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DUCKS ON PARADE

Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 2:07 pm
by JB
Didn't see this one here, Jill. I may have missed it in another area. It is in FB too

I entitled this one, PEKING DUCK

Gafford was getting on Jenny's last pinfeather. The long trek to her sisters for the picnic was wearing on her webbed feet. The hen knew whose fault it was that the picnic wasn't being held at her nest as it had been for years. And then there was Puck. The drake was tired of his hen talking about how their youngest duckling was the bad hat of the family.

“...I keep telling you Pa-paw, he's going to be the death of us. He takes after your father's side of the family-always running off looking for excitement and never content with just staying put. If I haven't said it once I have said it a thousand times...”

“Oh. It's a thousand...yes, at least,” the drake interrupted.

“Well... your family is full of fowl that have a death wish.: Gafford smiled. "Always finding their way into a clay pot—or worse! Who was it, Jenny? Your Uncle Bertie? Got put into some kind of soup?”

“No, Pa-paw. That was Uncle Quatty. And it was sweet and sour. Uncle Bertie was the one who used that nuclear waste dump as a nesting ground two springs ago. Don't you remember? The babies all glowed that pretty shade of orange.”

Pa-paw shook his head sadly. “Oh. I really should have remembered that. Yes, and look what happened to them, he thought. “Okay...okay, it was Uncle Quatty. For Buda's sake, woman, your whole family-including your mother, are a bunch of loons.”

The evil stare he got from Ma-maw, stopped the drake cold.

“I beg your pardon, Gafford? How dare you bring mother into this. Especially after your antics at the last picnic at our nest! Gave her and Polly a near heart attack.

“It was just a joke for cryin' out loud, my henny pie.”

“What?” Jenny choked ignoring his blatant attempt to get on her good side.

“Putting Polly's eggs on a branch and trying to shoot them down with those long reeds in the lake? You call that a joke? Now no one will come over to the house ever again. We have to go all the way to Polly's and that is too near the city for my taste.” ”

Gafford, hated Jenny's sister Polly. Always laying eggs...she had too many ducklings to begin with.

“What are a few more chicks more or less, Jenny? Me and Buddy were just playing around. Polly is just a bad sport.”

Did he just say that out loud?

“Bad sport. BAD SPORT?”

Yes...he did.

“Now, Ma-maw, sweetie...”

“Don't Ma-maw sweetie me, Gafford. What makes this so bad this is that you made the clutches father part of your antics, and put the babies in jeopardy. You're damned lucky no chick was harmed.”

“Well, Buddy says that he is tired of all the chicks, Jenny. He wants to take Polly to the city, but she keeps saying it's too dangerous and that...

The word dangerous made Jenny realize she hadn't checked back over her brood. She always did a count regularly just in case...

Let's see. Muck, Buck, Tuck....Yuck...Luck? Yes...Luck was there hiding behind Huck...someone's missing...oh for land's sake...

One of the ducklings was missing and it was obvious who.

“Pa-paw, Puck has disappeared again.”

part two Peking Duck

Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:20 pm
by JB
“Pa-paw, Puck has disappeared again.”

Jenny saw that her husband wasn't paying attention and was looking at the swan family that had just flown in. “PA-PAW!”

She swung her wing and hit the inattentive duck with a well-placed hit on the head.

“OWWEEE!” Gafford did an about-face and looked back at his ducklings. “Give me a sec and let me count, woman!”

“Huck, Muck, Buck. Now didn't we have one that started with an “F,” dear?”

“That was Puck, dear.”

Gafford groaned. “Oh yes...your mother made us change it. Said it was becoming a foul word in the city.” He suddenly snickered, pleased with himself. “Get it, Jenny? Foul? Fowl...”

“Yes, yes, I get it.” Jenny rolled her eyes. “Gafford, you have a very short memory. That was less than two months ago that we had this brood.”

Gander was not paying attention. He had resumed taking roll-call on his babies.

“...where is Luck...Luck? Oh...hiding behind Huck...okay...yes. Ma-maw, you're right, Puck is missing.”

