Recently, I asked Nicklas what were some of his favorite summertime memories (I’m anticipating this question from his 1st grade teacher…..HA!  I’m slightly ahead of the game for a change).  Imagine my surprise when he conjured up the recent memory of the day when three stupid little baby ducks QUACKED their way in, and right back out, of our lives.

Not long ago, I heard an odd, kind of barnyard, noise coming from our backyard……Now, please keep in mind that we are, in fact, city dwellers.  We don’t DO country living and likely never will.  Our house, and our neighborhood, are your typical suburban dreamland, complete with not big enough to require a riding lawn mower yards and houses that seem to sit right on top of one another.  I could open my bathroom window and chat with the mom next door while we give our respective kids baths without ever leaving the house.  So imagine my surprise when I looked outside and saw a gaggle of three baby ducks wandering aimlessly around our not-so-big backyard.  Hmmmmm….this was kind of odd.  While we have an open FIELD (of sorts) behind our house (it used to be the grounds for an elementary school before it was demolished) we certainly didn’t have any bodies of water back there (i.e. ponds/streams/lakes).  Don’t big and little ducks alike generally gravitate towards some mass of water??  Was their momma duck dazed and confused when she apparently laid her precious little eggs in the middle of some dry, shitty, open field??  Were they airdropped and forgotten??  And where WAS their mother???  While they were clearly not JUST hatched, they were quite obvioiusly too young and too small and to be braving this cruel world all alone.  I feared instantly that there was a momma duck lying dead and rotting someplace, the latest victim of one of the neighborhood canines or felines…..I pictured these poor little stupid baby ducks staying with her for as long as they could, crying over her loss but forced to leave because they were hungry and needed food.  Ok, so I’d obviously put a LOT of thought in to their imagined plight………..

I called Nicklas over and we both cooed over them, at this point just willing to do nothing more than observe.  Nicklas decided to crown them all boy ducks.  I heartily agreed…but for my own reasons……1) they were obviously LOST.  2) They had absolutely NO sense of direction.  3) They seemed to be unable to function independently and wandered with no thought for where they should be going, happy to follow one another in circles.    I agreed that they were probably three little penis duckies.

I’d had no idea the adventure we were about to undertake.  Why I thought they would just be happy to stay and wander around in our yard, I do not know….but they managed to find their way to and THROUGH the fence and out to the front yard.  From there, they thought an ideal path might be to head straight into the road and possible oncoming traffic.  They then settled comfortably directly under the front wheels of a hefty SUV.  It was about this time I considered myself the surrogate HBIC and vowed to Nicklas that we would rescue the stupid little penis duckies from their own foolish selves.

I instructed Nicklas to find something to corral them with in one swoop and told him to hurry before they went off wandering again.    While I explained the plight of these stupid ducks to the neighbors that had suddenly seemed to materialize from nowhere, I realized I should have been more specific in my request and prayed Nicklas would return with a laundry basket or garbage can.  I gave the 6 yr old penis person entirely too much credit.  He, in fact, returned with the pool skimmer.  There, while various members of the neighborhood attemped to assist with corraling, I lay prone on the hot July concrete attempting to catch three stupid little ducks with a fucking POOL SKIMMER.  And, astonishingly, attempt to use it I did.  I’m pretty certain that with each shot I took at whacking it down over top the three stupid baby penis ducks in an attempt to thwart their escape, I was causing further brain damage to them.  But I WAS making an effort to keep them safe.

It just so happened the neighbors across the street were holding their daughter’s 12th birthday/pool party.  So I found myself on this woefully inept rescue mission in the company of a throng of screeching preteen girls clad in swimsuits, each running in a billion different directions.  While they kept themselves busy with this task, I ran back across the street to get a laundry basket.  We (the preteen girls, some of their parents and an elderly neighbor) finally managed to round up two of these stupid little ducks and deposit them in the laundry basket.  We set the basket in the middle of their yard and made a go at “rescuing” the third.  He did NOT want to be rescued.  He dipped and dived in a million directions and lead us on a chase in and out of several backyards…..back out in to the street……into a mass of planted flowers beds that were promptly trampled by the preteens and myself.  Just when I thought we had him cornered, I head Nicklas wailing.  Did I mention that the laundry basket had several holes in it????  One of the two stupid baby ducks that we’d already spent a LOT of time rescuing had managed to escape.  He and his equally stupid brother took off in two different directions, only to meet up in a yard on the NEXT STREET OVER.  Yes……you would be correct to assume that we HAD in fact chased them THIS FAR.  I attempted to hop the fence from one yard to the one they had escaped to…..then thought better of it.  I’m not physically inclined to hop any fences.  So Nicklas and I instructed the girls to do so, and instead grabbed a DIFFERENT laundry basket (minus holes) and hopped in the car to give vehicular backup.  All I needed was a police radio and a siren and you would have thought this was an episode of cops.

