Even the other gods often overlook them, or assume that they serve a different sphere, something sweet and fluffy and innocent. They are the picture of sweetest spring, after all, little trio of perfectly formed ducklings toddling through the world on leathery feet, wings too small to carry them, seeded with the buds of flight feathers that will never grow.
Antifreeze—ethylene glycol—is one of the most effective poisons in the modern world, and one of the most frequently overlooked, because of its sweet taste. The prettiest poisons must be sweet ones, otherwise why would anyone put them into their mouths? They are the triplicate terror, the end of rationality, and they are happy to flap their useless, adorable wings and waft pretty poison into the hearts and minds of everyone around them.
Thoughts and prayers are more nourishing than bread, and they are still ducks in the end. Celestial terror ducks, yes, but ducks.
The ponds they like best are the ponds that form inside the human heart, the ponds of contradiction and concern, experience and evidence, ringed round with reeds of hurt and resentment. They swim there and send their quacking up into the hollow places, to spill forth from human lips, tainted with all the lies they’ve swallowed in their endless quest to fill their infant bellies. They do not discriminate; if their works seem to describe only those you despise, perhaps you should look inside your own heart for the paddle of small feet, the flapping of small wings. They can spill their lies from even the most liberal of lips if not driven away.
Gods of truth and evidence may serve to keep the Maddin’ Crowd from seeking refuge in a tempting marshland for a time, but not forever. They must be constantly warded against. No amount of cleverness is a permanent protection.
Do not feed the ducks.
[image description: A painterly oil portrait of a gray-haired fellow whose nose and eyebrows are red. His suit and striped tie are rumpled, and in his stuffed-open mouth – three of the most adorable ducklings you’ve ever seen. Text reads, “4, The Maddin’ Crowd, The Small Gods of Turduckling”]
Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.
Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: