Duck Hunter


A digital alarm clock face shows the time 5:59am on Thursday.  It flips to 6:00am and begins to buzz.  A hand appears to silence it.  RICHARD HARDICK (36) sits up in his bed and throws off the covers.  He sits on the edge of the bed for a moment before putting on his slippers and standing up.  He is wearing only a pair of boxer shorts.

Richard is fairly tall with a muscular frame offset by a slight potbelly.  His face is covered with a reddish beard that covers his jawline and merges into his sideburns before fading into his balding scalp.

Richard moves across the room and grabs a housecoat hanging off of the antler of a stuffed deer.  He exits the bedroom into the hallway.


Richard stands in front of the coffeemaker reading an old copy of the Toronto Star wearing an old, ratty-looking set of pajamas and a faded gray housecoat.  His mug, bearing the words “Taxidermists: World’s Greatest Stuffers,” sits beside the coffeemaker on the counter.

The coffeemaker clicks off and Richard sets down the paper.  He pours himself a cup of coffee and sips it gingerly.

Richard grabs the paper again and moves to the kitchen table.  The centerpiece of the table is a stuffed chipmunk that doubles as a napkin holder.

Richard lays the paper open on the table and sits down.  He places his cup of coffee on top of the paper.

A moment later, a phone is heard ringing.  Richard gets up and grabs the receiver of the phone from the wall.




Could I speak to Richard Hardick?




(in hushed tones)

The name’s Brussel Sprout.  Don’t ask.  I’m calling about your want ad.  I have what you’re looking for.



Really?  How much do you want for it?


$500.  Meet me tonight in the alley behind the Kelly’s convenience store on Richmond Street.  Bring cash.  No names


Okay.  I’ll be there.

The phone line abruptly goes dead.  Richard goes back to the table and drains his cup of coffee.  He can’t keep a smile from his face as he exits the room.

A few moments later we see him through the window heading towards a Ford F-150 emblazoned with the logo of Hardick Plumbing and Heating.  He is now wearing work boots, faded blue jeans, and a t-shirt advertising a plumbing trade store.  In his hand he carries a tool bag, with the end of a plumbing wrench sticking out at a jaunty angle.

Richard opens the truckbox in the bed of the truck and throws the bag of tools inside.  He slams the lid down with a satisfying snap, his face still bearing part of a smile.  He then opens the truck door and climbs inside.

The truck starts and backs out of the driveway.


A soft rain falls over downtown Toronto.  We see the CN Tower and the rest of the downtown skyline illuminated against the dark sky.

We are then transported through the streets, showing very little activity.  A couple of people pass by.  On the next street we see Richard, in a beige trenchcoat, walk by a 24/7 convenience store.  He stops, turns around, and goes into the store.

A couple seconds later, Richard exits the store holding in his left hand a medium-sized stuffed squirrel in a defiant pose, clenching one of its paws into a fist and shaking it at the heavens.  A price tag can be seen hanging from the squirrel’s tail, with the word “SALE” clearly marked.  The price is obscured.  Richard’s right hand is busy putting his wallet back into his pocket.

As Richard walks he looks at the squirrel.  A slight smile can be seen on his face as his head nods up and down.  He pats the squirrel on the head with his free hand.

Another half block passes before Richard turns down a dark alley.


Richard enters the alley.  The collar of his trenchcoat is pulled up to hide his face.

To the left side of the alley, a cigarette is thrown to the ground and a foot emerges from the shadows to stomp it out.  A second man follows the foot.  It is BRUSSEL SPROUT (43).

Brussel Sprout is tall and imposing.  However, most of his features are hidden beneath his wide-brimmed hat.  Slight stubble can be seen on the lower half of his face as well as a scar on the left side of his chin in the shape of a diamond.

The two men approach each other.  Richard puts down the stuffed squirrel.


Do you have it?


I do.  Do you have the money Richard?


I thought we weren’t using names.


You aren’t.  I am.  Until I see the money I couldn’t care less about you.  Do you have it?

Richard hesitates.  He looks down at the squirrel and shakes his head slightly.


No, I don’t.  But I really need the duck.


No dough, no duck.

Brussel Sprout lights another cigarette and leans back against the wall.  A puff of smoke escapes his lips.


If you can’t pay, then I can’t do anything for you.

Even though the cigarette is only half-finished, Brussel Sprout tosses it to the ground and stomps it out.  He reaches back into the shadows, grabs a non-descript bag, and turns to walk away.  Richard grabs the arm holding the bag.



Is that it?  Is it a mallard?  Can I at least see it?



Let go of my arm, Richard.

