In between serving drinks one day, a publican looks up and sees a duck waddle in through the door. After he has served a few more customers, he's surprised to see the duck has actually pushed through the crowd and propped himself on a stool at the bar.
“A pot of light thanks mate” says the duck, pushing a ten dollar note forward with his wing.
“Strike”, the publican thinks to himself. “A talking duck.” The publican is pretty quick on the uptake, you see.
“Oh well”, he thinks to himself, “so long as he can pay, why not?” and serves the duck his pot of beer, takes the tenner, and puts the change on the bar.
“I was wondering,” says the duck, “if you have any spare rooms to rent. I’m new in town, and looking for a place to board.”
“As a matter of fact we do have a vacancy,” says the publican. “So, are you looking for full board? We can do meals, but you’ll have to make your own arrangements for laundry.”
“Oh yeah,” says the duck, “full board. Unless your meals are crap. Well, breakfast and dinner, but I'd be rapt if you could organise a cut lunch for weekdays…”.
“Oh, you’ll be working around here then?”
“Yeah”, says the duck, “and this place is ideal. It’s so close I’ll be able to walk to work, which is handy really, ‘cos I don’t have a car.”
“No worries,” says the publican. “Look, if you are not in a rush, can I just serve a couple of people first, and then you can sign in. While my wife Doreen is showing you your room and all that, you can discuss what you want in your cut lunches with her, ‘cos she takes care of all that side of things.”
Then the Publican puts his hand out, saying “Pete.”
The duck puts out his wing and they shake on the deal. “Charlie,” says the duck. “Charlie Drake”.
Naturally, the publican was gobsmacked at first but Charlie seemed to settle in well, and after a while they came to be good mates.
The duck must have been boarding at the pub oh, about 3 months, when one day a circus arrives in town. It’s one of the few circuses still moving up and down the coast, and usually arrives in the district just before the September school holidays every year.
The circus owner and the publican have been good mates for years, and the first day the circus owner, Tom, comes in for a drink after setting up the tents, the two of them are having a bit of a natter over a beer.
Tom tells Pete about his trials and tribulations, which acts have come and gone from the circus. Tom’s quite concerned because one of his main animal attractions has retired.
“Tom,” says the publican, “have I got some news for you. What would you say if I told you I can put you in touch with a talking duck?”
“I’d say you’ve been testing your own beer too often”, says Tom. “Nah, don’t torment me mate, it’s a real problem I’ve got on me hands.”
“No, mate, no bull. It’s a dead set talking duck.”
“Come on Pete, a duck, a parrot, a cockie… what’s the difference? No one is going to be impressed with a talking duck.”
“But Tom, this duck is different. He’s a real talking duck. You can talk about anything with him – cricket, footy, politics. Crikey, he even does the crossword every morning when he’s having his breakfast.
“Would you like me to sound him out for you? He doesn’t usually get in til after 5.30, which is too late for you because you’ll be working the evening crowds, but I’ll ask him if he’s interested, okay?.”
Later that night, the publican is having a yarn with Charlie, and asks if he’s ever thought about joining a circus.
Charlie laughs, and says “Oh well, what kid never dreamed of running away with the circus?”
“No, I’m serious Charlie,” says the publican. “The owner’s a good mate of mine – been coming here for years. If you’re interested, I’ll ask him how much a week he’s willing to pay you. Should be more than you are making now.”
“Fair dinkum?” asks the duck. “You’re not having a lend of me? It’s a genuine job vacancy?”
“Oh Yeah,” says the publican. “I was telling him about you today, and he said I should ask if you’d like to work for them”.
“Well, I’d much rather travel and meet new people than be stuck in one spot – which is not to say I’ve got any complaints staying here. Doreen makes the best cut lunches I’ve ever had.”
“Right,” says the Publican. “I’ll have a chat with Tom when he comes in tomorrow morning.”
“Just one thing…” says the duck. “Why would a circus need a bricklayer?”