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Daffy Keeps Dying Wrong

June 30, 2016

daffy dying wrong
Beauty happens in the rain. <The duck lisps, patting mud with an orange webbed toe.> The wet yellow of the sleuth’s slicker. <He wrangles his bill around the sibilants.> Or singing a number to a maiden in yonder windowpane. Bravo. <whistles> Roses? I’m allergic! <The duck swats the messenger bee with the bouquet.> It’s hard, Mac, hard I tell ya, to enjoy life’s rich pastries when the rain cloud makes ‘em soggy, get me? You try pulling out that sign with a picture of the screw on one side and the ball on the other with your own personal tsunami hanging over your head, making the ink bleed. It’s a helium-filled puppy. Can I come with you? Can I? Huh? Watch out for my thundertail! ZAP. Sheesh. Down boy-ee with the X-ray-eez. Good, Cloudy! Good boy. Just between you and me, Brother, <The duck whispers,> I’m not big on cats either. Go, Cloudy. Fetch! <The duck throws a stick. Traffic. The rain cloud chases. The duck pushbrooms the honking collision away to reveal a map of Europe.> It was the French who saw it in me, if you must know. They stacked me alongside Jerry Lewis and Edgar Poe. I’m more popular than the rabbit, which is more’n I can say for the good old US of A, if you are sniffing the odeurs I am le stinking, napalm? I notice the stench has shooed the raven that was perched on gloomy Eddy’s shoulder. Whoo-hoo, his mustache’s spinning. Anyhoo, there’s my slap-boxing-with-the-pencil shtick. I paid my dues. Primetime didn’t catch onto my motivation for years: the selfish duck, three feathers ahead of the pond with elasticity and all the song and dance jazz. Pork, he had his production gig and the rabbit was always into the politics even before the scandal. (He had to return all those philanthropic achievement plaques we did lines of carotin on.) But me? This is all I ever had. That’s why I’m always trying to die and getting it wrong. How would you feel? Jackknife triple-Lindying off the diving board, a Shazam-striped helmet on your head heavy like an anvil—the only thing heavy in this world—and there’s nothing but you and the ladder that goes to infinity. You know because you counted on the way up, and now you’re doing somersaults and coming in hot on that teacup. You see from the fireball an adorable silkworm on the rim of the teacup. It’s got puppy dog eyes, and it’s tuxedo-tapping along the rim. And I’m the Red Baron, Mayday! Outta the sky, a meteorite, Trojan horsey (inside are Martian invaders nasally warsnorting)—that’s how galactic I am, hungry for wormtatter and teacup and THWOW WHEEEE, Houston, do I hit it, Man! Do I ever crash. We’re talking stars and little chirping bluebirds each with its own orbit of stars and mini-bluebirds, a whole baby crib mobile of them circling around every chirping head. Fadeout. Any of that ‘Come into the light’ business? No sir. Wings and a harp maybe. Why not? It’s only another mask to become for a funny second to prompt laughter on the other side of the rabbit hole. When you return from the explosion, Saint Peter always sounds suspiciously from Brooklyn. Soda why? ‘Cause so do I, that’s why, Fizzdrinker. Hey, what’s with all the questions, Egbert R. Murrow!?! Truth is, we’re all drunk on suicide. We keep getting it wrong. Maybe it’s only my catch-23. I can be shot out of a cannon and I’ll rain down singing a song from the radio dressed up like a drop to keep the theme going. Death is something quieter for me. Sometimes, even my silent presence, maybe next to the rabbit—I’d have one arm over my belly and the other hand scratching my chin, as one of my flipper toes would tap impatiently—even that would ruin the shot. A six-minute life-limit suffers no rumination. Get me? Death is minute seven. Maybe I’ve said too much, Buster. You trying to get me erased? Not with these. <The duck steps back to brandish what is assumed will be an arsenal. It turns out to be two steaming plates of food: delicate entrées cooked to perfection in the Gascony style—confit with butter noodles.> Scratch that! <The duck stows his dangerous hands.> Where was I? Oh yeah. The thing about getting dying wrong is that you forget. That’s how you keep getting it wrong, I think. The forgetting. Does anyone care? Anyway, I know it was already a part of everything I did. Even the good stuff. Duck Dodgers and the early days with Pork. Mention the word “season,” Brother, and you’ll regret it to the very last day of your life—today. As I was saying. . . wait a minute. You said season, didn’t you? No, I didn’t. You did. Think I’m as dumb as the bird on your TV, that it? Wiseacre, eh? Well now it’s your birthday. Ready to sing it? Maybe you don’t know the lines. I’ll help. ‘Not that. Anything but that.’ Put more dread into it, Dorothy. ‘Not happy birthday! Anything but HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!’ Now, sing the tune. Da dum dum Da dum dum. <The conveyor hums to life.> Let’s strap you in. One buckle. Two buckle. My shoe? WHACK WHACK and you’re off. After the shoes across your face and the birds and stars, you see a contraption of hijinks. You doubt you will witness the rest of your six minutes. <Daffy in full regalia now fires a rifle, plays a bugle, and salutes. Up ahead, a propeller. Then, rain.>



< Originally published in Fourteen Hills >

From → Archives, My Stories

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