Rubber Duck Collection

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

July 27, 2023

Welcome to Carrot Ranch Literary Community where creative writers from around the world and across genres gather to write 99-word stories. A collection of prompted 99-word stories reads like literary anthropology. Diverse perspectives become part of a collaboration.

We welcome encouraging comments. You can follow writers who link their blogs or social media.

Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.

Ducky by Dianne Borowski

It was hot that summer. At least that’s what they told me. Nothing but dust, wind and more dust. A truck picked us up, me, Kenny, Kris and Kath. We were hungry and scared, I clutched my bag of belongings. They said I wouldn’t let it go.

Don’t know what ever happened to Ma and Pa? They split us up. Me and Kath went to Mr. and Mrs. Hall.

He was the Preacher. She took my bag to wash my clothes. She handed me Ducky – dirty, yellow Ducky.

I took him down to the pond and threw him in.

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Still the One by D. Avery

At the time of the rainstorm, Rubber Ducky had been sitting his nest, though the mallard ducklings had already hatched.
After the storm, Hope rebuilt the little nest and recovered the smooth oval pebble eggs. She searched as much of the beaver pond as she could, but could not locate Rubber Ducky.

But then, a few days later, she spotted him.

“Do you want me to get him for you, Hope?”

They watched as the mallard and her downy brood swam under Rubber Ducky’s watchful gaze.

“No, Mommy. The beavers need him in their dam. I’ll leave him here.”

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Muddy Footprints by Norah Colvin

“Aargh! Who just walked all those muddy footprints through the house?” said Farmer Jo.

“Not me!” said the animals in unison, displaying their best innocent faces. “There’s no mud on my feet.” They lifted their feet to show.

“It definitely wasn’t me,” said Rubber Ducky, “for I have no feet. See.”

“Then I suppose it was Mr Invisible. Again,” sighed Farmer Jo.

“It was,” chimed the animals.

Farmer Jo scoffed.

“It was me,” said Mr. Invisible, gradually materialising before their eyes. “Sorry.”

“What?” said Farmer Jo. “So, you do exist. You’re not just in my imagination. That’s a relief.”

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Model Behaviour by Kerry E.B. Black

Petunia’s mother applied makeup with graceful flourishes while her daughter watched. The child squeezed her teddy bear. “How long’ll you be gone, Mommy?”

“I’ll be home for dinner.” She kissed the child atop her curly locks. “Just a short modeling gig for the art school.”

“So people’re going to make statues of you.”

“Yep.”

“Like the first teddy bear that modeled for Teddy Roosevelt?”

She laughed, revealing pearly teeth. “The baby bear Teddy Roosevelt didn’t kill became the model for all the teddy bears kids love today.”

Petunia snagged a tub toy. “So who modeled for the rubber duck?”

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Rubber Ducky by Colleen M. Chesebro

“Waaaaa…” Baby Maya’s loud wails echoed against the walls of the hotel room. “Jim, did you find her pacifier? I can’t get her to sleep without it.” Janelle paced the room, rocking the baby in her arms. Nothing worked. Maya continued to howl. “I looked everywhere in the car. It just wasn’t there. I know how to calm her down.” Jim headed for the bathroom and ran a bath. “This isn’t a good time for a bath.” Janelle shook her head. Jim held up Maya’s rubber ducky. Her tears stopped, and she held out her arms to her daddy.

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Take Me Back by Meredith Caine

Take me back Rubber Ducky. To be that age again. To see the world with such curious interested eyes. Take me back Rubber Ducky to a life that was so sweet. You were my best tub time friend. I miss those days, so simple so secure. A world of attraction, let me learn it all. Take me back Rubber Ducky, so tiny so small. I don’t think I like it, this place that I’m at. It’s big and it’s cold, not much like a bath. Life is so different than it was before. Please Rubber Ducky can we go?

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Prayers Can Be Answered by Frank James

Trapped in a tree, flood waters raged around Gale and son Jonny. He saw his yellow rubber ducky swirling from his ravaged house, “Mama! It’s George.”

He lunged, but Gale grabbed his britches.

“I have to save George!” He dangled above rapids.

No! The storm will take you.”

Jonny waled, “He’s my only friend.”

Gale pulled him up hugging him, “Prayers can be answered.”

He bowed his head, “Please.”
she gripped tighter. At that moment Fire Fighters rescued them. A burly man pulled both on board.

Jonny sobbed.

“We saved George for you,” He handed him to Jonny.

“Firemen are awesome!” Jonny yelped.

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Rubber Chicken by Margaret G. Hanna

Mom was in the hospital. Again. I had to cook dinner for visiting Uncle Mel and Aunt Ruby.

