I wrote this a year or two ago for one of my animal loving friends and as our glorious leader has decided to bring back fox hunting I thought it was worth dragging out of the archive if nothing else just to prove I saw it all coming first... So is PictoPirate psychic? I hear you cry... read on and find out.


A Lovely Day To Be A Fox.


“It’s a lovely day to be a fox,” said Gary. “The grass is long and thick, the birds are singing in the trees and best of all the humans all seem terribly busy being angry and unhappy leaving their bins unprotected.” Not that Gary would stoop to raiding human bins, well not since he was a teenager in the city, no Gary was a refined country fox now and with a taste for the finer things in life, like rabbit or a nice fat pigeon… ‘Pigeon! Pigeon!’ shouted Gary’s food brain as a plump little fellow fluttered down beside the pond he was sat watching. With some difficulty he fought off the urge to dance around chasing his tail, plenty of time for that after he caught the little blighter. 


Gary – like all the foxes he met – had three distinct brains, the food brain which took up approximately 90% of his designated thinking time, the fun time brain which used around 10% and the lesser used (in Gary’s case at least) thinking brain which filled in the statistically insignificant time in between. Right now there was a fight going on between the food brain and the fun time brain which allowed his thinking brain to slip in unnoticed. He lowered himself to the ground feeling the silky grass rub on his soft underbelly. He scouched forwards slow and steady the tall grass masking his approach ‘I need to focus,’ thought the thinking brain. ‘Just focus, soon I’ll have…’ 


‘Pigeon!’ shouted his traitorous food brain and his tail started to wag unconsciously stirring the long green shoots behind him. The pigeon looked up and Gary froze. The bird tilted his head and blinked. Gary lay as still as he could muscles tensed claws digging into the dirt while his food brain sang ‘Pigeon! Pigeon! Pigeon! Yummy, yummy yummy. Pigeon! Pigeon! Pigeon! Yummy, yummy yummy.’ over and over again in his head. The thinking part of Gary’s brain hoped that pigeons weren’t psychic, the fun time part hoped it was and started day dreaming about how he would befriend the pigeon, take it back to his den and use it to freak it Jenny. ‘Then eat it,’ chimed in his food brain still humming the ‘Pigeon! Pigeon! Pigeon! Yummy, yummy yummy.’ song under its metaphorical breath.


After a tense moment the pigeon straightened then went back to pecking around the edge of the pond. ‘Ha Ha foolish pigeon I have you now!’ thought a triumphant Gary edging forward again ready to burst through the grass grab his breakfast. Time slowed; the pigeon turned its back on Gary to peck at the damp earth. Gary shuffled forward the last inch putting him in leaping range then paused taut as a bowstring. He leapt and the world slammed back into normal time as a long note echoed through the trees. ‘What the?!’ thought Gary’s three brains at the same time as he crashed to the ground just as the startled pigeon took to the air. 


“God damnit!” he cursed punching the ground in frustration. ‘Pigeon?’ asked his food brain. “No! No bloody pigeon alright food brain? Some muppet scared it away with that damn…” he was cut off as the horn sounded again closer this time. “What the hell is that?” 


Hauling himself to his feet reluctantly Gary surveyed the scene. The scene looked just the same as it had a moment ago, well aside from the plump little ‘Pigeon!’ “Shut up you I’m trying to concentrate.” The sky was still blue, the grass still green and the pond grey and still. 


‘Let’s splash in the water’ thought fun time but Gary ignored him tilting his head and turning to his left as something caught his attention. He couldn’t quite put a finger on what it was but something was there; he could feel it tickling his ears. He took a couple of steps forward head still tilted. It wasn’t the horn this time it was something else, something lower, something coarser. Then with a rush the scent filled his nose and he knew what it was… “Dogs,” he said to himself. “Lots of dogs.” 


‘We can’t eat dogs,’ thought food brain.


“What about Chihuahuas?” he asked.


‘Fine,’ muttered food brain. ‘We can’t eat those dogs, they are big ones I can smell it.’ His food brain retreated in sullen silence and Gary used the opportunity to wake up his lesser used thinking brain.


“Oi you in there what do we know about dogs?”


