Fiction · 08/05/2020

Fox and Moon

The fox regarded the moon.

You appear misshapen, she said.

I am ever evolving and devolving, said the moon.

But something’s off.

Perhaps your eyesight. You’re not as young as you once were.

Neither are you. The fox shook her head. Perhaps you’re crumbling.

Oh please, the moon scoffed. Are you one of those cheese conspiracists?

You insult me, the fox bristled. I’m known for being sly, not stupid.

Well, I am innocent and wise while you’re a mere flash in the pan. You could be gone tonight if some riled farmer with a gun wanders by.

I could, said the fox, but I’m pretty good at getting away. You, on the other hand, are stuck.

Stuck is not the word I’d use, said the moon. I am positioned.

When they finally invent some crazy-ass missile that will blow you to smithereens, well, your positioning won’t be much of a comfort.

Pshaw, said the moon, who was fond of old-fashioned exclamations. The humans will blow themselves up long before that happens. Or drown themselves, or get mosquito-borne diseases that are incurable or…

The fox sighed. You’re undoubtedly right about that. They seem to grow more foolish every day.

They barely look at me anymore, said the moon with regret.

Devices, the fox said. No wonder they’re all on medication.

It won’t be pretty, the moon warned, the end.

No, but once they’re gone, it might be better, don’t you think?

I hate to agree, the moon said. I used to enjoy playing a part in romance, inspiring songs, appearing in poems. But I suppose we must face the fact those days are gone — or almost.

Maybe that’s why you look off, the fox cocked her head. You’re sad.

Perhaps I am, the moon sighed.

You’ve been around long before any of these jokers roamed the earth, the fox said, you’ll be fine. Remember dinosaurs? Maybe something really exciting will come along.

The moon rolled his eyes. I don’t believe you were around when the dinosaurs were about.

True, the fox acknowledged, but I’m an aficionado of natural history. It can be reassuring to look back to see our place in the evolutionary narrative.

Good lord, the moon huffed, if I hear that word narrative one more time, I’m going to explode.

Sorry, the fox lowered her eyes. It’s so easy to be seduced by jargon. But that explosion idea would really shake things up. You’d get a lot of attention for that.

And then? the moon sniffed. Somebody would be marketing moon dust within twenty-four hours and by next week’s news cycle, they’d have forgotten I ever existed.

Ephemeral, the fox acknowledged, in the long run.

Just so they don’t colonize me, the moon said, then I really will explode, literally, in the true sense of the word.

Ouch, said the fox.

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Mercedes Lawry has published short fiction in several journals including, Gravel, Cleaver, Garbanzo, and Blotterature and was a semi-finalist in The Best Small Fictions 2016. She’s published poetry in journals such as Poetry, Nimrod, and Prairie Schooner and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize five times. She’s published three poetry chapbooks as well as stories and poems for children. She lives in Seattle.