Prompt: You come into work one morning and the dry erase board by your desk has a note on it that you didn’t write. You assume it’s a coworker friend so, just to amuse yourself, you respond to the note on the board with your own note. The next morning you come in and there’s…
a duck drawn on the board. I look at it for a moment, puzzled, before picking up a marker. Without thinking, I draw a top hat on the duck and set the marker aside. It feels right, a fancy duck for my fancy office, and I settle into the day’s work.
The morning seems to fly by, a whirlwind of emails, questions, phone calls, and creation. Before I know it, Lily is knocking on my doorframe.
“What’s with the duck?” she asks, her lunchbox in hand.
“It’s a fancy duck,” I tell her, finishing up my email and shutting the laptop.
“Yes, well, I can see that. I mean, why is there a fancy duck on your whiteboard?”
“I don’t know. The duck was here this morning. I added the top hat.”
“Who drew the duck?” she asks as we walk to our usual bench outside.
“I don’t know who drew it. They didn’t leave a name.”
She thinks about it for a minute. “Why a duck? Why not like a dove or a cardinal?”
“What’s wrong with it being a duck?”
“Nothing, it just seems like they’re calling you a duck.”
“Why would someone call me a duck? That doesn’t make sense. Is that an insult?”
“It sounds like an insult.”
“But what makes it an insult?”
“Ducks just seem like inferior birds.”
“You sound like a bird racist.”
“There’s no such thing as a bird racist.”
“Well, maybe not that you know of. Maybe it’s an underground movement looking to kill off all the ‘inferior’ birds.”
“Is it? We killed off the dodo bird. Was that not bird racism?”
“No that was easy food for travelers.”
“Obliterating a species seems like an act of bird terrorism.”
“Can we please stop talking about bird racism? This is about the duck on your board.”
“Maybe the duck was to teach me to be on the lookout for bird racists.”
Lily sighs, taking a bite of her sandwich. “Sometimes I worry about you.”
“I didn’t used to worry about you, but now I’m concerned about all this bird racism.”
“Oh. My. God. They are birds. I am not a bird racist. That’s not even a thing!”
“I know. But I like giving you a hard time. Are we still on for drinks tonight?”
“Not if you keep calling me a bird racist.”
I purse my lips. “Hmm. It’s a tough choice.”
She rolls her eyes. “Is it now?”
“A bit. What if tomorrow there’s a pheasant on my whiteboard? Am I going to have to hide it from you out of fear that I’ll be persecuted for my belief that all fowl are created equal?”
“Jesus Christ I give up.”
I laugh and give her a half hug. “I’m sorry. I’ll stop.”
“You’re lucky we’re related,” she grumbles.
“I love you, sis.”
She lets out an exasperated sigh. “I love you, too, even if you are a pain in my ass.”
“That’s what little sisters are for, Lily. I’m just doing my duty.”
She snorts, elbowing me. “Well, take the week off, eh?”
“Anything for family,” I tell her, winking.
She sighs again, shaking her head. “Pain in the ass, I tell you.”