Richard quickly lets go of Brussel Sprout’s arm.  He backs up a couple steps.  There is a spark of excitement in his eyes as he stares intently at the bag.  Brussel Sprout flings the bag over his shoulder and it makes a wed thud as it hits his back.  Richard’s eyes snap back to Brussel Sprout’s face.


Like I said, no dough, no duck.


I’ll pay you double next week if you give it to me now.


I’m not in the business of I.O.U.s.  Next week.  Same time, same place.  Bring the money.

Brussel Sprout turns and walks away, the bag bumping gently against his back.  He reaches the end of the alley and disappears around the corner.

Richard stands in the middle of the alley with water running down his coat.  His shoulders are visibly slumped.  He turns and kicks the head off the squirrel in frustration.


Richard sits across the kitchen table from a CINDY (24), a reporter.  She is dressed in a pinstriped suit and her blonde hair is pulled back in a ponytail.  A pair of glasses frame her face.  She is wearing very little makeup, but is still obviously attractive.

There is a small black tape recorder sitting in the middle of the table and Cindy is scribbling notes on a pad of paper as Richard talks.



It’s just a small plumbing company, not very profitable.  I have three workers and we usually just do residential jobs around Toronto.


I don’t see what this has to do with Taxidermy Monthly.  Isn’t the story supposed to be about my collection?

Cindy looks up from her pad.  She taps her pen impatiently.


I’m trying to get a look into your life.  This is supposed to be a feature.  It wouldn’t be much of a story if I was just going to write about how you stuff animals.

Richard still looks slightly confused, but he continues.


Yeah, as I said, we do residential jobs around Toronto.  Mostly houses and stuff.  Someone’s pipe will burst and we come by to fit them for a new one.  Nothing overly exciting.


Okay.  Is there any specific reason why you got into plumbing in the first place?


(shrugs shoulders)

Not really.  I needed something to do after high school, so I signed up to be a plumber.  Eventually I decided to start my own company.


Do you want a coffee?

Richard pushes back his chair and stands up.


If it isn’t too much trouble, I’ll take it black, one sugar.

Nodding his head, Richard moves over to the coffee maker and starts a pot of coffee.  Both of them are silent while Richard waits for the coffee to be finished.  Cindy is seen scribbling on her notepad, trying to piece together a story.

A click is heard as the coffeemaker shuts off.  Richard grabs two mugs from the cupboard and sets them on the counter.  He pours some coffee into each one before adding the sugar.  Grabbing a spoon, he stirs the cups for a second before carrying them back to the table.

Cindy purses her lips and blows softly on the coffee before taking a sip.


So, let’s move on to your personal life.  Are you married?  Single?

Richard’s face contorts slightly, signaling that he isn’t very comfortable answering the question.  He takes a deep breath before answering.


Not married.  Single.


Any reason for that in particular?

Richard’s face still shows signs of discomfort.  It is obvious that he hoped that his answer would be sufficient.


Not really.  I’m just very busy with the company and the taxidermy and all.

(shifts in his seat)

Can we move on to something else a little less personal?


Okay, I think I’ve got enough about your personal life anyways to get a story out of.

Richard visibly relaxes.


We’re going to go down and take a look at your workshop soon, but first I wanted to know why you got into taxidermy?



Hmm, my father was a hunter-


No, no.  I mean why?  Why do you do taxidermy as a hobby?  What makes it your passion?



Well…I don’t know, I just like stuffing things.  When I’m busy filling up some animal with foam the world seems like such a simple place.  Nothing matters but the movement, the repetitive in and out action…

Cindy’s face is impassive as she scribbles down Richard’s words.


(changing the subject)

Concerning your collection, are you planning on adding anything new in the near future?



Yeah, I’m actually in the process of getting a duck to mount over my fireplace.


Really?  I’ll have to come back to see it before I write the story.  Do you want to show me the workshop now?


Sure thing.

Both Richard and Cindy get up from the table.  Cindy turns off the recorder and puts it in her pocket.

Richard leads her out of the room.


Richard stands on a stool in front of his fireplace.  He holds a tape measure in one hand and strokes his beard with the other.  A calculating look on his face indicates that he is thinking hard.

Richard takes up the measuring tape and measures out a rectangle above the fireplace.  He shakes his head and then makes another measurement.  This time he marks an ‘x’ on the wall and steps back off the stool.

Richard stands in front of the fireplace, looks at the spot he marked with a dreamy look in his eyes, and starts slowly nodding his head.


Richard enters the alley dressed in the same trenchcoat that he wore previously.  In his left hand he cradles a small, stuffed model of a sled dog team.

Richard walks to the middle of the alley and stops facing the entrance to the alley.