The hen looked at the drake and grumbled. Like he didn't believe her? Curse him, she thought. Always giving Puck the run of the nest.

Besides being the runt, Puck had a special extremity that set him apart from the rest of his family-a feather that stuck straight out from his butt. Gafford was so proud of this, that he always let the fact that Puck was “exceptional” give him leeway to get away with more than he should.

“Good for his character” Gafford smiled proudly. “A small, special duck like Puck needs a boost of confidence—that is why he gets more of a free reign—you know, get his webbed feet wet so to speak.”

And then,inevitably, he remindedJenny of why it was so special.

“Remember that my great-great..”

“Great-great-great Uncle twice removed. Yes, I know, Gafford.” She had heard the story of her husband's ancestor over and over again since Puck came out of his shell and they noticed the pride of Gafford's family tree–or the deformity as she saw it.

It terrified Jenny, but Gafford—Gafford was another story.

“'Good for his character, you say, Pa-paw? Don't you remember what your pappy told you what happened to your Great-great-great-great grandfather...”

“Great.” Gafford added. “You forgot a great.”

“Oh shut up, you old fool!” Jenny snapped angrily. “You remember the stories of humans and how they relish duck? Especially ones with a feather sticking out of its rump? They say that those tail feathers bring good luck to them. And since it's rare, they are always on the lookout for that special duck—and the quicker they cook it, the quicker the luck starts! That is what happened to your Uncle Quatty. And now our Puck—born with that...that mutation!

Why, even Bucky told you...I heard him, so don't deny it, that the shops in Beijing hang up ducks in the window. And sometimes they even stick a feather in the tail end so they get more money for them! It's atrocious! Even HE warned you to pluck it out on more than one occasion so that he wouldn't be a target of these humans!”

“Oh, fiddlesticks, Ma-maw.” Gafford said, preening his wing, trying to act nonchalantly. “We have taught all of our ducklings how to handle themselves and how to avoid humans, haven't we?”

“Yes, dear, but...”

“We have told them about this monstrous need of humans to eat our kind...”

“Yes Pa-paw, but...”

“WHAT WOMAN?”

“That was the last clutch, Gafford. NOT this one. You have always waited for the ducklings to be two months so that they will actually listen to you when you give that speech...”

“AND?”

“You haven't given your “don't get caught lest you get ate” speech yet. They're only a month and a half old...”

“Oh.” Gafford said, suddenly crestfallen. He hadn't. Damn this having so many babies. Old age was making the drake forget the lessons that he imparted to all of his past ducklings. To forget such a crucial teaching was inexcusable.

Jenny spoke up and the drake heard the panic in her voice.

“Pa-paw, you must go find him. We're almost at Polly and Bucky's. So close to the city...what if...what if...”

Gafford looked at his hen. “Now, Ma-maw, maybe he just went exploring—close by...”

“The CITY is close by, Gafford.”

“I know, honey, but...”

“You...you and Bucky need to go find him. We are here now anyway and look, there's Polly.”

Sure enough, they had arrived at the familiar green hill covered in spring thistle. Jenny's sister's nest was always unorganized. Gafford always thought that a nest should be well maintained and presentable. Polly and Bucky's was anything but..

Gafford always blamed Bucky. That good for nothing drake. Lazy and never interested in helping with nest maintenance. All he wanted to do was go and play at the pond. Gafford had to admit though that he really liked the guy, even though he was a wayward kind of duck from a weird family.

Some had said a goose was involved...

Re: DUCKS ON PARADE

Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:50 pm
by JillStar
Nice start there JB! I laughed my way through it. The only correction I saw was 'who's' to 'whose' but I'm sure you would find that in the re-write (which I think you said you're going to do).

Since we didn't find Puck, I'm guessing there's more to come?

Re: DUCKS ON PARADE

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:05 pm
by JB
Yes...there's more. Don't know if it will be finished today like I was hoping. Did some editing and added more to it so it is coming along.

