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Ducky Park

Your name is Richard Butte but you go by other names. Names like Rick and Ricky... Dick Butt. Some of the older people call you Ricky Ricardo. Some jerks call you Ricky Retardo, or ‘Dumbass Rick’. ‘Hey Stupid,’ is another common one, used mainly when people can’t remember your name.

People are mean, but they have their reasons. You are in fact, quite stupid. You understand that can be frustrating to people. Some say It’s because you were dropped on your head when you were young, others contend that it’s some side effect of your mother’s drug addiction. Whatever it is, most people can agree that you're damn stupid.

One kid used to say you just get it from your father, cause he's a dumbshit too. And then he'd say "That's why your mom left you, because you and your dad are so damn stupid." You punched that kid. He went down with one hit, his legs buckling bending beneath him. Sometimes you don’t know your own strength.

You live at home with your father and lately he’s been trying to make you get a job. It’s been a pretty big deal with him ever since you turned 20. You’ve been looking for work, but no one seems to want to hire you. They claim you are under qualified. You’ve tried explaining this to your father but he becomes increasingly frustrated. “How can you be under qualified for a sleep study?” he asked one day, red in the face and shaking.

One day your father came into your room while you were in the middle of a video game. "I’m going to just call your Uncle Jim," he said from the doorway. He had a phone in his hand and he started dialing

"No! Dad!! I don't want to work at Ducky Park!" You cried out, pausing the game and sitting up in your bed.

He stopped dialing for a second and glared at you. "You need a job, Ricky," He said. "Uncle Jim is still the manager of Ducky Park. You’re going to work for him."

"Alright, Ricky; I have an idea. You give me one good reason why you can't work at Ducky Park with Uncle Jim and I won't make you work there. Only one rule, your reason cannot be that you don't want to."

He was playing with your head. You hate it when he uses logic against you. You stood there staring at him for some time, no one speaking. You were racking your brain looking for a reason, but nothing came to you other than an intense desire not to work at Ducky Park. He blinked his eyes. The phone started making that buzzing sound that it makes when it's off the hook for too long.

His eye twitched a little and you took a deep breath. "I don't want to work at Ducky Park," you said at last.

Your father had a cruel and crooked smile on his face. "I said a good reason, Ricky. A good reason." He hit the ‘place call’ button and put the phone up to his ear.

"That was a good reason," You mumbled into your chest.

He spun on you. "What did you say?!" There was a wildness in his eyes and a tone in his voice that you dared not contradict. You turned your gaze to the floor instead.

"Nothing," You said, hands in pockets and avoiding eye contact.

"That's what I though you said," He replied. Then he spoke into the phone; "Yeah hi, Jim? How you doing?"

So now, here you are today walking down the road wearing a stupid duck hat as you make head off to your first day of work. You have been walking for almost half an hour and Ducky Park is only a twenty minute drive from your house, so you figure you should be coming up on the place anytime now.

Three and a half hours later you arrive at the front gates of Ducky Park, a giant Happy Duck mascot staring you down from between the ticket booths. You wait in line with the customers for a few minutes until the Happy Duck mascot comes up to you and leans in real close.

"Are you the new guy?" He whispers.

"Yes," You reply in a hushed tone.

"Then why the hell are you standing in line?" He asks.

"You have to wait in line to get through the gate." You tell the Happy Duck mascot. How does he not know that? You decide that you don't like him.

"You work here, dipshit,” he says. “You don't have to wait in line; you just walk through the gate." Frustration is evident in his tone.

"Hey look, asshole," You say, loud enough for the people around you to take note. "I've been here before and I know the rules."

"Great!" He says with his hands on his hips. "You're gonna be a real pleasure to work with!"

You're about to point out that if you could just walk through the gate the park wouldn't be able to keep track of who was coming and going, not to mention the money they would lose on ticket sales; when your Uncle Jim walks up to you from the gate.

"Ricky?" He says. "Is that really you? I haven't seen you in years." He puts a hand on your shoulder and leads you out of the line towards the gate.

The Happy Duck waves at you. "Take it easy dumb ass!" he calls.

"Right this way." He says to you. "Let me show you the park."

He takes you on a tour of the park, but it's nothing you haven't seen before. You see rides, parlor games, food stands, and restrooms. Nothing out of the ordinary. He tells you the responsibilities of each position but you don’t pay him much attention. You’ve seen them work before, it’s nothing challenging.

Then he asks you a very important question. "Where would you like to work in the park?"

You stare at him blankly. You wish you would have paid closer attention to the tour.

"Look," he says, "The other kids we hire don't get these kinds of options. I'm giving you the choice because you are my nephew. So make a decision... You can take tickets at the gate, you seem to have a pretty good understanding of how that works. We can always use people to work the food stands. You can put on a costume and be one of the Ducky Park mascots, and we have some rides you can run; it's mostly just pulling a lever or pushing a button, nothing too complicated. Or you can clean the walkways of trash with those little sweepers...

You stare at him blankly. You really wish you had paid closer attention to the tour. He’s looking at you still. You don’t say anything. You're not really sure what to think, and you stand there a while thinking on it. You aren't usually given choices in things.

Your uncle lets out a deep frustrated breath. “Hurry it up, Ricky, we don't have all day and you’re already late."

Hmm… Decision are hard.