Dead Ducks

Ibrahim Waheed “Ogaru”, Kalaavehi

Mr. John Weismuller, Assistant Lecturer in Anthropology, was giving his introductory lecture.

“The people of the old civilizations were often bored! Their nights were bland, uneventful even. So, they filled their nights with man-shaped horrors. These were either mutant creatures or gory nightmares. They had birds suddenly bursting into flames, going up in smoke, and turning into ashes when they got too old. Of course, these birds came back from their ashes. They were called phoenixes. Needless to say, these phoenixes eventually became dead ducks as time passed. Just like the dodos did.

Then there were those leftover dinosaurs. They that lurked around in dark forests, hiding from over-valiant knights. These knights were often said to be happy and gay. Still they went out and did slay these creatures and also called them dragons. Then they would get female company. Now, these later dragons also had a thing about fire; they breathed the stuff! But that is beyond the point!

In the old days you also had a man-horse combination creature, very good if you wanted to give chase to a cowardly enemy and shoot him full of arrows. They also had a multi-tasking monster with many heads and a woman with the tail of a fish. The latter was certainly a star attraction.”

Weissmuller’s gioal in life was to open up the minds of impressionable young ladies and gentlemen. Very often , these young persons had much to learn about history. How the universe worked largely escaped their young minds. Therefore, Weismuller always started his lecture by poking fun at the phoenix, the centaur, the dragon and all those other assorted creatures of myth. That sure grabbed their attention. Invariably, the questions would come out rushing. He would then have a field day answering them. And because of this talent, Weismuller’s colleagues called him a star lecturer.

On this particular day, though he did not know it, a certain young gentleman in his audience was videotaping him and his five-star lecture.

The certain young gentleman was generally referred to as ‘that geek Rocky’ behind his back. He belonged to a non-violent, non-protesting, scholarly environmental NGO called the EcoScholars. Rocky was the current General Secretary of EcoScholars. He ran down and secured whatever information he could lay his hands on about the earth and its very real creatures. He tried to stop the Panda from going down the dead duck road with of the hippogriff . His collection of videos on the life and death of the dodo, for example, rivaled even the database of the National Biodiversity Club.

Rocky’s sister Maria was a very good customer of the local videotape vendor. She did not subscribe to the beliefs of the EcoScholars. She was, instead, a loyal fan of Hollywood. Her world was not populated with dragons and mermaids but with those beautiful creatures that kept the company of Luke Skywalker and the Men in Black. She called her brother’s obsession with the dodo ‘a wish for the resurrection of that dead duck.’ Her collection of videos reflected her more glamorous interests very accurately and sumptuously.

Later on in the day, Earth was invaded!

Little red creatures from the planet Oediva beamed down to earth and lifted what they could. This included the video collection of Rocky and his sister Maria.

Not much later, Rellum Siew, the Head of the Council of Elders of the planet Oediva was making his point at an extraordinary convening of that august body:

“On this plant Earth there is an outstanding example of a species low on instinct. It is a good example of acquired traits. Now these traits can bring about the annihilation of other species with equal right to life on a shared planet. This creature calls itself Man.

According to confessional statements made and stored for posterity by Man himself, he is already responsible for the death of creatures like the dragon, the medusa, the phoenix, the dodo and the yoda. These are the names that Man himself has given these creatures. There are, of course, many more.

Man has also created a sub-species of himself, called the Men-in-Black. Now the MIB’s very existence depends on their destroying the more natural and evolutionary branches of his own kind, normally referred to by the derogatory term ‘mutant’.

Man has also invented chemical and biological weapons to destroy other species. One example of such a weapon, freely marketed in Man’s communal nesting areas called ‘cities’ is what he calls an ‘insecticide’. Man has invented many other ‘-cides’ as well. I have not been able to locate and understand the functions of some of these. But I have seen or heard of some of them: herbicide, pesticide, infanticide, genocide, and suicide are some!

Allow me to show you on this rather primitive device, most honored Elders, some more examples of Man’s confessions.”

The first part of his lecture over, Rellum Siew sat down on his haunches and started munching a hsishah leaf. Then, as the first video started playing, he knew he had got their attention. He knew that if the universe was to continue working as it had for millennia, he had to convince the Council of Elders to vote unanimously on mounting an expedition to go to that planet called Earth. He knew they had to exterminate its most destructive species before the latter decided to explore, colonize and annihilate the indigenous species on all the other habitable places elsewhere in the known universe.

While they still remained veritable sitting ducks!

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