“Look, kids! There’s a duck in the back yard!”
The Warner kids hurried to the window. “Woowww! It’s sitting in the playhouse. Look at it! We should send Fitzroy!”
There was a scuffle, a yowl, and a door slammed. Seconds later a sleek black cat was prowling, ears somewhat flattened, towards the little wooden playhouse. The cat’s eyes narrowed as it glared at the water fowl sitting contentedly in the doorway. Two short humans and a tall one gawked from the window as if waiting for the circus to begin. For a moment the two animals just stared at each other.
“All right duck, time’s up. Get out now while I’m still feeling lazy.” Fitzroy paced before the duck, tail flipping.
“Come on. We both know your humans put you up to this,” said the duck, looking unflappable in her coat of downy white fluff. “You could care less whether I’m here or not.”
“Humans? Oh, that’s rich. This is my turf. They don’t put me up to anything. I am Fitzroy Winchell Warner, the fourth! My reign is undefeated!” The cat hissed and his back arched dramatically. Still the duck looked unruffled.
“Well, you can hiss all you like, Fitzroy Winchell Whatever, but I’m Duck the Immovable and you can’t touch me,” said the duck lazily. She preened a few feathers. One floated to the ground.
Two kids hollered at the window. Fitzroy the undefeated darted a few steps towards the intruder, than halted as if pulled taught on a string.
“You know what I think? You’re just a fat duck. A squatter. You wouldn’t last a minute if I unleashed my power,” spat Fitzroy.
“Maybe.” the duck yawned. “And yet, here you are, still talking and not unleashing any powers at all.” She fluffed her feathers. Fitzroy was miffed. Usually pesky animals would have run off by now, terrified by his threats. This duck was smarter than she looked. Fitzroy was getting a little uncomfortable.
“You know how many squirrels I’ve gutted?” He darted forward again and batted a paw at the duck. “Look at these paws!”
“Look, cat,” said the duck. “You want to impress your humans. I imagine your welfare depends on it to a degree. I need a place to stay, so let’s strike a deal.” The cat did not answer, so she continued. “You aren’t going to hurt me. Cowardice, dislike of getting dirty, fear of feathers-I don’t know why you won’t, but I don’t care. Here’s my offer.”
The Warners were growing bored. Fitzroy’s flamboyant tactics didn’t seem to be working. The younger kid started whining about playing in the little house when, suddenly, Fitzroy streaked into the house, yowling terribly. The duck was no longer visible as a horrible racket nearly rattled the little house. A single white feather floated out the door. Then Fitzroy the undefeated emerged, his head high, a self-satisfied look on his sleek face and a feather in his mouth. The Warners cheered like spectators at a gladiator event, and Fitzroy was greeted with a hero’s welcome.
“I’ll have to clean out that playhouse tomorrow,” said Mr. Warner proudly.
Fitzroy smirked and licked his paws. Tomorrow the Warners would be amazed to find, long after the intruder had made her escape, that nothing more than a few dirty white feathers remained, convincing them that their beloved feline had eaten the entire duck himself.