(The Twin Sisters)
The next morning I tumbled out of bed and brewed a stiff pot of Three Peckered Billy Goat , popped three duck eggs in a pan, toasted a bagel and shot off to school. A bleary-eyed Henry ate his breakfast as we drove along Mt. Baker Highway.
After dropping off a reluctant child armed with all his make-up assignments, $3.00 for lunch and an office note to get back into class I puttered around the kitchen trying not to lose momentum. I did a smattering dishes, began cleaning out the refrigerator, returned emails, composed follow-up notes to potential leads we'd gotten, researched boxes makers for our new sample pack and was beginning to catch Alexis up on all the exciting things that had happened at the show. I collected a few overripe turkey eggs, a tomato, a rotten apple and some stale Dorritos™ for Midge. Alexis volunteered to take the pale outside and give our princess her treats. "I'll be right back and then I want to hear about the Entrpreneur Magazine interview," he called over his shoulder as the door shut.
He was gone so long, I brewed another pot of coffee, finished wiping down the kitchen and in a momentary lapse of sanity was actually considering folding laundry to kill time. Luckily the vacuum was handy. I figured he’d gotten caught up with some project he spotted when was calling Midge to brunch.
When Alexis finally came inside he walked quietly into the kitchen where I was eyeing a mound of comforters I was considering taking to a laundromat. He just stood there silently staring at me. Waiting. I looked at Alexis quizzically and yet he just stood there. It took me a moment to realize he had a duck folded up in his sweatshirt. “Out of the claws of death,” he said shaking his head. “Really.”
(Alexis - slayer of dragons -and Angela)
“What? What happened?”
“Well, I went outside to feed Midge her scraps when I saw an eagle over by the stream near the road. It was on the ground and I realized she had something black. This time I realized it was the duck. I started running down the hill and grabbed a branch, hopped the fence and threw the stick at the eagle. It took off with the duck and had her four feet high in the air when I threw another stick and the eagle dropped the duck into the water. I waded in and got the duck. The eagle flew to a tree nearby waiting to reclaim her prey, but I carried her back in here. She seems ok.”
“That’s nuts! But I don’t’ get it. The ducks never ever went way over there. They’d be what you might call sitting ducks.”
“I know.” Alexis concurred. “I think the eagle grabbed Angela from the other end of the pasture where Lance was taken and flew across the pasture where she was going to finish her off away from any of the buildings.”
My heart soared. “You're a hero! Slayer of winged predators, and this is one lucky duck! I laughed and Alexis laughed too. We'd had enough death. Or fear of it. “Is she hurt?” I wondered. Alexis then unfolded his sweatshirt he’d swathed around her. Bloodstains smeared his sweatshirt and without hesitation I dialed Kulshan and asked for a duck doctor. The doctor told me IF Angela was going to live I needed to take her in for care immediately. Hanging up I called the Cat Clinic.
"Hello, Cat Clinic"
"Hello, I'm trying to reach Dr. Donaldson, it's her sister." I added "It's an emergency." Mostly because I usually say - if she's busy it's not important, but today it was definitely important.
“Your sister didn't have any afternoon appointments. She’s already left for the day,” the receptionist informed me. I dialed Lisa on her cell finding her at Trader Joes™ sampling treats and drinking coffee out of a little paper cup, she didn't hesitate, “OK bring her in, I'll head back to the clinic. We' need to weigh her because she’ll definitely need antibiotics and I don’t know what else until I see her. You know, she should have ducked.”
“OhhhK, well we’ll find a box or a carrier and be there as soon as possible.” Alexis went to get a carrier while I threw on some clothes and headed out the door.
Driving the 30 long miles or so to town without speeding was maddening today, but I know the consequences. I'm a real lead-foot tending toward 62 in a designated 55mph. Bellingham police however must have a picture of my van on the precinct wall. I can get pulled over for doing 30 in a 25 driving the racy Honda Odyssey aka the "Silver Bullet"
I called Tom and told him of Alexis' quick thinking.
"Wow! That's a big day for a duck." He exclaimed. "A few seconds later and the eagle might have been having duck soup," he commented wryly.
