“It’s 9 AM, do you know where your duck is?”

That’s it! I am finally losing my mind. My breakfast is talking to me.

Ah! But before you say: “I regret to inform you, Karen, you’ve been talking to imaginary ducks for 11 weeks already. You lost your mind at The Ducks Are Quacking. A Gangnam procession? Honestly!”, let me state in my defense that those conversations were just metaphors.

Today, my quinoa is mouthing off at me as if I had the time to deal with a duck right now. Well I know how to fix that. Down the hatch you go you little Inca seedlings.

The White crew will be here at 9:30 and the actors are scheduled to start arriving at 10. Unless the imminent duck knows how to remain “quiet on set”, she will have to wait until after we wrap for the day. Directing 35 voices will take all my focus.

OK. Just a few more copies of the dialogue matrix for the White script to print out and we’re ready to get speeding.

Ring ring ring.

Oh oh! Someone’s early.  I’ll have to continue this later.

(5 minutes later)

Apparently one of the talent is unable to make it and sent a replacement. She smells a little fowl to me so into the closet she goes. Lola my loyal poodle is now on duty as set security.

Ring ring ring.

This time it’s the crew. I’ll deal with the yellow actress later.

(hours and hours and more hours later)

It’s a wrap. The team pulled together and the recordings were a success despite an impromptu visit from…you guessed it…the waddler in the closet.

It seems metaphorical birds are not bound by the physical laws of the real. Even though they may look, smell, and walk like a duck, they are in effect imaginary. I also discovered much to my embarrassment that they only exist in the visual field of the person whose mind they emerge from. Thankfully the persistent little quack appeared near the end of the day so that I could claim brain fog, overheating, and an intense need to relieve myself for the cross-eyed delirium I exhibited over the invisible set crasher.

We were in the middle of take 3 for VOICE 34, when my yellow feathered intruder appeared precariously perched on the mic stand. From that vantage point she could look down at the actor and fancy herself in charge. She had even stolen an old beak hat from my closet to give her that extra air of authenticity. But she didn’t fool me.

I lunged at what appeared to everyone in the room as the air and the impostor shot straight up, flew around the room prima donna style in a hissy fit, and landed squarely on the script supervisor’s notes. She then proceeded to quack nonsense and threaten to fire everyone in the room for incompetence. I had no choice but to cut the take and exhibit my intimate knowledge of quackery.

A little quick thinking on my feet kept me out of a straightjacket. I passed my duck talk off as Quebecois French with the excuse that I was just practicing the accent for my lines later on. No one was the wiser. Phew!

For the remainder of the day, I kept a close watch on those little black eyes poking in and out of my periphery as she took a pen to my own science fiction script, Nemecene, snort-quacking and flapping from time to time to try to distract me. But I knew what she was up to.

“Nothing will distract me from Quacking The Red Carpet my dear little feathered friend,” I telepathically communicated to her. So in defiance, as I was busy wrapping up she attempted to quack her way into my Scrivener files.

A “Bark! Bark! Growl” followed by a “Queeeeeeeeeck!” and the sound of frantic webbed feet put an end to that nonsense.

So now Lola’s butt is in the air with her snout and paws sniffing under the couch. She emerges with a few feathers hanging from her mouth and, tail wagging and proud, she drops the little computer quacker at my feet. Good girl, Lola.

I scowl down at the little creature as she slowly raises her eyes to meet mine, then quickly buries her head under her wing.

Oh-oh. Is that sobbing I hear?

I crouch down to the floor and slowly lift the tip of her wing off her face and yes, those are big tears.

My heart sinks.

The poor little duck just wanted to join the fun but met with rejection instead. She was simply being her natural curious self. She had spent decades alone in my head traveling from one brain cell to the next imprinting them with the wisdom of my experiences so that I may tap into them along my life’s journey. Now all she desired more than anything was for me to take her under MY wing and start sharing new adventures with her.

And how did I thank her? By mistaking her attempts to connect with me as something more insidious and sending her trembling under the couch.

I pick up Miss Curious Duckler and give her a big warm hug. Her sad eyes blink the last few tears away and she lets out a happy little quack. Her tiny golden egg drops into the crook of my arm and she parks herself onto my shoulder leaning forward with her neck extended so she can watch me open it up. I can feel her little tail feathers beat against my back in excitement.

Inside the egg I find another treasure from The Golden Hatchery. I find a tiny little photo album filled with a chronology of my many adventures and the Curious Duckler photoshopped in by my side. She was the keeper of all those memories and responsible for the excitement and growth that brought me to where I am today— directing a super cool science fiction film and living my Womanifesto.

All this, I owe to this curious little duck who has been living vicariously through me all these years. Now she is curious AND bold. What an unstoppable combination!

How are you treating YOUR curious duckler these days? Is she hiding under the couch?

Always welcome your curiosity no matter how busy you think you are. She is one little duck you don’t want to pluck.