Duck, Duck! Squirrels!

Duck looks around at all the shoes and legs that occupy either side of the hallway. So many things to rub against and sniff! But he needs to focus. He is here for a reason and that reason is furry, has a bushy tail, and ran in here with a friend. His nose goes to work, because those squirrels had to be here somewhere.

His whiskers quiver at the overwhelming olfactory stimulation. So many scents he has never encountered before! He takes a few tentative steps to the right, the tip of his tail twitching, as one particular smell catches his attention. Not quite a squirrel, but very interesting regardless. His nose is nearly on the floor as the hallway bounces unexpectedly, and he lets out an indignant mrrp as his nose connects with the hard surface, glaring down at the floor. Floors are not supposed to move. Duck knows this from vast experience. The only floors that move are the boxes in which Michael takes him to the man with the sharp thing.

That thought brings Duck up short and he freezes, pondering the implications. Could this hallway actually be a large box for people to go to the man with the sharp thing? His eyes widen just a little as he looks up at all the Michael and Grammar types above him. Well this could not be good. Not all of them going together. Did they know where they were going? They must. Well, perhaps not. If they are like Michael they may not be all that bright and may not quite be up to the task of figuring out that the moving boxes mean a trip to the man with the sharp thing.

Duck has to do something, must warn them (even if they are only potential staff). So he takes a few steps toward one then lifts a careful paw, lightly touching the leg before him. The removeable fur smells funny, a little like Grammar but not quite. Definitely not like Michael, that was for sure. The smell makes him sneeze, and he rubs his paw over his nose, trying to clear things up. Ok. Try this again. He extends his claws just a touch and lightly taps his paw on the leg before him. Once, and the leg moves, backing away. Again and the rest of the leg moves and a face peers down at him. This face does not look like Grammar. Nor does it look like Michael. The voice was too high for a Michael anyway. Duck's ears flatten a bit as he hears her.

"What are you doing on the bus, sweet kitty? Are you lost?" He knows that look. It's the dopey one Michael gives him when he speaks in that silly way that makes him sound quite stupid. Then the worst happens. Hands reach down and the fingers come not for a scratch - that would be acceptable - but clamp around his ribs instead, lifting him up in a very precarious manner if he does say so himself. He lets out a mrowr of protest, squirming slightly, but to no avail. This staff-person tucks Duck in against a chest that was most definitely nothing like Michael's and squeezes. Far too tightly, to be quite blunt. Duck feels the need to gasp for air, not least because the smell is much more overpowering up here. Another sneeze, and the staff-person giggles, cooing over his whiskers tickling against a cheek.

Things get worse. Suddenly Duck hears, "What a pretty girl, you are! You would look just so sweet with a glittery pink collar, wouldn't you? Dontcha think, Marie?" And the staff-person turns to look at the staff-person sitting to the side. Another giggly voice, although this one seems much less appreciative of Duck's noble self, so recently maligned. Duck flattens his ears, letting out a very displeased noise to let them both know that he is a he, not a she. Far too noble for anything like that. Duck has his pride, after all. Quite a bit of it.

The giggling staff-people look at one another, then the second one begins to rummage around in a bag. Then suddenly Duck finds himself being unceremoniously stuffed inside it. He wriggles, he claws, he yowls, and then he takes off like a shot. He hears voices, some sounding dismayed, a few shocked, some surprised, and quite a few very grumpy. Feet shift out of the way, one nearly lands on his tail, and Duck finds his way back to the opening of the people box.

At that moment there is a sudden lurch, Duck stumbles, and the box opens. Other staff-people are waiting outside, but Duck races between them, winding through the legs with an agility rarely demonstrated. He surprises himself, to be honest. He had no idea he could still run like that.

Panting, he ducks around a corner. His tail is puffed up, his whiskers clamped to his head, his ears as flat as they will go. That was not amusing. Not in the least.

And he never did find those squirrels.

Thinking about things, Duck realizes that it is nearing his time for lunch and a nap. Not necessarily in that order, of course, but those two very important things were starting to weigh heavily on his mind. Perhaps they would help erase that rather unpleasant experience from his mind.

Now where to find lunch and an acceptable place for a nap, that was the question.


The End

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