Monday, October 26, 2015

Operation Rubber Ducky by Cora Buhlert

Release date: October 13, 2015
 Subgenre: Bizarro science fiction

About Operation Rubber Ducky


 Three short tales of anthropomorphic terror, featuring Trojan toys, axe-wielding ducks and fluffy killer rabbits from outer space.

When the world is besieged by Kaiju, the only weapon that can stop them turns out to be a rubber ducky with a deadly secret…

His name is whispered in terror: Mock Duck, the mad axe-man of Chinatown, deadly enforcer for the triads. No one has ever seen his face and lived to tell the tale. Which is probably for the better, because Mock Duck's nickname is more accurate than anybody could have guessed…

It's the latest psychiatric epidemic to sweep the nation: Angoraphobia, a pathological fear of fluffy angora sweaters. Those who suffer from the disorder claim that fluffy killer rabbits from outer space are trying to conquer the Earth and exterminate humanity. Are they merely deluded or could they perchance be right?

Three bizarro short stories of 7000 words or approximately 24 pages altogether. 



 Mock Duck


Jimmy Chung should really have known better than to cheat the triads. After all, he’d heard the stories, heard all the whispered tales of the terrible vengeance the triads wrecked on those who betrayed them.
Yet he was cocky. After all, he had a math degree, a photographic memory and a system. What on Earth could go wrong?
And at first, everything had gone just fine. Jimmy settled down on a chair in the shabby backroom of the Mandarin Garden restaurant. He played, won handsomely and occasionally lost a round just to avoid arousing suspicion. He could do this, he really could. Gamble with the triads, win big and walk away.
Jimmy still didn’t know how they had caught on to him. After all, he’d been so careful. He’d lost a lot more than he needed to, just so they wouldn’t get suspicious.
But in spite of all his precautions, the triads had caught on after all. And so Jimmy suddenly found himself seized, dragged out of his chair and down into the basement underneath the Mandarin Garden.
As they dragged him towards his doom, Jimmy heard his captors whisper a name, a name that struck terror into the hearts of many in the neighbourhood. Cha’i Pow Yu. Mock Duck, the mad axe-man of Chinatown.
Mock Duck had been working as an enforcer for the triads for at least three years now, maybe more. His name was uttered in fearful whispers in the streets, shops and restaurants of Chinatown, though none had ever seen his face and lived to tell the tale. Yet Mock Duck’s handiwork was only too visible. It was found scattered around the city in the form of bodies without heads and heads without bodies.
And now Jimmy would get to meet Mock Duck, the legendary man without a face himself. Not that he would have much time to enjoy that rare privilege.
Jimmy gulped. He’d heard that beheading was fairly quick and painless as deaths went, which was at least something. On the other hand, it was also a singularly messy way to die and Jimmy tended to faint at the sight of blood. Though that wouldn’t matter much, he supposed. Can’t faint when you’re already dead.
Briefly, he wondered which part of him would be found, the head or the body. Personally, Jimmy hoped it would be the head. After all, he felt that his features were quite pleasant and his cheekbones particularly fine, whereas his body was never more than ordinary and his abs truly needed work.
Jimmy’s musing were rudely interrupted, when then two heavies that had grabbed him reached the bottom of the staircase. There wasn’t much here, just an ordinary basement filled with crates and clutter from the restaurant above.
But at the far end of the basement, there was a door, a door of reinforced steel that had gone slightly rusty with age. An iron chain was looped through the handles of the door, closed with a heavy padlock, though whether it was intended to keep people out or in Jimmy could not tell. But even if he hadn’t known that death was waiting for him behind that door, the sight of the rusty steel and the padlocked chain would have been enough to send his heartbeat into overdrive.
The two heavies dragged Jimmy towards the steel door. One of them produced a key to open the padlock. His colleague opened the door a crack and thrust Jimmy inside. Barely a second later, the door was locked behind him again.
Inside Mock Duck’s lair, the light was dim. Only a single light bulb pierced the gloom. Its light fell on the axe, Mock Duck’s terrible axe, that was leaning against the wall.
The man himself was lurking in the darkness. Jimmy could only make out his outline, a shadow among shadows. But even that was enough to tell him that Mock Duck was a good head taller than Jimmy and massive.
Jimmy gulped. He stood with his back against the door, trying to be very still, hoping against hope that Mock Duck wouldn’t notice him, that he would just continue doing whatever it was he was doing in the dark.
But of course Jimmy had no such luck. For barely had the key turned in the padlock that Mock Duck stirred in the darkness. His feet padded over the bare concrete floor with a hollow slapping sound. And then he stepped into the wan circle of light.
Jimmy’s eyes bulged, as he beheld Mock Duck, the fearsome enforcer of the triads and the terror of Chinatown for the first time. And then, quite incongruous given his situation, he burst out laughing.
“Oh my goodness! You… you are…”
“Don’t say it,” Mock Duck snapped, getting into Jimmy’s face, “I know, okay. Yes, I’m a duck. But let’s not forget that I’m still the one with the axe around here.”
It was true, too. For Mock Duck was a duck, a real bonafide six foot tall duck. He had a beak and webbed feet and wings for arms and his body was covered in golden-brown feathers. He looked just like a critter from a children’s cartoon absurdly become flesh.
“But… how?” Jimmy stammered.
“Well, if you must know, I’m not from around here,” Mock Duck said.
“Not from the US, you mean? When did you immigrate? Cause your English is really good and…”
Yeah right, flatter him, Jimmy. Cause maybe that’s going to keep him from killing you. On the other hand, it might also hasten his demise, if it turned out that Mock Duck hated being complimented on his good English as much as Jimmy himself — after all, a fourth generation American who just happened to look Chinese — did.
“I’m not from Earth, you idiot,” Mock Duck snapped, his beak getting into Jimmy’s face and nearly biting his nose off, “I come from the planet of Kalkakua. And don’t even pretend you’ve heard of it, cause I know you haven’t.”
“Wasn’t going to,” Jimmy stammered, shrinking back until he bumped against the door.

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About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. Cora has been writing since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. When she is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher.

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