‘Uh? What? When?’


“Dogs man, tell me about dogs.”


‘The domestic dog is a domesticated canid which has been selectively bred for millennia for various behaviours, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes,’ began thinking brain now finally awake.


“No poindexter,” cursed Gary. “In relation to this situation.”


‘Well, we don’t eat them and they don’t eat us...’


“That’s a good start.”


‘The humans usually keep them inside so we can’t play with them,’ moaned fun time.


‘They’re better than the cats,’ added food brain. ‘They kill our lovely pigeons and don’t even have the good decency to eat them. Just give them away to their humans. Pigeon!’


“Are there usually this many?”


‘No,” the three brains said in unison.


The horn sounded again much closer this time and Gary started to hop from one pair of feet to the other.


“What do I do? What do I do?”


“Run you pillock!” shouted the foxhound bursting through the grass ahead of him.


“What do you mean run?” asked Gary. “Who are you?”


“It doesn’t matter who I am,” yapped the dog pacing in front of Gary. “You need to get out of here sharpish the humans are coming.”




“And they have horses, horns, whips and everything the full deal.”




The dog stopped pacing with a heavy sigh. “They are hunting you you idiot.”




‘Hunting is the practice of killing or trapping any animal, or pursuing it with the intent of doing so,’ thought thinking brain.


“They want to kill me?” cried Gary horrified. “Why what did I ever do to them?”


“No idea pal but they seem pretty keen on the idea.” 


The horn sounded again they must have been almost on top of him, Gary took one last look around then bolted.


“Finally,” said the foxhound before tilting his head back and howling to his brother and sisters. “Found him!”



Gary limped into his den and collapsed on the floor, his usually shiny red coat was soaked with sweat and dotted here and there with twigs and leaves. 


“What the hell happened to you?” said Ralph the oldest of all the foxes in the den limping out of his bedroom into the living room.


“Dogs,” panted Gary. “Lots of dogs.”


“Dogs you say?” said Jez sticking his head out of a side room. Jez was a badger but he’d been rooming with them off and on for the last two months while he refurbished his sett. Widescreen TV, air conditioning and a bed big enough for twenty sows so he said. Gary had no idea what any of that was but it sounded impressive.


“Humans too,” gasped Gary. “Humans and horses and dogs and whips and… pigeon!”


“Pigeon?!? Where” asked Jenny skidding into the living room.


“They scared the pigeon away,” said Gary and to everyone’s surprise he started to cry. “A plump juicy pigeon right there and then,” he blew into his hand keyser soze style . “Gone.”


“Let me get this straight,” said Ralph limping over and putting a hand on his shoulder. “You were stalking a pigeon.”


“Ah the pigeon!” cried Gary breaking out into a fresh fit of sobs.


“Ahem Yes,” said Ralph. “Then you it was chased away by dogs and men on horses?” Everyone knew that Ralph had an excellent thinking brain; he always managed to focus on what was important. Gary assumed it the thinking brain was in your belly and got bigger as you got older. It was the only explanation for why trim young foxes like him found thinking so difficult while plump old foxes like Ralph could get a real good think on without being distracted by ‘Pigeon!’


“Oh my,” muttered Ralph sitting down by Gary. “That isn’t good.”


“What isn’t good Grandpa?” asked Jenny coming over to sit facing the old fox.


“The Tories must have got back in,” said Ralph more to himself than to Jenny. “It’s the only explanation.”


“What’s a Tory?” asked Jenny.


“I’ll tell you what a Tory is,” said Jez striding into the room fists balled in anger. “A blooming nasty piece of work that’s what one is.”


“The Tories are a tribe of humans dear,” said Ralph patting his lap. Jenny scouched over and sat on his knee like she had when she was a cub. “You see every few years the humans get to choose who will rule them. Sometimes they choose one group and sometimes they choose Tories and when they do it’s bad for all of us. When I was a cub the humans used to hunt us for fun. Everyone knew someone who’d been taken in a hunt why I lost a brother and two sisters to them myself.” Ralph blinked as Jenny reached up and wiped the tear of his furry cheek. “Then the non-Tories came and the hunts stopped. We didn’t believe it at first but for years now no one was taken. We thought the dark days were behind us but now the Tories must be back; like I always knew they would be and we are hunted again.”


