Ducks and Chucks,
When this duck read this article by Jacey Fortin in New York Times the other day, I discovered that Los Angeles County is considering an ordinance that would make it illegal for folks to feed its massive wild peafowl community, because of the noise, the aggression, the snake-eating, etc. (The peacocks are causing that, not the humans—at least, that's the general consensus.)
So I turned straight to my life partner Peacock Riley to ask what the duck was going on.
Peacock Riley: Naturally, this is a misunderstanding between the peafowl and the local human residents. By the way, "the local residents" includes the peafowl. Be less birdist, New York Times.) As to the situation, it sounds to Riley as if there's been some peacoquetterie afoot.
Duck T: Ah, I did wonder! For those who don't know what peacoquetterie is, Riley describes it as "non-romantic flirting that occurs between peafowl in a deliberate way, at a specified place and time." It's a kind of non-monogamous flirting that takes place in a large group of peafowl. It also has a habit of leaving your apartment looking like someone took all the luxury ballgowns out of Riley's cupboard, before shredding them and kicking them around. That's before we even mention the rose petals, smeared frosting, and half-eaten cupcakes.
Peacock Riley: True, there are usually silk knickers hanging over the chandeliers. As for the petals, the whole process of peacoquetterie generates roses when there's a magical peacock like Riley involved. The cupcakes... Riley's not quite sure where those come from. It isn't easy to keep track of things, when you're magical.
Duck T: Then there's the whole "snakes in the fridge" business.
Peacock Riley: They're the leftover snack snakes, of course!
Duck T: It's like A Nightmare on Elm Street—duck version. I open the fridge. The snakes scream to see me, I scream to see the snakes. Everybody's screaming, which leads me to ask, why keep them alive in there, Riles?
Peacock Riley: Who is Riley to unnecessarily shorten the lifespan of their unsuspecting prey? Let them have a few extra hours in their nice, cool abode. Seems only fair.
Duck T: Just to give our readers a fuller picture, after Riley's last peacoquetterie session, I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of Bob Marley's One Love coming from the kitchen. Turns out the snack snakes that Riley and their pals didn't eat were getting high in there, while relaxing around my leftover bowl of pondweed soup as if it was a swimming pool. One of them even had one of those floaties you can lie on and a martini with an actual olive in it! The cheek of it! Who the duck do they think they are? Ducking James Bond?
Peacock Riley: Give the snakes a break, Duck! They were about to get eaten! Riley encourages snakes to partay before Riley snaps them up. Riley can't help being a predator, you know.
Duck T: Anyway, Riles, what evidence is there that peacoquetterie is afoot in Los Angeles County?
Peacock Riley: One of the residents in the article mentioned peafowl "screaming" during mating season, which could just be the excitement of peacoquetterie. I mean, in general, there is a LOT of screaming, a bit like the kind of noise you used to get at a Michael Jackson concert. But if Riley is wrong and the peafowl are actually making sweet peacock love in Los Angeles County, believe Riley when I say that humans are just as loud.
Duck T: And what about the droppings, Riles? And the fighting?
Peacock Riley: Well, being a magical peacock, I can't speak to the droppings.
Duck T: Of course! You see, ducks and chucks, Riley doesn't produce anything close to my duckie poops. After they've been to the bathroom, the whole place glimmers with rainbow-colored light for at least five minutes. Plus there are feathers everywhere—some are pink, which makes zero ducking sense. It's even worse after a peacoquetterie session. For starters, there's usually frosting all over the walls. When I ask Riley what goes on in the bathroom to produce all the above, they always say it's private. Which is fair.
Peacock Riley: But the fighting in the article is probably just peacoquetterie gone wild. There are probably silk knickers all over the street in Los Angeles County, because that's part of this kind of non-manogomous peafowl flirting. And yes, if you spot it, it will probably look a lot like fighting.
Duck T: A bit like MMA?
Peacock Riley: Yes, if MMA just looked like fighting and was seven times as sexy.
Duck T: So what's your advice to the peafowl of Los Angeles County?
Peacock Riley: If you still want to strut around like you own the place and also get fed by strangers, keep the noise down, duckdammit.
Duck T: And to the humans?
Peacock Riley: If you're not careful, the peafowl will leave, and then you will have to learn to live without the sun. Learn to live with the peafowl, during their peacoquetterie. And remember: you aren't the only residents of Los Angeles County.
Duck T: There you have it, folks. A very biased peacock response.
Peacock Riley: You're welcome.
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