Today my bruise is a purple nebula with a black halo. Like a shifting tattoo, its pointillism has revealed images of a horned goat’s head, a sheep, and The Great Gonzo. This alone is well worth the price of admission. Add to that the shock value: I derive a perverse thrill from flashing it at unsuspecting victims to see their expressions of horror. I will miss it when it’s gone.

Life has only gotten stranger since I fell into the bucket. We have suffered a series of unfortunate duck mishaps in the last few days– some too tragic to detail here. In a nutshell, I’ve lost three ducks this week — all members of Generation Z. We almost lost a fourth. Somehow this duckling, who is at that awkward, in-between stage of ducky adolescence, managed to get his silly duck head wedged in between two loose boards in the barn. He must have been stuck there for awhile because he had worn some of his neck feathers away trying to free himself from the gap. After I gently helped him get loose, he stumbled drunkenly around the pen, unable walk straight or keep his head up. So I scooped him up and carried him into the house for rehab. He’s been living in my bathtub getting physical therapy for the last three days. Sadly, I’m not kidding. He was put on a regimen of neck stretching and strengthening exercises. Today he seemed much better, so I put him back out in the pen with the others. The reunion was incredibly strange to watch. His family gathered around in a crescent to inspect him. While he stood there quack-quack-quacking they listened. He quacked and quacked and quacked some more as if he was telling them all about his abduction by the crazy lady. Eventally they started quacking back, walking around him, checking him out, and kinda poking at him softly with their bills. I hope he lives. By the way, his name is Michael Jackson. I didn’t name him. I’ve been asking my little preschooler and kindergartener friends to name the ducks of Generation Z when they visit. The names they gave the remaining 6 are Lily, Muddy, Jelly, Sparkles, Willie Nelson, and Michael Jackson.