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Duck (standard:other, 4501 words)
Author: J.A. AarntzenAdded: Oct 30 2005Views/Reads: 2400/1454Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
An aging biker contemplates his relationship with his neighbor, a retired immigrant.


Oh no, there's that Joe again.  Darn it all!  He never gives me any
peace.  A man should have the right to look over what is his without 
having some darned fool neighbor sticking his nose into it. 

I'd better get inside before he starts talking to me about his tomatoes.
 God, I hate his garden.  The things that he grows in there make me 
want to throw up.  Why can't my vegetables grow as thick and as plump 
as Joe's?  Just for once I'd like him to look at my garden with an 
envious eye.  He just comes out here to gloat.  He's just dying to say 
that he's got a greener thumb than me.  But Joe, he won't say it with 
his mouth.  That orifice is always too full of disease that he won't 
admit to. 

But I know that he has got it.  I can hear him every morning when he
wakes; hacking like Jack at the beanstalk before the giant gets down.  
Lisa, my wife, tells me that Maria, Joe's wife, is scared to death that 
Joe won't live to see his pension.  He'll be sixty-five a year or two 
from now.  Maria's figuring that he's going to fall off before then.  
Poor guy. 

At least I'm a better gardener of DNA than Joe.  I'll be seventy-one
this October and I'll still be working.  Rudy, down at the shop, says I 
can go on tinkering with the old Harleys until the day I drop.  Good 
guy, Rudy.  He bought the garage from me ten maybe twelve years ago.  
He's never really turned the profit that I did but then again I didn't 
have to compete with the Jap bikes.  Back then Harley Davidson was the 
king on two wheels.  Anybody that wanted to be known as a biker had in 
his dreams the wildest wish to own a Hog. 

Today Harley is still the king but nobody wants to pay his majesty any
respect.  I see the anger in Rudy's eyes whenever some hot-assed kid 
comes zippin' past the shop on a land rocket from the land of the sun.  
I tell Rudy to never mind.  There's always only one type of person who 
deserves to ride a Hog.  Anybody who whips down the road on a Suzuki or 
a Yammie never would have been a customer of mine back in the heyday of 
Duck's Hogs. 

That was the name of my shop.  My name is George Winston but everybody
as far back as I can remember has always called me Duck.  I don't know 
how I ever first got started with that name.  Maybe it's because of the 
way I walk.  Charlie Chaplin walked a lot like me but nobody ever 
called him Duck.  Anyway, I never did mind the handle.  I did a lot of 
duck hunting when I was young.  Whenever anybody would say Duck I would 
think of those beautiful days that I had on Lake Nipissing with nobody 
else around except my dog Bandit.  That was a good dog.  Had a mouth on 
it that could rip apart a moose and that could also be so delicate that 
you would let it deliver your newborn baby daughter. 

Bet Joe never had a dog.  All he's ever had are cats.  I don't know how
many he's had.  Over the years they come and go.  Don't know how many 
he has at any one time and I couldn't tell you if any particular tabby 
that you show me would be his or not.  All I know is that if I ever get 
a hold of any of his cats, I'd ring its scrawny little neck.  They're 
always shitting in my yard.  Bet that's why my tomatoes don't grow as 
big as Joe's.  He's got them trained to go elsewhere other than his 
precious yard. 

Lisa, my wife, is allergic to cats.  Her nose starts to sniffling
whenever any feline gets within ten feet of her. 

One time, a few years back, one of Joe's cats had gotten into the house
through an open basement window.  It had made its way upstairs and had 
planted itself right smack on the bed where Lisa and I were sleeping. 

All of sudden she began sneezing and hacking as if she were old Joe next
door.  I woke up and saw that her eyes were as red as tomatoes.  I said 
to her that that bottle of wine last night must have really taken its 
toll.  She said that we didn't drink any wine.  We didn't drink 
anything at all. 

“Then what the devil's the matter with you?” I grumbled. 

Neither she nor I knew that the devil was snuggled up and purring at our

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