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A Duck is Not a Human

by Eddy Burger


Bandicoot Duck with Duckling
A Bandicoot Duck with Duckling
The duck, the gannet and the coot ventured into a farmyard, and there they met a duck that was leaning against the barn door, smoking a cigarette. “I’m a domestic duck,” said the Cigarette-Smoking Duck. (Generally speaking, the Domestic Duck and the Cigarette-Smoking Duck are two distinct species, but in this instance, a Cigarette-Smoking Duck had merely adopted the domestic role.) The Cigarette-Smoking Duck showed the travellers into the barn. It was full of racehorses (not to be confused with Racehorse Ducks). “Neigh! Neigh!” they said.

“How many times must I tell yuz?” said the Cigarette-Smoking Duck, “there ain’t nobody, no place, who’s called Neigh!” He turned to the travellez. “You’ll hav’ta excuse their mannez. They ain’t too bright. The highlight o’ their day is when they runs around in circles fo’ no reason.” The Cigarette-Smoking Duck introduced each horse:

  1. First is Pimple’s Pride
  2. followed closely by The Hermit’s Chaperone
  3. A length further back is The Scintillating Slug
  4. followed by Gallery of Dunces
  5. Moonlight Dancer
  6. Stallion of the Lavender Hills
  7. Indigo Tea Cosy
  8. and Gee, Racehorses Have Stupid Names.
  9. At the turn, Can a Hand Buy a Heart? is ahead by a neck
  10. from A Body by a Lake
  11. followed closely by I Sold My Horse for a Duck.
  12. On the inside two lengths back from three wide
    entering the straight with one wide length coming up from behind is Gay Porn Star,
  13. with The Milky Bar Kid coming up the rear.
  14. But shooting up on the inside comes Injection Moulding! A line lilly, that one...

“Don’t you mean ‘a fine filly’?” asked the silly coot.

“That’s what I said — a line lilly, that one, who came lirst last week at lamington and is now coming up last... and has hit the leed! But it was beaten at the post, poor thing.”

“That is an interesting piece of wordplay,” said the silly old coot, “but it has nothing to do with ducks. A duck is not a horse. Even a Racehorse Duck — first and foremost — is still a horse.”

“As a Domestic Duck who smokes cigarettes, ma role in yaw adventure is ta furtha illuminate the excesses o’ domestic animal practices,” said the deluded domesticated Cigarette-Smoking Duck. “Racehorses is the most extreme example.”

“But you are the most extreme, Mr Duck. What’s your story?”

“My story ain’t got no relevance to yaw adventure, and, fo’ that reazen, I ain’t gonna tell it. Granted, I ’ave relativz who smoke on account o’ havin been forced ta become addicted fo’ the sake o’ research into the ‘armful effects o’ smokin. You’d hav’ta call that a product of domesticashun. And I thought smokin’ was normal ’coz they was all doin’ it, but I took it up ’coz I wanted ta, through the coercion o’ nobody but meself.

“It all ’appened when I was young an’ wild. I was fightin’ with this other young buck over a chick we both had the hots fo’. Well I chased ’im off, then me and the chick started makin’ out. I was feelin’ pretty good ’bout meself. But all the while we was actually breathin in the smoke from a nearby grass fire.

“Afterwards I found I was hooked on smokin’ on account o’ it made me feel like a super confident he-drake (the duck equivalent of a he-man), and I took to hangin’ ’round farmers so I could bot smokes off ’em. A smokin’ duck ain’t afraid o’ gettin’ dirty. A smokin’ duck don’t fear deaf. It’s a duck o’ action.

“But a smokin’ duck should not be confused with a smokin’ gun. A smokin’ gun = a dead duck. An alive smokin’ duck is a big gun who ain’t yet been shot. An alive gun is a big shot duck who ain’t yet been smoked, and an alive shotgun is a big smoke who ain’t yet been ducked. So cigarette smokin’ can be good fo’ ya. Ya all should try it.”

Beware of Addicts — that was the lesson they learned today. Whenever a domesticated Cigarette-Smoking Duck thinks it is really a Domestic Duck that smokes, you know it is acting under the influence of a drug and is incapable of sound judgement.

