Of course we weren’t supposed to snatch the penguin. Betty said she hadn’t seen any rules saying we couldn’t, but I guess this kind of thing is implied at a zoo. It’s funny though, the rules they decide are worth printing on those metal signposts. ‘Don’t feed the camels’. ‘Avoid eye contact with Bozo the gorilla’. ‘Please don’t curse around the parrot’. I guess the difference was that these rules were being broken, left right and centre. Bozo was banging his chest in an incarcerated cell of rage, the camels looked lethargic under their hulking humps of haribo and the parrot was shouting ‘Your mum’s a cunt’ in never-ending loops. But no-one before had had the guts to snatch a penguin, until us that is.
The problem was, once we’d snatched the penguin, we didn’t know what the logical next step was. There was no protocol. Perhaps that was what had put people off in the past. Betty carried it around town in her rucksack. We weren’t sure whether we supposed to leave air holes. Did penguins even breath? Sometimes we splashed it with Evian, which it seemed to kind of appreciate. Eventually, we ran out of ideas. We had broken the unwritten rule of the zoo, but nothing major had happened. And we wanted to go to the cinema. So we snuck it into the photobooth in Boots, and the three of us took an assortment of varying snaps for memories sake, so we’d always have something to hold from our day where we showed the zoo what we could do. Then we set our new little friend free down a drainpipe and went off to see Die Hard 2.
Thing was, we didn’t realise the photobooth printed multiple sets of pictures. Now, if you take a trip to the zoo in our town, you’ll find our faces, blown up comedy sized, with a puzzled penguin lodged in between us. The words beneath read, “Please don’t snatch the penguins.” One thing you can be sure of. Our town has an above average number of penguin colonies breeding in its sewers.