The sullen-sounding updates began trickling in just as the morning rush hour shifted into high gear.
A few tipsters seemed unwilling to jump to any soul-crushing conclusions, but many feared the absolute worst: The Capitol Hill Fox might have been dispatched to that great, big grassy Capitol complex in the sky.
View Capitol Hill Fox sightings in a larger map “Bad news. Driving in this morning I passed a recently killed fox on the House 295 exit ramp about 200 yards before the tunnel,” a source shared post-commute.
The death notices snowballed from there, with some spotters left reeling (“Today sucks,” one heartbroken gent declared) while others attempted to rationalize the hurt away.
“I think there is actually a whole family of foxes that live on the East Potomac golf course,” began one starry-eyed optimist, only to come to grips with the CHF’s likely demise midstream by calculating that any Hains Point dwellers were unlikely to “come into the city.”
HOH witnessed the matted mound of blood-stained fur strewn outside the Third Street tunnel while driving into work as well, but was unable to conduct a CSI-style deconstruction due to the briskly flowing traffic.
While never prone to panic, the only rational choices were to accept that the CHF might truly be gone — say it ain’t so, @CapitolHillFox ! — or buy into the National Park Service’s preposterous position that there are MULTIPLE foxes living among us.
As the walls of reality continued crashing down around us, HOH began wondering whether foul play may have entered into the equation.
Sure enough, a potential enemies list soon came into sharper focus.
Could a certain possum have taken steps to keep the media spotlight all to itself?
The CHF had also recently had words with another local celebrity.
@DCSnowyOwl I was planning on eating you. — CapitolHillFox (@CapitolHillFox) January 30, 2014
Moving up the evolutionary ladder, we were a bit taken aback by fellow journo Alex Brown’s cryptic query last week.
Can anyone vouch for the safety of the Capitol Hill fox? — Alex Brown (@AlexBrownNJ) January 30, 2014
Meanwhile, at least one House Republican aide finds it interesting that retiring Rep. Robert E. Andrews, D-N.J., is suddenly in such a hurry to leave town.
.@RepAndrews resigns minutes after reports @CapitolHillFox found dead on highway leading to @uscapitol. Call #OliviaPope #FoxGate — Travis Martinez (@travisAmartinez) February 4, 2014
As far as we’re concerned, everyone’s a suspect.
That is, until the CHF calls a presser at the Senate swamp and decrees that the rumors of its untimely demise are highly exaggerated.