You know that moment?
The one that comes when you are trying desperately to be professional?
To pass for a calm, cool, collected businessperson? Perhaps while you’re at a bank, finishing a nearing six-figure aircraft deal, providing closing instructions to a banker on behalf of your client?
And then the wild duckling that you have hidden in your cleavage starts peeping?
Don’t you just hate that?
This kind of stuff only happens to me, huh?
The thing is, I was driving to work when I saw the duckling tumble into the road. He almost looked like a little leaf, tumbling head over flippers. I stopped to check anyway, because there was something very alive about the movement I saw in my rear view mirror. Something in me told me it was a duckling, even though it made zero sense to find a duckling on that road.
There was no trace of a mama, and I knew the area. I knew there were no ponds. I couldn’t imagine how he got there all alone, but I knew that he would end up falling into the ravine on the other side of the road if I left him. He would be hawk food or cat food or raccoon food sooner rather than later.
So, you see, on the way to work or not, I couldn’t just leave him there.
(Thank God I work for my family’s business.)
My family is…well, they’re used to me.
I have called my sister to help my farm sitter wrangle rogue llamas back into their pasture. I have called my mother to fawn sit an injured fawn until I could get her to a rehabber. More than once I have called my dad and let him know that I would be late because a horse needed a vet call or a turtle needed help crossing the road. (I rescued five turtles from the road this year; only one of them peed on me and necessitated that I go home and change clothes before making it to work.)
I doubt that it surprised him very much when I called to tell him I needed to drive an orphan duckling and hour and a half away to the Wildlife Clinic at the University. I asked if anything NEEDED to get done before I left, and he gave me a short list.
Top of the list was the wire transfer to close a deal.
Here’s the thing: I couldn’t just leave the little guy in the car. It was WAY too hot for that.
And I couldn’t carry him into the bank in the bucket either; with the air conditioning in the building, he might get too cold. (Baby birds have to be kept warm.) So I did what seemed perfectly reasonable at the time, wrapping him in a paper towel and tucking him into my shirt.
Stop laughing. No. This is totally a thing you do with sick baby chicks. It’s normal…if you’re a crazy chicken lady…
Anyway, that’s how I wound up in the banker’s office, authorizing a wire transfer for more than the purchase price of my first house with a duckling stuffed into my cleavage.
It was fine at first. The little dude was quiet, maybe sleeping.
I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking for sure that this would go off without a hitch, and we could be on our way to the University in no time.
Then it starting peeping…a pre-quack if you will. Coming from the direction of my boobs. At first I ignored him.
“Peep. Peep. Peep!”
The banker glanced up.
“There’s a duckling in my shirt…” I said when she glanced my way quizzically.
The words spilled out a little too fast. (There’s really no graceful way to utter that sentence though.) My little, quacking friend popped his head above shirt level for emphasis.
My God, I thought, we do business with these people all the time.
I spilled the story in an attempt at self-redemption. I found him all alone. We would be hitting the road as soon as I left, heading to the University Clinic an hour and a half away.
“Huh,” she replied, “I just thought it was a text alert or something.”
Moments like these are why the face-palm was invented. Of course, a text alert. That would have been better.
Duck-Duck (as I began calling him) and I hit the road as soon as the wire authorized. We jammed out to T Swift on the way to the University. (Birds love T Swift.) He seemed pleased as punch with his adventure when I handed him over to the care of the professionals at the Wildlife Clinic. They told me he was a wood duck and that he would be just fine.
Five hours, a tank of gas, and an embarrassing interaction with our banker later, Duck-Duck was finally safe and sound, a long way from the road he tumbled onto.
And I? Well, I gave a banker a good story to tell.