The Fox Never Found A Better Messenger Than Himself

THE FOXThe foul stench of the dumpster began to wake Rusty O’toole. He was face down in the gutter behind Flannigan’s, the local Irish pub. St. Patty’s Day hadn’t been too kind to poor Rusty, so much for the Luck ‘o the Irish. He couldn’t help himself—the green beers were only a buck a pint.

“Oh—my head.” He grumbled. At what point, was drinking twelve pints of green death a good idea in any scenario. And why was this ground so soft? He slowly gathered his senses and stood up.

The pain in his forearm was insane. Maybe that ground wasn’t as soft as he thought—wait, is that blood on his shirt? Wincing, he rolled up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo the size of his forearm. “Oh great—Really? I thought I was a wee bit older for these shenanigans. What the—?” He said, examining the ink. A map? Who tattoos a map on his arm? “You done lost it ‘toole. Savin’ on me pints only costs me in laser removal. I musta’ lost me mind.”

He took notice of the painstaking detail of the map. “Is that this dumpster?” he said, knocking on it. He looked back and forth between the topography of the tattoo and the street ahead. Sure enough—the block in the tattoo was the dumpster in the alleyway. “How can that be?” he said, in bewilderment. “What was in that green beer?”

Without a job or care in the world, Rusty set out to find where X marked the spot. This had to be a joke. The boys in the pub put him up to it. “They’re tryin’ to make me think I’m crazy! I’ll fix ‘em!” But who were the boys he thought? No matter. It didn’t look like a long walk according to the skin—map. He’d get to the bottom of it and there’d be fist-a-cups all around.

Just for good measure he followed every step of the dotted line, even the strange round about that led him in circles. The map was clear and precise. Around the next bend just past the oak tree, would be where X marked the spot.

Anxious to see X, he picked up the pace and started to sprint. Once he got passed the oak, he came to an abrupt halt. He was standing in front of his childhood home. It was desolate now from years of abandonment. His happiest memories as a child were here in this house, this neighborhood. Why hadn’t he recognized it until now? How could he have been so lost?

“Doctor. He’s finally sedated.” The orderly said, looking through the tiny window of the padded room. Rusty O’toole was lying on the floor, out cold from the heavy medication it took to calm him down. His forearm was bandaged up. He’d hurt himself trying to escape. All he ever wanted was to go home.

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