His luck had finally run out.
Reynaldo the Red Fox was suspended, hanging on a barbed wire fence by his stomach.
The more he twisted, the more the barbs sunk their teeth into his pink soft underbelly.
He was trapped and he knew it.
He was literally kicking himself that he should get caught this way- in such a simple fashion – as he a very intelligent creature.
He had misjudged the take-off, slipping on some sheep-shit.
Reynaldo had for over a decade, survived the harsh Winter temperatures, and rainy Summers that Gwynedd in North Wales had to offer its native fauna.
In the freezing cold sub-zero temperatures, he would go and warm himself next to the decommissioned Nuclear Power Station , Trawsfynydd and its Magnox reactor.
He loved basking in its warm glow.
He always felt safe there, as for some reason the Local Huntsmen and their pack of dogs would not pursue him under the security fencing, preferring to take their cries of Tally-Ho and Soho to other quarries in and around Flint.
Whilst hunting with dogs was illegal on private land -that didn’t stop the local Hunt, ‘egged’ on by the local farmers missing their chickens, who continued as if nothing had ever been put in place by Parliament to stop such events.
The Manifesto of the New Labour Administration in the Noughties, had promised that ‘things could only get better’.
Well maybe not for the Country or the people of Iraq but for foxes it certainly had.
They loved Tony Blair.
He was made an honorary fox- Blair Fox if you like- as a direct result of the Hunting Ban, foxes just like the National Debt, quadrupled in numbers.
Foxes started appearing everywhere- on biscuits, near polar bears on glacier mints and even in Downtown Abbey.
It was no longer the ‘day of the jackal’ but the decade of the Vixen.
Brer Rabbit wasn’t so fussed on the New Policy, as their natural predator had been given special preserved status and like fox shit was now everywhere.
Thankfully, as is the way of Mother Nature- she balanced things up by providing a glut of KFC & MacDonalds outlets for vermin to feed on – and the foxes too.
Reynaldo, knew he had to figure a way to extricate himself from his predicament or die trying.
He knew it was only a matter of time before his nemesis since birth, ‘Old Gellert’ , a North Walian Bloodhound caught up with him.
He would never give up.
He was the canine equivalent of Metropolitan Police Detective Jack Slipper.
The Former East-ender had tracked the renegade Reynaldo all the way from his Dirty Den in Gwynedd across three Counties- Gwynedd, Rural Powys, Ceredigion and finally to Merthyr.
Looking at the sign in Welsh-’Bedlinog’, Reynaldo hoped it wasn’t a bad omen.
Normally, Reynaldo could usually give the pursuing back the slip by running through streams and doubling back- but not this time.
He figured that as his fur was starting to fall out then it made him easier to pursue.
He normally moulted in around April ever year – losing his Winter coat- but he feared this was different.
It was falling out in clumps, not individual hairs- worse still he couldn’t ‘groom’ himself with his ‘brush’ ,as his tail was attached to the sharp metal barbs on this livestock proof fence.
He had once heard from a wise old bird friend of his, who was losing his feathers - that he had been diagnosed by the vet as having ‘owlapecia’- so Reynaldo assumed that he was suffering from a similar complaint.
One thing for certain was that his love life hadn’t suffered because of his hair loss- he was still inundated by ‘foxy’ ladies that wanted a bit of his ‘Boom Boom’.
It seems he was the Vulpine equivalent of Errol Brown of ‘Hot Chocolate’ fame.
The vixens screamed for him from Mountain Top and Wheelie Bin Lid- much to the annoyance of the North Walian residents- as they all vied for his attention.
Reynaldo put it down to him regularly rolling his nether regions in the herb patches of the gardens that he prowled in at night.
It was like aftershave to the females – who loved the scent of ‘Basil Brush’.
Reynaldo knew he didn’t have time to reminisce, he must find a way off this blasted fence or like much of his prey -he was dead meat.
In the far distance, he could hear the yelping of his pursuers.
The last two dogs NOT to give up were Caradog and Old Gellert- he recognised their distinctive barking.
They were a little older and their noses less keen- from years of following the multitude of behinds of the younger, fitter dogs.
But they were nonetheless committed to the cause.
