This morning, while walking through the park, I tripped, and dropped what I’d been eating. I looked for a bin. Then I saw the pond. You’re not supposed to feed the birds but I couldn’t see the harm. So I tore my food—toast with peanut butter—into pieces and tossed it towards a group of ducks. Moments later first one, then another, quacked, looked plaintively my way then flipped over, stone dead. Anaphylactic Ducks! It was going to be one of those days.
I tell this only because tonight I’m supposed to be meeting Chelsea. Usually if I’m having a day where even good intentions go bad there’s nothing I can do about it. So I’m thinking of texting her to say I’ve got rabies or something and maybe we should put it off.
But the phone rings. It’s Chelsea, sounding all choked up. ‘Oh, Lance, a terrible thing’s happened.’
At the sound of her toffee-cream voice I’m no longer Lance with rabies. I’m supportive, sensible Lance again. Because Chelsea’s special. ‘What is it?’
‘I’ve been at the park. Somebody’s been poisoning ducks.’
I recall her animal rescue work and how much I said I admired it. ‘Terrible,’ I say.
‘It’s really thrown me.’
‘Stay there,’ I tell her. ‘I’ll be right over.’
2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)
2 thoughts on “Fate and the hand dealt”
Another beauty! I loved this one!
Thanks Carl. Perhaps I should have acknowledged Nick Hornby for the great dead duck scene in ‘About a Boy’. I suspect that’s where this came from (but who’s to say for sure – the origin of stories always seems to get lost in their telling).