I’m supposed to start writing and keep on for twenty minutes, publishing whatever it is that comes out from this assignment. I see I’ve already begun. Much like waking up in the morning, beginning to stir about, there are many options to choose from when it comes to subjects to ponder/write about. Will I think “coffee”? Will I think “I wonder what the ducks are doing?” “The dogs want out NOW.” “So much to do today.”
The weather, predetermined in its own right, greets me with surprise, be it rain, sunshine, fog or wind. Perhaps it is all of the above. What world do I live in? When I look at the stars at night I really do wonder what’s out there, who am I? And I have a keen sense that I am small and that my purpose is mostly significant to other humans. I am otherwise fertilizer. There is a process, much like gardening, of matter breaking down and dispersing into something else. Maybe Freddie Mercury became a goose.
I really don’t know.
What I do know is that Freddie the Gander loves listening to Queen. I have every reason to believe he will settle for nothing less than a real keyboard or piano as he scoffs at all the toys I’ve offered and prefers the plain, black iPod boombox. Whenever he hears Freddie Mercury’s voice, he begins prancing like the frontman he possibly was in another lifetime. He flirts, particularly to the song “Body Language” with any man or woman who happens to be in the room. Yet, he’s shy. But, have a party and he makes his rounds.
When my friend G. visits, Freddie eyes G.’s cigarette with appetite.
“It wouldn’t suit your palette now, Freddie,” I say. I know Freddie liked to smoke a bit to keep his voice a bit rough.
“Besides, you have air sacs now instead of lungs.”
He watches as G. flicks ashes on the ground and then he says, “Meh.”, stands up a bit straighter and turns on his heels like he’s part of the Third Reich, or on stage exacting precise moves much like his namesake used to do at Wembley Stadium.
And when time to go back to the community pen comes along, Freddie balks. He’s mad.
“Eeeeeehhhhhh!” he says, as I push his fluffy goose butt toward the gate. He wants to stay. He’s not a duck. This he knows. I can see he wants me to take him in the house. Even better–be with him outside day and night, for he’s imprinted–more human than waterfowl–and wants to bathe in the tub, watch television and go for long rides in the car to places with tall grass and antique malls.
I end up carrying Freddie back to the pen. Sometimes he protests with kicks of his large, webbed feet, such fleshy feet you’d think they could be malformations of what we have as humans. He squirms a bit, more as I approach the pen. He doesn’t want to return.
It’s as if he’s saying, “Can’t you see, I’m Mr. Mercury?”
I promise him a better future. Freddie likes better, bigger. He wants more. There will come a day when he is shuffled from the Duck House and Garden Lodge to a new property where grass grows in mounds and the sky stretches out in every direction. He doesn’t know this. At least I don’t think he does. Not yet. But he will. One day he will emerge from a transport crate and set his eyes upon his new home, the likeness of which he cannot imagine, as a goose. It will be Freddie the Rock God Gander HEAVEN.
He’s impatient. Each night he stays in the duck house is another night he doesn’t get to come inside, despite having to wear a goose diaper, which he tolerates well. But I see that he wants to follow me as I turn to close the door after shutting off the light and tell him to take care of the ducks, let me know if he hears anything suspicious.
As I close the door, I hear one last, “Humph!”
If he is Freddie Mercury, he just might hate me a little.