One day, a boy called Diptarko was going to his school. To get to school, he had to cross ‘the river of quacks’ which got its name by the hundreds of ducks living in it.
He was late for school, so he ran across the bridge. But when he reached the other side, he tripped over a small rock. “Ow, lucky that was a small rock,” he said, going red in the face. While he was getting up, a duck hopped into his school bag pocket, without his notice.
When he reached school, his teacher told him to come to her desk to tell her why he was late. But the desk drawer was open, so the duck hopped into it from his bag. Of course, no one saw that.
The teacher gasped “Duck feathers! Oh, must have come from out there.” The teacher pointed out of the window.
But Diptarko was complaining, “I have hurt my knee. Can I go to the MI (Medical Issue) room, please?”
The teacher said, “Okay, off you go.”
Diptarko turned to go. By then, inside the desk, the duck had made a hole with a pencil. And so, it hopped back in his pocket again.
At the MI room, the duck started squawking: “Quack – Quack – Squawk – Squawk.”
The nurse shouted: “Are you bringing pets to school?”
Luckily for Diptarko, the duck saw a beetle on the top of the door and jumped, gulping it down, and stopped squawking. So, when the nurse searched his body, she could not find anything.
After the dressing was done, Diptarko came out through the door, and the duck went back in his pocket again.
It was already the break time. Diptarko went out to the cafeteria for lunch with his friends, Dan and Dipak. Dan and Dipak sat on one side of the table and Diptarko, on the other side. Dan and Dipak wore their bags, while Diptarko put down his bag under the table, between Dan and Dipak. Dan said “I’ve got a hotdog for lunch with mustard and ketchup–covered bread! Yummy! My favourite!”
The other two were eying him because they had only green salad. Just as Dan was going to bite into the hotdog, the duck silently snagged both pieces of bread at once!
Dan bit into the hot dog, well, I guess it was only a sausage now. So, Dan yelled, “MY BREAD! YOU, DIPAK, YOU STOLE IT! YOU ARE RIGHT NEXT TO ME!”
Dipak argued back, “YOU MUST HAVE ATE IT ON YOUR OWN.” Just then, the bell rang for the Mathematics period.
After everyone went into the class, the teacher asked Diptarko, seeing him daydreaming in the class: “Diptarko, what is the answer of “987-654+321?”
That’s when the duck felt lonely again, so it started quacking. The teacher thought Diptarko was making the noise and said, “Diptarko, give a proper answer.”
Duck quacked again. The teacher was beginning to lose her temper. She went to him and said, “Tell the proper answer.”
The duck heard her voice and decided to stop. Diptarko gave the answer, 654.
But the duck was not over yet. It slid under the tables, skidded up the wall and hid behind the blackboard and hung to the wall with its claws.
By the time, the bell rang for the PE (Physical Education) period. So, everyone rushed outside the class, except for Diptarko. He was in no rush. In fact, he was walking so slowly beside the blackboard, that the duck slipped back into his shirt-collar.
At the PE room, everyone sat down on the floor. PE sir said, “Take your bags off, today there is a surprise test.” Everyone took their bags off. Then he said,” Look at the outdoor track-course. You will be doing it today. Now do a little warm up.
Everyone did little jogging and twisting of body parts.
“Diptarko, you go first.” Sir ordered.
Diptarko squirmed and started walking to the track. The duck made him feel itchy inside his shirt. He suddenly jumped on to the mattress, cartwheeled on to the cushion, zigzagged through the canes, grabbed the rings and went forward while aiming for his neck, dashing through the five hundred metre run.
His teacher praised him a lot. In fact, the track-course was so difficult that every student other than Diptarko got a ‘D-’ grade in their first term report card. Personally, Diptarko would have got a ‘D-’ too, if the duck wasn’t there. But he got an ‘A+’ grade. The PE teacher gave detention to every student, other than him.
School bell rang by then. It was time to go home.
For the duck, it slipped back into his shirt-collar and jumped into the river, while Diptarko was walking by it.
After coming back home, Mom checked his bag and she was aghast. Mom started shouting, “What happened to your bag? Everything is torn inside and dirty.”
Alas, Diptarko couldn’t give any answer!
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