Facing the front windows of my house, my desk is like the captain’s wheel on a giant ship, looking out on a sea of mostly weeds and some grass but mostly weeds and a nice quiet little cul-de-sac, except that I’m usually naked and I get seasick. Most mornings, the monotony of the view is broken by an occasional neighbor, a delivery truck, a dogwalker.
Yesterday morning, quacking meant that something different was happening. The mother duck and her five ducklings marched from my backyard, where they enjoy the pool some days, across my front yard towards the street. In my head, the small pond behind my house yielded no breakfast, and Momma was taking her children out to find food. “Fuck this shit,” she says to her ducklings, “I want waffles.”
Jigsaw and I watched until the ducks were out of sight and I returned to my work. Jigsaw returned to the difficult job of being a spoiled dog, and not more than a minute or two had passed when the frantic honking began. From the right, off the road, five ducklings came running, quacking in little pre-pubescent squeaky crackly duck voices, followed closely by Momma, beating her wings and quacking for her life. Until this moment, if you had told me that the top speed of a duck on land was faster than “waddle” and closer to “holy shit”, I would have laughed heartily. Or just rolled my eyes, because that probably wouldn’t be worth a hearty laugh.
The ducks crossed my lawn in a blink, followed by a black cat, one of many that are wild in this area. As they passed out of view, the cat pounced, and I saw Momma fly up in the air over the house. The quacking was joined by Jigsaw’s cacophonous barking as she pleaded to be let out to join the chase. I denied her request as I joined the chase instead. Well, I started to run out my front door, but then remembered I was naked when I was three steps outside, so I ran back inside, grabbed the first thing I could find, threw it on, and then went back outside.
I ran around to the side yard, which is little more than a giant bush, a small tree, and a fence with a gate to my backyard. No cat was to be found, which was lucky for the cat. I am an animal lover, but had I seen a cat enjoying duck tartare, I would have introduced my foot to the feline’s ass.
Searching for the predator and/or its prey, I heard a faint whimpering coming from the base of the giant bush. On one knee, I saw a lone duckling, shaking, quacking plaintively for its Momma. On the other side of my fence, I heard Momma quacking for her babies. You might wonder how I knew what she was saying. I could lie and tell you that I speak duck, and then you wouldn’t believe me and I’d tell you to quack quackquack quaaaack quack quack, but the reality is that if you were here, you would have known too. I opened the gate and saw her floating in the pool, one duckling by her side. Leaving the door open, I stepped aside and as soon as there was enough room, the duckling hurtled towards his Momma. I closed the gate and looked around for the remainder of the ducklings.
It was at this point that I cursed the food chain and the natural way of life. I knew that a cat needs to eat, and I know that the survival of the fittest is essential in the animal kingdom lest we end up with animal versions of Snooki and The Situation. It doesn’t make it easier to see one animal lose its life to feed another. I dreaded what I was going to find as I stalked quietly, or as quietly as a fat man with large feet can stalk, around the entire perimeter of the yard.
I found two things: Jack and shit, and Jack had already vacated the premises, so I walked back to my front door, and that was when I heard the quacking back under the bush in my side yard. Momma Duck was out of the water, surrounded by 1, 2, 3, 4, count them, 5 ducklings. They stared at me quietly. “Don’t worry. I’m not a cat. I don’t even like duck.” I assured them. They didn’t seem convinced, but that’s because they didn’t know about the infamous Duck L’Orange incident of 1997.
Gingerly, I approached the gate to the backyard. Momma Duck bristled and honked at me. “I’m going, I’m going!” I found myself apologizing to an animal that can’t even put on pants, if Donald is any indication. I opened the gate, and the family hustled into the pool, high fiving each other and giving quackly congratulations.
I returned to the house and watched them swim around happily in the pool, safe from any cat, unless said puss owns a miniature Seadoo. “The thing is,” I said to Jigsaw as she licked her paw, “these ducks are so stupid that they’ll do this again tomorrow. I don’t know if I can handle the stress of attempted duckicide happening in my front yard every day. Any solutions?” She wagged her tail and told me her plan.
P.S. Her plan, by the way, was for me to let her outside in the backyard so that she could bark furiously at the ducks and scare them away so that they’ll never come back.
P.P.S. The plan worked swimmingly. She really did scare the shit out of those ducks.
P.P.P.S. Anybody know how to get gallons of duck shit off of concrete? It’s tar-like and acidic and disgusting and if I step in it, I’m going to fucking kill those ducks and serve them to the goddamn cat.