The music was jamming, the fish were biting and the twinkle lights swaying in the oak trees over the bank with every twist of the evening lake wind. Everyone was laughing and carrying on, save for a tiny feathered figure in the corner.
Paddles the duck was not amused.
“This is stupid,” she groused to her companion, Waddles. ”I got all sleeked and shined for nothing. Not a single swan has glanced my way! Not a bread crumb has landed between my feet! Even Snagglebill found an old lady to feed her!”
“The old lady thinks she’s a pigeon,” Waddle corrected, eying the unfortunate duck being spoon fed crusts of bread by an ancient trembling hand.
“No matter. I won’t stand for this,” Paddle sniffed. ”I’ve got better things to do. I could be swimming or preening or flying. Something. Anything.”
“Where would you fly to? It’s dark,” Waddle pointed out. ”It’s too late to swim because the snakes and gators are out. All you could do is sit on the bank and doze.”
“I could preen,” Paddle retaliated.
“For them?” Waddle eyed the geeky pre-teen swans gaggling, their heads flopping on their suddenly too-long necks. ”What’s the point?”
Paddle scowled. ”Who said there was a point?”
“Suit yourself.” Waddle yawned. ”Personally, I’m going to bed. We’re flying south tomorrow, remember?”
“Exactly. I intend to have some fun tonight.” Paddle lifted her bill, lowering it as soon as her friend had flapped off towards the opposite bank. Great. No friend, no date, no bread. This Saturday night was going to go down on the worst in history. The swans glanced at her and honked with laughter. Paddle squared her feathers and turned her back to them.
“Excuse me.” She turned, the sharp retort on her tongue perishing. A mallard stood before her, emerald feathers gleaming in the moonlight.
“Are they bothering you?”
She shook her wings and scoffed. ”Those swans? No. They’re just a couple of punks.”
One honked in protest and she squawked. Beet red under his ivory feather coat, he turned away.
“My mistake then.” The mallard began to turn back, then paused. ”Would you like to go along the stroll on the banks with me?”
Her heart pounded. ”Really?”
“It’s not often I meet a girl as beautiful as you at one of the dock parties.” He nodded toward the humans carousing above the water.
She ducked her beak into her shoulder. ”We’re leaving for Mexico tomorrow.”
Disappointment shone in his dark eyes. ”We’re not leaving for a few days.”
She waddled closer. ”But there’s tonight.”
He quacked. ”Indeed.”
Side by side, they waddled off into the night. For the next few hours, all Paddle could see was him. Just two pairs of webbed feet dancing to the soft rhythm of the waves against the shore and the soft crying of a steel guitar across the lake late into the night.
For tomorrow, she would have something to dream about while she was flying home.
Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! A new fun post tomorrow!
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