Another Friday story, and this week, the vague theme of romance, since yesterday was Valentine’s Day.
Also featured this week: the theme of ducks. My first ever Friday story was also about ducks, and I revisited them a year later as a kinda anniversary thing. No such excuse this time, I just like ducks.More Friday stories by talented folk available at the FridayFlash website too.
The Grumpy Duck
Benjamin only had a few minutes to unwind in the empty staff kitchen before going back on shift, so was making the most of it. All at once, he drank a coffee, ate a cheese roll, scanned the newspaper and checked his email on his phone.
With all this business to attend, he didn’t appreciate when his friend Luke interrupted him with a “Benjy. How’s it going?”
Comradeship only goes so far when your break is only fifteen minutes and the afternoon had been a bitch.
Benjamin threw him a grunt, hoping to end this quickly. They already had plans for a drink after work, getting his feet under the table now too was just clingy.
But Luke was here for a reason. “Cool cool,” he continued after nothing followed the grunt, “me too, but I gotta give you this note.”
Even though he was trying not to engage, Benjamin looked up. He wasn’t expecting any messages, but who could resist a mystery? “Wasn’t expecting a note.
“Luke held up the tiny folded leaflet, with scribbled ink visible through the paper and smiled. “Me neither, but this is a good one.”“You read it?”
“Well, I know how pissy you are about your breaks, I didn’t want another missing shoe incident.”
Benjamin sighed and snatched the paper from Luke, his hopes of peace and quiet in tatters. Before he’d even unfolded the scrap fully, Luke started talking as if the whole thing was common knowledge.
“So, right, I saw her when she handed me the note, she’s pretty hot. In a shy way.”
But Benjamin could only stare. “So this is a note asking me out?”
“She says she saw me working out there and wants to know if I want to go for a drink when I finish?”
“What…” Benjamin had to collect his thoughts. “But I work as a theme park duck. I wear a full-body costume and head mask. She doesn’t know what I look like.”
“Maybe she saw you on the way in. Or maybe she really likes ducks. Or Chinese food. Who cares?”
“Is this a joke?”
“I wouldn’t do that to you, mate. I know you have no sense of humour.”
“Hm.” Benjamin stroked his chin. “You said you saw her?
”“Yeah. Seems alright. Had the decency to look embarrassed.”
“But… why would you ask out someone you’ve never seen?” He flicked the leaflet onto the table. “It doesn’t make sense. I mean, I spent today flapping at kids and giving out leaflets.”
“Maybe she’s aroused by the tone of your quack.”
“My quack is pretty good now.”
“After you spent that whole weekend rehearsing it.”
Benjamin rolled his eyes. “At least I give a shit. Mark’s quack sounds like a sheep baaing into a whistle.”
“But Mark is a dick. The kids run away crying from him.”
“Maybe she meant this note for him.” Benjamin picked it back up again and studied it. “How could she know which duck is which?”
“No, she asked for the one the kids actually liked.”
He sighed yet again. “I spent ages trying to find someone’s mother today, but she’d nipped out for a cigarette round the back of the women’s bogs. She left the boy to himself and he scraped up his knee.”
“Yeah, I heard.”“
And I told her she was being selfish and her son was more important than her cigarette.”
“Angie thought it was hilarious. She’s trying to sneak the CCTV footage onto YouTube.”
He ignored Luke and kept going. “She said I was a jobsworth and asked me where my sense of fun was.”
“Everyone wants to know that, Benjy.”
“Urgh.” Benjamin levered his feet off the table and readied himself to get back up into the pouring sweat and sunshine. “Nearly got Brad from security to beat her up, but he said he wouldn’t hit a woman.”
“Right,” he waved a casual arm, and his duck feathers wafted behind it, “see you after work for that drink, I suppose.”
“Will I?” Luke stared at the empty chair as Benjamin juddered away on massive webbed furry feet, before calling out after him, note held aloft. “So you’re not going to meet this girl, then?”
Once again, Benjamin could only stare at the note. “You think I should?”
Luke laughed. “Dude, she says was in the ladies and overheard you shouting at that idiot, she probably thinks you’re some kind of superhero. The Quacktastic Duck-Man. This could your only chance at happiness.”
“But she still hasn’t seen my face.”
“I know. Some people have all the luck.”
Finally, Benjamin just snatched the piece of paper from Luke’s hand and left. He had five minutes of his break remaining, but he’d need all of them to text her on his phone with the duck costume still on.
TWO HOURS EARLIER
As the kid’s mother stomped away, Benjamin growled to himself, resolving to get Brad to beat her up if he could. He probably wouldn’t, but what was the point in being a pretend duck if he couldn’t abuse his powers?
But first, since he was near the toilets anyway, he stopped to have a piss. He was conscious of someone leaving the women’s loo as he entered the men’s, but didn’t feel like confronting yet another pissy customer who felt he’d tramped on their rights.So he ducked into the toilet quicker than natural, pulling his duck head off as he went towards the urinals. Thankfully, no-one else was in there, as the urinals were tightly packed and his costume was bulky.
Suddenly, just as he’d managed the difficult task of getting in position and peeing through the suit, there was a quick movement behind him. Instinctively, he turned towards it, but they’d gone by the time he’d trained his eyes on the door. Turning to follow them wasn’t really an option either –would only get messy.Benjamin sighed and thought nothing more of it.