To Old Gellert it was personal- his wife Red, had been killed in the hunt back 5 years ago when Reynaldo had deliberately led her into a trap.
He had marked his scent all around the bottom of a milk float knowing full well that the dog would not resist checking out the bottom of the vehicle.
In the process, he had helped himself to two dozen eggs and a carton of Orange Juice before he was chased away by the returning milkman.
Red was not so lucky.
Being the fastest and fittest canine around, she was always first on the scene for any kill , as like most bitches liked to tear their opponents apart limb from limb.
The angry Unigate Dairyman thought that the dog was the thief and deliberately rolled back over her and ‘squashed’ her in the process.
Old Gellert knew that Lassie was the son of a bitch, but ever since that day to him so was Reynaldo.
He was convinced the fox had consumed part of his wife’s remains before being chased off by the pursuing pack.
His swore on his wife’s grave in the corner of ‘Vet Cemetery’ that he would get even with his foxy nemesis.
Sadly, Old Gellert’s legs weren’t as good as they once were- if only he could corner Reynaldo he would kill that vermin once and for all- and die happy.
Gellert sniffed the air- he knew he was gaining on Reynaldo as the ‘tumbleweed’ of red fox fur was getting thicker, the closer he got to his quarry.
Reynaldo wasn’t ready to give up the ghost just yet-if that Fantastic Mr Fox had been one thing during his lifetime it was he was very lucky.
So lucky that they named Foxy Bingo.com after him.
They say fortune favours the brave and Reynaldo was not just lucky – he was brave too.
Fate played a hand too in the shape of local resident, Lewys Street.
Lewys was only sixteen but had Bedlinog tattooed through him and on him like Blackpool Rock.
There was more Bedrock in him than the Flintstones.
Today, he was busy tootling along on his 998cc motorised hair drier.
The funky moped had a top speed of 30MPH having been fitted with a speed limiter and integral tracking device by an Insurance Company- otherwise his premium would have been £10,000.00 a year.
Lewys had left school with a GSCE in Woodwork and was busily searching the job market for suitable job opportunities in the Merthyr Borough to encompass his qualifications.
Not surprisingly, the Job Centre was not overflowing with opportunities.
Enticed by the glut of cheap cookery shows on television- he wanted to be the next Mary Berry only without the recipe for wrinkles…but they no longer wanted a chef at the Food Bank.
So he decided to do some volunteer work for new Political Party UKIP.
He was driving along the country lanes leading from Treharris to Bedrock whilst checking on the numbers of telegraph lines in the area.
He checked the job description and confirmed he was asked to ‘Count the Poles’ in the Merthyr Borough for Head Office of the Party.
After a while he had realised that the poles already had a serial number.
He thought it would now be an easier task than he first thought.
He was shocked to happen upon the stricken fox and even more surprised to find that the Fox could speak in Welsh.
He was surprised to find someone that did given that the National Average was between 22-30%.
And in foxes even lower.
“ Bore Da!” spake the Fox.
Lewys nearly crashed his moped into Pole number 86543.
“ What the Bluddy Hell are you doing hanging there?” said the youngster.
“ Just chillin’!” replied Reynaldo leaning back on the wire to pretend like he was not in excruciating agony but sunbathing.
“ How did you get there?” asked Lewys.
“ Haven’t you seen a flying fox before?” replied the cunning Reynaldo.
“ No…!” replied Lewys…” I’m from Bedrock…we don’t see much wildlife down here at all- apart chucking out time at the Bedlinog Rugby Club!”
“ Doesn’t that hurt then?” asked Lewys.
“ Wot hurt?” asked the balding fox.
“ Those barbs in your guts?” asked Lewys.
“ Oh …those body piercings you mean…I am hard …I’m Welsh mun…these are all the rage now in hip places like Merthyr!” said Reynaldo.
“ They are one on from body piercing –and are the ultimate stress relief too….!” continued the wily one.
“ If you come over here…I will show you how they are attached!” said Reynaldo.
“ My Mother warned me not to talk to strangers….especially Super Furry Animals or Lost Prophets!” replied Lewys.
“ But I am no longer a Super Furry Animal…my hair is much depleted ….like the Welsh Language…I have less than 22% left….and I am certainly not lost….!”said Reynaldo.
