Some people are prone to coughs. Some to earaches. Me? I’ve always been prone to hiccups. I got them when I was little when I laughed too much. I get them now that I’m older when I drink too much.
When I was five, I had a terrible case of the hiccups. I couldn’t get rid of them. My sister and I walked into my babysitter’s room to tell her I had the hiccups (as if she couldn’t hear me hiccuping across the apartment). She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Ok. But I have a question for you. Did you break my duck?” She had a stuffed animal puppet that was a duck. When you put it on your hand, inside where the mouth was, there was a bulb you squeezed and the tongue rolled out. She said we’d broken it.
“This was a gift from my fiancé. It was the first gift he ever gave me. I’m very upset. Who broke it?” We were petrified. We hadn’t done it but were being accused of breaking this very special toy. We looked at each other. We looked at her. Blood drained from our faces. We were good kids. We didn’t break things. We didn’t touch other people’s stuff.
“How are your hiccups?” she asked.
“Wh-wh-what?” I stammered?
“How are your hiccups?” She asked again. Smiling this time.
“They’re gone.” I said, my surprise evident in my voice.
“Good. When I was little, the nuns at my school always told us the best way to get rid of the hiccups was to scare them out of you.” She said. Then, she tucked the duck puppet over her hand, squeezed the bulb, and stuck his tongue out at us.