I rummaged through the freezer and found a “stewing chicken,” whatever that meant. I’d roast it, just like Mom.

I boiled potatoes, but not long enough. I boiled broccoli, but too long. I’m 14. What do I know about cooking?

I thought I’d aced the roast chicken till Dad took a bite and spit it out. “I might as well be eating your old rubber ducky!”

Aunt Ruby patted my hand. “It’s okay, dearie. But next time – boil the stewing chicken.”

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Sitting Ducks by Dora X. Plora

“Did you ever see that rubber ducky game at the fair?”

“I don’t think so. How do you play?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Is that why you’re asking me?”

“I don’t know. I wonder what the game was about. The duckies were so cute.”

“Why didn’t you play?”

“I didn’t know how.”

“Did your husband know?”

“I don’t think so. I asked him, but he just said it was a dumb game and we kept walking.”

“This was at the fair?”

“Yeah.”

“Whose idea was it to go to the fair?”

“His.”

“Why’d he want to go?”

“I don’t know.”

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Floating by Melissa Lemay

His demands were few: dinner be ready each night; she take his shoes and socks, placing shoes by the door and socks with laundry; a foot rub; then she’d serve his meal. He’d eat, pounding back beers, then go to “relax” in the tub (snore in drunken stupor).

Many nights she watched over him, hairdryer in hand. Tonight was different. She poured a glass of wine, lit a cigarette, and held their little girl’s rubber ducky. No one would know what he’d done. It was justice, him floating, eyes open wide, but with a hairdryer, not a rubber duck.

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Something to Chew by Charli Mills

The laundry ladies of Ethel Street had fun. The five miners’ widows scrubbed clothes rather than remarry or give up their eldest sons to wither in copper mines. They bought their own damned house. C&H investors could go to hell. Minnie organized the ladies, found regular gigs cleaning clothes for single miners, and provided a safe place to live unmarried. No beatings. No rushed meals. No unwanted sex. Not even the long arm of the mining barons could touch them. They even had a dog of their own who chewed a Goodyear rubber duck while they worked and laughed.

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Michael’s Secret Collection by Sue Spitulnik

Seeing Michael get a box out of the van when he got home, Tessa opened the door. “What do you have?”
“It’s the best collection ever, that I kept secret while in grade school so I didn’t get teased.” He set the box down and opened it.

Tessa looked inside. “Rubber Ducks?”

“I loved these things. They’re all sizes, colors, and characters, yet still qualify as ducks. Now that we have two grandchildren, I figured it was time to share my passion.”

Tessa grinned. “You might have to convince Jester they aren’t his.”

“Dang. Didn’t think about the dog.”

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Adventures of a Rubber Ducky by Sadje

Dukaroo was an adventurous duck, though only made of rubber

He wanted to see the world and go on an extended holiday

Life for a rubber duck is not easy but he was one tough little guy

He packed up his little case and a bottle of bubble bath

And set off on his adventure squeaking his way across the bathroom floor Roofus the dog, his biggest enemy and fan, wouldn’t let him get away

Grabbed him in his strong jaw and slobbered all over him His pitiful squeaks alerted Sonny, who dashed to rescue his precious rubber duck

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Love a Duck by Di aka Pensitivity101

Love a Duck had been in the family for a few years and was the only one of the rubber breed to survive the downsizing and house move.

Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine he would be such a unique duck, with a pride of place in the best position ever as he sailed the seven seas (well, the local lake) on sunny days.

He had company some days too, but none were in his class, neither did they adorn handmade craft as he did.
From bathroom to helm, he was a star in his own right.

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Dr. Duckie, MD PhD by Rose Nord

My rubber duck is a surgeon, he wears scrubs and a mask. A gift from my mother, as a joke, but not really. He sits on my desk, deputized by my proud parents to watch me churn through Anatomy 201.

At the end of each paragraph lays a gummy bear reward. I plow through them as the sun descends outside my window.

“Why did you become a doctor?” I ask the duckie in the darkest hour. He stares at me blankly, as if it should be obvious. I like to pretend it was because he wanted to help people.

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Unidentified Flying … Rubber Duck? by Joanne Fisher

“So yeah, I saw a UFO!”

“These days they’re called UAPs.”

“What?”

“Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.”

“Whatever man, I definitely saw one.”

“What did it look like?”

“It was a giant rubber duck.”

“A rubber duck? A flying rubber duck?”

“It floated to the ground and then these dudes got out.”

“And what did they look like?”

“Like totally trippy man. They were covered in hair and gave me a doobie to smoke.”

“Were you high at the time you saw the, uh, rubber duck?”

“I had eaten a couple of mushrooms, but I wasn’t baked or anything.”

