After a week of this (A week of “being in Clearwater”, I mean. NOT a week of flashing everyone. Although possibly that too.), however, we packed up and moved to the Orlando area, where we were renting a house for rest of our vacation.
It was there that I met THE DUCKS.
The first duck appeared the morning after we arrived. I got up in the morning, walked into the bathroom, and there it was, sitting on the vanity, all pretty and, well, duck-like. To be honest, I didn’t think too much of this. The house we were staying in is owned by a couple who have a few small grandchildren: I assumed the duck belonged to one of them, and that Terry had found it and left it out for me to see. Because, yes, I am totally the type of person who gets a kick out of finding a rubber duck in her bathroom. I don’t get out much.
Anyway, I had a quick look at this duck, then I continued with my day, and forgot all about it… until later that evening when we got back from a day out, and I discovered that my small yellow friend was now swimming in the bathroom sink:
(Most of these photos were taken with my iPhone, by the way, so apologies for the low quality…)
Well, obviously I knew someone was messing with me at this point. The question was: WHO?
List of Persons Suspected of Duck Tampering:
SUSPECT #1: TERRY
The obvious suspect, of course, was Terry. He was, after all, the one who was sharing a bathroom with me. He had the opportunity. But did he have the motive, I wondered? I considered this question carefully and concluded that, well, he didn’t really have a motive to be leaving rubber ducks in my bathroom. That wouldn’t necessarily stop him, however, and Terry does have a long history of Messing With Me, so I made a mental note to watch him carefully, and moved on to…
SUSPECT #2: MY MUM
My mum was always a prime suspect in the Mysterious Case of the Appearing Ducks, because my mum has history with rubber ducks. As those of you with very long memories probably will not recall, during our stay at the Chancellor Hotel in San Francisco last year, my mum tormented me by pretending the staff at the hotel had been leaving her a new rubber duck every morning. This obviously annoyed me, because WHY WAS I NOT GETTING DUCKS, WHY? So it would make sense that my mum would once again torment me with ducks, in a neat little reversal of her previous prank. (Why yes, my family ARE a bit strange. What gave it away?)
SUSPECT #3: MY DAD
My dad was never really a serious suspect. While it was clear that he knew more than he was letting on, and was obviously implicated in some way, my gut instinct was that he was a mere accessory to the crime, a helpless bystander in this crazy world of duck rustling. I more or less eliminated him from enquiries, but kept his name on the list of suspects, because if there’s one thing I learned from Nancy Drew, it’s… I didn’t really learn anything from Nancy Drew, did I?
The next morning, there was a second duck waiting for me in the bathroom.
(This is not the duck I found that morning, nor is it in the bathroom. That duck declined to appear in this blog post, asking not to be identified. Picture is posed by a
(I’m joking, it’s the one in the photo at the top right of the image below, with the garland around its neck. I thought it looked a bit like Brad Pitt, for some reason.)
After that, it was basically open season: the ducks appeared at a rate of one per day. No matter how vigilant I was, or how early I got up, determined to catch the culprit yellow-handed, each morning I woke up to find a new duck waiting for me:
They were gathering.
But FOR WHAT?
My family all still resolutely refused to claim responsibility for the ducks. I, meanwhile, grew worried. What if the ducks had not, as I had initially suspected, been procured for the express purpose of tormenting me? What if the ducks had ALWAYS been in the house? That would mean the ducks really belonged to the owners of the house, and I wouldn’t be able to bring them home with me. And that would be tragic because, well, by that point I’d started to get attached to them. Not in a creepy, women-who-love-ducks-too-much-kind-of-way, of course. I mean, it’s not like I’d NAMED them all or anything.
*changes the subject*
Finally, just a few days before the end of our holiday, my morning duck came with a letter:
I was overjoyed. They had chosen to communicate with me!
In my mum’s handwriting (ahem), the letter explained that the ducks were hoping for my help. They wished to return to the UK with me, they explained. And then we would be together forever, the rubber ducks and I.
With that letter, the identity of the duck charmer was revealed:
And she hadn’t been working alone, either:
Yes. Far from being the innocent bystander I had assumed he was, my dad had actually been responsible for the placement of the ducks each morning. It’s always the ones you suspect the least, isn’t it?
As for Terry, he actually had nothing to do with it at all. He had, however, surprised my parents in the act of purchasing the ducks in Target the day we arrived, so he wasn’t totally innocent. I, meanwhile, didn’t know WHAT to think. I felt like I was being attacked by ducks:
But eventually I came to accept them, those little ducks. To love them, even.
So I did as they asked. I brought those ducks home with me.