Last week at work, I received a very matter-of-fact text from Mr. Typist, stating that there was a duck stuck in our chimney flue. This was disturbing but not totally unsurprising, as the same set of pair-bonded ducks has been puttering around our neighborhood for years now. I’m not sure how the duck got herself down the flue, but she managed, much to the dismay of her partner, who, according to Mr. Typist, spent the afternoon quacking frantically for her from the roof as Mr. Typist attempted to jigger the flue mechanism to release her.
“Can you get her out?” I texted back.
“No.” came the swift reply.
Having nothing helpful to contribute to the matter, I turned my attention back to work, figuring the situation would sort itself out somehow. About three hours later, I received two wordless photos. One of was of a dark-gray duck glaring suspiciously up at the camera from our living room floor, and the second was of the self-same duck, this time bobbing tensely….in our bathtub. I finally snapped out of my denial and texted back with a series of OMGs, WTF’s and “Do I need to come home’s?”
“Place is trashed,” he replied. (Mr. Typist is not the loquacious sort.) I split early and stopped by our local drugstore to stock up on cleaning supplies, envisioning the scene of carnage that awaited me. When I walked through the door, Mr. Typist was attempting to repair the fireplace, and there was no duck in sight. There were, however, plenty of signs of the duck, all over the carpet, the walls, and other crevices that I am still discovering.
Mr. Typist informed me that the bathroom was a disaster, and then proceeded to fill me in on the details: At some point during the day, he heard a kerfuffle coming from the general direction of the fireplace, and, upon investigation, realized that the duck was stuck up there. After numerous attempts to maneuver the flue into a position that would allow the duck to escape, he gave up temporarily and left to go to an appointment. When he returned, he noticed that the fireplace was strangely quiet, and shrugged to himself, briefly figuring the duck had escaped up the flue and outside to safety. However, having a lightning-fast brain, he immediately calculated the angle of the flue and other physics-sounding stuff I didn’t understand, and realized in a flash that duck had no possible escape route but our apartment. That’s when he heard an ominous “QUACK!” from under our dining table.
A chase worthy of an old-timey Keystone Cops movie ensued, with Mr. Typist trying to ensnare the duck in a towel as she ran in circles around the table, squawking and nipping at him. Long story short, he eventually managed to create a tunnel blockade down the hall and into the bathroom, and ushered the duck into our tub to clean the copious amounts of soot off of her. Apparently, the duck did not take kindly to this forced ablution and went absolutely nuts, flapping and pecking and knocking every single item over on our sink, all the while spraying sooty mud over the walls, towels, toothbrushes and toilet. (It was a two-hour clean-up job, and I’m still finding little flecks of mud here and there.)
After getting the duck nominally rinsed off, Mr. Typist used the tunnel blockade to reverse the duck into our living room and finally, nudge her out onto the deck. She hung there uncertainly for a moment, then took off and landed with a wobble, just as Buddy, who was lurking outside this entire time, noticed that his long-time nemesis had a vulnerability and immediately went into pre-attack crouch mode.
In the end, Mr. Typist headed off Buddy from murder, the duck couple was safely reunited, and our bathroom got the best cleaning it has in years. I hope the lady duck recovered from her trauma quickly and that she stays away from chimneys in the future, although I just now heard from Mr. Typist that the ducks are on the roof as we speak, catching some rays.
By the way, if you ever image-search “Duck in a Tub”…it is very, very important that you spell “duck” correctly and not accidently with an “i”. Once seen, some things cannot be unseen. I’m off to go bleach my eyes now.