• No ducks were harmed in the writing of this story

(Wordplay Week involves a series of Oulipian twists on a classic joke. First read the template duck joke. You’ll also find guidelines there for offering your own Oulipian version of the story, which could win you a memorable prize.)

Dear folks. Everyone is so interesting here in the big city. I am interning at a drinking establishment that is popular with the legendary writing crowd. I get to take home all the uncracked peanuts I find on the floor when I sweep it out at the end of business, and one of the regulars told me he should be so lucky. He’s a famous local blogger.

Last night Ray, the boss, gave me an assignment. He sent me out to buy some grapes and some nails. I asked him why he needed them and he said he had a big decision to make. He made it sound pretty existential. I asked if it had something to do with the raven hovering over the bar and he said it was not actually a raven although said bird did not mind giving that impression. If said bird ever took a bath, he said, I would have a better idea of its avian credentials. But yes, said Ray, the bird did figure in his deliberations.