I politely knocked on the door of the yard the girls could be heard screeching from and quickly informed the homeowners of the situation at hand.  They looked at me as if I might be slightly insane but relented and then followed me and Nicklas and the remaining stupid baby duck in the laundry basket into their backyard.  In the mayhem of my story telling and the girls screeching and Nicklas crying, the family dog had managed to slip past the homeowner and was “helping” us find the ducks…….and by helping I DO mean barking at them and sending the stupid little ducks off and running again.  Lucky for us (me, the preteen girls who still gave a shit about this rescue mission, Nicklas,  the homeowners, their grown autistic son and their dog) their yard was overgrown with leaves/weeds/vegetation that the stupid ducks had a hard time finding their way OUT of the yard.  Not that they COULDN’T get out…..it was just taking them a little longer to do so.  This is how we managed to wrangle up the slower of the two baby ducks on the loose and deposit his silly ass into the laundry basket with his even slower brother.  So we were back to two rescued baby ducks and still hopeful we could capture the third.  But I SWEAR he was the same one who’d been dodging us all along and he was obviously the fastest of the three brothers.  He kept running in a zig zag pattern all over the yard, dodging preteens and a dog and grown ups.  Finally, it was pretty clear we’d lost him entirely.  He was playing a pretty wicked game of stupid baby duck hide and seek and he was winning. I got the bright idea that maybe if he heard his slower brothers quacking, he might come out of hiding.  So I instructed two of the girls to walk the perimeter of the yard, each with a baby duck in hand.  When it was pretty evident that the duckies were positively exhausted from the shananagins and weren’t in the mood to quack (or, quite possibly, they were still slightly stunned from being hit in the head with a pool skimmer), I told the girls maybe give them a GENTLE squeeze to MAKE them make noise.  Remarkably, it worked.  However, I’m half convinced they quacks they were emitting were more a warning to the faster brother to remain in hiding.  We never saw him again that day.

After, literally, two hours of chasing stupid baby penis duckies and entertaining two entire suburban blocks with my antics, I bid the preteen girls farewell.  I stayed for a moment to apologize to the homeowners and thank them again for helping (and for allowing their dog to “help” too).  They said not to worry…..this was more excitement than they’d had in a long while and that their autistic son was beyond thrilled with all this fun and unexpected company.

Nicklas and I, dejected, made our way home.  We were both equally worried that the one remaining brother (after the last few hours of mayhem I was now CERTAIN they were boys) wouldn’t make it out there on his own.  We put the two slower baby ducks and their laundry basket cage out on the front lawn in the additional hope that maybe, just MAYBE, the slower ones might someone lure the faster one out of hiding and over to our yard (yes, it was a loooong shot, but what else did we have).  We then went inside to tell Jeff of our journey and begin an internet search of how to care for these stupid baby ducks until I could get in contact with a wildlife association who could come and get them.

Suddenly……..we heard an abundant amount of quacking coming from outside.  Nicklas and I smiled at one another, hopeful in the idea that maybe our plan had worked, and we headed out the front door once again.  There…….we found a laundry basket that had tipped over due to wind and those two stupid baby ducks once again on the loose.

I’m sorry, but at this point I just said fuck it, I’m done.

Now, I’m all for helping animals in need, but these ducks appeared to REALLY NOT WANT OUR HELP.  And as tenacious as these stupid ducks seemed to be, I just keep assuring myself that they will be just fine out there in the big, cruel world.   And I’m pretty optimistic that they sent out their quacking signal to their faster brother that the coast was finally clear and they had defeated the humans.   And that they all managed to find their way, TOGETHER, to some food and water and a happy life.

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