Award-Winning Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, and More

Some days are strange

It’s been getting down into the 40’s and 50’s at night this past week, so we decided it was time to turn the heat back on. Sure enough, it wouldn’t turn on. Fortunately, we have a cheap service contract with the gas company, so we called and they sent someone out today.

Everything seemed normal. The repair man looked at the system and read the diagnostic lights. “You’re not getting enough airflow in the exhaust,” he said as he proceded to take the screws out of the exhaust duct. “Must be some blockage.”

He removed the duct and out popped a beak. “Uh. Haven’t seen this before. There’s a DUCK in your DUCT.” Yes, a duck, quite dead and well-preserved had fallen down our chimney and scooted through several feet of the ductwork in the basement. Poor thing was barely small enough to fit.

“I’m not paid enough for this. Gotta bag?” Picture a green feathered head sticking out of a duct, as he’s shakes the pipe. Eventually, the head is followed by a body that falls into the bag. He attaches the duct to the heating system (it works now) and leaves with a new story for the guys back at the office.


Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 1


Clarkesworld Bestsellers for the Week Ending Sept. 19, 2006


  1. We used to get starlings, back on the farm.

    But a duck is pretty hardcore.

  2. Duck in the duct. I smell a story there.

    I haven’t had a chance yet Neil, but congrats on your magazine endeavor. Looks great.

  3. In my last apartment, a small bird, the size of a sparrow, had flown into the dryer duct from outside and died there. A nice discovery on the day I moved in.

    But damn, I couldn’t imagine finding something the size of a duck.

  4. Duck in the Duct! PRiceless story.

    We got a bird in the duct that died and fell down to the top of the exhaust of our microwave, jamming into the fan. We noticed the fan wasn’t working on the microwave. Then the smell. Then the ants. Then the big carrion flies. Ugh.

  5. Wow.

    That’s all I can say.


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