Eventually, I pulled into the Cat Clinic parking lot like any other law abiding citizen. Lisa had been waiting for me and must have been watching for me out the window because she cam jogging out and retrieved the carrier with Angela in it. “Can you pick up Phoebe from school? She asked.
“I’m on my way,” I said hopping back in to the car after I texted Henry about what was going on.
<Am at the vet with duck. Eagle had in claws> Mama
< Wait! What duck? Lance? I’m so confused> Henry – the white ninja
<No, not Lance. Angela. She’s with Lisa. Will explain be there soon>
<Holy Crap!> Henry – the white ninja
Pulling into Fairhaven Middle, I saw an anxious Henry run toward me and explained the dramatic duck rescue on the way to claim Phoebe. Henry jumped out when we got to Larabee Elementary School and went in search of Pheebs.
“Your mom asked me to get me, we’re going to her work.” I said when she appeared next to my open window.
“Henry already filled me.” She said matter-of-factly. “Let’s go!”
When we arrived at the clinic Angela was just beginning her examination. “It seems the patient needed some relaxing,” Lisa explained. “So she’s gotten a little something to calm her down. I called, Dr. Dan, since he does a lot of birds. The funny thing is he didn’t exactly know what to tell me, as he doesn’t have a lot of eagles swoop away with ducks in the San Fernando Valley. Nor does anyone really have many ducks who’ve lived to tell the tale.
“Did you notice she couldn’t quack?”
“She’s so brave,” Emily interjected as she held her down for her examination and eventual surgery.
(Angela's eagle wound - she is a rare heritage duck - a Cayuga)
(Angela's wound another view)
(Dr. Lisa and Emily get Angela patched up)
(Phoebe - destined for medicine - helps- while Henry goes up to wait in the waiting room during the stitching of the bird)
My sister sent Angela home with an Elizabethan collar and antibiotics. “You’ll have to give her a shot twice a day.”
“Really? Twice a day? I’ve never given a shot to a bird. Where do I give it?”
“Just to the side of her breast bone.”
“What if I make a mistake?”
“You won’t. Just turn her over and pretend it’s Thanksgiving. Feel for the bone and then move the needle over to the side like this.” She said demonstrating. “You just push the feathers aside put the needle in and pull back to see if any blood comes into the syringe.”
“Blood! What? Are you kidding me? I don't want to hurt her.”
“Calm down you don’t want to give it in her vein. Simply check for blood if you get any move the needle and do it again.” She stated with the kind of authority a younger sister should not be in possession of. Dang it.
“OK. I’ve got it.” I said knowing I was beat.
"All right then, get the duck out of here!" She giggled. "I've been waiting all afternoon to say that."
Upon our return home, Angela bunked in the attic with Alexis. My sister didn’t want her in the barn where she might get chilled. And her mental state was at issue so we considered bringing in a friend, but there really wasn't a suitable companion. We batted around the idea of our precious, Louise, (the only chicken with a name) but we were afraid having that sharp beak and being in close quarters, it might not be a good idea. Lisa was worried though that Angela might depressed because she was alone so I did what I would do if I were sick. I let her watch all of the ABC soaps.
(After all Tad Martin was about to be married to Cara - so she wouldn't be deported and killed by drug lords - and because she was his brother, Jake's ex-wife who was turned into immegration by Jake's current wife, Amanda - the daughter of crazy Janet Green and Trevor Dillon)
(Trevor Dillon & Janet Green)
“I’m calling with the morning duck report,” I said cheerily.
“Yes? How is the patient?”
“Let’s put it this way. She loves AMC. Tad Martin, he quacks her up, but she is scared “shitless” by the shot. And I do mean this quite literally as I’m covered in green goop and stink to high heaven.”
“Good,” she chuckled, “I mean, of course that she’s pooping.”
“Right." I said suspiciously. "Anyway, her quack seems to be returning, she's still hoarse and sounds a bit like Brenda Vaccaro, but it's improving. And she laid an egg!”
“An egg? Really? Well, that is something. In the business we like to say she’s doing just ducky!”