“You think you have it bad,” moaned Jez. “They set bloody snipers on us, peek your head out of your sett for a second and pow.” He slammed his fist into his palm. “Worm food.” 


“We need to get a message out,” said Jenny. “Tell the other foxes that the Tories are back.”


“Pigeon,” mumbled Gary who had slipped into the deep sleep of exhaustion. “Pigeon.”


“You’re right,” said Ralph standing sending Jenny scrambling. “We have to organise, fight back; we can’t go back to the dark old days. The Tories will rue the day they crossed the foxes!”



Rupert Spencer Warbington-Smythe Esq sat atop his might steed Frances (named for his mother) and surveyed the scene. The hunt crew had assembled as requested in the lower field and all seemed to be present and correct; the Kennelman was in deep discussion with the head of the terrier men while his underlings fussed with the dogs. The treasurer was making his rounds collecting the cap from the riders and a couple of the Whippers-in were testing their whips to one side. All were dressed in the traditional red jackets, white trousers and long black boots polished to a mirror shine. Seeing that all was ready Rupert reached down took up his horn and blew two short blasts. He could feel his heart racing, the adrenaline starting to pump and he felt alive again. Nothing made you feel like a man more than killing a defenceless animal in cold blood. Rupert lived to hunt and gamble, well gamble with other people’s money not with his own he wasn’t a moron. It was win-win, get it right and the bonuses are astronomical; get it wrong and the Government would bail you out and with the market in the toilet the opportunities for growth really were excellent.


“Cast the hounds!” called Rupert in his most commanding voice. The head of the terrier men saluted, signalled to his men and the hounds bounded off into the brush. After a few tense moments one of the hounds started to bark then the rest took up the cry. “We have the scent,” cried Rupert arms aloft. “Let the hunt begin!” He blew a long blast on the horn and dogs raced off into the woods followed closely by the rest of the party.


“You’ve led us a merry dance foxy,” said Rupert under his breath as he Frances trotted up the hill after the baying hounds. “But we have you now.” It was to be expected after several years without practise that the hounds would need some warm-up time but in truth the hunt had been a very strange one. The trail had appeared to go cold on numerous occasions and Rupert thought on more than one occasion that it would be a sad day for all concerned then out of the blue a different hound would pick up the scent. If Rupert hadn’t known that foxes were generally rather solitary animals he’d have sworn that there a bunch of foxes congregating in the area. ‘None of that matters now,’ he thought with a shake of his head. The hounds at the front were going crazy racing up the hill, climbing all over one another in their frenzy to reach the top first. ‘He must be just over this rise,’ thought Rupert spurring Frances with a dig in the ribs. ‘Just like at home,’ he thought to himself snickering to himself. Then all of a sudden he was over the rise and the world went all topsy-turvy.


 Rupert was expecting to see the fox, harried, worn-down limping ahead of his pack of hounds baying for blood. Instead he saw the hounds milling around in front of what Rupert could only describe as a picket line. There must have been forty foxes, with a few badgers stoats and even a few rabbits thrown into the mix. They formed a loose line between two trees and behind them were a bunch of placards with various muddy paws prints on them. When he came into view the foxes started to bark in unison and Rupert froze unable to believe his eyes.


“What do we want?” called Gary.


“An end to the ill treatment of animals for human sport,” replied the gathered animals in unison.


“When do we want it?”


“As soon as it can be fast tracked through parliament; allowing for the correct amount of correct democratic oversight of course but with a temporary band starting right away.”


“I still say we should have gone with ‘now’,” said Jenny. “That seems needlessly wordy.”


“We need to be specific with our demands,” replied Ralph. “You know what these humans are like, they will use any loophole to wriggle out of doing what they should.”


“What do we want?” called Gary again pacing up and down the line of foxes.


“An end to the ill treatment of animals for human sport,” replied the gathered animals in unison.


“And no more shooting badgers we don’t all have TB you know,” added Jez.


“When do we want it?”


“As soon as it can be fast tracked through parliament; allowing for the correct amount of correct democratic oversight of course but with a temporary band starting right away.”


