I took my kids to Tadpole Pond again. Why do I always make the wrong choices?
Two ducks were there, practically waddling like they owned the place. They reminded me of Italian gangsters, getting ready to commit the biggest crime those tadpoles had ever seen.
One duck seemed like my Uncle Nuetzi. Everyone says he didn't get married 'til he was fifty. It wasn't for lack of trying, but because something was wrong. Different stories went around, how he got hit with a shovel, ran into the back of a tractor, or got attacked by a cow--seriously--this is for real. I never met the guy, but I've seen his headstone; there's a picture of him and his eyes look nice but shifty. Maybe all headstone pictures look that way since the pictures can't stand being close to death.
So, that's how one duck looked. Its black hair was smoothed back like The Fonz, but its eyes darted crazier than sin! The ducks spied us, went to the back of the pond and gossiped. The white one shook her head, gabbling, maybe even standing up for us, but the black one squawked louder, flapping his wings. I bet all the frogs near them got so nervous they laid eggs. (Isn't that how childbirth happens anyway; you get so nervous that a kid pops out?)
Anyway, I wondered what they said with their malicious, gander tongues! I bet they just hate blogger women AND little girls who are cuter than anything!
"What sweet ducks," The Hippie said, always seeing the good in life. Didn't she know one was crazy? But when I turned to her again, I realized she was a bit afraid. There's no way she'd step closer. The kid even has problems going in the garage because there are ants, let alone gangster ducks!
The Scribe wasn't scared though. Her lips curled with merriment. I bet she thought she could ride a duck, have a new pet or even a fancy dinner. After all, she's my girl who sticks cat poop on her teacher's chair, the one who writes kick-me notes; I just knew she had some crazy scheme. And looking back at the whole thing now, I wonder if the black duck sensed her planning mind.
I turned my girls' attention to other things after that. There's a cornfield by the pond and I thought it might be fun to tease The Scribe.
We lurked toward the corn. Now if there's something I should have learned from "The Maize" it's that you shouldn't walk closer.
"Listen to the corn," I said, like it could actually talk and we weren't about to die.
My girls hushed.
"Do you hear it rustling?"
We listened for a moment and something did rustle.
"What was that?" The Hippie almost shook, but The Scribe beamed.
"That was awesome!" she said.
"Last year, I came here with your daddy and we saw the biggest jack rabbit known to man. It was huge, probably taller than my knees. But it was really nice, just eating the veggies."
"Is that . . . what we heard?" The Hippie asked.
"Who knows," I said. "Let's keep listening."
So we did and after a long while the rustling got so loud, so absolutely frantic, the corn swayed and moved. Something big was in there, something bigger than jaws!
We should have left, ran far away before the monster came out, but there was no place to go when the black fury sailed upon us.
One second we stood, mesmerized by maize (say that ten times fast), the next we were about to meet crazy Uncle Nuetzi in Hell!
I screamed as the black wings sent corn swaying. That monster of a duck grabbed onto The Scribe's shirt and tried pulling her into the corn of doom.
Everything froze in that moment--The Hippie's look of fear, her hands to her face and her mouth hanging open--The Scribe gritting her teeth and leaning back so the fowl beast wouldn't beat her--The black duck, wings out, seeming like it split from the belly of a demon.
And all I kept thinking was, "We're going to die . . . I never knew ducks had teeth."
That's when time moved again and I took up my birthright; I, Elisabeth Hirsch, became a true mother. Instead of quivering with fear and watching, I stepped into the corn and defied everything I've seen in scary movies. I grabbed the back of the duck and pulled it off of The Scribe. I've never grabbed a duck like that. It's feathers were awfully slimy and yucky like it used to be a tadpole. It's feet were gnarled like the feet of a dragon.
We struggled and struggled, but after a moment, I was able to pull it off. I let go and the thing sprawled onto the ground. It got up, and acted like it might come closer. I thought it would. My heart beat fast.
I like to eat duck, not the other way around.
Then before I could make a plan, I thought about my poor girls and how they'll probably never look at corn or other veggies again. They'd want to go on Atkins because of some dumb gangster who couldn't keep his beak out of my business!
"GET AWAY FROM US! GET OUT OF HERE," I screamed at lucifer's poultry.
It stepped closer.
"GET AWAY! LEAVE US . . . " my voice turned low, "ALONE."
Now, on a side note, you should try this some time. Standing up to a gangster will do something to you. It's like seeing Superman and kissing the hem of his cape. It's like spitting in Satan's eye. It's like having coffee IN THE MORNING!
The duck had all the power, and yet he looked afraid. He backed up toward the pond, still watched me all the while, but after squawking about my awesomeness, he took his platinum bimbo and the two of them left.
My girls hugged me. "I never knew ducks could be so scary," The Scribe said. "I'm glad we bought a dog and not a bird."
"Me too!" The Hippie sobbed. "But I always knew birds are scary--always."
"You're lucky it only bit your shirt," I told The Scribe. "That would have really hurt if it got your skin."
"That's 'cause I jumped out of the way, like a ninja."
We looked at the mark on The Scribe's shirt. I seriously had no idea ducks could be so violent.
I wiped away their tears and pulled them away from the corn. No wonder there are so many scary movies about the maize!