The news hit him hard. Woody patted the top of Ducky’s head and shooed everyone away. Ducky heard Woody say, as if from far away: “everything will be fine, Ducky, you’ll see. Molly’s not gonna go for a scary rubber duck. Don’t lose hope.”
Ducky hobbled away towards his usual spot next to the bathtub, head down, swaying side to side. In a few minutes it would be Molly’s bath time, when he always delighted in her giggles as she made him swim, sink and bob in the bath water. She especially enjoyed when the bubbles gave him a mustache.
But today he was dreading it. Halloween was in a few days, so Molly’s mom had thought it was a wonderful idea to get her little girl a new, scary looking rubber ducky to play with. That lady probably thinks a duck with red horns and fangs is cute, he thought. I bet Molly will be scared. She won’t like him…that’s right…
He was so distracted by his grim thoughts he almost didn’t hear them come in on time to freeze. Molly’s mom readied the bath and soon bubbles covered the clear water. Ducky’s heart sank further as the mysterious new duck was placed on the edge of the tub, while he lay ignored on the floor.
When she left to get Molly, Ducky snuck a peek at the intruder. Not only did this duck have red horns and fangs, he was also wearing shades. Great, thought Ducky, he’s cooler than I thought. Sighing he spit a little leftover water from yesterday’s bath to get his attention. The stream caught the devil duck right on his shades. Whoops, thought Ducky without any guilt. Devil duck spluttered and looked down at him, indignant. He then did something quite unexpected: he jumped down from his perch and landed right on Ducky, shoving him aside. Ducky quaked in fear but smiled tentatively….or at least, he tried.
Devil duck sneered and hissed. “Say goodbye to bath time. Molly will never want you back. She’s mine now so back off!”
Cackling, devil duck waddled to the spot where he fell and waited as Ducky trembled in fear and sniffed back the tears. What if Molly forgets all about me?
Molly’s giggles reached his ears, but now they seemed to spell doom. Ducky’s thoughts began to drift to happier times, wondering if anyone would ever love him again. Molly’s screeches snapped him out of his reverie just in time to see devil duck slam, bounce and roll on the floor before coming to a stop.
“Now, Molly, don’t you like your new rubber ducky?”
“Ducky! DUCKY!” Molly demanded with a pout.
Ducky’s heart soared higher and faster than he was lifted to Molly’s waiting and eager hands. The last he saw of the floor was devil duck, trembling and sobbing on its side. Ducky’s heart came to a stop mid-flight and settled down somewhere in the pit of its rubber stomach, to float unsteadily with the bath water.
Molly was very energetic today. She flung him about, made him fly and dive in the water before letting him bob in the waves that carried the bathwater out of the tub and onto the floor, much to her mother’s dismay. He had a sudden idea.
In the next spurt of flying, he jumped out of Molly’s hand and fell hard to the floor, landing close to devil duck.
Molly peered over the side of the tub in alarm and saw the two ducks, side by side. She reached out with both chubby hands.
“Duckies? You want them both, sweetheart?”
With a sigh, Molly’s mother scooped them up and dunked them in the water for Molly to chase. For a long time they both flew, dove and bobbed, one in each of Molly’s little hands. Her laughter and joy seemed to double. Once bath-time was over, Ducky and Devil Duck were placed on the edge of the tub, close together. Ducky peeked at Devil Duck and was quite surprised at the smile he found, which was not so scary even with fangs. More surprising still were the long lashes and gentle eyes behind the shades. Ducky was no longer sad he’d have to share Molly. Not sad at all.