The human remained motionless on his horse mouth hanging open a look of utter astonishment on his face. Most of the hounds took the opportunity for a bit of a lie down – you didn’t mess with the unions - but one sidled over to where Ralph and Jenny were talking. 


“Who’s in charge here?” asked Barry the hound leaning so close to Jenny she could smell his breath; which was most unpleasant… Jenny shuddered at the thought of where his tongue had been.


“We are the foxes collective 913 of Whittington and this is an official picket,” replied Ralph limping forward. “We ask that you cease and desist this hunt immediately or we will be forced to take further steps.”


“Further steps?” 


“Indeed we have a fearsome letter writing campaign underway,” replied Ralph hiking his thumb over his shoulder to where a bunch of cubs were trampling mud onto some already ropey looking sheets of paper.

“I don’t think that will…” the hound was cut off as Rupert gave a blast on his horn. The dogs started milling around and Barry nodded towards the irate huntsman. “Sorry about him he gets a little pent-up if we don’t kill something.”


“You mean one of us,” said Jenny face like a thundercloud. “Who does he think he is?”


The horn sounded again and one of the other hounds came over to stand by Barry. “I think he wants us to chase them Barry.”


“There tons of them,” replied Barry indicating the picket with a sweep of his arm. “Besides you know we don’t mess with the unions.”


“But…” the hounds stopped as a dark shadow loomed over them. The human was now off his horse and standing behind them barking and brandishing his whip. 


“What’s he saying?” asked Ralph.


“I think he is saying that I’m a bad dog,” replied Barry. 


“I could have told you that and I don’t speak human,” said Jenny. “Just look at him he is fit to blow.”


The red faced human stopped his barking took a step forwards and swung his whip at Barry. Barry caught the whip, twisted and the human fell to his knees in the mud hand wrist twisted at a painful angle. “Bad human,” said Barry before slapping Rupert full across the face.


“Alright lads we’re with the foxes line up,” shouted Barry. The dogs paused in their milling. “Now!” The dogs hurried across and joined the foxes who gave them hearty slaps on the back.


“What do we want?” shouted Barry.


“An end to the ill treatment of animals for human sport,” replied the foxes in unison with the dogs joining in a step out of time. 


“When do we want it?”


“As soon as it can be fast tracked through parliament; allowing for the correct amount of correct democratic oversight of course but with a temporary band starting right away.”



Bad Dog: Pet Owners Baffled by Disobedient Pets

Foxes Fight Back: Huntsmen Chased from the Fields by Angry Foxes.

Terror by the Bins: Urban Fox Attacks Trap Thousands in their Homes.

Army Called to Deal with Vermin

It’s the End of the World as we Know it: Army Routed by Surprisingly Intelligent Animals

A Lovely Day to be a Fox (Translated: A Lovely Day to be a Fox)

The headlines in the newspapers spelled it out. First the animals became disobedient as more and more joined the foxes cause or simply refused to cross the growing number of pickets. Then fighting broke out as the humans tried to perform the hunt without their hounds; they quickly found the foxes to be a capable and determined foe. In the towns and cities urban foxes took up the cause of their country brothers terrorising homes and looting bins wherever they found them. At their wits end the humans called in their armies to deal with the threat. However, there were mass desertions on being asked to kill the cute wee animals and those that did fight were easily outwitted by the cunning foxes and their comrades. Then with his towns and cities burning David Cameron left number 10 Downing Street and fled to Ibiza, leaving the fate of his people in the balance.


‘Pigeons,’ shouted the food brain; Gary’s head shot up just as two juicy pigeons waddled into view. He shuffled the paperwork he was kind of doing in between staring into space to one side and crouched in classic stalking position, stomach close to the ground ears pointy tail down. He inched forwards as the oblivious pigeons waddled closer. ‘Pigeon! Pigeon! Pigeon! Yummy, yummy yummy.’ He had just reached striking distance when there was a rustling in the bushes behind the pigeons, they spun around then leapt into the air as a naked human wobbled into the clearing swinging a bubble blower wildly at a pair of passing butterflies. The butterflies evaded the bubble as easily as the pigeons evaded Gary’s desperate lunge. The human slumped to the ground with mournful wail and slammed the bubble blower into the dirt.


