Ducking challenges on the open road
It was a crisp spring morning and the duck had acres of blue clear sky it could have flown into in any direction.
So why it stayed put on the road until the last minute, kissed the grill of my car and bounced up the bonnet is anyone’s guess.
I’d not long left the bright lights of the city for the rural life and until then, had handled it pretty well I thought. Until now.
The chances of hitting a duck on the way to work in a queue of gridlocked traffic are pretty slim, so this was definitely going to be one of those curveballs my new life was throwing at me.
I had a moment of slight panic as I pulled over to the side of the road. And another as I contemplated my next move.
There wasn’t another car, let alone another person, for miles.
The duck eyeballed me through the windscreen, let out a garbled quack and tried to flap a broken wing. Shit (and that’s being polite). It’s not dead.
What’s the new so-called country girl going to do now then?
The bird was nestled nicely in that gap the windscreen wipers fold into. Turning them on didn’t budge the bird, but smeared a delightful mix of blood and guts over the glass.
Typically, the water in the window washer container thingy had run out, but this wasn’t the time to berate my lack of car maintenance.
Righto, I thought. I’ve moved here and I can deal with this like I’ve dealt with everything else so far.
The possum in the ceiling and the temperamental coal range that filled the house with smoke every time I lit it had been sorted, and so shall the duck.
Out of the car, I searched the boot for something to move the body with, as the duck continued to lament it’s stupid decision from the front of the car.
No luck - I’d cleaned the assorted debris out of the boot the weekend before and there wasn’t even an umbrella to be found. Nothing for it.
Time to be brave. Duck necks are slimy-feeling little things, I thought, as I flung the duck into the grass on the side of the road. Not far enough.
Quack, said the duck as it flapped around in its death throes. Now, there’s almost tears. I can’t leave it on the side of the road to die a painful death - but how am I going to kill the damn thing and put it out of its quacky misery?
Time to use the only weapon I had. I lined the front tyre up with the duck’s neck and drove through the grass and away, not daring to look in the rear-view mirror.
‘‘I’m a murderer,’’ I cried at work half an hour later as I told my colleagues my horrendous story.
‘‘Why didn’t you keep it?’’ one of them asked between tears of laughter.
Living in the country might be more expensive than the city, but this girl won’t be serving up roadkill to save a bob or two.
Ducks and roads can be a fatal combination.