Hi, my name is Sunny, and I'm breezy and bubbly and full of cheer. I brighten up the day of everyone I meet and help grannies cross the street. I have the world's brightest smile and something nice to say about everyone and everything. I adopt stray puppies and kitties and little turtles too, and I have the prettiest garden that you ever saw, with pansies and daisies and flowers of all kinds. On Sundays I put the turtles on the backs of the puppies and we all go for a walk in Merry Park and I blow up these big multicolored balloons with helium and let them fly up into the sunshine and the sky looks like confetti, yay!!
But I have a terrible secret, and I need to share it with someone. You see, I also once adopted Slobodan, the evil ultra-violent duckling. Well, it's not really his fault that he's so violent I guess, he lived through the European defeat in The War On Terror you know, and he was tortured and almost cooked one day. He had to swim across the Atlantic ocean all by himself... Just think of the hardship, that poor dear. When I found him on the beach he was barely alive, and it made me so sad to see him lying on the shore in that state. I took him to the vet, and then fed him and gave him a loving home so that he could recover.
But none of the other animals took to him. In fact the dogs and cats would snarl and hiss whenever he came near them. He would just goofily patter along on his way and the animals would part to the sides to let him pass. Wherever he went, there was fear and worry. Well, I was flabbergasted by this situation. I felt very sad for Slobodan and the way the other animals treated him. So one day I decided to let him sleep in my room. I made a makeshift nest for him in the pillow next to mine and put his food and water in the corner. That night I read a story to him before lights out and he seemed content.
Or at least that's what I wanted to believe, because he never took his eyes off me. Looking back, there was something sinister in that stare, but at the time I just thought that he needed a period to adjust from the European horrors he had suffered through. No matter how much I read to him, he never settled down to sleep or shut his eyes. He just stared. Eventually I got tired myself. I wished him goodnight, switched off the lights, and fell asleep next to him.
I was woken by a screaming, searing pain in my right eye. It was so strong that for a moment I could barely move or shout. In fact I could barely draw my breath in. My hands shot to my face instinctively, and in doing so I backhanded something soft and yielding that flew off to the side. A bolt of searing agony shot through me for a moment and faded, and I felt wetness run down my face. With the pain momentarily fading, I struck at the light switch and bolted from the bed. I felt as if the right side of my face was covered with something sticky: it felt wet and I could not see through it. I rushed to the mirror and looked: My right eye had been torn off and blood was dripping over my face, covering my Minnie Mouse PeJays. I stared around the room to see where my eye had gone, I needed to take it to a hospital to see if they could reconnect it, you never know, I thought in my bewildered state of shock, perhaps they can fix it.
And then I saw Slobodan, his beak painted deep red with my blood, the remains of my retina slumped below him like a squashed tomato. Slobodan looked right back at me. We stared each other out for what felt like hours. Then I spoke, in a cracking, wheezy voice: "Slobodan, why did you do this to mommy? Why did you rip my eye out Slobodan? Why did..." and then he SQUAWKED. He didn't quack, he squawked, this awful sound that sounded like a cross between a pig being slaughtered and a rapist having an orgasm, a sound that made my blood run cold, paralyzing me on the spot.
Slobodan began to flap his wings violently and patter his way towards me. He was trying to fly up to my face. My God, my God, I thought in a primal panic, he's going to rip my other eye out. I imagined myself flailing on the floor, helpless, with two red holes for eyes through which Slobodan would tear my brain out with his beak. Somehow during all this I knew I was peeing on myself, but believe me, it was such a minor thing that it matters only in hindsight. And Slobodan DID begin to fly, amazingly. He came at me through the air with a clumsy yet manic flapping of his wings.
At that moment my paralysis broke, and my right hand shot out and grabbed Solobodan's wing. My fingers closed around it, tight like a vice, as if they were holding on to the last rung of a ladder hanging off a rescue helicopter. Slobodan went into a biting frenzy, shaking and twisting his free wing and feet, managing to grab my arm with his beak and biting down as hard as he could. I didn't stop to think. I clamped down with my other hand, managing to clench my fist around his flapping right wing. I didn't let go, but instead I fell on my knees, holding him by the wings, and smashed him on the floor. It did precious little. So I twisted my arms against his wings, pressing down hard with all my weight and squeezing with every bit of strength I had. I remember I saw blood dripping on him from my torn eye socket as I leaned forward. I kept squeezing and squeezing, pressing with all my weight, and then lifting and banging him down on the floor repeatedly, mercilessly. Eventually I felt things begin to snap and break loose under his soft feathers, and slowly I began to hear agony in his constant, twisted, evil squawking: I knew I had hurt him, perhaps fatally.
And just like that I was myself again. The primal panic that had gripped me was gone as if somebody had flicked a switch. I opened my hands and stood up. Under me there was a twisted mass of yellow feathers and blood. It stirred, and, in a strangely graceful motion, like a rose blooming in time-lapse, the feathers parted to reveal Slobodan's broken face. His beak was open in a frozen "V", his mandible twisted and angling out sideways like a torn fingernail. His eyes were now unfocused, and he shook every few seconds as if he was trying to move, or perhaps it was convulsions as his brain was shutting down.
After another few minutes, almost in a trance, I took a bag from the laundry basket and put him inside to take him to the Vet. I then went to the telephone and dialed 911. I must have passed out afterwards, I can't remember.
Slobodan had been a very, VERY, bad duckling. He was the worst animal I have ever adopted, but all the same I can't help but think of how much the European Terrorists were to blame for his condition. Nobody is born to be this evil, one becomes that way from years and years of systematic abuse. I shudder to think what horrors Slobodan had lived through to make him this evil, what ghosts and nightmares he had carried over with him across the Atlantic in his nightmarish voyage.
Me... I am still Sunny and breezy, as always: So I lost an eye, big deal, Daryl Hannah on Kill Bill had an eyepatch and she's more popular now than ever, and the puppies love it when I go up to them and make pirate "A-Harrrr" sounds and tickle them, so it all worked out for the best.
As for Slobodan, he must have passed away soon after I had dropped him in that bag. When I came home from the emergency ward he was there, crushed and frozen inside, his feathers blackened by all that caked blood. I buried him in the garden, next to my patch of Pansies, my favorites. As I dug the hole, I just couldn't help but break out in painful, deep sobs. I felt such sorrow... You know, no matter what Slobodan had done, it didn't make me feel any better about having beaten a duckling to death.
Every-time I pass by that spot I think of him, lying below my Pansy patch, and say a small prayer: That his harrowed soul may find the peace in the next life that it had never known in this one, just as his crumpled and tortured body now sleeps in eternal peace, under the warm and happy colors of the Pansies that watch over him.