Transcript of testimony by the Duckling Savior, of Spokane, Washington, in his appearance before the Truth Commission, as established by the United States House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on Divers and Dabblers:
Commissioner Merganser: Mr. Duckling Savior, according to the report submitted to this commission by the Justice Department, you have now saved two broods of ducklings that jumped off the second-story ledge of your office building, first in 2008 and again in May of this year.
Duckling Savior: That is correct. In 2008, the mallard hen built her nest on the ledge. Everyone in the office watched the process and was aware of it. The night after the eggs hatched, I lay awake worrying about the ducklings. First of all, how would they get down? Directly below, it’s just a concrete sidewalk. This is downtown Spokane we’re talking about. The concrete is very, very hard in Spokane. And I lacked any previous experience in mitigating animal instincts. I’m a real estate loan officer. There was also the second question of how they would get across Riverside Avenue.
Commissioner Merganser: So in 2008, the mother duck flew down to the sidewalk and—what would we say?—beckoned her ducklings to jump off the ledge.
Duckling Savior: Also correct. And the first one jumped. I mean, it just clobbered the sidewalk. That’s when I ran downstairs. The second duckling was almost ready to heave itself off the ledge. I caught it with my bare hands and set it down. Then the process was repeated with ducklings three through nine.
Commissioner Merganser: And for this you abandoned your duties as a loan officer?
Duckling Savior: Well, I had to call a widow about refinancing her home, which was paid off, in order to get her some cash for a Vegas trip. But it could wait.
Vice-Commissioner Scoter: Mr. Duckling Savior, I’ll just point out the photos show ten ducklings in all. Had you checked with the EPA or your state department of fish and wildlife there in Washington about the necessary permits before getting involved in this?
Duckling Savior: No, I hadn’t.
Vice-Commissioner Scoter: Had you played outfield in the minor leagues, at least.
Duckling Savior: Ma’am, I was on the baseball team in high school but honestly didn’t get into very many games. Mostly, I was just a pinch runner.
Vice-Commissioner Scoter: So you had never played at any professional level?
Duckling Savior: True.
Commissioner Merganser: Let me proceed with the questioning about events of that day in 2008. Is it true that after all the ducklings had jumped and you had caught them, you put them into a box that you then carried two entire city blocks to the Spokane River?
Duckling Savior: There was a significant amount of traffic.
Commissioner Merganser: Could you tell us what the box had contained when it was full?
Duckling Savior: Copier paper.
Vice-Commissioner Eider: Mr. Duckling Savior, had you given any thought whatsoever to using a box that had contained, say, a shipment of luxury gardening tools from Smith & Hawken?
Duckling Savior: Do we have a Smith & Hawken in Spokane? I don’t even know.
Vice-Commissioner Eider: You might have ordered from the catalog.
Duckling Savior: Aaaaaahhhhh…
Commissioner Merganser: Mr. Duckling Savior, you are directed to answer the question.
Duckling Savior: No, I hadn’t given that any thought.
Vice-Commissioner Eider: Did former Vice President Dick Cheney supply you with that box?
Duckling Savior: Absolutely not. The only time I’ve been anywhere near Dick Cheney is when we took the family skiing at Jackson Hole, and I believe he was at his place there for the holidays. It’s hard to say we were near him even then. I think you’d call that proximity, at best.
Vice-Commissioner Eider: If not Cheney, was it Scooter Libby who supplied the box?
Duckling Savior: No way.
Vice-Commissioner Eider: Were the ducklings hooded while you traversed the distance between the sidewalk and the river?
Duckling Savior: Again, absolutely not.
Vice-Commissioner Eider: But photos were taken of the captives.
Duckling Savior: Yes, you see them, but the ducklings weren’t hooded.
Vice-Commissioner Eider: Was there ever the attitude, either of your own or among the office staff, that this was some sort of holiday or even a joke?
Duckling Savior: The entire staff was deeply concerned—except for one person in the commercial department who came out with everyone but went on down the street to Starbucks.
Commissioner Merganser: All right, let’s move forward to this year’s episode. Please tell us what happened.
Duckling Savior: It was pretty much the same thing. The mother duck returned to the ledge in late March, I guess.
Vice-Commissioner Scoter: Was any attempt made to dissuade her?
Duckling Savior: One of the security staff said something about setting out poisoned oats. But the office manager pointed out that ducks don’t really eat oats in the first place. Or even millet.
Vice-Commissioner Scoter: Do you know if this statement about oats was made after the security person had met with the CIA?
Duckling Savior: I do know there were some meetings with the FBI, but I thought those were about money laundering.
Vice-Commissioner Eider: Mr. Duckling Savior, sometimes this commission has found you less than forthcoming.
Duckling Savior: I’ve told you nothing but the truth.
Vice-Commissioner Eider: Can you explain why, if you never had any professional baseball experience, you risked catching the ducklings barehanded instead of using a net?
Duckling Savior: If it means being out of compliance, then next time I will.
Vice-Commissioner Eider: You mean to tell us that you contemplate allowing this to go on again in 2010?
Duckling Savior: Birds tend to return to the same nesting site year after year.
(Here, the commissioners confer about recommending a Treasury Department infusion of TARP funds into the bank and a replacement of the board of directors and CEO. The gallery becomes quite agitated and Commissioner Merganser finally bangs his gavel.)
Commissioner Merganser: Once again, the ducklings weren’t hooded?
Duckling Savior: Once again, Commissioner, you have pictures that show you they weren’t.
Commissioner Merganser: But the mother duck was allowed to lead the ducklings through the busy streets to the river.
Duckling Savior: It’s because the streets were closed for a parade.
Commissioner Merganser: No thought was given to the possibility that bagpipers might tread upon the ducklings? Mr. Duckling Savior, I’m afraid we find you quite negligent in this. And add to all of it the fact that you allowed your actions to be videotaped for national broadcast… I fear that this commission has no other recourse after this hearing than to turn its findings over to the Justice Department for additional investigation. That will be all today. We will honk—call you—if anything else is needed.