Yesterday morning the post-penguin, waddling his rounds while all the igloo curtains were still closed, gasped at the sight of Podge waddling across the snow with a tin of paint and a large, bulging holdall. Squinting at Podge scuttling past, the post-penguin stashed his sack of letters in the porch of the Postigloo and followed Podge at a distance.
Podge’s first stop was the Igschool. Hiding behind a nearby fir tree, the post-penguin’s beak dropped open as he witnessed Podge pick the lock of the Igschool door. Podge disappeared inside with a tin of paint and then came out again without it. The post-penguin looked across at the Poligloo, sucking at his wingtip.
“Should I tell Police Penguin Polly?” he squawked quietly to himself.
Creeping off in that direction, he turned to peep over his shoulder. Podge was skulking off the opposite way. The post-penguin looked at the Poligloo, then at Podge, then at the Poligloo again.
“Perhaps I should see what else he’s up to,” the post-penguin squispered* to himself with a sigh.
So the post-penguin followed Podge at a distance, taking care to stay out of sight. Podge waddled to the Chigloo door where he paused momentarily, then across the Hub to The Park, where he went through the gates, out of sight behind some fir trees for a couple of minutes, and then out and across to the other side of the Hub to where Noel’s now abandoned beehives stand. The last stop on Podge’s route was the Penguin Community Hub’s noticeboard, where he changed the communal calendar on the noticeboard to May 1st. Looking around him, Podge turned and raddled** off back to his own igloo, carrying a very saggy, empty looking holdall.
The post-penguin rushed off to the Poligloo. Minutes later, PP Polly waddled purposefully out of the Poligloo and retraced Podge’s flipper prints. Cautiously, PP Polly entered the Igschool, looking all around her. Above the door into the classroom, she spied a precarious tin of paint waiting to be disturbed. She took it down and carried it with her.
When PP Polly arrived at the Chigloo, she spent several minutes looking all around the building and the snow around it, her wings folded behind her back, along with the paint tin. Then she stared at the door, squinted at it and leaned in towards it. Reaching her wingtip into the lock, she fished out a gummy lump of sticky tack. She shook her head and frowned as she wound the sticky tack around the handle of the tin of paint.
Waddling across to The Park, PP Polly instantly spied some artificial flowers which were all screwed up and ripped.
“As if you can buy artificial dead flowers!” she squawked to herself and gathered them up.
With a sigh, PP Polly waddled a little way over the snow to the abandoned beehives and stood looking at them, scratching her head. Bending down closer to them, she flinched. A buzzing sound was coming from inside the beehives.
“Strange,” PP Polly squawked. “Noel’s bees died ages ago.” Without hesitation she opened up one of the beehives and reached inside, pulling out some sort of little whirring fan. “Evidence,” she squawked and waddled across to the noticeboard. Having changed the calendar to the correct date, she went back to the Poligloo.
Within an hour, penguins were beginning to come out of their igloos, waddling to Igschool, to the shops, to other public igloos and to go about their tasks of the day. Podge raddled over to the very same tree that, unbeknown to him, the post-penguin had hidden behind earlier. There Podge waited and watched.
All the kiddy-penguins arrived at Igschool, squawking with one another as they waddled into the building. Through that igloo’s windows they could be seen sitting down at their desks. Tuck the fryer arrived at the Chigloo, unlocked the door and waddled inside. Minutes later, smoke began to puff gently out of that igloo’s chimney. No penguins went anywhere near The Park or the beehives. Any penguins who passed the noticeboard merely glanced at it briefly as they waddled by.
Podge narrowed his beady little eyes, scrambled out from behind the tree and stamped across the snow with a crinkled face, slapping his flippers down hard. PP Polly stepped out in front of him holding a tin of paint, some sticky tack, a raggedy bunch of artificial flowers and a buzzing fan.
“Looking for these?” PP Polly squawked.
Other penguins gathered around, squaughing***
At 11.45am Tuck stepped out of the Chigloo door.
“Podge!” Tuck squawked out loudly.
Podge, who was sitting behind the aforementioned tree, looking like a sheepish penguin(!) peeped around at Tuck.
“We’ve got a surprise for you.” Tuck squawked.
Podge snapped his eyes and bustled over to the Chigloo where he went inside and sat himself down at one of the blue and white checked table cloth covered tables.
Tuck presented him with a large plateful of fish and chips. “Just a little something we all ‘chipped’(!) in for to show you there are no hard feelings,” Tuck squawked.
Podge’s eyes lit up, he parted his beak in a large penguin grin, and rubbed his wingtips together. “Thanks!” he squawked, picking up a bottle of red sauce from the table top and smothering his fish and chips with the bottle’s gloopy contents. “I do love ketchup!”
Did I mention Tuck had a lot of almost out of date curry sauce to use up?! ;)
*a squawked whisper
**waddling at running speed
***a cross between squawking and laughing