Also, you mentioned an error. For the life of me, I can't find the who/whose you speak of. Which paragraph is it in if you don't mind letting me know. It's probably obvious, but think I have looked at this too much. :roll:

Peking Duck, continued

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:11 pm
by JB
Haven't scoped out the errors on this part, so if you see anything, let me know.

PART THREE: Bucky and Polly's

After a search of the cornfield, no signs of Puck were found--not even a feather.

“You should have kept a better eye on the youngster,” Bucky said, trying to console Jenny with a hug from his wing.

“Stop sobbing, Jenny, if he isn't around the pond, then he probably is in that cornfield over there.”

Sniffing through her tears, the elder hen blurted, “my....my (sniff), baaaabbbbyyyy!!”

“AWWW GEEZ, WOMAN! Get a GRIP!!”

Polly gasped. Gafford, you are to blame for this!”

“Moi?” <1> I'll trick her with my French, Gafford smiled deviously.

“Oui.”

“Don't be surprised, Gafford. I know some French, too,vou grand imbecile!!” Polly insulted .<2>

Gafford, angry that he hadn't brought along his French to English dictionary, snapped back.

“Well, la-tee-da, Polly smarty tail.” He couldn't help the fact his parents weren't able to afford the fancy lessons at an actual French school for ducklings. Beijing was not as fancy schmancy as Hong Kong, where Polly and Jenny had lived.

“SHUT up both of you!” Jenny sobbed. The distraught mother ran and threw herself into Polly's nest, almost crushing a sleeping duckling.

“See? Look what you two have done!” Bucky intervened—as he always did when it came to his hen and Gafford. Playing the referee was getting tiresome. “Jenny almost mushed Cuddles!”

The sound of a baby's horrified quacking came from the sloppy nest.

Gafford sneered. “Is it my fault you let your kiddies sleep past ten?”

“None of your damned business you damned...”

“SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, YOU TWO!!

Polly had had enough. Running over to her nest, she checked on Cuddles and seeing he wasn't worse for wear, gave Jenny a kiss and patted her on the back to comfort her.

“Get out of here the both of you and find Puck before something bad happens to him,” Polly said looking at her sister who had tucked her head under a wing.

Jenny started sobbing louder.

“If something hasn't already...” Jenny cried out.

“No, dear. We must think positive.” Polly hugged her sister tighter and gave Bucky and Gafford her “evil duck glare.”

“That, I believe, mate, is our cue.” Bucky looked at Gafford.

“You're damned straight!” Polly growled.

(to be continued)

Footnotes:
<1>Gafford studied French for two years at French Language Cordon Bleah in Beijing. And here began and ended the amount of French our friend Gafford could speak.
<2>Polly actually learned something out of her french class.

Re: DUCKS ON PARADE

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:07 pm
by JillStar
Keep on, keeping on!

Here's where it was... "...he hen knew who's fault it was that the picnic wasn't being held..."

Re: DUCKS ON PARADE

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:57 am
by JB
Lol...no wonder I didn't see it, it was right at the beginning! Thanks for letting me know, Jill.

Re: DUCKS ON PARADE

Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:35 pm
by JillStar
I usually don't see my mistakes unless I come back to it long after the last time I read it. :)

By the way, I moved this post to the Picture Prompt area where the original prompt was posted... just to keep them together.

Re: DUCKS ON PARADE Part 4

Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:31 am
by JB
PART THREE: At Bucky and Polly's


“You should have kept a better eye on the youngster,” Bucky said, trying to console Jenny with a hug from his wing.

“Stop sobbing, Jenny, if he isn't around the pond, then he probably is in that cornfield over there.”

Sniffing through her tears, the elder hen babbled, “my....my (sniff), baaaabbbbyyyy!!”

“AWWW GEEZ, WOMAN! Get a GRIP!!”

Polly gasped. Gafford, you idiot, you are to blame for this!”

“Moi?” <1> I'll trick her with my French, Gafford smiled deviously.

“Oui.”

