert, plus is funy. Hense her name.
Sometimes she is like: You are not allhere, Fox 8. Come alive. Be hapy.
Yesterday she woslike: You have a sad dark view.
And I woslike: So wud you.
She woslike: Well, I do not want are Babys having a mopy dad.
To which I woslike: Wait, are we having Babys?
And she spun arownd, and did ahop-and-yip.
Hearing that gave me paws. I did not want to be the kind of Dad who is so mad he just skowls, and hense his Babys are like: Ugh, Dad brings us down, he does not find life gud, but only sits mad in the Den wile us other Foxes stare up at the moonlite, nuzzling close, moving our tale areas bak and forth the way we Foxes do when glad. I wanted to be the kind of Dad who, yeers hense, when thinking of me, are Babys are like, gud old Dad, he was always there for us, showing us with the old snout-nudge what is fud and what is not.
Illustration: Chelsea Cardinal/Bloomsbury
So asked myself: What mite somewhat retreev the old and hope full me? And replyed:
Which is why I am riting this leter to you Yumans.
I wud like to know what is rong with you peeple. How cud the same type of Animal who made that luv lee Mawl make Fox 7 look the way he looked thattime I saw him? Wud a Yuman do something like that to another Yuman? Idowt it. Whenever I saw a Yuman, heor she was laffing wile smiling wile approching the Mawl. Sometimes one Kar mite hit another Kar and a Yuman mite be slite lee mad, but always, by the end, they are at least nise, and give each other the gift of a scrap of paper. Never onse did I see a Yuman hit another Yuman with a rok hat, stomp and kik that Yuman, then fling that Yuman, laffing when he or she came down in apuff of dirt with a sikening sound.
Maybe Yumans do that.
But I have not seen it.
I know life can be gud. Most lee it is gud. I have drank cleen cold water on ahot day, herd the soft bark of the one I luv, watched sno fall slow, making the wuds kwiet. But now all these happy sites and sounds seem like triks. Now it seems like the gud times are mere lee smoke that, upon blowing away, here is the reel life, which is: rok hats, kikking, stomping. Every minit with no kikking and stomping now seems like not a real minit. Do you get what I mean? It is like some frend who preveusly was nise suden lee says some crool thing and does this nip on your flank. Even when he goes bak to being nise, you will never feel exact lee safe. And meenwile your other frends, who did not get nipped, are troting arownd with hapy smiles, going: Fox 8, why so glum?
Preevius to lerning we wud have Babys, I felt, about Yumans: I brake withyou. If you see me in the wuds, donot come neer. Stay in your awesum howses, play your music lowd, however you make it play so lowd, yap your Yuman jokes, sending forth your crood laffter into the nite. I will not approche you. I will just stay in my plase, skwatting low, fearful and kwaking, which is how you seem to like us Foxes.
But now, Babys on root, I do not want to feel that way.
I want to feel strong and generus. Iwant to feel hope full. Which is why, upon compleeshun of this leter, I will leeve it at that howse at the end of Clear Circle Way, where offen I see a serten rownd guy feeding Berds. His male boks says his name is P. Melonsky. You seem nise enough, P. Melonsky. Reed my leter, go farth, ask your felow Yumans what is up, rite bak, leeve your anser under your Berd feeder, I will come in the nite to retreeve and lern.
I am sure there is some eksplanashun.
And wud luv to know it.
Reeding my Story bak just now, I woslike: O no, my Story is a bumer. There is the deth of a gud pal, and no plase of up lift, or lerning a leson. The nise Foxs first Groop stays lost, his frend stays ded.
If you Yumans wud take one bit of advise from a meer Fox? By now I know that you Yumans like your Storys to end hapy?
If you want your Storys to end happy, try being niser.
I awate your answer.