He was up at 5 AM practicing skateboarding behind the dealership for the big meet with the truck salespeople uptown next week. Actually he was skateboarding mainly on *top* of the dealership, the roof having been designed as such by the owner, anticipating the coming of the duck according to prophecy. At least that’s how John remembered the story. He was certainly getting ideas for a proper plot now. The Wizard had indicated in no uncertain terms that the duck should be the star of the show, and that all dialog should revolve around it. THE DUCK SHOULD SHINE, it spelled out at 3 o’clock, a mere two hours before this. John needed more shut-eye. Maybe he could get away with some later in the morning instead of playing jigsaw games. Duck probably wouldn’t mind. As long as it didn’t distract potential customers from buying cars. Maybe put on some shades to hide the closed eyes, and be careful not to snore — too much.
At 10:00 he admitted he was going to sleep to his new duck friend, and that if he started to fall over just nudge him.
“Up last night, eh? Whatcha doing? Woman?” he asked in his very normal voice for a duck-man.
“No.” How to phrase? John was talking to a Wizard through a wegee board wouldn’t hack it. He had to hide the fact that he was getting his plot from a disembodied spirit and not directly from him. “Okay, yeah,” he decided to say.
“Great! Great, what’s her name?” John thought of Ruth down at the plaza, which he visited every day while she sold her coffee. At least until the duck came along and he had more responsibilities. So he went with Ruth.
“Ruth, huh? I know her. I know her well. I know her mother well, and her grandma and her uncles and aunts. Why I bet there’s not a relative alive she has that I’m not on speaking terms with, and you can probably pull all the ones that have died in the last 20 years or so into that. Uncle Taum — known him for years, worked for his step-dad polishing bats for the Varnishtown Vampires — how they got their name. And Aunt Mini sewed all our uniforms and clorinated the water for our drinks. Cousin Lester? Use to be on my paper route and would tip me if I managed to throw the paper directly through the open front door — he always had it open just for my visit. I almost always got tipped, heh heh. And her maw? Why we use to date! In fact, hmmm. No, couldn’t be, couldn’t be.” He studied Ruth’s figure in his mind. “Not enough duck.”
“Ruth?” John decided to deflect. “Did I say Ruth? I meant Mabel, you know over at the *ice cream* stand — got the wrong stand at the plaza.”
“Welll, then we’d *definitely* be in-laws if you two tied the knot. Check out the yellow in her complexion the next time you’re there. Congratulations!”
John gave up the lies; decided to tell his now constant duck companion the truth.
“Paul, actually,” he corrected. “Paul Duck,” but he said the whole name unassuredly, like he was starting to wake from a dream, like it was turning into a question instead of being the answer.
“Paul, then. You know why you’re here… around me all the time?”
“Yeah, sure sure. I’m your character come to life. You just write down what I say and then your plot is, um, realized. Won’t take too long, bud.” He leans over at pats John on his large, tanned back. “5 years, 10 years. I won’t be in your way. I’m pulling my weight — selling cars and all. “Let’s say 5. Yeah, 5 it is.” He holds out his duck hand for John to shake for the deal. John doesn’t. He knew it wasn’t going to work as soon as he spotted the anthropomorphic being in that grocery cart outside Winnies.
Then suddenly he was gone, the effects of the designer drugs wearing off. John quickly called up Martha to make another appointment tonight for more clarification. *He* was the used car salesman. He only wished he could sleep on the job, pheh (although he still partially did).
He better get to work and sell some cars today lest his boss suspects.