“I know how you feel Alan,” said Gary looking just as miserable as the feral human. “I know how you feel.”


“Oi I thought you were working on our constitution?” said Jenny. “It’s not going to write itself you know.” 


“I was working on it,” said Gary head down, scuffing the ground with his foot.




‘Pigeons!’ shouted the food brain. Gary looked at Jenny out of the corner of his eye but she didn’t seem to have noticed. “Alan came to visit,” said Gary nodding over to where the human was now rubbing mud over his prestigious bosoms. 


“Hi Alan,” said Jenny. The human hooted happily and started shovelling mud into this mouth. “To think we used to hide from those things.”


“Well there were a lot more of them before we took over,” replied Gary batting at a dandelion sending the seeds floating away in the wind. ‘Chase them! Chase them!’ shouted fun time but instead he turned back to his paperwork. It was getting easier and easier to ignore the fun time brain since the takeover. Gary wasn’t sure if it was due to all the work he was having to do or if he was just growing up; either way Jenny seemed to prefer him this way so he didn’t worry about it. Jenny leaned in and looked over his shoulder at the draft constitution. He could feel the warmth of her body on his shoulder and his stomach was suddenly full of butterflies. ‘You can do it!’ shouted Gary’s hidden fourth brain causing the butterflies to flutter faster.


“We the animals of this United Kingdom, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the… pigeons?” read Jenny.

Gary blushed and dabbed some more mud over the paper obscuring his food brain’s input to the constitution.  “Well I thought it was good until the pigeon part,” said Jenny. The butterflies in Gary’s stomach went into overdrive and he blushed harder.


“I must have read it somewhere,” mumbled Gary.


“Well keep at it,” replied Jenny. She gave him a kiss on the cheek and trotted off across the clearing; Alan waved sending a spray of mud in the air and Gary tried to ignore his hidden fourth brain that was shouting ‘You can do it!’ over and over in his head.



Geoff Fire awoke in his bed in on Wilberforce Road but something felt slightly different than it usually did. He did a quick recce of the downstairs and nothing seemed amis; he couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right but in the absence of any proof or anything to bark at he decided to grab some breakfast. His bowl was, as usual, full to the brim with glorious meaty chunks and he dived in head first. Thirty seconds later and the food was all gone if you discounted the bits strewn across the floor or stuck in his face fur.


‘Well I can’t sit around here all day,’ he thought to himself. ‘I should go an wake the kids.’ So he trotted back down the hall and nosed open the door where John and Sav had their beds. He jumped onto the bed and in his most authoritative voice shouted “Wakey, wakey, rise and shine! It’s a another beautiful day for walkies and back rubs people don’t make me come in there people.”


The blankets stirred and two shaggy heads popped into view; long snouts shaggy blonde hair and pointy ears swivelling to locate the source of the disturbance. ‘I’m sure they don’t usually look quite so similar,” thought Geoff. He trotted up the bed to get a better look and in doing so passed the mirror. He froze staring into the mirror, they looked just like he did; no not like, identical. Sav-Geoff and John-Geoff slipped out of the covers tails wagging. 


“What’s for breakfast Daddy?” asked Sav-Geoff.


“Do we have any tea left?” asked John-Geoff.


Geoff looked at the pair, back in the mirror then at the pair again; he went to say something then changed his mind and instead bolted for the door. He bolted out of the front door just as the postman arrived and managed to crash into him sending them both rolling head of heel into the street.


“I’m sorry I…” started Geoff


“Not to worry,” replied Postman-Geoff. “It happens more than you’d think.”


Wild-eyed Geoff sprinted off down the street leaving a confused looking postman-Geoff in his wake. Geoff ran and ran but no matter where he went everyone looked exactly like him and the strangest thing was he was the only one who thought it was weird.


“The drugs worked, jolly good show Verity,” said Rupert Spencer Warbington-Smythe Esq leader of the scattered and largely broken humans of the revolution. On the floor the shaggy mongrel was rolling around barking its legs kicking in the middle of a crazy dream, the half-eaten chunk of steak lay on the floor where the drugged (but unharmed) dog had dropped it.


