All events illustrated in the story below are one hundred percent accurate. With the exception of everything that isn’t.
A duck’s life is a pretty good one. Especially for the ducks living around this particular lake. There are plenty of plants just below the surface to dabble on and plenty of humans with bits of bread to spare. It is also a peaceful existence. The only things a duck has to fear are cold weather, power boats, and dogs. The latter being more irritating than dangerous.
George the Duck has been living at the lake on and off for several years. Closer to migration time he likes to move to the larger wetlands a few blocks away but the small lake suits him well during late spring. It doesn’t matter to George that this body of water just so happens to be in the middle of an off-leash dog park. He isn’t scared of a goofy canine. Everyone knows they are all drool, no brains.
Sadly, most of George’s friends think he is crazy for choosing such an open holiday spot. They rarely visit and when they do, they rarely stay long. Which is why George happened to be alone the morning of our story.
The night before he had attended a big party over at the pond. The first ducklings of the year had hatched and George and his buddies liked to celebrate such occasions by drinking too much pond scum while quacking at the moon. He had probably remained out later than he should have, drunkenly flying home just before sunrise. As he hadn’t even the energy to crawl into his bed under the bushes, he ended up passing out on the shore.
A few hours later, when the park filled with excited dogs and tired people, George was lying in the same place. Trying to sleep off his hangover, he was completely unaware of the goings on around him. George opened one eye and groaned. Why are the leaves so loud? He closed the eye and shifted in the short grass. He didn’t think he had ever felt worse.
At least, that was his excuse for what happened next.
For some reason, he just couldn’t get comfortable. Maybe it was his drake instincts kicking in, but he couldn’t help thinking something was wrong. Frustrated, he stood up, intent on finding peace and quiet elsewhere. However, before he could move one webbed foot, a shadow loomed.
“Wheee!” George heard a voice cry. “I finally got one!”
He couldn’t hear much else after that, distracted by the two paws holding down his wings.
“Um, excuse me.” He cleared his throat.
“Oh yeah, oh yeah, I rock!”
As George’s beak was now flattened on the ground he had difficulty speaking. What was even more annoying is that he couldn’t even look his captor in the eye. Judging by the rudeness of the creature, he assumed it was a dog. He felt something cold and wet nudge him in the back.
“You can talk?” The voice above him said.
“Obviously. Now would you mind? You are standing on my wings.” He tried to fill his voice with as much disdain as possible. How were his friends frightened of these beasts?
“But, I caught you! I win!” The dog performed a quick little dance with her paws, stomping all over the duck’s feathers.
“Congratulations. What are you going to do now?”
George felt the cold wet thing again before hearing what sounded like sniffing. At least, that is what he assumed it was. Not being in possession of a nose himself, it was hard to say.
Exhausted, and still fighting off a migraine, George decided to use the one tool he had available in his present state.
“Quack!” he shouted. “Quack! Quack! Quack!”
The sniffing stopped and the dog loosened her grip.
“What are you doing?”
“Quacking,” he replied. “Quack! Quack! Quack!”
When the dog didn’t move any further, George lifted his head and began screaming.
“Quack! QUACK! QUACK!”
Finally, George heard another voice, this one human. He couldn’t understand the sounds as humans are an unintelligible species. But he could tell the noise got the dog’s attention by the shifting of the weight on his left wing.
“I guess I gotta go,” said the dog. “You’re pretty weird.”
With that, the duck’s wings were released and he collapsed on the ground. Luckily, nothing felt broken.
As he slowly made his way to the safety of the bushes, George shook his head. Perhaps the other ducks were right. A dog park was no place for a bird. Leave it to the squirrels. They are already nuts.