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#OddDuckOut (A Flight of Fancy Turns Into a Horror Story)

by Marjorie Roden 3 years ago in career
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*Names and locations have been changed to protect the identity of minor(s) involved.

I hate flying,

When starting this journey, I was led to believe that assisting a family was at the crux of the job I had been asked to do. Acting as an intermediary was an acceptable responsibility for me, as this is something I have done on many separate occasions whether it be through teaching or journalism. When asked to do this in a fair and just manner, I have no problems with this line of work, especially when it comes to the journalistic side of things. I have been transparent with my motivation for writing anything, only allowing my judgment calls to be based on my personal comfort levels. The integrity of those I may be working for or with would be the main reason to potentially alter anything along the way.

This time, I needed to alter those plans, thanks to the lack of stable integrity demonstrated by the individual who had "hired" me.

It was understood, going into this job, that *Ducky was having problems with his mental health. The tale he has told me was he had his daughter taken away from him, and then his cat and canary, by people he had perceived in the past as "friends." The story, from that perspective, was one of abuse and a longing to reunite the family, without the spouse whom had cheated, yet was refusing to grant a divorce. After having read my #QueerBecky article, Ducky hired me to travel from Winnipeg to Edmonton, with the plan to "rescue" Comet the Cat and Celine the Canary. Ducky also hired me to write what he defined as a series of "well researched articles" on what he was going through, promising me sources.

The initial pitch for the first story was "The rescue of Comet and Celine," from Ducky's perspective. I thought it sounded like a weird yet charming story, but as I was to be a liaison between Ducky and his former friend Kris to get the two critters. But then, in an extremely fast manner, the "writing focus" I was hired to do changed drastically.

To start off, Ducky made the odd request for me to take the pets on a drive to McBride, BC, a day or two after retrieving them. I was unsure of this, as I was unfamiliar with the territory, and expressed my concerns. Ducky insisted, stating that his life was in danger and coming back to Alberta was not an option for him. This led to his second "amendment" to what I had been hired to write. Ducky texted me a list of individuals and organizations which he believed were conspiring to kill him.

This did intrigue me slightly, but the possibility of burning any bridges for myself professionally was not to my liking. Still, flying out to Edmonton and getting out of Winnipeg for a few days had its perks. Ducky insisted on paying for my flight out, and also promised to cover my accommodations while in Edmonton, reserving a room for me in a downtown hotel which would allow pets. This did make sense, and I knew if Ducky was the same reliable person I'd befriended several years earlier, I would be safe.

He wasn't, and my safety was not at all a priority for him.

I had been in contact with Kris, who warned me a bit about Ducky's condition, including a series of rash choices he had made recently. Ducky had always been a bit on the spontaneous side, but the melee which occurred on my arrival was the deal breaker.

Upon my arrival in Edmonton, I took a cab from the airport to the rather posh hotel I'd been told I'd be staying at for the next few days with Comet and Celine. You could imagine my shock when, upon arrival, I was told though Ducky had made the reservation with his credit card, he'd neglected to actually pay for what I was told would be a four night stay.

At $400 per night.

After two hours worth of trying to reach Ducky, I eventually contacted one of the hostels. I did email Kris, telling her about my concerns with Ducky not answering the phone. Kris and I exchanged phone numbers, and she called me the following morning, filling me in on Ducky's situation.

What I was not aware of was Ducky had been in and out of the psych ward repeatedly for several weeks due to extreme paranoia and delusional thoughts. This was why Kris had Comet and Celine in her custody for as long as she had. Also, this is why Ducky no longer had access to his daughter anymore, other than supervised visits. Kris also put me through to a member of the Edmonton Police department, Officer Jacobs, so that I could let him know what had transpired so far during my trip, and about the request to drive out to McBride three days later.

Officer Jacobs sternly advised me, "Under no circumstances be alone with Ducky, he is dangerous right now." Ducky has always been several inches taller than me, and according to the photos he had posted of himself online, he had gained muscle-weight. The thought of being alone with him was something I admittedly had concerns about when Ducky first approached me, and this warning from Officer Jacobs was the final straw.

Given all of this information, I emailed Ducky, informing him that, on the advice of Officer Jacobs, I was not going to drive out the pets to McBride. Kris had already told me she would continue to care for them, so their safety was never an issue. I also stated my uncertainty about the whole trip due to Ducky completely breaking his word on ensuring my safe accommodations in Edmonton, which I knew was a breach of contract. Being as diplomatic as possible, I suggested that Ducky meet up with Kris and I. Seeing that Ducky felt he could afford a $400 per night hotel room for me, I felt he could easily make the trip to Edmonton so that he could retrieve Comet and Celine.

Instead, he was several shades of furious, angered by the fact I had done the very research into the "story" which he had hoped to keep concealed. I knew about his sickness, and the truth behind why he was not allowed access to his daughter.

Hard love is what Ducky needs the most, in order to get him into treatment to help combat any chemical imbalances in the brain or psychoses he currently has. In fact, as I drafted this story, I was riding on a VIA Rail train en route to Winnipeg out of Alberta, to return to my life. Also, I have been and shall be continuing to document all of the rather questionable messages ducky has sent to me via email and texting since my departure. Both Kris and Officer Jacobs assured me I did all I possibly could do, given the circumstances, in Ducky's best interest.

As Ducky knew that I have been saving up money for several months to move to another province for graduate studies this fall, subconsciously, I believe he felt I had the "extra" financial cushion to be able to cover expenses while in Edmonton. However, all of those savings—and then some—were used up in both the five night hostel stay, as well as this train trip home. I hope that I am able to earn some money back, be it through day work I find in Winnipeg on various film projects, or through whatever "gifts" I manage to earn through my Vocal writings (yes I am asking, as I am several hundred dollars short, click the link at the end of the article to leave some monetary gifts, please and thank you!).

But back to Ducky, or more to the point, Ducky's daughter. For her sake, I do hope Ducky gets the much needed treatment so the lovable and vibrant person he had previously been returns. This new version of Ducky is an endangerment to his family, friends, and society in general. Please, Ducky, get the help you need.


About the author

Marjorie Roden

I make dramatic and documentary films, and have been known from time to time act and create visual art. And I also love hockey, hence why I write about it a lot! I also work professionally as a freelance writer and photographer in Canada!

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