“Gather round people, gather round.” The clearing filled up with a ragged bunch of humans lead by the red coated Rupert. The humans were a motley crew of thirty in ragged, muck stained clothes carrying an assortment of makeshift weapons and looking about them eyes wide. A pigeon landing in their midst would like send them scattering to the tree such was the fear in their eyes. Only the leader had the look of solidity about him and he paced in front of them holding his whip out in front of him like a sword.


“This is men.”


“And lady,” chirped in Verity.


“Pardon Verity, and lady. We are the last hope for mankind, the rest of our species are scattered and tamed, used by the animals for back scratching and opening tins of food.” There was a collective groan from the gathered humans. “But today we strike back, we bring the fight to the animals right in their own home and in doing so we bring back society and all the things that matter the most.”


“Money!” shouted one human.


“Position!” shouted Verity.


“The hunt!” shouted Rupert. “We bring back the hunt.” The ragged group cheered and Rupert led them off up the trail. ‘We’re not far away now,’ thought Rupert. ‘Once we take back the country I’m going to announce a grand hunt. One that doesn’t end until each and every fox in the country is dead.’



Jez ambled out in front of the assembled animal masses and made his way up to the podium that had been setup inside the ring of stone benches. The sight of all those animals from cats and dogs to Hawks and Beavers gathered in one place brought a lump to his throat and he coughed to cover up his emotion.


“Welcome animals of this United Kingdom,” he began. “The days of our oppression are over.” The crowd roared, squawked and barked their approval and Jez waited for them to quiet before continuing. “The humans are no longer a threat to us or this glorious land we share. Even now pigeons…” 


“Pigeons!” shouted Gary. The crowd turned to look at him and he blushed and ducked his head.


“Ahem…” said Jez frowning at Gary. “Come to us from our neighbours in Europe telling that the revolution is spreading. On all fronts the humans are in full retreat.” The crowd cheered again and this time Jez had to motion for silence. “We have not been standing idle in these early days of our new nation we have been working away behind the scenes and today we are finally ready to unveil our first constitution. So without further ado I will bring up the first president of this United Animal Kingdom Ralph!” Jez stepped to the side and applauded and Ralph limped onto the stage waving to his adoring crowd with Gary in tow dragging a long roll of paper. When the crowd finally quieted Ralph stepped up to the podium.


“Friends, firstly let me welcome you to this…” Ralph stopped as a murmur rose from the crowd. 




“What are they doing here?”




You could fell the unease in the crowd as the ragged band of humans marched into the arena brandishing clubs and rocks and led by Rupert, standing tall whip in hand. The rest of the humans made a loose defensive ring around Rupert as he approached the podium. Ralph cocked his head as the lead human barked at him, chest out gesturing with his whip. The human reddened and barked loud gesturing more wildly. 


“Do you have any idea what he is saying?” asked Gary leaning over to Ralph.


“Not a clue but he looks kind of mad.” The red faced human ground his teeth in frustration and strode up to Ralph and barked in his face.


“He could use a breathmint,” said Ralph eliciting sniggers from the assembled animals. The human looked around getting even redder if it were possible and then swung his whip at Ralph. To the humans surprise Ralph ducked the whip like he was a cub again and bared his teeth. The humans confidence seemed to falter for the first time and his companions shuffled closer together. The human barked again but with less conviction.


“Tony,” called Ralph not taking his eyes from the human. “Kindly take care of this one will you?” There was a growl from the back of the amphitheatre and the humans huddled closer still, the leader spun eyes wide as 250 kg of pure Bengal tiger flowed down the steps. The humans parted as Tony stalked forward; the leader took a step back whip out in front of him and barked at his companions but none moved to aid him. He flowed forward until he was face to face with Rupert then with his face mere inches from the humans he licked his lips. Sweat beaded on the humans face, he swallowed hard then he forced himself to raise his whip and prod the tiger in the chest.


“That was a mistake,” growled Tony.


Rupert’s screams could be heard for miles around and Tony taught him a valuable lesson about his new place in the food chain. The rest of the humans fled as quickly as they had arrived and never again troubled their wise animal overlords.