I used to love watching the ducks at my local park. Hell, I used to love ducks.
Not anymore, not after what happened.
I guess I’m a bit of a loner. Even here, in the big city, I’m the type of guy who’s more torn to walking the city park than to hang out with friends or go to clubs.
One day, when I came to rest on one of the many park benches, I noticed a flock of ducks nearby. They were loud, but happily going about their life, quacking and walking around without a care in their life.
It was fun watching them and relaxing.
Once I was back home, I did some research about ducks online, mostly about what to feed them.
And so, the next time at the park, I brought along a bag of bird seeds. I threw some of them down in front of me and wouldn’t you know it; it took only a few moments before the ducks swarmed me.
It was a lot of fun and from then on I’d often sit on that same bench, throwing them treats and watching them.
A couple of weeks ago he first showed up.
Like so often, I was sitting on the bench and feeding the ducks when someone sat down next to me.
Well, it’s a park bench after all. While I was uncomfortable having a stranger sit right next to me, I tried my best to ignore him and fed the ducks. From the corner of my eye, however, I noticed how disheveled the guy was. His clothes were wrinkly and somewhat dirty, his hair unkempt and clinging to his head in greasy strands. What I could see of his body was lanky, almost to the point of being emaciated.
The longer he sat there, quietly staring ahead, the more awkward I felt. Almost by instinct, I inched away from him further and further.
Thankfully, after only a couple of minutes, he got up and continued on his way.
When I was at the park a few days later, though, he sat down next to me again. I didn’t mind, but it was strangely unnerving. The first time felt like a chance encounter, but this second one felt less so.
Don’t let it go to you. Who knows, he might just enjoy sitting here and watching the ducks like you do.
Suddenly, though, I noticed him staring at me. I almost cringed when I saw his probing eyes focused on me and me alone.
“Did you know male ducks have corkscrew penises that can spring from their bodies in the blink of an eye?”
“Random duck-fact number 14,” the guy said with a bright smile on his face, giving me a little wink.
Before I could so much as say anything or react to him, he got up and went on his way. I was left there, puzzled and staring after him.
All right, what the hell just happened? What a freaking weirdo!
When I made it home that evening, I couldn’t get the strange encounter out of my head. The same was true for what he’d told me.
It wasn’t long before I googled it and found out that it was true. Damn, nature can be disturbing.
The next time I walked through the park, I couldn’t help but be apprehensive. What if that guy would be back again? I mean, he didn’t seem dangerous, just strange, but that was enough to ruin the mood. I just wanted to relax after a few days of hard work.
That day, however, I was all alone. Who knows, maybe it really had been nothing but a strange coincidence.
It wasn’t, and when I stopped the next time, he was back again.
I tried my best to ignore him, but before long, he turned and stared at me again. The moment I turned and was about to ask what the hell his problem was, he spoke up again.
“Did you know a group of ducks can be called a raft, a team or a paddling?”
This time, he didn’t get up right away. No, he kept staring at me.
“Eh, thanks,” I mumbled, growing increasingly uncomfortable from this weirdo’s attention.
“Random duck-fact number 2,” he proclaimed, giving me another wink before he got up and left.
All right, this guy was clearly some idiot trying to mess with me. I was sure he’d lose interest, eventually.
As if to challenge me, he continued showing up every single time I sat down on the bench and each time he told me another random duck fact.
“Did you know only three percent of birds have penises and ducks are part of that three percent?”
“Did you know female ducks have corkscrew vaginas?”
“Did you know male ducks are notoriously aggressive, forcing themselves on females violently?”
Each time he told me these facts, he started at me with wide eyes, smiling at me. What had seemed a normal, albeit awkward, smile had by now grown into a wide, sickening grin.
The guy was enjoying this and I couldn’t deny anymore that he was scaring me.
Still, I wouldn’t give up on the park, the bench and the ducks just because of some weirdo.
And yet, whenever I was back at the park, each of my steps was filled with apprehension. I couldn’t stop looking around and scanning the area to see if this madman was somewhere around.
All seemed clear, and when I made it to the bench, I sat down and closed my eyes for a moment. When I opened them again, I could see him, nearby, on his way to the bench, already grinning.
Oh god, no, not today. I can’t handle that shit today. With that, I picked up my little bag of birdseeds and was about to get out of there.
I hadn’t so much as taken a single step when I felt a hand closing around my wrist.
“You can’t leave,” he brought out in over-exaggerated, serious voice. “The ducks will miss you and your food!”
In shock and not just a tad bit angry, I turned around and found the guy leaning forward, his face so close to mine our foreheads were almost touching. His eyes were wide, staring deep into mine while a crazed grin distorted his mouth.
For a second I froze, but then I tore myself from his grip and fled a few steps away from him.
“Freaking hell, man! The fuck’s your problem? Feed the damn ducks yourself!” I yelled at him, throwing the bag of birdseeds in front of him, and walked away.
With each step, though, I could feel his eyes digging into my back. As much as I told myself it was my imagination, I couldn’t help but turn around. He was still standing there, still staring after me, and hadn’t even touched the bag of birdseeds.
Just keep walking and ignore him, I told myself, but I couldn’t help but turn around again and again.
He still hadn’t moved, not an inch.
Only when I was out of sight was I able to calm down. Freaking hell. That’s it, no more park for me.