Moments later, Brussel Sprout enters the alley.  He is wearing the same clothing as before.  In his right hand he clutches a bag.  His left hand he holds his cigarette.

Brussel Sprout stops in front of Richard.  Both men nod their heads.  Brussel Sprout flicks his cigarette into a small puddle.


Where’s the money?



Umm…I don’t have cash on me…


What?  I told you cash only.


I can write you a cheque…



Fine, give me the cheque.  It’s not worth carrying this thing around all night if I don’t get my money somehow.

Richard pulls his chequebook from his pocket.  He writes a cheque before ripping it out of the chequebook and handing it to Brussel Sprout.  Brussel Sprout places the bag on the ground and shields the cheque from the rain as he reads the number.

Satisfied, Brussel Sprout puts the cheque in his pocket and nods to Richard.  Brussel Sprout then turns and walks out of the alley, lighting another cigarette as he goes.

Richard looks down at the bag that Brussel Sprout left on the ground.  He quickly picks it up and looks inside.  A smile appears on his face briefly as he looks at the contents of the bag.  However, Richard quickly remembers where he is and closes the bag.

Richard walks out of the alley with his model sled dog team in one hand and the bag in the other.


Richard stands over a work bench with a duck carcass on the table in front of him.  To his left is a pile of stuffing.  To his right is a stained wooden board.  Richard is wearing an apron with some work stains across the chest area.

Richard’s face looks calm, almost serene, but his eyes burn with an excited intensity as he grabs a handful of stuffing and shoves it inside the duck carcass.


The closing strains of a country song play through the truck radio.  Richard hums along, occaisionally mumbling some lyrics which are confused and inaccurate.  He taps his fingers on the steering wheel along with the beat.

The song fades into the background and as the radio host starts to talk Richard presses the mute button.  The radio cuts out, leaving only the sounds of car engines and the occaisional honking horn.

Without taking his eyes from the road, Richard fishes in the console for his phone.  A few erronous attempts to retreive the phone produce such miscellany as a miniature beaver key chain, a package of tissues, and a can of spray-on deodorant.  All of these Richard tosses on the passenger seat before finally producing his phone.

Richard flips the phone open with one hand, finally taking his eyes off the road for a moment to look at the screen.  The screen flicks through a few pages before coming to rest on a list of contacts.  Richard scrolls down until he hits the name “Cindy.” The cursor flashes over the name and the screen reads “Dialing…”  Richard quickly holds the phone up to his ear.


(to himself)

Pick up, pick up, pick up.

The phone rings three times before it is answered.




Cindy.  It’s Richard.  I have some great news.  My duck just came in.


(slightly excited)

That’s great!  When can I come by and see it for the story?

Richard hesitates for a second before answering.


I should have it ready by tonight.  I’ll give you a call when I mount it and you can come by to have a look.


Okay, that sounds good.  I think this will be the piece that ties the whole story together, so I can’t wait!

Richard smiles to himself.


Okay.  I’ll give you a call.  Goodbye for now.


Goodbye Richard.

The phone line goes dead and Richard folds the phone back up and tosses it on the passenger seat.  He clicks the radio back on, picking up in the middle of a rousing chorus.  Richard recognizes the song instantly and begins to sing along.  As before, he doesn’t know all the words.


The sun shines through the window of a kitchen, shining off the polished faucets.  The kitchen is well-organized and clean.  Nothing seems out of place, down to the tasteful artwork hanging above the sink.

The camera pans down to Richard, wearing work clothes, lying on his back under the sink, wrangling with a pipe.  Above him, leaning on the island in the center of the kitchen, is CHRIS (27), a tall, lanky apprentice with dark brown hair.


Are you sure the water’s turned off?


Relax.  You’re working on the drain anyways.  But, yes, it’s off.


Okay then, pass me that wrench so I can take this thing apart then.

Chris picks up a wrench that is lying on a rag that has been spread out on the ceramic tile floor.  It is a rather large plumbing wrench, identical to the one seen in Richard’s bag earlier.  He passes the wrench into Richard’s outstretched hand and leans back against the counter.

Wrench in hand, Richard proceeds to loosen off a section of pipe that looks extremely worn and decayed.  He hands the section of pipe to Chris, revealing a hole about the size of a nickel on one of the bends.  Chris pokes his finger in the hole, examining it.


How’d you think this hole got here?


No clue.  There’s not much that can chew through a PVC pipe, let alone in such a nice, little circle.


Here take this wrench and pass me an elbow.

Chris exchanges the wrench for a piece of pipe with a 90-degree bend in it.  He also passes Richard down a can of glue.  Richard quickly snaps the piece into place.


