FOREST CLEARING – AFTERNOON
FOX (AS CUNNING AS YOU EXPECT A CORNERED FOX TO BE):
I could tell, when the smell of burnt gunpowder infected these woods this morning, that you’d be coming for me. I tried to ignore it, hopeful that you outgrew fox huntin’, but when your mutt there caught up with me…I knew you’d be starvin’ her just for this weekend thrill.
Tell me: does blood get pumped to all the right places when you chase after me? How defenceless I must look right up to the moment you pull the trigger and spray my pretty pink brains all over the dirt.
F/X SHOTGUN COCKS
Wait, wait wait! I’ll cut the attitude, just give me a minute. I’m just making conversation, one last chit-chat before I’m made into a knick-knack. That’s all.
You know, my coat of orange is much better without a hole in its side. I always thought of myself as stylish, actually. Black socks, white-tipped tail and sunset-stained fur. I think, everyone can agree on how beautiful I can be; and cunning. I know this forest like the pads of my paws, from my shelter under an uprooted tree to the best route to your chicken coup. Real clever fox I was, I mean, until now I guess. But…
I understand why you do what you do.
It’s to keep me humble. No one likes a bragger high on their swagger. So, you hunt me down and pierce my hide with sweet, sweet modesty. A couple of buckshots into my spine and one to the temple for good measure’s a lot kinder than being mauled to death by my ego. Or in this case, ‘ol Bessy there, the one-girl bloodhound gang. She’s looking a bit tired, salivating and staring, but tired.
Yet, I beg you to just do us a favour. In between the aiming of those iron sights and the pulling of that there trigger, yes yes I know you’re itching to pull it, but… do us this one, tiny favour.
Look at me. Take a good, hard, long look at me.
Your dog is far better fed than me. Your jacket’s warmer than my coat. Your wife’s many scarfs suit her skin tone more than this dirty orange. Your kids have enough stuffed cousins of mine to stare at and my tail’s not as fun as an Xbox. Your house is a lot bigger than where my cubs are staying at right now. Yes, I know the whole lot about you and yours. But wait. I’m not done.
You’ve spent more on that Remington there than any part of me or ALL of me will be worth. There is nothing to this worth the blood. Nothing more than the joy you take from killing me. That ecstasy might be valued more than my life to you, but me? Me and my family kill only to survive and even if I did kill one of your hens last night, she has thirty-four relatives that I’m not dying to meet so much anymore!
Bessy’s lookin’ exhausted, you’re looking bored but nevertheless you’re now asking yourself; what’s this fox’s point?
My point, chap, is that you have it a lot better.
But I bet I run much faster.
Cheating Death is a monologue written for radio. An assignment for the module Writing for Radio, this piece was also read and acted by Sajina Asokakumar.
Picture by lyndseygreen.co.uk
Miguel Guerreiro Lourenço is an acclaimed Portuguese writer and narrative designer, currently residing in the United Kingdom. His works cross multiple genre borders, with comics ranging from sci-fi to period witchcraft, many autobiographical and nature pieces and scriptwriting that bleeds into radio and film. His poetry collection, Writing The Truth won the V. Press Runner-Up prize for Best Poetry Collection at the University of Worcester, 2019, and his narrative design and games work can be found in games such as the successfully kickstarted indie, Pixel Princess Blitz and the fan-favourite, Fashion Empire. While prolific, Miguel also dedicates some of his time developing relationships with young writer communities as well as universities, ensuring that his experiences and background can facilitate the journey of others. Despite his work as a writer, narrative designer and guest lecturer, his preference remains to stay at home with his wife, cuddling their dog and binge watching shows or playing games.