Monday, June 16, 2008

The Row of Ducks

They were all in a row, the Ducks. One right after the other. It was almost as though it was planned, but the Seagull knew differently. He knew they were up to something. He had yet to figure out what, though. The Seagull stood a little off to the left, behind the line of ducks standing on the dock. They were facing out toward the ocean, staring across the bright blue water sparkling like broken glass. The Seagull watched them one by one.

The first one looked like he was asleep, his head tucked into his wing, cozy as can be. The second one was also sitting, but his head was up, meditating on the waves of the ocean. The third Duck seemed nervous; he could not sit still for the life of him and kept pacing back and forth in his space. Number four stood with his back to the first three, nibbling on something which the Seagull could not see. And the fifth and final Duck, with an air of command, stood, his eyes on the horizon, as if he expected something to appear.

The Seagull strained his eyes as far as he could see. What was out there? But the sun glinted off of the calm, rolling sea, blinding him so that he had to blink profusely to regain his sight. He didn't dare ask the Ducks what they were looking for. He was a mere Seagull; he didn't command the respect of the mighty Ducks.

A small scuttling sound distracted him and he looked down on the rocks. A Crab, about the size of a stone, craned his small neck to look up at the Seagull. After a bit of hesitation, the Crab inched closer to the Seagull.

"Aren't you going to eat me?"

The Seagull looked down disdainfully, as Duck #4 glanced his way. "No. I don't eat crab."

The Crab snorted. "Since when?"

The Seagull glared at the Crab. "Do you want me to?"

She scuttled quickly back into the water.

All at once, all five Ducks spread their tan wings as if to take off. The Seagull stretched out his own white wings and squatted down on his orange legs. He pushed off to take flight, but something was holding him back. The five Ducks flew off into the horizon, and the Seagull flapped and flapped his wings but to no avail. He felt a strange pinchy tug on his tail.

Instead of retreating to the safety of the water, the Crab had crawled around behind the Seagull and grabbed a hold of his tail to keep him from flying away. He looked across the water at the diminishing shapes of the Ducks, and then glanced at the Crab. She let go of his tail, gave him a look full of wisdom, and then returned to her home beneath the waves. The Seagull sighed, took off, and flew away in the opposite direction of the Ducks.

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