My Washington relatives have ducks and chickens. They have delightful video updates about how the duckies are doing. I’m a little jealous, but not so much. I’ve got plenty of livestock for now. I thought of them the other day when I ran into a duck– in the meeting sense, not in the running-over sense.

My family here seems to find this story amusing. It has no plot, really, just me and the ducks. It’s more a story of place, you know like a Steig Larsen book or something. Haunting landscape and deep connection to the topography and all that.

I was at the good will, as I am wont to go from time to time. I was on a mission. The mission, as I recall it, involved self-loathing and the hunt for a good pair of jeans. It involved trying on no fewer than 9 pairs of jeans. Trying on jeans is hard work. I found one pair, but they turn out to be the kind of jeans that stretch as you wear them, maybe they’re made of a kind of butter-based-polymer or something.  As they get warm they start to sag and create a sort of skirt with legs, with the crotch causing a denim ridge to form all the way around the point just above my saddle-bags. Shoot… you don’t want to hear my jeans story. Trying on clothes is about as interesting as listening to someone’s cat story.

Unless it’s me. Because my cat stories are fascinating. But I digress from the duck story. I left the good will with one pair of jeans, a couple shirts for Zach and some fiestaware saucers (issues).  The Goodwill parking lot is across the street from the actual store. The lot butts up against University avenue (where I have had a few misadventures in the past)(monument story, dropping boards story). University Avenue is currently the site of some gigantic construction in preparation for the controversial light rail line to go through. I am torn on the light rail, because I loves me some mass transit, but I understand how people are upset about exactly where it goes, how many stops it has and how it gets paid for. In any case, the parking lot is on Univeristy avenue, which is the busiest street in Saint Paul except maybe Snelling.

So there’s nothing quaint about this section of Saint Paul. Nothing idillic or darling about this junky parking lot overlooking the heavy machinery and pylons. Nothing quaint except for the Perfect and perfectly still Mallard Duck sitting in the back of the lot. Now, you never know what you might find at the Goodwill, but this was just a little weird. Somebody’s decoy? But no! I saw his head move. For Sure. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve been fooled by those plastic geese and ducks with the bobbling heads or the wind-sock bodies, but I this was a real, live animal. Packed up my stuff in the car and got in. I decided I’d better go and talk to the duck, though. I mean, he didn’t really belong there, did he? Was he lost? Was he hurt? Was he tame?

I drove to the far end of the parking lot where the duck was. I parked about 3 spaces over from where he was parked. When opened my car door he decided to get up and walk a few steps. He was decidedly real. I got out just to say hi. I don’t know why, but it was just so unusual to see this beautiful little animal sitting in a parking space. His colors were bright like a caricature  of a duck, bright green head and purple wing stripe. He was gorgeous and I needed to say hi to him. Just to check in. There he was on Uni alone.

Except he wasn’t alone. When I spoke to him the hen, who had been sitting perfectly still near the chain link fence, got up and moved towards him.  She stopped and looked at me and took an enormous gooey poop, after which the two of them waddled a few more spaces away from me. I got the message. I moved on.


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