Author: Mikko Rimminen & Kyösti Salokorpi

Beastly beatitudes

Issue 4/2001 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

From Hämärä luonto. Aamunkoista Yön tuhmaan lintuun (niiden käyttäytymysestä ja elämästä yleensä) (’Natura Obscura. From the Moth of Dawn to the Naughty Bird of Night. On their behavior and life in general’, Tammi, 2001. Illustrations by Tatu Tuominen)

Anas cummea

Rubber duck

There are three species living on Earth which, it can be assumed, will survive a possible nuclear catastrophe: the cockroach, the rat and the rubber duck. Of these, the rubber duck is perhaps the most durable. Nothing affects it.

As soon as it emerges from the shell, the rubber duck secretes around its down an insulating layer of gum elastic for it cannot survive among bacteria or other non-mathematical creatures. Here begins the journey toward perfect self-sufficiency.

When young, the rubber duck looks at the world from behind its transparent membrane, protected from causes of disease, bad influences and modern poetry. With age, the rubber layer strengthens and becomes cartilaginous. Finally, the rubber duck lives alone in its own microcosmos, where there are no inter-species competition, nest-usurpers or elephant seals that mishandle their young. On the other hand, it has no room, either, for sunsets, litters of furry soft toys, or the lusty touch of lovers.

Sometimes the rubber duck finds itself in an existential panic: is there anyone, anything, outside the insulating layer? And does it itself exist? Who is speaking? Wrapped up in these thoughts, it reels around, bouncing from one bath to another, one season to the next. More…