‘It’s the witching hour. Time you saw my fox.’
That was my first text from Foxy Doctor. He sent it at midnight precisely with a picture attached. He wants to show me his fox? Is this a euphemism or what? I clicked to view the picture. ‘Nothing will surprise me here,’ I said through clenched teeth. ‘Nothing.’
I opened it. He’d sent me a picture of a fox’s head mounted on a wall. It was a blackened, scrawny thing with glassy eyes. He told me this hangs in the entrance hall of his Byres Road townhouse and has pride of place. He didn’t say why, and I refused to give him the satisfaction of asking what everyone must ask, ‘Here. Why’s there a fox’s corpse stuck up there?’
Now, I like the freaks and I’d rather have a dead fox text, than some simpering ‘hey babes, saw this sunset and thot of u’ crap. But, even though Foxy Doctor had told me where he lived, how much he earned, told me of his divorce and his new personalised licence plate on his car, he wouldn’t tell me what he was called. Even now, he was boldly texting me pictures of the interior of his home, yet felt cagey about revealing his name. It was like strutting down the street naked, but keeping a wee hat on for modesty.
I reminded him, playfully, that I didn’t know his name yet. He just texted back Names are for wimps, baby.
No really, I persisted. What’s your name? There was no way I was going to meet him without knowing. We had a bit of back-and-forth banter about his reluctance to reveal it. I told him he could be as weird and mysterious and foxy as he liked, but there’d be no date without a name. In a crushing anti-climax, he sent me a text saying Gary.
Gary? I was expecting Maximilian or Theodore or even Fruit Loop McGonigle. But Gary?
Anyway, I relaxed. Foxy Doctor has a name, and a nice, ordinary one at that. Although, I wondered why I was so insistent in getting a name from him. He was plainly reluctant to give it but I badgered him, and he threw out ‘Gary’. But who says he’s Gary? He could be making it up. And does it make the experience any less risky because he has the label ‘Gary’ attached to him? What’s in a name? Especially a safe, ordinary name, when it’s placed alongside unsettling midnight images of dismembered foxes? He may talk fancy talk about the merits of such beasts in interior decorating, but the fact remains he has a dead vulpine tacked to his wall and was unnervingly keen to show it to me. A bit freaky?
I decided – reluctantly – it was too soon for another date with a freak, so I stopped texting Foxy Doctor. Definitely too soon as the Clown was still in my head, prancing around with his big shoes, squirting flowers, tumbling about and generally causing a racket. I’m ashamed to say it, but I looked him up on Facebook and added him as a friend. He accepted me almost immediately. I don’t know why I did it as it’s clear we’ll never get together and I know he’s a blasted wrong’un. My friends killed me when they saw us pop up as ‘now friends’ on their Facebook feed. Fiona raged at me and demanded I delete him but…no. I can’t. I won’t. And you can’t make me.
So, no Foxy Doctor. That just leaves me with Actor Guy. We’d been e-mailing and texting a lot and had set up a date for the weekend but I was starting to get cold feet. He seemed genuinely nice and I was fretting that I was only going out with him to get over the Clown. A sensible and clear-thinking girl would either stop dating, or go out with someone utterly different, whereas I had dashed right back out there and hooked up with the first theatrical luvvy type I found. He could be another Clown and there’s no way I’d survive another Clown. So, three days before our date, I texted him to cancel. He was sweet and said I could get back in touch if I ever changed my mind. When I put the phone down I felt a bit glum. In cancelling the date, I was allowing the Clown to still have a hold over me.
A week later, I was doing the ironing, with no wacky men on the horizon, and all quiet and normal, when I got a text through from an unknown number. ‘Oh no’, I thought as I opened it. ‘This could be from any number of past freaks’, or it could just be ‘are you due compensation for an accident? Sue everyone NOW.’ No, it was from Actor Guy. It was a group text he’d sent out to everyone in his phone. It said he’d got the part of Coach Bolton in High School Musical and would be appearing on stage at the Armadillo. I looked around the kitchen at the pile of damp laundry, the dirty dishes, the wee M&S meals for one stacked in the fridge... I could stay here, safe from freaks or I could text him and take a chance? There’s no other way. Not for me. I replied to congratulate him and suggested we go for a drink to celebrate. He said yes straight away.
I was texting the Chief to tell him I was on the loose again in the world of freaks. When he asked what the deal was with the latest one I told him he was appearing in High School Musical but I mis-spelled it as HUGH School Musical. Being Glasgow, all men called Hugh get nicknamed Shug, so Actor Guy became known as Shug.
And me? I was now tough and merciless and cruel following the Clown Horror. I’m back in the game but this I won’t be messed about. I’m going to be hard as nails. Let Shug do his worst. I’ll tear this luvvy apart!
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