“Don't be surprised, Gafford. I know some French, too, vou grand imbecile!!” Polly quipped .<2>

Gafford, angry that he hadn't brought along his French to English dictionary, snapped.

“Well, la-tee-da, Polly smarty tail.” He couldn't help the fact his parents weren't able to afford the fancy lessons at an actual French school for ducklings. Beijing was not as fancy shmancy as Hong Kong, where Polly and Jenny were from.

“SHUT up both of you!” Jenny sobbed. The distraught mother ran and threw herself into Polly's nest, almost crushing a sleeping duckling.

“See? Look what you two have done!” Bucky intervened—as he always did when it came to his hen and Gafford. Playing the referee was getting tiresome. “Jenny almost mushed Cuddles!”

The sound of a baby's horrified quacking came from the disheveled nest.

Gafford sneered. “Is it my fault you let your kiddies sleep past ten?”

“None of your damned business you damned old duck4.”

“SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, YOU TWO!!

Polly had had enough. Running over to her nest, she checked on Cuddles and seeing he wasn't worse for wear, gave Jenny a kiss and patted her on the back to comfort her.

“Get out of here the both of you and find Puck before something bad happens to him.”

Jenny started sobbing louder.

“If something hasn't already...” Jenny cried out.

“No, dear. We must think positive.” Polly hugged her sister tighter and gave Bucky and Gafford her “evil duck glare.”

“That, I believe, mate, is our cue.” Bucky looked at Gafford.

“You're damned straight it is!” Polly growled at the drakes as she held and patted her sister's wing. “And don't come home without Puck!” She added quickly.

“Even if he's on a stick?” Bucky blurted out—and quickly regretted that comment with the looks he got from the family.

Overhearing their parents, Polly and Bucky's precocious chicks started singing--

“Puck on a stick! Puck in a stew; better hurry up Paw, 'fore Puck in a roux!”

“Damn-it Bucky,” Polly cried out, “I'm never inviting your Uncle Bart's cajun friend from Louisiana for a visit ever again!”

“Oh Polly, it's just a song...they didn't mean anything by it...”

“GET OUT! Bring Puck back—and preferably NOT on a damned stick. WHOLE! You GOT THAT?”

“Yes, mamma.” Bucky hung his head. “Let's get going, Gafford. Shouldn't take us long to get to Beijing this late in the day.”

“What about the humans?”

“We'll stay off the road in case. C'mon, old man.

As the drakes left the hens in the nest, Polly put a wing over Jenny and the overwrought hen went to sleep. The younger hen sighed and stared after her husband and brother-in-law.

Polly prayed quietly to herself as Bucky and Gafford disappeared from view. “Buddha, help them. Please don't let Puck be at Mr. Wang's...please...”

Every second counted. The boys had to get there before something bad happened to her favorite nephew, if it hadn't already. The hen swallowed hard thinking of Mr. Wang's shop. The Chinese man specialized in duck. “'Duck a Hundred Ways. Always Fresh!” was the ancient man's motto-which he displayed proudly on a sign outside of the shop. Above it always hung a row of roasted duck.

A shiver went down her back as the thought of Puck hanging in the window crept into her head. Polly tried to stop the gruesome vision, trying instead to listen to the sound of her brood and the crickets hailing the beginning of the warm evening.

“Time for bed, ducklings,” she called.

Her three babies, Lang, Dang and Bang, protested as they always did, wanting to take another quick dip in the pond, but Polly hushed them and they obeyed, hesitantly.

As the stars came out, the ducklings settled into the crowded nest and were soon asleep at their mother's breast. The crickets that had been so loud just moments before, had stopped their evening song and for the remainder of the night the only sounds Polly heard were Jenny's sobs as she slept.

