Ducks Won

Andrew Wilson

The coffee from the thermos was very good. Mud everywhere made things uncomfortable, and every time I moved my legs, dry mud crunched from my waders, but the coffee made it better. The decoys lay in two inches of water; now, all there is to do is wait for ducks.

Mud is worse than snow; it’s just as cold and impossible to get off the equipment, but if Dee were out here, he wouldn’t mind. My dad would surely mind; there’s no way he’d come out. We only hunted ducks once when I was a kid, and we sat on camp stools in the mud; it was not as bad as this. I was very young, and it was very dull, and the ducks did not fly. Then the wind picked up and became a storm, and my dad couldn’t row us back across the marsh. Whitecaps tossed our rowboat, and I was scared we’d capsize with my dad trying with all his might to keep the boat facing the waves. Dad never hunted ducks again.

Where was Dee? It’s not like him to miss the last weekend of the hunt. Maybe he’s waiting on his idiot son. The last time I saw his son, he looked like he was on drugs, but his son knows how to shoot ducks all right. Dee is so proud of his son, but that kid is on meth or worse.

Suddenly, I heard violin strokes high, and behind me, a squadron of ducks, just dark grey silhouettes against a grey sky. Damn, they’re too far. Dee always said never shoot further than you can throw a football. Let them go.

That meth is bad news. My cousin’s kid was on that shit, out of his mind. My cousin got into an argument with him, and he stabbed her with a kitchen knife 22 times and then slashed her face. Jesus, they said he was smoking a cigarette over his mom when the cops showed. Meth makes psychos. I can’t believe my cousin lived. Forget that and focus on the hunt. I’m in Dee’s favorite spot. He’s killed a thousand ducks here.

Across the muddy marsh, there were three rapid shotgun reports. Looking in my binoculars, I could see decoys spread out, accessorized with electric wing spinners. 

That’s Tony and his automatic, dammit, that string of ducks passed over him. He’s got about 50 decoys, the bastard.

Finally, my turn; what looked like at least a hundred ducks flew toward my spot in the mud.  When they got close, they forked in two directions; they could see me from high up. I took long shots at the ducks who drifted out of formation.  

Lead it two inches, at least. Dee would be so mad, but my dad would be proud; I got one and two. Fuck Dee; Dad used to drag me out to the skeet range for a reason; I’ll shoot as far as I want.

The ducks fell and fell and then smacked into the mud: a gadwall drake and hen.

God, they fly so beautifully, and when they take evasive action, no one except a hunter would believe how a duck flies. Now they’re covered in mud, just muddy, dead ducks. I should wipe the mud off.  

More reports from Tony’s blind reverberated across the marsh. It was getting cold and late.

Damn Tony, he’ll limit. I better bring the decoys in; it’s a long march back. 

As I was about to get up, a solo green head swooped around low and drippled down to the spread. I got him only 4 feet above the water.

Dee would have liked that; he was committed to the spread. My dad would have liked that too; it’d be nice if we all hunted together.  Anyway, I’m going back.

Tony was waiting for me as I slogged back to the truck.

“How’d you do?” Tony yelled over.

“Three” I was happy with three.

“I limited,” Tony said; he had a pile of birds, which is how it should go for someone with 50 decoys.

“Where’s Dee?” I asked.

“Didn’t you hear?  His son ODed.”


“Yeah, and then Dee figured, with his heart condition and all, that there wasn’t much more point, and shot himself.  He only had his son and duck hunting, you know,” Tony explained.

“With his ol’ duck gun?” 

“I think so, yeah’” Tony confirmed.

“Jesus, two damn fine shooters dead. The ducks must be happy.”

From the FE Films Archive

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