The Fable of Dr. Fox – Chapter 3

Read chapters 1 & 2

Mr. Dinosaur fell down the front steps of the clinic and hit his head, dying.

“What an unfortunate accident, eh?” Dr. Fox said to a passing Mrs. Cat, who pushed her tiny kitten in a stroller, “I should really do something about this dangerous staircase.”

***

Mrs. Cat smiled warily at Dr. Fox, unsure whether or not she had just witnessed a murder. 

She pushed her stroller nervously past the motionless body of Mr. Dinosaur, then continued walking until she was out of sight of Dr. Fox. There, she pulled out her mobile phone, and called the police. 

It had so far been another uneventful day for Officer Panda at the Police Station.

She was just about to start writing the police report for the third case of trespassing this week, which she was quite certain would turn out to be the teenage son of the Raccoon family once again. The phone had only just begun it’s first ring when she picked up.

Listening intently to Mrs. Cat describe what she’d witnessed, Officer Panda felt a surge of excitement. She thought of course she shouldn’t be happy. She knew that it likely wasn’t professional to be happy about something like a possible murder.  But although she quickly forced back the smile that was about to form on her face, deep down she actually did feel happy, because finally some sort of game was afoot, and what pandas crave most of all is a sense of purpose. 

She bounded out the door of the police station, forgetting her hat on her desk.

Officer Panda leapt onto her police bicycle. As she landed, her foot slipped, and she banged her shin on a pedal. ‘Nevermind the pain,’ she thought, ‘this is an emergency’. She buckled her helmet and took off down the road. As she pedaled, she imagined the sound of a police siren- the kind her brand new police cruiser would have as soon as the city bought her one.

The bicycle-ride to Dr. Fox’s clinic took a bit over twenty minutes. Officer Panda couldn’t check and see if her shin was bleeding, but she was almost certain she could feel the blood trickling down to her sock. She clenched her teeth in frustration, thinking about how this whole uniform had just come back from the dry-cleaners. 

Officer Panda was very serious about looking sharp- she had learned that a professional appearance was extremely important during her time in the U.S. Air Force. On her first day of basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in 2005, she had arrived in her favorite hoodie, which was three sizes too big and had comforted her as a homeless teeenager like a giant comfort blanket. The Training Instructors had mocked her thoroughly for such an absurd item of clothing, making her learn early as a young panda that respect was something you had to trick people into giving you based on how you appeared. She had never forgotten that lesson, and spent at least an hour each day focusing on how she was dressed and what she looked like before leaving for work.

Only halfway to the clinic of Dr. Fox, Officer Panda was very hot and sweaty. She imagined what kind of impression she was going to make when she arrived on the crime scene. The thought of how little respect a potential murderer and a traumatized cat were going to have for her in her current state was too much to bear. 

Officer Panda knew for certain that she could swing by her house, take a quick shower, change her uniform, and be back on the road with little more than a 20-minute delay (Air Force basic training had also taught her how to wash and put on clothing quickly). She thought for certain that if she were driving the police cruiser the city was going to eventually purchase for her, a 20 minute delay due to traffic wasn’t that unreasonable. Then it suddenly occurred to her that if she were driving a police cruiser, she would be able to use lights and sirens to make any traffic get out of her way, so there might be no delay at all.

As she turned onto her street for a quick, professional detour, she was still thinking about how wonderful finally having an actual police cruiser was going to be.

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