(for best effect, please read this with a dead-pan, dry voice in mind)
So I’ve been talking to the ducks. They tell me that they are making plans to head south before it turns too cold. Every year I hear them planning. Every year I watch them go. Never once have they asked for my company. I didn’t imagine this year would be any different. So I was getting ready to wish them bon-voyage, and incredibly, out of the blue, I was invited. Maybe it’s because I complimented their flight formations; or maybe its because I finally got it straight that the pretty ones are the males. All I really know is that we were standing out on the ice, watching the sun set and one of them turns to me and asks,
“So, you coming?”
Be still my heart. I tried not to stammer. I tried not to stutter.
I replied, “What do you mean?”
So he goes, “You know, South.”
I tried to play it cool and said, “Oh, yeah! Sure! Sounds like fun. But, wait, you…fly there, right?”
And with his eyes still on the sunset he snorts, “We’re birds aren’t we?”
Well my nerves could hardly take it, and I started the nervous laughter. So he turns to me and straight-out says, “What’s so funny?” (Ducks aren’t known for their sense of humor, you know.)
Right then I decided I was done keeping my secret. What do I have to be ashamed of? I should just tell him! So I did. I dove right in and told him how I desperately long to fly, how I’ve tried and tried without even so much as a lift-off. I know I’m a bird, and birds are aviators so my inability to soar is deeply disappointing. It’s my private shame. I told him that I feel like a sham of a bird. I told him my deepest sadness; and as I did, the tears fell. I had never shared myself so openly with anyone, let alone a duck! Then I fell silent. Hoping, praying he wouldn’t minimize my feelings or tease me, or God forbid, laugh. I saw the duck thinking deeply for a moment. When he spoke, his voice was soft, but firm.
“Well Penguin, what can you do then?”
So I thought about it; and eventually told him that I can swim and I can dance. And wouldn’t you know it? He smiled. He smiled!
“Do you think that I can be a dancer, even with these big ‘ol duck feet of mine?” “Can you show me how, Penguin?” He asked. “Can you show me how…please?”
I paused, and turned back to the sunset. I took a deep breath, and replied.
“Sure, Buddy. Sure I can.”