The young fox
was on the prowl at Park Crescent on the terrace
overseen by Neko, sitting non plussed on the
Victorian ratan table. The terrace overlooked the
park that was once the West Sussex Cricket Club
in Georgian Times. The fox family lived
contentedly in the large park in Foxlandia and
were only seen occasionally by residents.
Madame Gigis back door was open in good
weather to air the narrow kitchen and give Neko,
her beautiful chunky black and white cat, the
freedom to come in and out at will as there was
no cat flap.
Neko usually dined on his favourite chicken in
jelly served in a china bowl from Granada around
6.00 pm. He had an internal clock and always knew
his dining time. He would be left outside, his
designated territory, on his table facing inwards
so he could watch his mistress at work in her
lounge. Then around 11.00 pm, bed time, he would
scratch on the window and Miao
silently, opening his mouth, saying it was time
to come in.
Twas a few days before Madame Gigi was off
to Paris, her spiritual city where she had lived
on and off for 30 years. Paris the City of Lights
had called her again that June. This time the
Spoken Word Group, Paris Lit Up, had invited her
to perform her true life stories, known as
vignettes, at Culture Rapide in Belleville.
Madame Gigi awoke to find devastation in her
lounge despite Neko lying innocently on the pink
patchwork Turkish rug. Broken Turkish china and
large excrement, pivotally placed by the window,
asked to be removed.
Shocked Madame went into the kitchen to find more
broken Turkish coffee cups and saucers on the
floor. Was this a political animal? Packets of
foil cat food with telltale teeth marks lay on
the floor abandoned and empty. Later brioche
rolls devoured on her bed were discovered, a
scratched tin containing chocolate biscuits. This
rascal went to great lengths to satisfy his
Mister Rat was back! A year earlier he had cost
Madame a small fortune to be got rid of by a
cunning rat catcher. He had chomped his way
through expensive Italian soaps, devouring the
beautiful floral packaging before gnawing at the
bars of perfumed soaps from Florence. Not to
mention the wooden shelves! However he was safely
locked in the gift cupboard so Neko was excused
for not pouncing on his victim.
Worse was yet to come the morning after the first
discovery and 2 days before departure. Mister Rat
had been up on the marble mantlepiece. All Madames
precious mementos had been dislodged and
overturned and one of the candlesticks crashed to
the floor, broken.
Desperate, she went in search of rat traps and
poison despite being scared to find a big rat
with a broken neck and cleaning up his turds all
over the flat. Madame was no domestic goddess and
could get a whiff of a strong animal smell
emanating from the coat and bag area in the hall
as she walked past to get to the kitchen.
Neko was banished to his haven on the terrace
even throughout the mild night. She was advised
to close all the doors, put her remaining china
away in cupboards thus watching and waiting for
the monster to appear.
The night before departure, Madame Gigi opened
the kitchen door gingerly to get a late night
herbal tea. Mon Dieu she gasped and cried out
loud Oh my God!. There, looking at her on
the draining board amidst the dishes, was a
terrified cute fox cub. The culprit who had been
sleeping in the warmth of the carrier bags and
suitcases for 4 days during the day and on the
prowl for jellied cat food at night. Aaah he was
Sir Galahad magically appeared with a broom to
open the back door while Madame took a video and
photograph for facebook. Master Fox, the star of
the show, fled into the night back to his family
somewhere in the park.
Madame Gigi thought she had outwitted Master Fox
by putting packets of cat jellies in the large
red shopper for her neighbour Maria to feed Neko
on the terrace without coming into the flat but
Master Fox smelt the chicken and left more
devastation on the terrace during her absence. In
the end after frantic Neko texts, the problem was
solved with a golden key and Sir Galahad to the
Et voila. The end of the Master Fox saga!
in Linda McVeighs creative writing workshop
at Evolution, Brighton on 17 November 2018.