Lewys was a little reassured and came closer- as did the sound of the barking and hollering of Old Gellert & Caradog in the near distance.
“ I see you are wearing a ‘Friends of the Earth’ badge!” said Reynaldo.
“ You…I am against that Opencast lot…!” said Lewys pointing in the direction of where the sky was black.
“ Did you know that a group of foxes is called an Earth…Lewys ?” asked Reynaldo.
“ How did you know my name?” asked the teenager.
“ It’s written on your coat label!” said the fox …eyes…well like a fox really.
“ Oh!” said the Low Achiever.
“ So that makes us Friends…doesn’t it…!” said the cunning one.
“ Like on Facebook!” said Lewys.
“ Fox-book!” chuckled Lewys.
“ I don’t know what that is….but yes…friends none the less !” said Reynaldo.
“ And what do friends do Lewys?” asked the fox.
“ Help each other!”
“ So what do you want me to do?” asked Lewys hesistantly.
“ Come closer to me!” said the fox.
Lewys moved closer to the trapped skulker.
“ Closer please!” asked the prisoner of the wire.
“ But you don’t know my nickname do you….everyone in the Valleys has a nickname!” said Lewys.
“ Is it Einstein?....Socrates?....” asked the sarcastic fox.
“ No….it’s the Rock innit….as I am from Bedrock and I want to be a chef one day…!” said Lewys.
Lewys was now level with the fox who was splayed out with his undercarriage on full display- totally defenceless to any form of attack.
“ I don’t care how much of a friend you are or how much fur you have lost…I ain’t sucking THAT thing!” said Lewys.
“ Don’t be daft!” said Reynaldo.
“ I would merely like you to assist me with undoing the barbs holding me on this fence- I have done enough sunbathing for one day!” said the canny vixen lover.
“ Are you sure…because that’s what I was told priests and prophets do….and if I help you…you will not bite me?” asked the tentative Lewys.
“ Of course not….have the heard of the expression …not to bite the hand that feeds you?” said Reynaldo.
“ No….but I am not feeding you anyway….or touching THAT thing!” replied the nervous Lewys stepping closer.
“ It’s a figure of speech….trust your gut…!” said Reynaldo.
Lewys looked at the bleeding gut of the trapped animal in front of him and released the first barb from around the fox tail.
“ Now -You haven’t got that disease you catch from rabbits have you?” asked Lewys.
“ Mixamitosis?” asked the knowledge fox with a higher IQ than the human.
“ No rab-ies?” replied Lewys.
“ No- I’m clean I promise…..and if you help me out I will give you my lucky charm so that as a trainee Chef you will always have something to put in the pot!” said Reynaldo.
He reached inside his cheek and regurgitated something from his extended jawline.
“ What is that?” asked Lewys patiently undoing the last twisted metal spike from the barbed wire fence from the fox’s midriff.
“ That my FRIEND….is a lucky rabbit’s foot!” said Reynaldo proudly.
“ Go on then pick it up and rub it for luck and watch what happens!” said Reynaldo.
“ Lucky rabbits foot…it wasn’t that lucky for him was it!” said Lewys.
“ His name was Warren Want….and he was the King of the North Walian rabbits and he had magic powers!” said Reynaldo.
Lewys picked it up and rub the fox spittle on his WWF tee-shirt.
“ Now blow on it three times and I promise you in less than five minutes over that hill will come more rabbits than the cast of Watership Down!” boasted the fox.
Lewys blew on it three times and watched the horizon for signs of life.
“ Keep looking now…I promise you will never be hungry again!” said Reynaldo skulking pass his new friend.
After five minutes had passed- there was no sign of any leverets, does or bucks anywhere.
With the only hairs in sight that of the red fox fur still attached to the sharp metal fence.
As Lewys turned he could see his first Bedlinog Flying Fox ever, as Reynaldo came passed the field entrance riding Lewys’s scooter.
Pursued by two ugly slobbering bloodhounds with hang dog expressions.
Old Gelert and Caradog stopped and asked Lewys in Welsh, if he had seen a ‘chicken chaser’?
Lewys replied- ‘No …but if you do….it belongs to me!”