Ok, keep ’em coming.  Let’s get this done and get out of here.

Chris looks down at his watch while passing Richard another section of pipe.


It’s only 3:35, there’s no rush.  Plenty of time before the end of the day.



I’ve got a duck waiting at home to be mounted.  I’d like to get working on that sooner rather than later.  Wanna hand me another piece?

Chris passes down another piece of pipe, this time a medium-length straight piece.


Ah, you finally got your hands on that duck you wanted.  About time too…


Yeah, so let’s get this done and get out of here.  I’m sure you wouldn’t mind an extra hour of weekend either.


That I wouldn’t.  Here.

Chris hands Richard the final piece of pipe and begins to clean up the kitchen area, taking care not to spill anything on the marble countertops.

Richard passes the can of glue back out and grabs a rag that had been laying on his stomach.  With it he wipes down the pipes, getting rid of excess glue.

Richard stands up and wipes his hands on the rag.  We see his handiwork over his shoulder before he closes the cupboard doors.


Richard stands in the middle of the living room holding a beautifully mounted duck in both hands.  He stares down at it admiringly.

After a moment he moves towards the fireplace.  Above it we see a nail driven into the wall over his previous mark.  Richard hangs the mounted duck on the nail and steps back to admire his handiwork.  He scratches his chin and a thinking expression appears on his face.  Richard quickly grabs a 8-foot tall, stuffed grizzly bear that is on the other side of the room and moves it to just beside the fireplace.

As Richard steps back, a harsh knocking can be heard at his door.



Richard!  Richard Hardick!  Open up!

Richard looks around for a place to hide.


Richard!  I know you’re in there!  Open the door before I break it down!

Richard visibly tenses before heading towards the front door.


I’m coming, calm down for God’s sakes.

Richard opens the door and Brussel Sprout storms into the living room.  He is wearing similar clothing to what he is wearing in the previous scenes.

Brussel Sprout looks around for a few moments as Richard closes the door.  Brussel Sprout’s eyes fix on the mounted duck.


Already!  It’s been a day and you’ve already mounted the thing!  What am I going to fucking do now?!



What do you mean?  I paid you for the duck, what are you doing here?


Paid?  That check you gave me bounced asshole!  You gave me a check that fucking bounced!

Brussel Sprout stalks around the room angrily.  Richard looks from side to side nervously.  Brussel Sprout pulls out the check that Richard gave him earlier.  As he talks, he backs Richard towards the fireplace.


This is worthless to me.  This piece of paper that you gave me to pay for that fucking duck is absolutely worthless!  Why?  You said you had the God damn money and you gave me this worthless piece of garbage!

Brussel Sprout waves the check in front of Richard’s face before tearing it in half and throwing the pieces into the air.



I had the money yesterday.

Brussel Sprout is now shouting in Richard’s face.


Then why don’t you have the money now?



Well, I bought a stuffed squirrel…and a model dog sled team…plus I had to pay for the stuffing and the mounting board…



Seriously?!  You had the money for the duck and you went and blew it on a squirrel and a stupid model?!  And now you’ve already went and stuffed the fucking thing!  It’s useless to me now…


Couldn’t I just owe you for it?

Brussel Sprout considers this for a moment.  His face is slightly contorted to indicate his unhappiness with the idea.  He paces about for a moment.


No, that won’t work.  I’ll never get the money…



I’ll give you anything, literally anything.


How about your business?  Hardick Plumbing and Heating?

A blank look crosses Richard’s face.



Yeah, I could destroy it, leaving you without a job…or you could do me a special favour…

Brussel Sprout presses a card into Richard’s palm.  He then moves towards the fireplace.


Show up tonight, 9pm, at the corner of Dundas and Spadina.  If you don’t I’ll crush your pathetic excuse for a business.  By the way, I’m taking this too…

Brussel Sprout reaches up, grabs the mounted duck, and yanks it off the wall.  He heads back towards the door, kicking a small robot dog out of his way.

Brussel Sprout opens the door, leaves, and then slams the door behind him.  A mounted tuna falls off the wall beside the door from the force of the slam.

Richard stands in the middle of the room with a shocked look on his face.  He looks down at the card in his hand.  It displays the logo of the company Mammoth Erections and the contact information of their CEO, LANCE STEELE.

Richard’s cell phone rings on the end-table, making a slight buzz as it vibrates.  Richard looks down dejectedly and sees that it is Cindy, the reporter, who is calling.  He picks up the phone.




Hey, it’s Cindy from Taxidermy Monthly.  I was wondering if you were going to call?  My deadline’s getting pretty tight and I need something to make this story publishable…



Well…I had it…but now I don’t…



Seriously?  No duck?  I wasted my time putting together a story on a man who can’t even stuff a duck?  There goes my credibility…



I’m going to get it back right now, just give me a couple hours.  Please.



