It was a dark, gloomy, absolutely no-good day at the Rype & Readi Farm Market.
…actually, that’s not quite right. In reality, the sun was shining quite brightly on the market, and the temperature was hanging steady so that things were neither too hot nor too cold, but just right. In other words, a most absolutely perfect day!
Sadly, however, to one resident of the Farm Market in particular, this was all for naught.
While the wind blew pleasantly for others, for them the air was stale.
While to others the available foodstuffs smelled delicious, all they could smell was ash.
And while-!…well, you get the point: Poor Ducky was just not having a very nice day, a fact he indicated quite clearly with how low he hung his head as he walked through the Market’s driveway, and with how deep his sighs were as he walked.
It was impossible for anyone, animal or human, to miss just how gloomy the waterfowl was, so as such it was only a matter of time before decided to try and approach the duck with the intent of helping him out.
In this case, the Good Samaritan of the hour would be the Market’s own innocent little babydoll lamb, Caramel, who trotted up to the duck with a kind grin and a pleasant tone of voice.
Ducky glanced up at the approaching lamb for a second before waving his wing lazily. “Hello, Caramel,” he greeted with far less enthusiasm.
Caramel frowned at the response, and tilted her head sadly. “Um… Ducky? I’m sorry if this is rude, I… I’ve been told I have a bit of a blunt personality, but… is everything okay? Do you wanna talk about whatever’s wrong?”
Ducky held his gloomy silence for a few minutes more before slowly nodding his consent. “It’s just…” he sighed sadly. “You know the Whetstone Chocolates place down the street? I… I went there to try their tour and… and, well, I was a bit disappointed.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” Caramel gasped. “I’m guessing they didn’t let you in because you’re a duck?”
“No no, not at all,” Ducky waved his wing dismissively. “They were quite understanding about it, they just made me wear a few extra hair nets for sanitary reasons.”
“Oh,” Caramel blinked in surprise. “Well then… was the tour boring?”
“Not at all, it was quite engaging and entertaining, a nice and in-depth look into the industry,” Ducky sighed, the regret in his voice contrasting his words.
“Uh… o… kay…” Caramel slowly nodded, her confusion mounting. “Then, did you not know that chocolate is poisonous to, like, a lot of animals?”
“Oh, I was well aware of that, believe me,” Ducky waved her off.
“Then why did you go and why are you so sad!?” Caramel sputtered incredulously.
Ducky contemplated the question for a second before shaking his head sadly. “I went to find, and was disappointed when I did not find, a tub of insect bits.”
Caramel froze on the spot, her eye twitching slightly as she tried to process that statement. “…what.”
“Well you see,” Ducky rubbed his wing under his chin thoughtfully. “Earlier today, I heard that on average, there are around sixty pieces of insect in every one hundred grams of chocolate, and I thought that sounded quite nice so I wanted to see if the kind folks at Whestone would let me try at their stock!” He hung his head sadly. “But, regretfully, apparently those insect bits are only present by accident, and quite rare at that. But for one, brief moment, I had a dream…”
Caramel’s stomach roiled as she turned the revelation over in her head, and for a brief moment she considered writing the whole thing off then and there… but then she took one look at Ducky’s gloomy attitude and knew that she could not.
“You know, Ducky,” she started slowly, regretting her every word. “I’ve heard about there being such things as… candied insects,” the duck’s head snapped around like a whip. “Basically, lollipops with bugs in them like scorpions and spiders and junk… I-I don’t know where you could find them, but-”
“But I could look them up!” Ducky whooped ecstatically, flapping his wings in joy. “Oh, bless you Caramel that’s brilliant news! If you’ll excuse me, I have arthropodal delicacies to discover! Woohoo!” And with a whoop of joy, the duck shot off to find a computer.
Caramel watched him go with a smile. Because in the end, she had to acknowledge that no matter how much she might something revolting, to someone else, that very same thing could fit their tastes exactly.
…though if that duck ate one of those things anywhere near her? She was running for the hills.
But, for now… that was another problem for another, less perfect day.
by Baxter Balick, Contributing Writer to Rype & Readi and Flagler College Sophomore Student