Day 054: Rach Goes On A Hunt

It’s another normal day on Tulip Town. Isabelle’s morning announcements consisted of her prattling on about her TV Habits. A sure sign that there’s nothing special about today. Still in her pajamas, Rach gets the mail. Just a plain ol’ letter from Pekoe that she doesn’t even bother to read fully. She looks around and takes a deep breath of the fall breeze, crisp and pure. The leaves on her peach tree are starting to turn. She almost can’t even tell that it’s a peach tree. Completely underdressed, she shivers and goes back inside. She throws on a magenta fleece, a blue knit cap and heads for the door. But not so fast. She forgot her tickets. Of course. She spent a good 20 minutes standing at the kiosk last night buying them. She contemplates also making a gift for Poncho, but thinks otherwise and heads back outside.

Rach does her rounds. Picking up twigs, scaring off wharf roaches, digging for fossils, question why her rocks are all suddenly close to one another, you know, typical Tulip Town stuff. She walks by the empty plot that Agnes used to live in. She stops for a second to imagine who she’s going to find to move into a plot. Will they be cute? Will they be cranky? Will she regret inviting them to move in or will they stay forever? Her daydreaming is crashed by the reality that she’s going to have to do more landscaping once this mystery person moves in. She grumbles to herself and carries on.

She comes across Gloria, sitting in a bed of flowers. She’s got her bill pointed to the sky and her eyes closed. Suddenly, she awakes and bursts into action. She’s so excited to tell Rach about how to contemplate, as if she had just discovered it. “Simple duck”, Rach thinks to herself. But she still nods her head and takes her guidance. Rach carries on, sweeping the island for more twigs. It must’ve been windy last night, because there are a ton of them. Her neighbors don’t seem to appreciate the little things she does for Tulip Town. Whenever she visits Coze Cove, there are twigs and weeds everywhere and the residents just don’t seem to mind. But really, she’s not doing it for them, she’s doing it for herself.

Near town hall, Wendy comes barreling towards her. She proclaims in her annoying high-pitched voice that she had bought a gift for Keaton. She conjures it from inside her blue wool and Rach reluctantly accepts. Anybody that knows anything in Tulip Town know that Rach and Keaton have been going steady for weeks. He even gave her his varsity jacket, although he suspiciously still has one. Is Wendy really demented enough to think that she would actually deliver the gift? Rach contemplates whether or not she should throw it in the trash or open it, rewrap it and disguise it as her own. She weighs the pros and cons as she does her daily shopping and fossil assessment.

Ultimately, she goes over to Keaton’s house. He’s crafting away at a hyacinth wreath. A true man’s man. He even teaches her how to do it, with clear directions written on a notecard. Reluctantly, she gives him Wendy’s gift. To her delight, it’s a tacky jumpsuit that he’ll never wear. Silly sheep. How is she supposed to know what an Eagle would consider fashionable? Feeling confident as hell, she gives him a gift of her own: a dinosaur skull. He loves stuff like that. Can’t get enough of it. To show his gratitude, Keaton gives her a picture of himself. Rach’s eyes light up. That’s all she ever wanted from the second she laid eyes on him. A true sign that things are getting serious. She leaves his house, looks at the picture again and does a little dance. But time’s a-wasting. She has some travelling to do. This empty plot isn’t going to fill itself. Actually, it will, but she doesn’t want that to happen.

The airport is sleepy as always. Tinny muzak plays from the speakers as Orville sits at the desk, half asleep. As soon as she approaches the counter, he springs awake and happily clacks at his keyboard, booking her a flight to a mystery island. The ride goes smoothly, only a little bit of turbulence considering the November winds. Upon landing, the pilot gives her the usual instructions, as if she hasn’t done this a million times. Wilbur has a short memory.

The island is covered in weeds and Tulips. It’s almost nauseating how cluttered everything is. Further ahead, by the waterfall, could potentially be the next resident of Tulip Town. Could it be a cute bear cub? Or another duck that moonlights as a go-go dancer? Through the treeline, she can see green eyes protruding from a small head. It’s a frog. A cute frog, but still a frog. Rach vaults herself over the stream to introduce herself. She could tell from the first sentence what this frog named Tad was all about. He’s a stupid jock. He loves training and bragging about his muscles, but he never backs up his claims. Although it would be nice for Poncho to have a workout buddy, Tulip Town doesn’t have room for any more meatheads. Ending the conversation abruptly, Rach turns away and heads back to the dock. “I wanna go home”, she tells Wilbur. He obliges and they swiftly make their escape.

What will the next island bring? Will she find the right candidate to take her breath away or will it be just another octopus? It’ll probably be just another octopus. But that’s the joy of the hunt. And Rach couldn’t think of a better use of her time to make Tulip Town a more perfect place. Looking at it from above, it already looks perfect enough. But there’s always room for improvement. She grabs the armrest and braces for landing. It’s going to be a water landing. But that’s okay, because this is a sea plane.

– TeeCoZee