the duckwich horror

One of the many awesome things CS Lewis said was this: When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up. Which is a slightly self-conscious way for me to ‘fess up to the fact that—since becoming a grown up—I’ve acquired a pretty impressive collection of plush animals.

I could probably trace this back to childhood trauma (only in the sense that you can trace everything back to childhood, not in the sense of being actually at any point traumatised) but basically I think it comes down to the fact that … they’re really cute.

My favourite supplier (is supplier the right word? makes it sound like drugs) is Keel Toys because their animals are super soft and snuggly, charmingly characterful and sometimes just plain weird. Like … everything you need to know about Keel Toys comes from a brief glance at their ‘Bobballs’ range. Bobballs are teeny-tiny squishy-round animals with silly expressions and googly eyes. Needless to say, I’m into them. Here’s a picture:

So, yeah, you’re probably looking at that thinking “okay, right, it’s some cute animals, what’s he getting so excited about” but keep looking … spotted it yet?  Bottom row, fourth from the left there’s … yep … that’s a pineapple.

I would totally love to be have been a fly on the wall in that design meeting.

Manager: Okay team, we’re introducing a new range called Bobballs. The concept is adorably spherical animals. What have you got for me?

Designer 1: Um, well I’ve made this super happy looking clownfish

Manager: Nice work, Michelle. I imagine that’ll be really popular because the second Finding Nemo film just came out.

Designer 2: I did a tiger

Manager: Okay Imran, I see what you’re going for there. It mean it’s very inside the box but kids always love tigers. Good call.

Designer 3: I made this … yellow bird thing, could be a chicken, could be anything avian to be honest, but it’s got a hilarious look on its face.

Manager: You know something, Helena, I’m going to trust on you on this. I love the suppressed madness in its eyes. What about you, High-As-A-Kite Bob? What have you got for us?

Bob: … a pineapple.

Manager: … a pineapple?

Bob: Yeah, man, a wild pineapple, king of the beasts.

[Long pause]

Manager: I LOVE IT.

They also do a range called Pippins, which I don’t think Bob was involved in, the design principle of which simply appears to be: so cute it hurts.

Ahhhh omg look at its trunk and it’s faaaaace and its feeeeets ahhhhh

Anyway, I was recently on Amazon where my ‘inspired by your shopping trends’ is almost 100% cuddly animals and romance novels. And up popped this adorable duck.

Omg, looook at her! Loooook! With her chubbly duck cheeks and whimsically uptitled duck beak. And the little duck feet – omggggg. She looks like Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice if Charlotte Lucas was a cuddly duck.

So, obviously, being a mature adult I had to have her.

Charlotte Duckas was listed as “keel 30cm duck with sparkle eyes’ and the description was simply ‘soft cute cuddly’ – which seemed, at the time, fair enough. There was one review, as below:

Thus, I felt no particular qualms as I ordered my adorable cuddle duck.

And then my duck arrived. Here is a picture of my duck.

Yep. She hates me. She hates everything. She is the angriest duck in the universe. A duck with a grudge. A duck you would not turn your back on. Or allow to approach you down a dark alley in a dodgy part of town.

Which left me in a bit of quandary because, while she definitely wasn’t the duck I had ordered, I wasn’t entirely sure how to return her:

Dear Keel Toys

I ordered an adorable duck from you, but the duck arrived hateful. The description of the duck is listed as ‘soft cute cuddly’ but my duck would be more aptly described as ‘malignant sneery hostile’. Under the trade descriptions act, I believe I am entitled to a new duck.

Best wishes,


PS – Please do not tell the duck I have written to you, as I believe she will kill me in my sleep.

Anyway, I brought the problem (and the duck) home to H – who promptly accused me of being mean to the duck, since apparently some people can’t help being hateful, and refused to let me return her.

