Last week, I became highly displeased with my nurse's inability to read to me. She speaks as though her mouth is full of porridge, and it is agony watching her great, fat lips make mush of the effervescent prose of Horatio Alger.

So I placed an advertisement in The Onion in hopes of finding a better story-teller, offering the prospective hire inclusion in my will in exchange for services rendered. I soon came to regret my actions.

As soon as the papers hit the street, a rather low-life duck burst into my bedchamber. He was a revolting creature, with enormous, mad eyes, oily, ink-black feathers and a little straw hat.

But despite his coarse manner, I decided to hire "Pushy," mainly because he possessed a go-getting doggedness that reminded me of my younger self, except that I am not a degenerate duck.

I immediately put Pushy to work, ordering him to read me a chapter of Hans Brinker. But before he could finish the first sentence, he slammed down the book. "This is applesauce!" he said, bouncing around the room, tooting a small horn. He then dove into my lap, and, throwing his filthy wings about me, said, "So where's the loot, Pops?" He let off a horrific shriek and spun like a dervish on his pointy head.

By week's end, I had had enough of that wisecracking duck, so Standish and I endeavored to murder him in a variety of ways. One of my Swiss guards punted him into the next county, but the wretch came back in the mail, his feathered bottom bearing a postage-stamp. Next, Standish presented him with a sandwich filled with dynamite, but when the smoke cleared Pushy was still alive, though his orange bill now sat on top of his singed head. A bit later, a safe was dropped on him, but Pushy merely slithered out from under it, and with the use of an air-pump he inflated himself back to original size.

But I now believe I have the upper hand. I told Pushy he could inherit my entire fortune if he took care of my dog, Nero. Pushy took to the notion like a fish to bait. Little does he know, however, that Nero is an enormous, retarded sheep-dog with a wet, lolling tongue and a penchant for molesting ducks. Methinks we will be soon be rid of our fine, feathered friend.