To Deuce of Clubs index page To Write index page Autographed copies of Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth are now available!

Duck Ban

by Deuce of Clubs

(First published in Planet Magazine, 04jul1995)


"It used to be a nice outdoor place where you could go sit with your duck," says Nancy Townsend. That may not be how you think of the place, but she's talking about Coffee Plantation, from which she and Matilda the Diapered Duck have recently been banned. "They're saying that they did this because they had so many complaints about transients," says a dubious Townsend. "I think any halfway-intelligent security force can tell a duck from a transient!"

Some may argue that Townsend's giving too much credit to the no-neck wonders patrolling downtown Tempe these days, but their leash-holder, DMB—the company that manages Centerpoint—"has gotten really, really strict," Townsend complains. "I've been taking Matilda down there since she was about a month old."

Townsend immediately set out to get the rules changed. "Places that outlaw The Duck—well, I just go berserk!" she says. "There are wild birds flying around there all the time that mess on everything! Can't we use a little common sense here?" DMB security seemed to agree, telling her that "Rules are rules, but then there are silly rules."

DMB's Becky White, however, was less disposed to be lenient. "[Nancy Townsend] was informed that in accordance with the owners' rules and regulations, animals are not allowed on the property." So why the sudden enforcement, when Townsend has been hanging out at Coffee Plantation for months? "Well, that's what she keeps saying," White says, "but I called Coffee Plantation, and no one there ever saw her." However, observant Planet readers no doubt recognized Coffee Plantation as the site of some of the photos of Nancy and Matilda that accompanied our article— including the cover photo. White remains unconvinced. "For all I know, it was that one day. And Coffee Plantation has requested that she not be there."

Everyone involved understands that this duck wears a diaper. Nonetheless, "It's one of those things, it's's part of the rules and regulations," White explains. But Matilda loves people, I told her. "So do my dogs," she said. "And I really wish that I could bring them with me to go have a cup of coffee, but I can't." No reprieve, then, for the Duck Lady? "I checked with the owners, and the rules are the rules."

That probably won't convince Townsend, who's a pretty tenacious individual. When I suggested that maybe she should try wearing dark glasses and claim that Matilda is a seeing-eye duck, she laughed as though she just might consider it.

© Deuce of Clubs

Original Duck Lady interview

To Deuce of Clubs