Re: DUCKS ON PARADE

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:20 pm
by JB
Oh, this is Part 5. geesh. Just been too tired to work on re-write. Will try to finish(?) by next week, but no promises. What do you think of storyline so far? What are some things you would like to see happen to our Puck? Do you want him safe, or deep fried and golden brown? I'm still in a debate with me, myself and I on it.
~~~~~

More in the ongoing saga of Puck the Duck..Part Four: Beijing (the friggin story that seems to have no end!)

A large crowd herded toward Wang's Golden Duck Shop, making it hard to see from Gafford's viewpoint. Panic seized him and he found it hard to breathe as he and Bucky made their way towards the ancient establishment. Mr. Wang was known to humans and ducks alike for having a grand display--probably the grandest--of Peking Ducks ready for sale—for the highest price in the Old City. Of course, humans tended to flock to the shop for the delicious meat. The ducks, on the other hand, ran the other way for good reason.

There was already a large crowd outside Wang's display, pointing and laughing at something in the window.

“'Look at that, Mr. Wang, he is crazy, 387 yuan for that!'” the voices in the crowd cried out pointing to the window.

Gafford stared towards Wang's shop and saw, hanging in the display window, several ducks, cooked to a perfect golden brown. One of them, in particular, caught the drake's eye. It had a familiar feather sticking out of it's butt. Mr. Wang was proudly waving at the crowd from behind the poor fried creature.

Puck.

Gafford found himself quacking at the old man. “You evil stick! My son is worth at least 400 yuan! MY SON IS WORTH MORE THAN THAT...”

Mr. Wang just laughed and continued to wave...

Then, to Gafford's dismay, someone from the crowd threw a bucket of cold water on him...

“Wake up! You're having a nightmare...GAFFORD!”

“My son is...worth more...worth more...than...what? Wha? Bucky?”

“Wake up you old fool. You were having a nightmare. We have to get moving-it's half past six already.”

After fleeing some old mangy mutts, a couple of large cats and a man who looked like Mr. Wang with a knife the night before, the two ducks had finally found safe haven in an alleyway behind an old vegetable market that close to the notorious Mr. Wang's shop. Too close for Gafford's comfort, but Bucky seemed sure that they would stay safe behind some barrels filled with soy. Now the sun was coming up over the Old City, bathing it in a warm glow.

“Sorry about that, Gaf, but you weren't waking up very easily. Slapping wasn't working, so I found some water. Well, I think it's water.” He sniffed. “Sorry, it was soy. But hey, it woke you up, didn't it?Must of been some nightmare.”

“You could have just shook me, Bucky.”

“Tried that. Didn't work. You were needing a bit more urging so I found that bucket over there.” He nodded to the red container a few yards away. “ When I poured the water ...soy...over your head you hit it with your wing and it went flying. Boy, you have a great swing, man.”

“Shut up,” Gafford said, unimpressed. He shook hard to get the soy off of him. “Don't EVER do that again, Bucky.”

“Fine. Next nightmare you have, you can deal with it.” Bucky said, peeking out from behind the barrels down the alleyway.

“Is the coast clear, now?” Gafford asked.

“Yeah, that big cat is gone now. Let's get going and check out the area behind Mr. Wang's store.”

They hadn't even gone ten feet when Bucky turned to Gafford. With the big shit-eating grin that Gafford hated so much, the old drake's brother-in-law said in a low whisper,

“And by the way. Just how much is Puck worth?”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The drakes hid from cats and merchants all morning. Looking into every cage and storefront around the Old City. No sign of Puck was to be seen.

“I thought we were going to check Mr. Wang's first,” Gafford said.

“Well, I thought we would check his store last. I figured that you warned him enough about Mr. Wang's shop in those tall tales you tell your ducklings, so I was hoping we would find him nearer to the pond. That's where most out-of-towners go.”

“Sounds right. For most-Puck isn't like other ducks. If I told him to stay away from something, then he goes right to that and into trouble. You know how he is.”

“Yes I do, only so well.” Bucky mused. He knew very well about Puck. He and Polly had babysat several times, the wayward duckling. But he never told Gafford about the time Puck had gone missing and he and Polly found him right on the outskirts of the Old City.

