The Den of the Grub Fox

For anybody interested in process, this is how some stories begin for me.

I had this crazy dream from which emerged the title of a story, and the barest of premises. I went for drive with the top down, came back and wrote this. I have no idea what I will do with it, if anything. But, here it is.

The Den of the Grub Fox

My mother died on the morning of my 60th birthday.

She was 81, passed in her sleep in her own house, in her own bed, next to my father.

The neighbor, a schoolmate I had known since I was 10, called me at home while I was getting dressed. I could hear my dad in the background, moaning in grief. There was no question about what I should do.

It was 400 miles to Bozeman, another 90 to the town I grew up in. I filled up my car on the way to the office, hung a sign on the door, called my two active clients and left.


Background notes:

The man is an attorney in a one-man practice. His father was a naval officer in the Korean war, married a Korean girl and brought her home.

Mom was a music teacher, Dad was service manager at a Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep dealership. The home town is maybe 15-20,000 people.

The protagonist is divorced, childless. When he arrives to attend to his mother’s funeral arrangements and sees the state his father is in, he realizes he has to stay.

The mayor is a high school classmate, offers him a job as city attorney.

The job puts him in frequent contact with the county sheriff’s department. The department is staffed with a mixture of older officers and military veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. What he sees in this congregation is an outward commitment to the notions of community and service, but no framework within which such things might flourish.

A lady who wishes to start a local food bank approaches him for help applying for a grant. They establish The Den of the Grub Fox, a name taken from a Cub Scout troupe that lasted only two years when the protagonist was a boy.

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