I am now constantly trolled in my own home by an angry duck. Sometimes H tucks her into my side  of the bed when I’m out of the room:

And I swear to god she’s watching me:

Plotting something:

Obviously we couldn’t call her Charlotte Duckas any more – because while Charlotte has a wicked streak, she is not a psycho. So the duck was re-named Caroline Beakley, which seemed more appropriate.

Sometimes we also call her Chris Duckicho because she looks like a bit Chris Jericho when he’s heeling it up:

And sometimes Harvey Duck because, once we got used to her mean little face, we realised that it’s actually an angle thing – and while she looks utterly contemptuous most of the time, she’s kind of adorable if you come at her from the right direction:

Ducky knows how to work a myspace angle

Although, honestly, day-to-day we usually call her Ducky.

Her hobbies are going for walks, watching The Sopranos and playing Eldritch Horror.

she was born under a bad sign, got a blue moon in her eyes
Sometimes, though, we’re not sure if she’s on our side or THEIRS…

But I’m secretly glad I didn’t return her because she is much better than an ordinary cute-faced duck could ever have been. Or maybe this is Stockholm Syndrome.

In any case, I think the moral of this story is that sometimes life will send you a really angry duck. And that is okay.


48 Responses to the duckwich horror

  1. Laura says:

    Best post to read on a Sunday morning! Only now I want to go on Amazon and look for plush animals. I’m still not sure if you’re a good or a bad influence, maybe you’re both 😛

    And I love Ducky! I think she simply is misunderstood. I mean, no one that loves playing Eldritch horror could be a bad duck. Maybe I should get myself a plush pineapple to play Eldritch with me.

  2. Christine says:

    Chuckled my way through that – liked the embiggen and the elephants feeetts -and I’m sure I know someone who could use an angry cat plushie .
    I have plush owls (including a hedgewick) which whilst you would expect them to be scarier then ducks,manage to continue being cute.
    My mother has an Australian animal plushie collection – everyone buys toys for their mothers 95th birthday -yes ?

    • I have a plush owl as well (also by Keel if I’m not mistaken) but he has a bent beak and so looks incredibly anxious – now I think about, I do seem to collect plushies with weird expressions.

      Australian animals sound amazing – except isn’t Australia full of horrible things that want to kill you? And I definitely think anyone would appreciate cuddly animals for their birthday, whatever their age. Although I’m slightly biased 😉

      • Wendy Ahraham says:

        Oh come on Alexis, who wouldn’t want a koala, a platypus and a kangaroo toy? Although maybe there is a market for cute little crocs and furry funnel web spiders, what do you think?

  3. Ellie says:

    That is some seriously angry Ducky. Yet I wanted to care for it and cuddle from the very first picture in your post. I’m so glad you decided to keep it. And this comes from a woman who had never been a big fan of plushies except now her home is overflown with them because of the kids 🙂

    • Awww, you are clearly very tender-hearted when it comes to angry Duckys.

      Haha. Yes. Having children or knowing me is a surefire way to get your home filled up with cute, cuddly animals.

  4. Allison says:

    I kinda love her sneer, it gives her character, which is more interesting than simply cute anyway. 😀
    Thanks for sharing Ducky, and the story of her wending her way into your heart, it is a beautiful love story (and also very cute).

    • It is a very characterful sneer – also it keeps me motivated when I’m working 😉

      I think Ducky is appreciating all this love. Well, it’s hard to tell. But in her heart, I’m sure she appreciates it.

  5. Ariana says:

    Ah! Giggling over your story definitely cheered me up this morning. Poor Ducky! She clearly has some unresolved issues, I would watch her very carefully! You never know with guys who suppress all their deepest feelings…
    I was wondering how she is getting on with the rest of your collection? Anything noteworthy? Are there jealousy issues? Is Ducky bossing them about?
    I’ve got a cuddly cow called Brenda and cuddly chicken called Coco (I swear I did NOT say this for alliteration’s sake!), so I can emphathize. And I might have to go and check that web site out now…

    • Aww, I’m so glad 🙂

      I’m not sure if Ducky’s issues are unresolved so much as … right there and in your face.

