13 years in the making

A Clockwork Vixen

Mary's Story, transcribed by Creed Malay

Hello there, Dears,

I am Mary, the thirsty telepathic fox, and I would like to thank you all for voting for me in the recent Reality on the Norm poll. Apparently, lots of you would like to see Mary star in her own game. This pleases and flatters Mary, and she sends all her love out towards you - telepathically. Can you feel it washing over you like wonderful warm brandy? I think you can. Gerard most likely sends his love to you, too, lough it can be hard to tell with him... he certainly seemed to like the letter Mr. Gilbert sent, snuffling at it eagerly, then testing it briefly for flavour.

You see, the lovely Mr. Gilbert wrote to Mary asking if I would write down a brief history of my husband Gerard and I, for him to put on the Reality on the Norm page for the pleasure of all. It pleases Mary to do so - pleases her like cold, cold glass of lager on a hot, hot day - lough she wondered how much he would be able to read, as Mary lacks phalanges, opposable thumbs, wrists and, indeed, pencils. Thankfully, that nice girl Mika agreed to write it all down, so long as Gerard and I never again pull over her bins and scrape through the spoils in search of traces of hard liquor, or even cough syrup. Mary agreed - there are plenty of other places in town for a fox to wet her whistle, after all!

Well then. Several years ago, when Gerard and I were little more than pups, and only ordinary pups at that, not special like we are now, we used to frequent the garden of a big old mansion. There were birds to chase, and a pond to drink from, and hedgehogs to be puzzled by, and all in all it was wonderful. The man who lived there - and lives there still - was Doctor Die Vie Ess, lough of course, Mary didn't know that at the time, being just a normal fox, and ignorant in both the ways of language and the concept of names. We used to hide from Die Vie Ess, who smelt all strange and chemically, and his funny little friend, who we found frightening and wrong and yucky, like the nasty, clumpy grey mould that grows in old beer cans. One day, though, Die Vie Ess fell asleep in his garden while lounging on a sun-lounger and drinking a bottle of wine.

The ambrosial scent of the gorgeous wine was enough to draw Gerard and I out of the bushes and over to the sleeping doctor. As we lapped at the ruby red grape-juice of the gods, totally enraptured, we didn't see Die Vie Ess awaken, and begin to watch us curiously. When he spoke - or made scary noise, as it was to us then - Mary jumped up, and ran back to the bushes, Gerard not far behind!

The Doctor shouted after us, but we were frightened, and would not come. Over the next few week, however, he began leaving saucers of wine and vodka and Melon Liquor out on his lawn, and would stand at the window and watch us as we drank. Now, we were only simple foxes then, and did not notice that the saucers were getting closer and closer to the door of the doctors house, until one day, we were right inside his kitchen, lapping eagerly at a bowl of southern comfort. The doctor stepped out from behind a curtain, and slammed the door shut, going Aha-ha-ha, as is his wont. Gerard and I were so afraid! We raced wildly around the kitchen, slamming against the window and trying to fit through the cat-flap and yap-yap-yapping, panicking as any trapped animal will. But then, we began to get tired, and relaxed, and we both - odd as it sounds - drifted off to sleep. Mary thinks she understands that now - the bowl of Southern Comfort, you see - but then it seemed very strange.

We woke up in his lab, floating in a vat of non-alcoholic lager, too deep for us to jump out of, and too repugnant for our alcoholically attuned bodies to drink away. The horror! The things he did then, Mary can barely recall, and doesn't want to. There were flashes, and cables, and the Doctor shouting "We belong dead!", and tubes of bubbling green stuff, and wires to hold your eyes open while they showed you awful films, and oh, the lighting, my dears, the lightning!

Well, it went that way for a while, until waking one day in our vat of nasty, no-alcohol beer, I looked over at Gerard, and saw that beneath his shiny wet nose there had sprouted a luxuriant handlebar moustache. And I thought this odd - and I REALLY thought it, not just the eat/drink/run/mate? thoughts of a normal fox mind, I was really thinking with words and concepts and hypothesises, and oh, my dears, how odd it all was. Now, I could tell that Gerard couldn't think in this strange new way that I could, because I could feel his frightened little foxy mind - he had received a moustache instead of telepathy and intelligence - and so it was up to Mary to plan an escape, what with her new found powers of logic and reason and abstract thought, and all.

I looked all around the lab - or as far as I could see above the edge of the vat - and saw that right above us was a shelf, upon which lay a bottle of paint thinner, ad hanging from chains off to the right was a big, pink elephant. Now, Mary had a plan. Because of our alcoholic natures, which Die Vie Ess had triggered and enhanced by leaving all the drink out in the garden for us, we could not stomach the non-alcoholic lager. But if we could somehow knock the bottle of paint thinner from the shelf and into the lager, it would make it alcoholic, and we could drink our way to freedom. But there was no way for Mary to reach it!

Then I remembered how I could feel Gerards little fox mind, and tried to reach out to the mind of the elephant. Although simple and slow - nowhere near a match for Mary's new intellect - he seemed helpful and nice, and agreed to knock the paint thinner into the vat with his trunk.

After a lot of scratching and biting with teeth and claw, we got the top of the bottle off, and re-alcoholed the non-alcoholic lager. We could drink it up at last!

Gerard and I wasted no time in hopping out of the now empty vat, and scurrying off to the door. Mary asked the elephant if it wanted to come too, but it seemed happy where it was. After that, we slunk off to the woods, where we spent a few days recovering, and getting used to our new powers. Mary managed to fashion a little moustache-comb for Gerard out of a thorny twig, and once we looked our best, we went off into town. Using her new ability to talk to humans through he power of the mind, Mary quickly found that it was very easy to talk people into buying drinks for her, and her sharp fox nose could always track down unwashed empties in a bin bag on a slow day.

And, my dears, that is how it has been ever since. Gerard and I have been happy enough, and we have made lot's of friends - Mika, who is as lovely as a girl can be, and the delightful Max, who's always happy to share a bottle of bourbon if you're willing to listen to him talk about his lost dollar, and George, and the nice old man who's really everyone, and Drake, who likes Mary and Gerard, and Melt, who doesn't like us as much as Drake, and oh so many more. We are still a little afraid of Die Vie Ess, it is true, although we haven't run afoul of him since.

Well, my dears, I suppose that's all Mary has to tell you. Now, would anyone care to buy Gerard and I a bottle of sherry?

Love and Kisses.