Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Case of the Maligned Mallard

My neighbor, Lena Odegaard, is quite fond of her sunflower patch. I rather like the splash of color myself. She explained once that she lets the stalks stand through winter, as a sort of reminder of the summer that was, and the spring that will be.

That's why I was surprised to see her at my door Tuesday evening, brandishing a sunflower. Not just that dinner-plate-size seed head: the whole sunflower, stalk and all.

All she wanted to know was, "have you seen that duck?" That's Jake Nordstrom's duck, Bill. The bird has earned a reputation as a nuisance in the neighborhood. Still, Jake is at least as fond of his pet duck as Lena is of her sunflowers.

Bill may have fine inner qualities, but what most people notice about him is his foul look. Most ducks have all the expressiveness of a paperweight, but Bill manages to project a look of suspicious antagonism.

Be honest: Would you trust this duck?

Circumstantial evidence weighed against Bill. Quite a few of the seeds were missing, and Bill likes sunflower seed.

After calming down a bit, Lena asked me if I could keep an eye on her sunflower patch on Wednesday. It's not as crazy as it seems. She knew I was taking that day off to caulk my windows.

Okay. So, I spent Wednesday morning caulking on that side of the house, ate on the back steps, and went back to caulking.

About an hour later, I saw the sunflower vandal. Not Bill, thank goodness. Lena's got gophers.


Brigid said...

Glad to see this made it online!

That is a very suspicious looking duck. lol

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...


Me too.

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