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  • Lydia Moody

Lucky Duck

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

A big fat turkey flaps its wings, about to pardoned by President Ronald Reagan who is bracing himself against the bird's jostling

"The president is dead."

The words rattle around my skull like crusty old jelly beans.

"The president is dead."

I down my fifth or sixth shot of scotch. It does nothing to ease the migraine forming at my temples.

"The president is dead."

Screw the glass, I swig straight from the bottle this time. It's been twelve days since the pardon, and they already got to him. Those damned fowl beasts.

At first it was like any other Thanksgiving. All of America, or at least the part of America who still cared about such stupid traditions, tuned in to watch as the president pardoned this year's turkey, aptly named Lucky Duck. This time though, instead of gobbling off to peck worms outta the white house lawn, the damned thing pounced on the first lady and claimed her left eye as a prize before kicking and scratching his way to true freedom, away from the chaos of the crowd and away from me, the farmer who raised him.

I stare blearily at the radio that had delivered the news as I let out a belch that tastes like bile and stale corn-nuts. It's smashed to pieces, no chance at repair. I probably shouldn't have done that. But I also probably shouldn't be drinking, holed up in this empty bar, hiding from the mobs. I need to keep my wits about me if I'm going to survive this.

Once Lucky Duck escaped he wasted no time sewing chaos all over the city. Wherever he went, any other nearby birds rallied behind him, any humans around became bloody, pulpy, pecked up piles of goo. The bird revolution spread quickly across the country. Instead of taking action, we humans took to the internet, arguing about whose fault it was. I quickly became a scapegoat and a pariah. The remote nature of my farm kept me safe until day three, after Lucky Duck broke into the zoo.

I was halfway through a silent breakfast of cold oatmeal next to my cold wife - she blamed me too of course - when the front door crashed open and there he was. I hardly recognized him, stained red with blood, perched atop an equally bloody Emu, fire in his eyes and a swarm of lorikeets forming a rainbow cloud around him.

The clink of my wife's spoon hitting her bowl interrupted our staring contest. Her chair's screech against the floor grated my eardrums as she rose from the table. She lilted silently over to a second emu at the right of my bird, the pride of my farm. She gracefully mounted the emu like a horse and stared down her bifocals at me before leaning over to Lucky Duck and giving him a soft peck on the cheek.

They left me there, without so much as a scratch, to ponder, dazed, at how I had missed such a glaring affair. My prized bird and my prized bird, together. Dammit Margaret.

I throw the empty bottle across the room and it crashes against the wall. My regret is instantaneous as I hear a distant, "What was that?"

I scramble to my feet and immediately stumble back to the floor. Damn these scotch legs. I get back up but it's too late.

"Please," I plead with the grubby face that has appeared in the bar. I can smell the sweat mixing with the blood on the fresh scratches on his face. I search his eyes for any ounce of mercy, any compassion tucked away in his tear ducts. I bring a shaking finger up to my lips in a silent shush.

The corners of his mouth turn up in an ominous grin. His teeth are the same shade of yellow as Lucky Duck's corn feed.

"He's in here," the bastard yells. Soon, a mob of scratched up survivors of the birdpocalypse funnel in and surround me. I lay on the floor taking hit after hit, thankful for the scotch that at least slightly dulls the pain. Someone must be carrying a radio, because between blows I catch little bits of the emergency broadcast.

A pool cue cracks against my arm.

"Pentagon has been breached"

A steel toe boot dents my stomach.

"death toll rising, Defense Secretary is down"

An enterprising young woman in a torn up business suit gets a good crack at my head with a glass bottle. Vodka stings as it trickles through the cuts in my face.

The last thing I hear as I black out is that damned emergency announcer.

"Lucky Duck is in possession of the nuclear football, seek shelter immediately."

This is not the Thanksgiving football game I had in mind.

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