Don’t Miss The Show

Image by photographer Lee Sie at

“Millicent, is that you, darling?”

The female wobbled up the last few paces up the hill.

“Yes, Elinor, it’s me,” she said.

Elegant as ever in her black and white coat — but how could she wear otherwise indeed? — Millicent appeared and nodded.

“Ah, I hope I’m not the last one!” she said.

“Not at all, Millie dear,” Elinor said. “The whole O’Houghnessey clan still has to arrive. Clarence claims Luther -you remember Luther, Clifford’s cousin, don’t you? — saw them on his way here. A few more minutes out.”

“Millicent! You look splendid!” a new voice said.

“Ah, Lester, always the flatterer!” Millicent flirted. “You know I’m married, don’t you?”

“Ha, ha, but of course I do! You never forget to remind me, my dear! But then, so am I. But what has one to warm himself in the cold long winter nights?”

“Your feathers, Lester, that’s what you have,” Elinor mocked.

“Is this oaf bothering you, ladies?” another male interjected.

“Everett, darling!” Millicent said. “Oh, it’s a pleasure! You missed it last year, didn’t you?” she said, almost managing to hide the reproach in her voice.

“I’m afraid so,” the tall newcomer said. “I very much regret to inform you that my father passed away on that very day. There was nothing I could do.”

“Oh, Everett, I’m so sorry to hear that!” Elinor said, genuinely lamenting not having caught that piece of gossip until now. And how could it have escaped her for so long?

“Sorry, old chap,” Lester said, patting his friend’s elbow with his wing.

“Ah, here you are!” two new voices said almost in unison.

“Augusta!” Millicent said.

“Blanche!” Elinor said.

“Millicent, Elinor, how splendid it is that we can meet again here today!” Augusta said.

“Oh, Lester and Everett, my dears,” Blanche said. “The years don’t pass for you two. You still look like the rascals who used to chase us down the cliffs.”

“Ah, Blanche, you do us no favour, darling,” Everett said. “We may even believe you!”

And at that, the six penguins shared a roar of laughter. On the top of the hill, many more groups of the birds had gathered and were now chatting to each other, a cacophony of mixed cries and caws filling the air. Here and there one bird swayed from one group to another, new shouts rose in the air and the conversation raged on.

“There they are!” a shout went up.

As one, the penguins stared at the beach down below. On the shore, a golden wave composed of hundreds of humans, all in yellow caps and dark blue bathsuits, were running towards the water. The penguins had congregated, like every year, to watch the strange human migrating ritual. They swam for almost an hour, then left the shore and ran away. Twenty years ago, a penguin — some say it was Chester Porter, others maintain it was Coral McKenzie — discovered the ritual, and since then colony after colony had flocked to the strange call of the weird human rite.

“The first ones are hitting the waves,” Millicent observed. “How strange they are, aren’t they?”

“Yes. They can barely swim at all, still they persevere,” Everett murmured. “Funny people.”

“Oh, speaking of fun!” Lester said. “Did you hear the tidings? The Council of Elders did finally meet in the morning.”

All the penguins stared at him.

“And? Lester, if you know the outcome, let us now!” Millicent said, voicing the thoughts of the group.

“They’ve reached a decision! This year, they’re releasing the kraken!”


This is my entry for the Weekly Writing Exercise: October 12–18, 2015 on the Writer’s Discussion Group in Google+.

This when I saw the prompt the ending came into my mind immediately, silly as it is. So I thought of how to make it work, and came up with the idea of telling the story from the penguins point of view.

In the end, I’m very happy with this story: it was fun to write, and a couple of members of the WDG praised me for several reasons. What else could I ask for?