Racehorse Ducks
Race-Horse Ducks with Ducklings

“That piece about racehorses was out of place within the context of this story,” said the endearing silly old coot. “So are the following pieces”:

Once upon a time, a Human Duck saw an ad on the TV that was advertising an office machine that combined printer, scanner, photocopier and fax in one. The sale price was $299.95. In other words, the ad informed the duck that humans are stupid. To price a product at $299.95, instead of $300, or at $299,999, instead of $300,000, as the case may be, is such a stupid practice that the whole of human society is missing something — i.e. a part of its brain. This practice is so glaringly stupid that it is not even necessary to explain why. The Human Duck was happy that it was not a real human.

Once upon a time, there was a real duck who was criticised for writing stuff that was not deep enough. But the duck thought deep stuff was crap, consisting of tired old themes, rehashed sentiments, written in the one style. Seriousness is the stuff of soapies. Humour is the only valid form for a species that overestimates its own worth. Imagination is its greatest asset.

So the duck was concerned with creativity, anti-realism, semiotics, the construction of knowledge, the joy of storytelling, the value of silliness, the value of nature, misanthropy, Being, and being a duck. Say no to garbage at the expense of art! Say no to humans at the expense of abstract substances!

Of particular interest to palaeontologists is the Lizard Duck. It shares similarities with Archaeopteryx, the predecessor of birds that lived 140 million years ago. Whilst the Archaeopteryx was a lizard that bore some of the features of its bird descendants, such as feathers and primitive wings, the Lizard Duck is a bird that still bares characteristics of its reptilian ancestry, such as huge sickle-like claws on the ends of its webbed toes, long sharp teeth and a ravenous appetite for blood. It makes its raptor ancestors seem like monsters from hell, by comparison.

Ducks had a harmless reputation prior to the discovery of the Lizard Duck in the Australian outback in 1962. And it would not have been discovered if not for the trail of carcasses that led a local farmer to its lair.

Speculation as to how Lizard Ducks remained undiscovered for so long speculates that either they were so smart that they developed strategies for avoiding detection, or they were a new species, the product of mutation caused by residual radiation from nuclear tests.

Both scenarios have fired the imagination of writers and film makers, who have brought us such classics as Attack of the Giant Killer Ducks, which is the story of a group of ducks exposed to a rare form of radiation that causes them to grow as big as two-storey buildings. The radiation also has a peculiar effect on their brains, causing them to develop insatiable appetites for fresh human flesh, which compels them to continuously kill humans in bloody and sadistic ways.

Lizard Ducks
Rampaging Lizard Ducks

A lot can be said about ducks. Ducks are good for eating — they are not good for nothing. They are also good at drinking. The flexibility of a duck’s bill is vital for its ease of drinking.

The bill is not as hard as you might imagine. A duck does not merely bounce the water into its gullet with its bill nor does it lap up the water with its tongue like a cat. A close look at the bill reveals that the inside edge actually bears a fleshy lip.

As the duck inserts its bill into the water to drink, its bill becomes more concaved and its tongue flattens out to rest between the lips. The lips then vibrate against the tongue, the tongue’s surface undulates outwards, and this creates a vacuum within the bill that ultimately shoots the water into the duck’s gullet with tremendous force. Ducks have been known to draw water through the wall of an aquarium, even to draw water from a rock.

Once upon a time there was a doctor who was a bit of a quack. He loved ducks. He drooled whenever he caught sight of a young, plump duck and was willing to pay handsomely for some sweet and tender duck flesh. He was particularly keen on Sweet and Sour Duck.

One day he went to Peking and had his way with a Peking Duck (not to be confused with the very elusive Peeking Duck). He liked to eat out often, but when he tasted Mock Duck (not to be confused with Mock Turtle), he did not know what he was eating out.

Once upon a time, there was a one-eyed duck. It had only one eye because Satan stole the other while it was still in its father’s womb. Hell is a hard place to find if you’re not dead. The duck walked into a fire and got cooked.

Copyright © 2008 by Ed Burger

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