      She mostly hangs out with H so the rest of my collection aren’t in too much danger. It’s pretty spread out across the house as everyone as their own little group and preferred place to be (I have an octopus who lives on one of my bookcases, for example). She sort of has a minion/nemesis in Nowl, who is an anxious-looking owl who hangs out on the sofa – she manage to get H to knock him off with a pillow the other day. H claims an accident but I’m not sure… IT’S ALL VERY SUSPICIOUS.

  6. Rachel says:

    Don’t judge, Ducky! Maybe she just needs some love!

    But…what is the second creature in on the 4th row? It is pink and not a pig and I am so confused. I am also disappointed in the lack of hippo, but I think the pineapple makes up for it.

  7. Shelby R. says:

    Best. Post. Ever.

  8. Sylvia Reads says:

    LOL! You crack me up 😀

  9. zarah robinson says:

    I only own one plush toy and I ended up with it because, years ago I worked in an office that frequently got donations to give to children. We received a huge bag of soft toys and all the people with children on their caseload dug through it and took the toys they wanted, until finally there was just this one, ugly stuffed doll left. It was an aardvark, with weird spiky brown fur and an overly long beak. I had no children in my load, so I’d ignored the stuffed animals. But I’d passed the cubical with this one toy laying forlornly at the bottom of a black plastic bag several times and eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and claimed the ugly aardvark for my own. I’ve had him something like 15 years now. He doesn’t thank me for rescuing him and I don’t make him feel he should have to.

  10. Sloan says:

    Laughing so hard I woke up my husband – TY

  11. libby says:

    1. This is hilarious

    2. A while ago I seriously considered buying a 230€ 1.8 m long plush crocodile (it’s 1.8m long, I am 1.8m long- IT’S A SIGN!). I’m still sad I didn’t. One day, though…

    3. Do you know of They are fantastic! I also never thought I’d say things like “I just really want to have herpes!”, but here we are.

  12. Cristin says:

    This post made my morning:) I have to admit I’m a total sucker for adorable plushies. I think Ducky has character…even if it is tiny rageful duck. I hope all the other friends are counted and accounted for every morning. Just in case.

  13. Lennan Adams says:

    I have many stuffies, including a very angry duck of my own, although I think his issues arose from being trapped under my son’s hockey equipment in his closet for years. I’m currently sleeping with an anxious bunny and I have no regrets. I am glad you and H happened upon this particular duck as I feel you all have the capacity to handle his issues. And I really do think he just needs several BIG hugs. #teamduck

  14. Clare says:

    I’m now ever so slightly hysterical with mirth in public. I don’t need a scary duck, I have my son who’s glaring daggers at me (he’s really cute from other angles too), who really doesn’t give a crap about the damn duck (he would if it was a hamster).

  15. Mel says:

    OMG 😀 This is hilarious. I laughed so much, I annoyed J who’s trying to concentrate and play the piano.

    As always, you are adorbs and lovely. Thank you for sharing your awesomeness with the world.

  16. Araminta says:

    Oh I totally empathise with this confession. I still have the teddy bear, which I had as a very small child – my Mum collected Heinz tokens to get him for me. He is very fragile now, with his head on a slant and many times repaired, but he still has a place in my heart and in my bedroom. I seem to have passed this onto my son, who is also a ‘grown up’ and recently bought Gus the turquoise penquin Beenie Baby (re-christened Artichoke) to take on his travels. He is going to Capetown soon and promises photos of Artie on Boulders Beach with his RL counterparts. I hope that Ducky retains your affection for many years to come (ie forever).

  17. Gillian says:

    You really need to write a children’s story about this: AJH and the Overly Judgemental Duck

    It’s got award winner written all over it.

  18. Irene says:

    I feel affinity with Ducky. Apparently I’m in an Angry Duck phase at the moment.