“I see “

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The Naming of Luck by Geoff Le Pard

In what passes for Little Tittweaking’s High Society if you’re told to ‘rub her duck’, you are in need of help. The genesis of this expression is often thought to be rhyming slang for ‘have some luck’. In fact, research reveals it emanates from when Mal Arde invented the unsinkable rubber duck. As Mal was working pre-vulcanisation, he used different materials but each collapsed on contact with water. Eventually, Teal foreskin was tried with unexpected success. When the duck eventually began to subside, a quick rub on its shiny surface and up it would pop, bobbing once more.

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How A Rubber Duck Saved My Life by Hugh W. Roberts

My new rubber duck sat in the bath with me.

Its eyes were staring while its beak was open in a silent scream.

It looked like it had seen something terrible.

When I reached out to touch it, it vanished.

Frightened, I got out of the bathtub.

I had no idea what had just happened.

It scared me.

When I returned to the bathroom, my duck was still missing.

What had it seen?

Was it something that I should be afraid of if I saw it?

I don’t know, but I’m glad I didn’t see what was behind me.

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Coop Killer by Sweeter Than Nothing

“What’s happened?”

“It’s the coop- killer again.”

“Any left alive?”

The young bobby shook his head sadly.

“You better talk to Joe, he’s in bits after losing his girls.”

“Show me the scene first.”

He approached hesitantly, he’d seen so much in his line of work but still, something about this guy’s calling card just got under his skin.

Waving a fly out of his face he knelt on the blood soaked ground and peered inside, his torch finding shiny dead eyes that stared blankly.

Every single chicken had been slaughtered and in their place, blood soaked rubber ducks.

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The Writer’s Mindset by Anne Goodwin

Where her heroine saw dragonflies skimming the sun-kissed surface, the writer saw raindrops stretching to saucers of circular waves. Where her character caught a flash of electric blue as a kingfisher dived into the river, the writer saw a custard-yellow duck. Where the protagonist watched a litter of goslings, the writer saw litter polluting the water.

She couldn’t reach that rubber duck but she could take the idea of it back to her desk. She could float it in her character’s bathtub to spark an argument with the Love Interest. Even a children’s toy can launch a spicy romance.

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Learning the Ropes by Reena Saxena

“I must have the yellow raincoat”. The voice emanating from the tiny frame is emphatic, like a final ultimatum.

“I’ll try my best. But may I know what makes you so stubborn about yellow? We do have some other bright shades there.”

“It makes a difference to the rubber duckies. They like to see someone dressed like them, and are friendlier.”

It was his turn to be surprised, as there was every other colour in the tub than yellow.

“Mom, I think I’d better learn to quack. We never know what appeals to the other.”

It’s only the beginning.

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Duck Game by Angela T.

The dim, strobing atmosphere thumped and teased while
Against his boundary invisible he pressed.

On the outside, big heads bobbed idly by
Some four-eyed! Again, he pressed and pressed.

The Silverhead pressed against glass too thick;
Other spotteds flailed their own way, the sitting ducks

Over and throughout, they all shifted and scrambled
On and on, for days or months

Occasional gazes, in twos or fours, ambled
For this, they all would wait . . .
Today, could be . . . perhaps tomorrow
Big heads bowing, all eyes specky, toing and froing

Shining talons approaching, only to ascend
Grasping: rubber ducky through escarp descends.

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Rubber Duckie’s Playing Hide and Seek by JulesPaige

How much fun would it be for a child to find and slumber with one of the rubber ducks I plan to take on my next cruise. I read about distributing duckies with little tags that say; “You Lucky Duck, You found me!! Keep me or hide me.”

I found three ducks (so far) I plan to give away. Two different ‘Disney’ Princesses and one Superman duck from the local discount kiddo store. I’ll have to check back and see if they’ve got some different ones. Quakers! Maybe I’ll find more at the charity shop, or at yard sales.

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It’s A Hard Dudk’s Life For Us by Mr. Ohh!

A hush fell over the room. The keynote speaker floated to the podium. The light was bright yellow and pudgy, but this time there was no orange smile.

“Are you tired of taking a bath?” his sound so loud it echoed off the tile. “Our souls are being drained in a whirlpool of despair, leaving only a soapy film of blackness which never washes off. Yet we say nothing. Most don’t even let out a simple squeak unless squeezed and mangled.”

“We could just sit, with our heads wrapped in a towel, or we could bounce back, like rubber!!”

