The questions were unexpected and extraordinary.
“Are you raising ducklings?”
“How are you going to keep a duck in the city??”
“Will that be good for the ducks, especially with the dog being there???”
No mention of the fact that the duckling – at turns named Donald and Daisy and Howard and Daffy; at turns referred to as “it” or “they” – has two heads, or upon closer inspection (but not that close, isn’t the wooden stand a dead giveaway?) are clearly not alive.
All of the sudden, a two-headed duckling living in the city, being raised in my apartment and with my dog around, was as plain as the beaks on their faces. The real issue, the one more vital than the simple, evident fact of their existence, was my terrible and selfish decision to take the duckling home with me.
It was touching, in a way, and also remarkable; this concern for something so small and innocent. People do have a way of getting past the obvious.
I cleared the air (Everyone! These are fake real ducklings. Please stop asking how I am going to raise a duck in the city!), and laughed and laughed.
Soon after, I put the duckling under glass to keep the dust off of them.
And now I sometimes catch myself looking at it, terrified they cannot breathe.