I’d thought this was the end, but it should only be the beginning.
A week after my last walk through the park, I found a picture of a duck in my mail box.
I couldn’t help but frown and the first thing that came to my mind was the crazy man from the park. But he didn’t even know where I lived. No, it had to be a coincidence. Maybe it was a neighbor’s idea of a joke or it was some sort of marketing campaign, I reasoned. And yet, as I stared at it, at the picture of a normal freaking duck, I couldn’t help but grow more anxious.
My eyes wandered up and down the street in front of my apartment building, but I saw no one.
A few days later, after I got up in the morning and went to have a smoke, I found my balcony covered in birdseeds.
I was back inside in an instant, throwing the balcony door behind me. This was no coincidence anymore! That’s the reason I originally didn’t want an apartment on the ground floor!
When I found a note taped to my front door stating the ducks were hungry, I had it. Enough was enough. The moment I’d fled back inside, I called the police.
I told them about the entire thing. The strange run-ins at the park, the weird way the guy had stared at me, and the continued stalking.
They eyed me curiously, but from their faces I knew what they were going to say.
‘There’s nothing we can do at the moment, but we’ll keep our eyes open.’
Well, thanks for nothing!
In the days to come, more pictures of ducks and other, weirder things flooded my mailbox. One morning I pulled out what had to be dozens of duck feathers, the other day I found a coupon for a special sale at the pet store.
Every single time I found one of the guy’s little presents inside, I threw them away. It was clear he wanted to get a reaction out of me and so I told myself not to let this shit get to me.
What got to me was the dead duck I found on my balcony a few days later. Next to it, I found another one of his notes.
‘This happens when you aren’t taking care of them.’
Stupid pictures and weird messages are one thing, but dead animals, animals he’d probably killed himself, are an entirely different story.
This time the police took my story seriously and told me they’d station someone near my apartment building and would be on the lookout for anyone acting crazy nearby.
With that, I thought the issue was settled and for an entire week, no weird messages or other things found their way to my mailbox or apartment.
Then, one evening, while I was watching a movie, I was distracted by strange sounds. At first I thought it was one of my older neighbors, but when I turned the movie down, I could’ve sworn it sounded like the quacking of a duck.
A cold shower went down my spine. What the hell?
Right away, I rushed to the balcony to check if the guy had thrown a live duck on it, but there was nothing out there.
When I listened again, though, I could still hear it. It was quiet and muffled. For a moment my eyes darted through my apartment, but eventually I could pinpoint it. Outside, in the hallway.
As quietly as I could, I tiptoed to my front door and checked the spyglass. Instead of the hallway or some crazy guy, all I saw was a picture of a duck that had been plastered over it.
This time my fear was pushed aside by anger. I don’t know what this guy’s problem was, but I’d had it!
I ripped open my door to see if he was still nearby. At that moment, all my anger evaporated and was replaced by surprise and confusion.
I found myself face to face with the crazy guy from the park, but he was wearing a freaking duck costume.
The moment he saw me, he quacked again and flapped his fake wings before he charged at me.
“What the absolute-?” was all I could bring out before he crashed into me.
I was thrown back, and all the air was driven from my lungs. For a moment, dark spots appeared in front of my eyes. Then he was upon me, beating me with his fake wings in a seemingly boundless rage.
“Did you know male ducks are notoriously aggressive, forcing themselves on females violently?” he screamed while he hit me with the fake wings again and again.
I cursed in pain and brought my arms up to protect myself from his assault.
Then, for a moment, he stopped, had to catch his breath, and I pushed him away and retreated to the back of my apartment.
Behind me, he began quacking again, flapping his wings and prepared for another assault.
By then, I’d gotten hold of an empty glass bottle, staring him dead in the eye.
“Get the fuck out of here, or I swear, I’m going to,” I started, but broke up when the crotch area of his costume popped open.
What the fuck was he doing now? Was he going to take out his…?
My thoughts were cut off by what I saw. It was madness, pure and utter madness.
“Did you know male ducks have corkscrew penises that can spring from their bodies in the blink of an eye?” he screamed at me.
At first I thought he’d taken out his penis, that he’d undressed and was some freak of nature, but then I realized it was some sort of machination that was part of the costume.
In the half-light of the apartment I stared at the corkscrew that was dangling from it, dangling from between his legs.
“THE DUCKMAN COMETH!” the guy screamed, thrusting his hips forward, and a moment later, the corkscrew shot out from between his legs.
I threw myself aside, barely dodging the strange contraption that I now realized hat to be some sort of rope gun.
Having missed his attack, he quacked again, angry now, his face contorted by a mad rage. This time, however, I was faster. When he charged me again, flapping his wings, I brought the glass bottle down on his head with all the force I could muster.
The guy staggered, still grinning.
“Did you know ducks,” he mumbled before he tumbled over.
For long seconds, I stood there, staring at his unconscious body, trying to fathom what had just happened.
It wasn’t long before the police stormed into my apartment. Some of my neighbors had heard the commotion and had informed them.
Thankfully, they remembered what I’d told them before and when I explained what had happened, they were quick to apprehend the guy.
I’m still waiting for information on what was wrong with this guy.
One thing’s for sure, however, I can never look at ducks the same way again and I never want to hear anything about corkscrew penises ever again.