For the past 5 months I’ve been in a self-imposed exile in a cabin near the beach in Australia. These are my stories.
I met many new creatures during my time in the cabin; here is a brief profile of my new friends.
Very popular amongst the human population of Rosebud. Ducks lack grace, quack and waddle, but they are not pretentious, ‘We’ll mix with anyone, as long as they don’t try to eat us’. They clumsily waddle through the caravan park requesting handouts, often heard quacking and talking amongst themselves as they explore the hot spots. While their discussions are usually jovial and good-natured, they are also prone to rabid infighting and sectarianism, often seen jabbing at each other with their beaks. However, the ducks are largely placid towards the humans (despite the extremism of those who eat them) due to the 1998 Rosebud Peace Agreement, decreeing that no ducks on the Peninsula be eaten for dinner.
Obnoxious. They are often drunk and have been known to harass locals by perching on the windowsill and shouting, ‘Give us some of your dinner ya c***!’.
‘Fuck you ya black and white bastard, learn some manners, like the ducks!’
‘No fuck you. When you come out of the cabin I’m ganna swoop ya!’.
‘Oh yeah, well I have a cricket bat!’.
They are known to congregate in gangs and are prone to violence. Police don’t know how to control them such is their complete lack of fear. Much like the cat, they have a superiority complex and will push the limits of the human-animal dynamic as far as possible. They create a hostile atmosphere.
Menacing in appearance, though this is largely a deception. In reality they are quite warm and friendly, if a little paranoid and highly strung. They snoop around the caravan park searching for food, always checking to see if the coast is clear. The Swamp-hen will be very startled by your presence if you don’t announce your approach.
Superficial. Vain. Narcissistic. Black Swans do yoga and pose for photos at the beach during sunset. They are supermodels. The ducks are in love with them but are too short and fat to ever stand a chance. Sometimes the ducks show off by flying above the Black Swans, ‘Look, we can fly!’. However, the swans ignore, too busy looking at their own reflection in the water.
The glitterati of the local animal population. They are a world-renowned national icon with a great sense of humour. They rarely mix with humans, instead opting to mock them from the trees above, ‘Look at that one, he’s a midget! LOL! Ok, I’m off for a photo shoot, see yaz at dusk’. They are elite birds who live off royalties and will not hesitate in reminding you as such, ‘I’m an Australian icon, bit of respect, please!’. They gather at dusk to laugh over a few drinks. It’s usually an A-list event and the laughter is sometimes excessive, often audible from many kilometers away. They adhere to no noise restrictions though locals don’t seem to mind, ‘The kookies are out tonight, must be pay day from royalties’. The Purple Swamp-hen think they’re laughing at them, one of the many reasons why they’re so paranoid. The ducks offer them counseling in learning to accept their appearance.
You thought the Magpies were obnoxious? Try a crow. Wow. These guys are hardcore. They scavenge. They torment. They yell and scream with a harrowing sound that sounds like an old man being slaughtered. They have been known to make children cry. At dusk all the crows in Rosebud descend onto the local plaza. They sit atop the power lines, loitering and yelling at passers by. The atmosphere is hostile.
‘Holy shit. Something’s going down tonight, I can feel it. Look up, they’re everywhere. What’s going on?!’.
‘I’m not sure, but those crows are fired up about something. I’m scared’.
‘They’re taunting us. Shit, now there’s a whole gang approaching from the beach’.
‘Mummy I’m scared, what’s happening?’.
‘I don’t know, just get in the car’.
‘But the birds are yelling at me’.
‘For God’s sake get in the car!!’.
The car skids away, chased by an unruly gang of crows.
My cabin had a few ants. My Mum would try and kill ants during her daily visits. ‘Hey, wtf! How dare you!’. The ants and I had an agreement: they were granted asylum and/or a protection visa, the only condition being that they did not remain in the same location for extended periods and refrained from congregating in large groups.
‘Mum, you have just cast this policy into disarray!’
‘You’re going insane in this cabin, Adrian’.
‘Aaaahh, I’ve always been insane. I’ve just never been around long enough for you to notice’.