Foxes in Boxes

My old flame; I can't remember its name

"Well, yeah," Trixie said. "On take-your-daughter-to-work day, I brought my daughter here, and she was a little bothered by them. She kept saying, 'Mom, they look like our dog.' "

Drinks: One word: Newcastle. Trixie also kindly offered to make me her trademark special shot concoction, but I'd already heard it contained several kinds of potent alcohol, and I wasn't ready to pass out quite yet.

Customers: The pub was busy all night, and, for an unpretentious den adorned by deceased adorable furry animals, it drew a fun, eclectic crowd. A girl in a long hippie skirt sat alone, occasionally joining in the conversation of a couple — a blond with a back tattoo and her bespectacled boyfriend — who had brought their own pool cues.

While the two guys I came with debated whether a guy who'd just walked in was wearing a woman's shirt, I ditched them to talk to Andy, a guy nearby who kept laughing raucously. Andy wore a baseball cap and a faded T-shirt and had a scruffy reddish beard. He was engaged in conversation with James — a big, dark-haired fellow with a goatee.

"How's life, guys?" I asked.

"Could be better," Andy said. "I've been through two divorces and haven't gotten laid in eight months."

"He's taken up pool since then," James interjected. "He's had to get good with one stick and forget about the other."

I rolled my eyes and motioned in the direction of the bachelorette party — they would've loved James' bad penis jokes. "Lot of girls here tonight."

"I'm looking for a girl to settle down and have kids with," James said. "Bars aren't great for that."

"Yeah," Andy said. "My ex-wives were gold-diggers, just out for money. Anyway, how you doin'?"

Anyway. So the Fox & Hound was indeed all it was cracked up to be — two beautiful defunct red foxes, one beautiful bartending redheaded fox, great beer, and good fun. But after I'd drained my last Newcastle and witnessed a few rounds of pool, I realized that this was probably the closest I'd come to being face-to-face with my favorite animal and several-year obsession. Though kind of a macabre meeting, I decided I'd definitely come back to visit them — and maybe next time, I'd even buy them a round.

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