The sad tale of my osteopath’s duck

“Every time you talk about what you do I feel like, WOW, I’m talking to a celebrity,” he said, poking at my spine.

I considered the glamour of my writing life, which includes wearing pajamas until forced to leave the house, and the physical traumas that encouraged me to visit him and his magic neck manipulations in the first place, and said, “But I’m really not.”

“But you’re being asked to go and talk to all these schoolkids about what you do.”

“Oh, but they’re made to do it,” I said. “I’m glad to be there, but only a few of them will actually have any idea who I am or any interest in what I do. I just hope that I can be sort of vaguely entertaining so that the rest go home thinking that at least it was better than being in school for an hour. You must have done stuff like that.”

I meant that he must have been forced into attending things he didn’t really want to as a student, but my wording was unclear, and he misunderstood it as “going to schools to talk about yourself.”

“Nah,” he said. “Oh, except once. My ex-girlfriend was a primary school teacher, and she asked me to come in and do show and tell with my pet duck.”

“Your what?”

“My pet duck,” he cooed wistfully. “Molly Duck. Man. I got her when she was just wee – you know those stalls at Victoria Market where they have the baby chickens and ducks in cages, and you can buy them?”

I do. They’re in a section of the city-bound market, looking cute and pathetic.

“Anyway, it was cold and raining, and they were all these shivering little balls of fuzz. I couldn’t leave them all there. So I rounded up all my flatmates and I was like, guys, are you going to mind if I bring home a duck? And they said no. So I bought her. And I got a shopping trolley and turned it over and sawed the wheels and handle off and she went in through the flap. We’ve got foxes in Richmond, and I wanted her to be safe.”

“That is so-” sweet, I thought, but my osteopath is kind of a dude, and I did not want to make him regret telling me this story, “awesome!”

“She was so great. She’d come in and watch TV with me. I was running a landscaping business at the time, and all the guys would come round afterwards and have a couple of beers, and Molly would be there. Sometimes she’d be under the TV, quacking away, and when I got up to go to sleep, I’d say, ‘Molly, bed!’ and she’d waddle off to her shopping trolley, yapping at me for being so mean.”

He sighed, and stretched my shoulders. “But then I broke up with my girlfriend, who was living with me. The house was in my name, but to make it easier on her I went and stayed with some mates for a couple of weeks while she moved out, and when I came back, Molly was gone.”

“What!”

“Yeah, I know! She took her to her parents’ place. They have a block in the country and some water and lots of chickens and ducks. But she just took her! She said I could go and ask for her back, but I thought that might be a bit much. Probably not the most popular guy at that place.”

“Does her dad have guns?”

“Hah, yeah, he does.”

“What a shame! That’s just not fair. I guess Molly’s doing okay with all the water and stuff, though?”

“Yeah,” he said, and sighed. “Unless a fox got her. Anyway, you should put this story on your blog.”