    Also… I still sleep with the teddy bear Bones gave me when we were in college.

  19. Pam/Peejakers says:

    Omg, you have made my day with this post, you . . . hilariadorable person <3 <3 <3

    I have many plush animals acquired in adulthood too 🙂 Hubs used to get them for me a lot, usually really gigantic ones tho – There was this *huge* gorilla once for Valentine's day, with a rose in his teeth & a plush red heart with "I love you" on it! 😀

    We've kinda stopped that tho as we've literally run out of room! *buys bigger house to accommodate plush animals* The last few I bought for myself & were small. And actually inspired by you, fyi 😉 An octopus (because Prosperity, kraken) and a slightly worried owl that reminded me of *your* worried owl so I couldn't resist. And a couple of Snoopys :*

    But I gotta say, I have nothing that compares with the sheer, unadulterated adorableness of the ones you've shown here! That *elephant*, omg <3!! *wants it*

    But I really do kinda love Ducky, poor grumpy little thing 🙂 I think she just needs hugging, so I'm glad to see you holding her in the last picture <3

    • Pam/Peejakers says:

      Ohh, maybe I just solved the “Mystery of the Downturned Duck Beak”! I think it was supposed to curve up, but it curves down, so maybe they just attached it upside-down?

      Or in other words, paraphrasing Jessica Rabbit, “I’m not bad. I’m just [sewn] that way” 😀

  20. Sissy says:

    Poor Charlotte/Caroline! Looks like they built her with her beak on upside down. Like a birth defect. So glad she ended up waddling her way into your arms.

    You’ve opened up another new world to me! Where else could I find plush snakes or sloths? i am glad I didn’t know about Keel toys when my children were little, I can see myself buying them toys instead of food.

  21. EmmaT says:

    This was hilarious! I like to envision you sitting at the computer deciding which is the plushiest of all. Hopefully Ducky’s crazy eyes are just a RBF and really Ducky is wishing someone would just see the inner duck.

  22. RhoMelie says:

    HILARIOUS!!!! I’m glad I’m the only one home right now. I laughed and smiled all over the place. Plus, I just wasted an hour looking up Bobballs and stuffed animals on Amazon. Then I started thinking about the stuffed toys I have in the house. Two girl bunnies my grandmother made plus the clothes they wear, a lamb with long skinny legs (I bought one for my step-granddaughter when she was born then bought an extra for me; that was 16 years ago), a teddy bear (I bought one for my great-niece when she was born and another for myself a year ago) then realized I have a total of 5 stuffed toys I bought duplicates of when buying one for someone else. Hmm. I may have an issue there that needs looking into. Aaaannnnddd I’m still smiling. Now I have to go back and read this post again and everyone’s comments. Best entertainment I’ve had in a while (not counting books). Beats tv any day. Love your wit, Alexis. It’s raining outside but this brought sunshine into the house. Love ya!!!

  23. willaful says:

    This post makes me think of several things:

    1) I thought of you when watching this video:
    I think you’ll love it.

    1a) There are also PvZ stuffies. I gave my son a squash.

    2) My mom used to have a stuffed beaver named Howard, with the most glorious soft tail. She would loan him to people she thought needed comfort. (Sadly, one of those people died, and he is now gone for good.) But after one such loan, Howard came back… strange. With an expression on his face as if he’d seen some eldritch horror. (Not the game.) We always wondered what he went through on that trip.

    3) I gave my mom a clip-on Totoro, carefully choosing the best one. It got lost. The store I bought it from no longer had it. Ebay has many but… I’m afraid the one I get would have some horrible expression, so I can’t bring myself to buy one sight unseen. I suppose she might love it anyway…

  24. Trish says:

    I love this so much!

  25. Belinda says:

    I re-read this twice and laughed even harder the second time around. I would love to be in on those design meetings. More importantly, I’m glad that you and Ducky have come to some sort of peaceful coexistence.

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