Jeanie and the Duck Messiah – by Dalmatia Fleming
Jeanie and the Duck Messiah – by Dalmatia Fleming
Jeanie sat on the edge of the duck pond balancing her croissant on her lap. Her leg hurt and she needed to rest for awhile before she could continue. Holding her cup of coffee with her non dominant hand, she awkwardly maneuvered the cup to her mouth. She had to use her dominant hand to tear off pieces of the croissant, alternating one big piece for her then a small one for the ducks. She tried to be discrete as there was a sign nearby that read “Please DO NOT Feed the Ducks”. Now all the ducks were swimming over to her, and people were starting to notice.
Suddenly everyone around her started to run, in all directions at first. Then they headed in unison towards the 5th Avenue exit of the park. Jeanie couldn’t figure out what was going on but figured she better get out of there as well. She stood up and her leg buckled underneath her. She struggled to stand. She ask for help from anyone who would listen, but each person she ask had the same reaction, they would laugh at her. Others whom she didn’t ask would pass her and scowl, as though she was in their way.
Suddenly the people began to stampede and Jeanie felt that she would be trampled. She looked up to the sky and thought “if I could just fly away”. Slowly, she floated upward. She could see all the people below her and from what they were running. It was a huge grotesque duck-like creature, heading towards them, with human food waste smudged on its face and down the front of its body. Jeanie turned back around and was thrilled to see that she was now flying away from this horrid situation.
Now everyone looked up, laughing and pointing at her. Jeanie could feel her injured leg swelling, getting bigger and bigger, feeling heavier and heavier. She could tell that this leg was pulling her down, causing her to lose altitude. Jeanie turned back and could see that the huge monster duck was gaining on her. She gauged the distance between them, quickly noted his speed and the velocity of her fall. She could tell that in a few seconds she would line up perfectly with the grotesque monster duck’s wide open mouth…
Jeanie suddenly sat up in bed; there was no monster duck in sight. Her leg ached. She looked at the clock, 2:37 am. Her pain meds wore off at 2, no wonder. She took one of the pain pills, laid back down and thought about the dream. How could those people be so cruel, so self centered and unwilling to help a person in need? Jeanie knew all too well why, because she was one of those people herself. When she would ride the bus and a handicapped person would either get on or off the bus, Jeanie would exit the bus in a huff if her stop was close enough, because she the handicapped person was taking too much time. Or when she walked around Green Lake, she would become annoyed when she had to walk around a wheel chair. And they always seemed to cross the line into the pedestrian lane too, how dare they! A sense of guilt passed over her. The pain pills kicked in and she fell asleep.
Jeanie had never broken any bones in her body until now. She worked at The Whozit Corporation and occasionally they would design a new feature to their product that required an evacuation test in order to pass federal regulations. So Jeanie volunteered along with a small group of employees to jump into the escape slide. It was kind of fun; the test was on hours, so she was paid her usual wage during the test. She didn’t think twice when she signed the waiver; yeah, right, like something bad would happen. But it did, she broke her tibia on her landing.
The alarm went off, 6 am. Where’s the crutches. Damn, right out of reach of course. Jeanie reached so far that she almost pulled a muscle in her side. She situated the crutches and hobbled to the kitchen. And her arm pits, my God, were they ever sore! The cat kept trying to weave through and around the crutches and her legs. How was she going to feed the cat, carry her breakfast to the table, take a shower, any of these things, either with both crutches, or one crutch while hopping and trying to carry something with one free hand, or no crutches hopping with both free hands. She had to re-think everything she did, there was no more autopilot. Jeanie was exhausted and she still had the whole day in front of her.
Jeanie arrived at work an hour late. She could sense how impatient every one became as they neared her space. She really needed some coffee but she would have to wait until the coffee rush hour had passed. There was no way she had the skills to maneuver through that. And now it was time for a meeting in another building on the campus. Jeanie brought a backpack, she was thinking. She could carry things and walk at the same time as long as it wasn’t food on plates, in bowls or in cups. Perhaps she COULD get through this day. She would figure out how to get through this.
It was time for lunch. Jeanie decided that as soon as she got this cast off, she was going to volunteer in some sort of way to better the lives of physically handicapped people. She started to surf the internet for possibilities.