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Rubber Ducked and Covered by Bill Engleson

It was ingenious.
And from a soldier.
Five generations of warriors.
No more.
The seed of the idea was planted.
“I read,” the General said one night, shortly after Ukraine was invaded, to his spouse, a woman who listened more intently to his ideas than anyone in his command, “that Putin, when he was a child, had a rubber duck.”
“If true,” she replied, “there may be a bit of the child left in Vlad.”
She often chastised her hubby for referring to people by their last name.
“If true,” the General mused, “perhaps the world can be saved.”

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Ducky (Part I) by D. Avery

“Kid, ya look like the cat whut swallowed the canary.”

“Canary, Pal? A little yellow bird?”

“Yeah, like thet. What’s with ya?”

“Jist thinkin on how much I’m likin this prompt.”

“Yeah?”

“It’s a ducky prompt.”

“Donkey? Thet is convenient, whut with yer latest acquisition.”

“Not donkey. More of a quackisition.”

“Not followin ya, Kid.”

“We have ta write bout rubber duckies. An I’m thinkin how our followers (hey Sue) kin fin’ly be told how ornery, grumpy, ol Pal a’tchally has a rubber ducky.”

“Kid…”

“Yep, even takes it on backcountry roundups.”

“Shut yer bill, Kid.”

“Quacks me up, Pal!”

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Ducky (Part II) by D. Avery

“Pal?”

“Whut, Kid? Ya wanna s’clusive with me an my ducky?”

“No. Well, mebbe. But was jist thinkin, after readin Colleen’s comment… are we Ernie an Bert?”

“Them Sesame Street characters?”

“Yep. But, like, Hands at Carrot Ranch.”

“No! Jeez! They ain’t us, an we ain’t them!”

“Yer right, Pal. You’d be Oscar the Grouch.”

“Would not! Anyways, was Ernie thet had the ducky.”

“Ha! So yer admittin that you have a ducky an that yer the more ornery one, ie, yer Bert ta my Ernie.”

“Ain’t nuthin bout this ranch is like Sesame Street.”

“Big Bird, Rubber Ducky…”

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Ducky (Part III) by D. Avery

“Okay, Kid. Let’s compare an contrast.”

“Okay. I’m fun, yer not.”

“Not true. Yer bout as fun as a mosquito bite on a saddle sore. An I meant ta compare Sesame Street ta Carrot Ranch.”

“Oh. Well, they’re both great places. Safe. Diverse. Kin learn a lot in both places.”

“Yep. Folks kin be themselves. They’re both virtual places. With fictional characters.”

“An, though Sesame Street’s a urban settin, they also got a ornery ol grouch. An they got a big yeller bird, an we got a little yeller ducky.”

“No we don’t.”

“Empty yer saddle bags, Pal.”

“No.”

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Ducky (Part IV) by D. Avery

“Orn’ry Ernie! What’s up?”

“Ma ears was ringin, Pal. Thought I’d call on ya’ll.”

“Hey Ernie. Was jist gonna use the prompt ta reveal something ‘barassin ta Pal. He’s got a rubber duckie!”

“What’s so ‘barassin bout that? I got a rubber duckie. Ya wanna ‘barass me too, Kid?”

“Gulp. No. But why, Ernie?”

“Why, Rubber Ducky, he’s the one. He makes bath time so much fun.”

“Since when do you have a bath time?”

“Well, if’n I did, it’d be ducky.”

“I’ll say.”

“Hmm. Ever notice our Ernie looks like the other Ernie?”

“Yep. Cept rolled in brillo.”

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Thank you to all our writers who contributed to this week’s collection!

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7 Comments

  1. Sadje

    A lovely collection

  2. Sarah Brentyn

    Some fun stuff here! ???? I liked “Rubber Chicken” as the title led me to believe it was going somewhere very different. 😉

  3. pedometergeek

    Haven’t read them all, but from ones I did, this is a great and fun collection. I appreciate all the entries. Great job, everyone.

    While I didn’t submit anything (okay, I’m a slacker lately), I thought about writing about the giant rubber duck that appeared with the Tall Ships in Sandusky, Ohio. It was the size of some of the tall ships.

  4. Colleen M. Chesebro

    This was a fun collection. I still can’t get the darn song out of my head! LOL!

  5. Norah

    I really enjoyed this collection. I read every one and popped over to comment where possible. The humour was outstanding. It was definitely the main theme. Loved it. Thanks everyone. Laughter is the best medicine.

  6. Jules

    A ducky collection for sure! At the bowling alley there is one of those ‘grab it’ machines full of odd rubber ducks. I think if I really wanted that many I should just go online to that place where you can get hundreds and it wouldn’t cost me hundreds! I think you might even need more than a buck to grab a duck!

  7. sweeterthannothing

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who managed to shoehorn in a smidge of murder into a story about a rubber duck! Though mine is a tad more gruesome than the other.

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