Despite the fact that nearly all of them have had their limbs removed, and most lack faces, Duncan is quite gentle with his toys. I keep a drawer full of them, a sort of asylum for friends loved nearly to death, and switch them out every few weeks so that he doesn't get bored and restless. But when I wait too long he wastes no time in letting me know that the time has come to mix things up.
Percy, the first of his friends whose name did not start with a "B," joined our clan a few months back and quickly became a favorite. A terrycloth penguin with a bright yellow beak, eyelid-soft wings and two awkward little feet, Percy went wherever Roo went, and whenever he wasn't being tenderly carried back and forth across the apartment in Duncan's mouth, he was tucked protectively under a paw where he received a nearly constant bath. And because he was vaguely football-shaped I enjoyed him because he could be thrown with a nice spin, black and white whirling through the air hypnotically. Each night Dunc took him to bed, pulling his blanket over him to keep him safe and warm and each morning it became more and more difficult to take Percy away and put him up until I returned from work.
I don't know why exactly he fell out of favor but this evening after our walk, while I tended first to Facebook, then to dinner and a small glass of wine, Duncan made it perfectly clear that Percy had somehow offended and needed to be relocated into the witness protection program, replaced by Leon, the plush fuzzy red bone our friend Nik sent to us. I discovered the hapless penguin dismembered on the floor not far from the water dish, his wings and flappy feet forcibly removed from his body and missing entirely, his belly torn open, stuffing spilling out onto the carpet like cottage cheese. I quickly re-stuffed him and placed him on a high shelf where he will be safe until I can sew him up and tuck him into the asylum for a few months, at least until Dunc has forgiven him his crimes.
Until then he has Bah-Bah, his legless lamb, and Leon to see him through. Here's hoping no further infractions have been committed and Duncan won't be preoccupied with punishing the conspirators.