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Cultural Nuance

by Genevieve Hicks

     She was a lonely events coordinator at the museum and was laid off when the museum closed for renovations. When she was hired back, she was demoted to a guard, so now she and I have the same job.

     Chibi was the duck that she had kept hidden in the bedroom of her pet-free apartment building for 8 years. The duck was a gift from her ex-boyfriend when they lived together in a large house with a yard.

     When the manager came into the apartment to check for this and that, she told Chibi to stay in the closet and not to quack. Of course he must have obeyed; if he hadnít, he would not have survived in that apartment for all that time.

     Here some might say that it is inhumane to keep a duck locked in an apartment for 8 years. In this country they know nothing of inhumanity; in my country they treat a man like a dog, and here they treat a dog like a man.

     One day Chibi started bleeding from the beak. The vet called it hemorrhaging and said that the cancer was untreatable. She spent $500 every month on medications, and in the end cremated Chibi when he died.

     I refused to sign a card for a dead duck.

     Chibiís ashes were delivered to the museum. Our supervisor said Ė whatís the big deal? Itís just a duck. Her feelings were hurt, and she was sad for a long time.

     I refused to sign the card for the dead duck, but I did just sign the card for her. They say that she was hit by a bus.


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