Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Loup Fatal)

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Since I posted my last bit from Anti-Cupids last week, I decided to post the first eight sentences from another project that’s just a tad different from a romantic comedy about two cynical people bonding over their sibling’s wedding, and also gnomes of a caffeinated nature.

This story is about an ex-military P.I. with a touch of PTSD, who’s operating in a world where a substantial wereanimal population has managed to keep itself  hidden from the general public.  But “hidden” doesn’t mean “safe”, and Tom learned a long time to suppress the flight instincts of his own prey animal and use the fight of his human side.

In [a yet-to-be-named city not unlike St. Louis], there’s a niche for a discrete detective agency that understands the biological drives of the two-natured, the rules of admissible evidence,  and the silverclad laws of the Council.  So Tom and his human partner are doing all right, pulling in business from the local pack and some society gigs, too.

Yeah, everything’s going pretty well.

But then the book starts.




I wonder sometimes how many private detectives go into the business hoping for a femme fatale-based clientele, a steady stream of danger in tight dresses and red lipstick, in dire need of protection, especially from themselves.

Instead, we get a flood of insurance company reps, suspicious spouses, bail bondsmen—and intermittent thugs in dire need of electrolysis and deodorant.

I blame Raymond Chandler.

“You Tom Mahon?” the thug said, resplendent in warm-up pants and a tight black wife beater.

“Guilty,” I said.

He lifted his nose to sniff the air and if his body hair and B.O. hadn’t been enough of a clue, that would have done it. “Bryan Mahon’s your brother?”

I slid my hand into the desk drawer I always kept partially open.


I started fiddling with this because I like shifter stories, but there aren’t many about what it would be like to be a prey animal in a weretiger-eat-werewolf society.*

And I like ducks.  Who, despite their lack of natural weaponry, carbohydrate-addictions, and well-deserved place in international cuisine, are also remarkably nasty, randy, opportunistic bastards.

I also like hard-boiled private detectives, who share a lot of the same qualities, though I wouldn’t put them in a cassoulet . . . unless this thing veers off into an entirely unexpected genre.


*Yes, Destroyer Duck, Howard-the-Duck, and Usagi Yojimbo are awesome, but they aren’t shifters.


54 thoughts on “Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Loup Fatal)

    • We had a lake on our property when I was growing up and kept ducks for a while—those big Muscovy ones.

      They’re sort of the tank of the duck world. 🙂

  1. Oh you crazy thing. I never know what I’m going to be reading here…but I know it’s going to make me giggle. Such fun! Were-duck (she chokes on her coffee as she giggles)

  2. Oh, this is going to be fun! And I promise to try to refrain from all of the obvious puns that are flocking into my brain. (Er, I said I promised to *try*..)

    Side note: I once created a were-ferret npc for a D&D game.

  3. Interesting. What’s in the desk? Hmm… I have my suspicions.
    A were-duck? Never heard of that one. lol

  4. I love this idea! Though I’ve read about, or written about a variety of were-critters, including some prey animals like were-rabbits and were-horse, ducks are a new one.

    Though waterfowl can be pretty tough, as well as aggressive. Does he end up a normal size duck? Or something larger? Because a human-sized duck would be frankly terrifying.

    • He’s on the large side of a normal duck—a flier, not a runner, though he can swim and dive a bit. I’m basing his coloring and basic biologicals on a Muscovy duck, because those are the ones I know best, but I’m not married to that—it’s early days.

      I wouldn’t rule out a partial change—could you imagine a round-house kick with a clawed, webbed foot behind it? Gah.

  5. OK, I love everything you write and the premise for this totally has me hooked. Love the idea of having a hero who is a prey animal shifter. Great snippet and I bet we’ll all be surprised what’s in the drawer.

    • Thank you, Veronica!

      I don’t know if the contents of the desk are going to be a huge surprise, but that’s where the sentences naturally ended, so I went with it. 🙂

  6. I can totally believe the part about how a lot of people who become detectives are anything but the stereotypes. I also love ducks, and live right by a pond where there are lots of them.

  7. Love the opening and the way you weave in Raymond Chandler. Great visual. And I love the idea of a were-duck and the way you phrased it that he uses his human half to fight. Well done!

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