The conversation with the young hoodlum resurfaced in Bucky's head.

“'My paw said to never go to Mr. Wang's shop. Ducks go in and come out...well...dead.'” Puck had told his uncle.

“'That's right, Puck. Ducks shouldn't ever go near the Old City. If you're seen you may end up as Peking Duck in Mr. Wang's shop-or someone else's.'”

“'I won't get caught. I'm too fast.'”

“'That's what every duck says. Those same ducks are never seen again. Humans are fast, too. Especially when they want to cook you.'”

“'I'm too fast,'” the young duck said again.

“'I should tell you the tale of your wayward Uncle Quatty who said the same thing. Ever hear the tale of his running with the bulls in a country called...'”

“'Spain. Yeah. Paw told me about it. Uncle Quatty ran and ran. He was so fast that...”
“'He ran faster than the fastest bull,'” Puck and Bucky said in unison.

“'That was NOT altogether accurate, Puck. You heard how he limped?'”

“'Yes, I was told he had a shorter leg. Caused by Paw hitting his shin.'”

“'No, that was what your paw and maw wanted you to hear. Seems that Uncle Quatty wasn't as fast as he let on.'”

“'So...so what happened?'”

Bucky could tell that Puck really was scared to hear it, but the drake continued with the story anyway.

“'You're Auntie said he did indeed run from the bulls. Problem was that despite the heroic tale that has been passed down, he didn't run faster than the fastest bull?''”

Puck's eyes widened as Bucky continued.

“'The fastest bull ran right over your Uncle Quatty. Almost made your Auntie Pollyana a widow. Luckily for your great uncle, the only real damage was a broken leg. And that is why he had that limp.'”

Bucky was about to tell him another tale, but decided that the story about how Uncle Quatty ended up in a batch of sweet and sour would have to be left up to the duckling's father.

After the story of Uncle Quatty's near miss with the bulls, it seemed to have stopped any more wandering from Puck.

Well, up until the other day at least. You just couldn't take the wanderlust out of a duckling. No matter what the consequences.

Re: DUCKS ON PARADE continued.

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:39 pm
by JB
Tired and very hungry, a young duckling felt a sick gnawing pain in his gut. There was food everywhere, but he couldn't get to it. The old man fed him when he was caught, but that was yesterday and the bowls were empty.

From behind his bamboo bars, Puck stared out from his prison. He had poked and prodded the stakes all night without much success in loosening any of them. Frustrated he had sat in the corner on a thin bed of straw and cried.

Why didn't he listen to his Uncle Bucky about coming close to old Mr. Wang's shop? He only wanted a quick glance to see what his Paw, Maw and uncle's fears were about it.

Arriving not soon before his Paw and Uncle to the Old City, Puck had found his way to an old shop on a corner. Most of the ducks he asked along the way told him he was crazy for wanting to get two blocks from the “duck butcher.” But Puck laughed it off telling them all that he was too fast for any human. The ducks would just shake their heads and wish him luck.

As he watched from a safe distance, Puck saw the infamous Mr. Wang. The ancient man was slowly walking in front of his shop, sweeping with a bamboo broom.

“He's not so bad. I'm too fast for that old man,” Puck had told himself yesterday evening. The old manHe had taken for granted that Old Mr. Wang had a grandson who was faster than he was.

Uncle Bucky's stories of Uncle Quatty came to the duckling's mind as he sat on the thinning layer of straw. Despite the taste, he had tried to eat some of the dry husks. He wept as he missed the pond and the small minnows and water plants he had at home.

As the sun came through the window, Puck saw the reason everyone had warned him about Mr. Wang's. Ducks hanging in the storefront window, all a rich golden brown. He realized sadly that it wasn't just a broken leg he should be concerned with. He kicked himself for ever leaving home. He swore to himself that if he got out of this mess, he would never leave the safety of the green hill again.

Re: DUCKS ON PARADE

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:03 pm
by JillStar
I'll have to give this another read. I'm having a hard time getting into the story and I think it's because I thought it was going to be funny but then it turned into something else. A couple of the characters are annoying but I think that's on purpose. It's the character names and situation that makes me think it should be funny rather than serious. I don't know why entirely but that's my thought so far.