Okay Richard, one last chance.  You have until midnight tonight.  But no duck, no story.

Cindy hangs up with a click.  Richard sighs and falls back into a chair.


The scene opens to the sign that marks the corner of Dundas and Spadina streets.  Richard walks up to the corner in his trenchcoat.  He looks about furitively, twisting his head side to side and squinting his eyes.

After a few seconds, Richard nods his head slightly and crosses the street to stand in front of a run-down looking building with the Mammoth Erections logo covering one window.  The other windows are boarded up and the brick of the building is faded with age.

Richard composes himself momentarily before entering the building.


Richard walks into Lance Steele’s office.  On the wall behind an ornate desk is the duck Richard had stuffed earlier.  The high-backed chair that had been facing Richard slowly turns to reveal LANCE STEELE. Although he is now clean-shaven, his chin clearly shows the same diamond-shaped scar that Brussel Sprout had.  His brown hair is cut close, revealing his receding hairline.  A fleck of grey can be seen here or there.


Hey, you’re Bruss-


Call me Lance.  I have a proposition for you Richard.

Lance indicates a small bottle of pills with his left hand.


My company is in the business of penis-enlargement pills.  You know, makes your dick like a summer sausage, only bigger.

Richard visibly gulps and nods his head.


We need a test subject for our latest line of pills: The Penis Mightier.  You want your duck.  I need a dick.  I’m sure we can come to some arrangement…

Lance leans back in his chair and tosses the small bottle of pills from hand to hand.  His face bears a slight, scheming smile.


Or do I have to destroy your company?

Richard stands and thinks.  He looks back and forth at the duck and at the bottle of pills.

Richard is about to say something when an ASSISTANT (22) enters the room.  She’s wearing a very short skirt and a blouse with the top buttons undone to reveal ample cleavage.  Lance Steele looks her up and down and nods his head appreciatively.  She doesn’t show any reation to his attention.


Mr. Steele.  We need you upstairs in the laboratory.


Okay, I’ll be right there.

The Assistant leaves and Lance gets up from his desk.  He walks towards the door.  As he heads out he turns back to Richard.


She’s quite the piece of work isn’t she?  Almost enough to make these little babies redundant.

Lance tosses the bottle of penis enlargement pills to Richard, who catches it awkwardly against his chest.


When I come back I want an answer.  Your job, or the duck.  What’ll it be?

Lance closes the door behind him.

A moment later the Assistant pokes her head in the door.


Mr. Steele might be a while.  Please make yourself comfortable.

With her hand she gestures at one of the chairs sitting in front on Lance’s desk.  They are old, wooden things that don’t look very comfortable at all.


Ok.  Thanks.

The Assistant smiles slightly then closes the door.  Richard stands in the middle of the room, still holding the bottle of pills that Lance tossed to him.  He looks down at them and reads the label.  It says, “The Penis Mightier: Stand Tall, Stand Mighty.”  Richard stifles a slight laugh before shaking his head.  He flips over the bottle to read the back.  His lips move as he reads the fine print.



…heart condition, palpitations, kidney disease…


…erectile dysfunction, hair loss…


What side effects don’t these pills have??

He shakes his head again before sitting down on the chair.  He reaches out to place the pill bottle back on the table.  Barely is Richard seated before the Assistant pokes her head back in.


Mr. Steele will only be a couple more minutes.  Sorry to keep you waiting.

Richard nods his head in acknowledgment.  The Assistant once again closes the door.

Richard looks back at the bottle of pills, then up at the duck hanging on the wall.  He looks over at the clock on the wall.  It reads “11:43pm.”  He looks back at the bottle of pills and again at the duck.

A faint ringing noise can be heard.  Richard slaps at his pocket and scrambles to pull out his phone.  He flips it open and a message flashes on the screen: “Call Cindy by 12pm.”


(slightly panicked)

Oh shit!

Richard slams the phone closed and stuffs it back into his pocket.  He takes a furtive look back at the door, hoping Lance wouldn’t come bursting through.  Richard turns back away from the door and takes another glance at the pills and the clock before fixing his eyes on the duck.  He stares unblinkingly up at the duck on the wall for a few moments before moving over to it and taking it down.


Richard is running down the street clutching the duck under his arm.  He stops for a moment and pulls out his cell phone.


(breathing heavily)

Cindy!  It’s Richard.  I have the duck!

In the distance is heard a loud curse and Richard closes his phone.




Richard winces before starting to run again.  He turns a corner and is gone.



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