Like, a Coyote Guarding the Henhouse


Last Thursday, I saw a coyote in my backyard, here on outer Linebrook Road.

I posted a minute-long video of it. (You can see it on my Doug Brendel Facebook page, or at

Within seconds of posting the vid, I was swamped with feedback from my legions of Facebook followers, nearly all 17 of them. It was not, they assured me, a coyote. It was a fox.

Like this matters. Fox or coyote, it’s going to eat your cat.

In the end, as it turns out, the joke’s on all of us. It wasn’t a fox after all, and it wasn’t a coyote either. Here’s how I know:

Later that afternoon, I was traipsing about my property, as I occasionally do. (This is the habit of a Chicago boy who lived for decades in Arizona; I still marvel like a thumb-sucking child at the wondrous New England flora and fauna. So….)

I was just rounding the corner of my house (where my wife’s bevy of irises were blooming beautifully, I must say), when I heard voices in the thicket of the lilacs. Snickering little voices. Sort of snarly, lip-smacking little voices.

Coyote, he said!”

“I know!”


“I know, right?”

“Then somebody else was, like, fox!

“I know!”

“But it was foxyou were going for, right?”

“Yes! But still.”

“I know, right?”

“I’m amazed at the gullibility. I mean, like, you can pull this orange fur over your back, stick on these pointy ears, dab a little white paint on your tail, and suddenly they think you’re, like, a professional predator.”

“They’re all, like, ‘Bring your pets inside!’ ‘Don’t let them maul your pets!’”

“I know! They’re, like, lighting up the Internet!”

“Ha! And we’re, like, hunkered down here in the bushes, sharing a joint.”

(At this point, the wind happened to shift, and yes, I did detect a faint whiff of cannabis. Entirely legal now, of course, so no worries.)

“Honestly, I admit, I didn’t think it would be this much fun.”

“What do you mean?”

“I thought we’d go out, do the fox and coyote routine, no big deal, head downtown for a couple of drinks, call it a night. But this stuff has gone viral, bro. Look.”

(Through the scraggly branches of the lilacs, I could make out the whitish flicker of what seemed to be an iPhone screen.)


(A certain amount of giggling ensued.)

“So now, the question is, what next?”


“Duh, yeah! We did the coyote/fox thing. Boom. What next? A YouTube channel? Podcasts? A Netflix series?”

“Dude. Chill. This was a thing. One bit. One day. This isn’t our future. This isn’t our life. We’re, like, just a couple of, like, cats.”

“You totally don’t get it, bro. This is opportunity knocking. We can be selling content on Amazon Prime Video by September.”

“Eh, I don’t know.”

“You wanna go back to a life of stale chicken-tuna Purina in a rusty tin bowl, with tapwater recycled in that ridiculous little high-tech bowl plugged into the wall in the kitchen?”

“Well … I don’t know how secure we would be, doing the fox-and-coyote thing fulltime.”

“You are such a wimp.”

“Seriously! Cats have been dumped at shelters for less than this!”

“Come on! When have you ever known a cat to be dumped at a shelter for impersonating a canid?”


“A mammal of the dog family. From the biological family canidae. What kind of an ignoramus are you?”


“Never mind. What I’m saying is, we don’t have to subsist as ordinary felines.”


“Subsist. Manage to live. Geez, you are hopeless.”

“Look, I only thought we were out for a good time. One afternoon, that’s all. Fox costume. Dash around outer Linebrook for a few minutes. Then we go home. Fun and done.”

“You disgust me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“This is how great partnerships break up, you know.”

(There were a few moments of silence in the lilac bushes.)

“Like, Simon and Garfunkel.”


“Sonny and Cher?”


“Tom and Jerry.”

(Another few moments of silence in the lilac bushes.)

“They broke up?”




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