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(short story of 2583 words)

Water off a Duck's Back


by Sarah Passingham

Except for the duck, the wedding is unremarkable. It’s a celebrity marriage, but all the usual things happen, and in more or less the correct order. The caterers are too early, and the flowers are late. The best man—who is not Rowan’s best man but the brother of the bride—pretends to lose the ring. Gloria has a last minute fight with her mother over her intention to honour, but not to obey in her wedding vows, and one of the bridesmaids eats too many chocolates and has to go home. It’s at the reception that things start to go seriously awry. And almost everything can be blamed, at least in the beginning, on a small, male mandarin duck. "The duck had been there since the early morning. Gloria told Rowan that she had seen it from her bedroom window. She’d woken early because the new wind-chimes in the Versailles potted orange trees had disturbed her. The duck had been swimming in lazy circles on the turquoise surface of the swimming pool and, apart from noting a pleasing splash of bright orange against dark aubergine that might have a place in a colour scheme somewhere in their new ranch house, she gave it not a moment’s more thought. This was a mistake ..."

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