Tuesday, April 30, 2013
So, a man walks into a courthouse with a duck… no, really.
A couple of weeks ago, Honolulu resident Michael Hubbard went to court on two charges of felony assault. Most folks want some support when they appear before a judge, and apparently Hubbard’s pet duck was the closest friend he could find in a hurry.
Since no news source mentioned the duck’s name, let’s call him Daffy. Daffy was discovered by courthouse security when Hubbard’s bag passed through the X-ray machine. Sharp-eyed screeners noticed the bag was moving. (I’d have either fainted or fled out the front door, which is why I’m not working courthouse security.)
Hubbard initially refused to let the duck out of the bag, so to speak, but then he ‘fessed up. Nestled alongside the duck were two 40-ounce beers, but whether they were for drinking or keeping Daffy cool remains a mystery.
Daffy, alas, did not get his day in court. Hubbard had to leave him outside, which is understandable. For all we know Daffy is a trained attack duck, but happily no feathers flew. (Well, no more than usual in a courtroom, anyway.)
Officials said that while the duck was a first, people often bring their dogs to court. Note: Even man’s best friend can’t post your bail, so that’s also a big waste of time.
Now, I’ve seen my share of animals in odd places. Back when ferrets were a big fad, a man walked into a bar at Wrightsville Beach, N.C. one Saturday night cradling a ferret in his flannel shirt.
When it slithered up around his neck like some furry, clawed alien, pandemonium ensued. Management strongly urged him to leave. I may or may not have been among those screaming, “Make him leave! Make him leave!”
I also once saw a dog trot calmly through a pizza restaurant in Colorado. He entered through one door as a customer exited, and left through the opposite door as a customer entered. He did not look to the left or right, and never broke stride. He knew exactly where he was going, and I hope he got there.
Perhaps my best anecdote about uninvited animals is this one: My ex-husband and I were driving from North Carolina to Virginia. With us was our magnificently ugly, giant white bulldog named Elvis. He was loyal, loving and hideous to behold. With his crooked, protruding fangs and mottled pink and black head, babies used to cry when he waddled into a room.
Shortly after sunrise, with the shadows of night still lingering, we stopped at a Hardee’s in Currituck County for some breakfast. The ex ordered four biscuits, two for us and two for Elvis, who was dozing in the back seat.
A few minutes later a very polite woman leaned out the drive-up window to hand us our food. That’s when Elvis woke with a start. He thrust his giant misshapen head out of the shadows into her face, his jagged teeth gaping and pink eyes glowing.
I’ve never seen such an expression of sheer terror on a human. “Dat dog look like SATAN!” she screamed, and reflexively threw the bag in the air. It turned a lazy arc, landed on the driver’s side mirror and split open. She continued to scream.
I, responding to some primal Bonnie and Clyde instinct, shouted, “Go, go, GO!!!!” Mr. Smith gunned the motor and we peeled out in a cloud of biscuit crumbs.
I regret to report that Elvis never did get his breakfast, but we laughed all the way to Norfolk.
Julie R. Smith, who still misses that ugly dog, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.