The Story Behind the Story of Bennett the Runaway Duck

I was a sensitive six-year-old. My feelings were easily hurt. One winter night, a family member said something that bruised. Sullen and angry, I decided to run away.

I took a 12-pack of wieners from the fridge. This, I believed, was an excess of wieners. The plan was to walk to the park across the street and wait for my remorseful family to come begging for forgiveness. A two-wiener wait. Tops.

I snuck to the front door, got my winter gear on, tucked the pack of wieners in a pocket and stepped out onto the front porch.

Cold winter nights after a heavy snowfall can be dead quiet, and so it was this night. The street was deserted, a sea of parked car snow shapes and black pits of doom beyond the streetlights.

I gazed out from the porch… and sat down. The park lay there under the snow, waiting. It was a thing waiting in the dark.

I’ve wondered over the years… if I’d been angrier, what would have happened if I’d gone to the park? Probably nothing. But I might have disappeared forever. There are monsters among us.

I had to accept defeat. But so soon? To go right back inside, well… humiliating. I chose to wait two minutes to preserve my dignity. But my mother opened the door. Worse, she was giggling.

Giggling! I should have realized that my location was known to her twenty-four hours a day. She stopped giggling long enough to say, “You should come back in, now. It’s cold. And you forgot the buns.”

In my early twenties, I drew a duck. His feathers were wildly askew, and he looked very hard done by. I named him Bennett. I can’t draw to save my life but something about this duck overcame that. He had a sweet, forlorn quality.

If you’ve been following along here, you’ve already put two-and-two together. We offered Bennett the lead role in the book. Fortunately, he said yes. And very fortunately, Valerie can draw. I mean on a world-class level. Otherwise, Bennett would look like this:

Thanks for reading! We hope you and your young ones love the book!

Larry Lalonde & Valerie Elmhirst

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