20 November 2006

Gay Penguins Adopt A Chick (A Childrens' Story)

Once upon a time, in a magnificent island called Manhattan, there lived two cute little penguins named Roy and Silo. From an early age, discovering that most other birds were able to soar freely through the clear blue heavens while they had to swim in the sub-zero temperatures or waddle ungraciously on the treacherous ice, those penguins realised life was unfair and that they got a raw deal in it. Still, instead of wallowing in self-pity, Roy and Silo took consolation in their own company, and their rather dapper tuxedo feathering, and decided to get on with the business of living.

What adventures they had together! Yee-haw! You might not already know, but all penguins are gregarious when they’re young, and let me tell you little Roy and Silo hopped and tobogganed enough to leave a trail of feathers across the ice that only the best of them dared to follow. At night, they sat together on the floats, huddling close as they listened to terrifying stories about humans, how they liked to hunt little critters just like them, slaughtering great numbers of penguins to skin them alive for their blubber. You can imagine how that scared the shit out of them, can’t you? Unable to sleep, little Roy and Silo lay close together and whispered to one another, assured that the inaccessibility of their own icy habitat kept them safe from any humans nearby.

Everything went along fine until there came a season when the other penguins in the flock started to behave a little… well, strangely. Some bowed, some shook their heads at one another, some began more elaborate displays of what we humans call courtship rituals. Do you think little Roy and Silo were impressed by all of that? Hell, no! They laughed their feathers off at such a load of old nonsense. Off they went swimming together in the ice cold waters, playing like they’d always done before.

But let me tell you something, kid, penguins have got to withstand pretty some intense temperatures to live in those waters, and while all those other penguins were off bowing and shaking their heads at each other, making funny little squeaky noises that would one day produce little eggs and the next generation of pretty little chicks, there was no one else in that icy water, and it got real cold. And I mean real damn cold. In fact, it wasn’t long before little Roy and Roy were freezing to death, so it was lucky Roy and Silo discovered that a tail wasn’t just a rudder for turning around, and those stiff little flippers were working away under the water. Yee-haw!

None of the other penguins made much of a fuss when Roy and Silo decided to set up a little calf and cow operation together, although some of them refused to take Roy and Silo seriously until they hatched a chick of their own. This proved impossible to do, for biological reasons, leaving the fellows with no alternative to seek intervention from the humans, who had until then paid little or no attention to the feathered friends' domestic arrangements. Suffice to say that after rolling a rock around for several days and treating it like an egg, the zoo keepers (who, like most humans, were rather stupid creatures) a surrogate was provided.

No one denies that Roy and Silo had their first domestic tiff over who was to start fasting for the two-week period while incubating that little egg of theirs, but that aside, all went smoothly until it hatched. Initially, Roy and Silo were both shocked to discover that their little chick was a sooty grey colour, with plumage in no way resembling their own: rumours that an egg had been abducted from an impoverished penguin family in Malawi were vigorously denied by the zoo keepers. In time, the little chick who they had named Tango demonstrated normal penguin tendencies, much to everyone’s relief.

But, some might say unfortunately, this little story does not end there. Although Roy and Silo overcame their initial nesting difficulties, raising a little chick put a considerable strain on their relationship. To be quite frank, it turned Silo’s stomach to watch as Roy regurgitated his food, which Tango was then expected to eat. Then there was arguing and fighting about the usual domestic stuff: who was going to stay at home looking after the kind, who was cleaning all the bird shit out of the nest, you know... and I won't deny that it got a bit ugly sometimes.

Perhaps their relationship would have survived all of that if it hadn’t been for the hordes of additional visitors at the zoo, criticising their parenting skills, watching every move Roy and Silo made, no doubt hoping to get a picture of one of them dangling little Tango over the edge of the ice. Well, suffice to say that it reached a point where little Silo just wasn’t able to take it anymore. One night, he went out to one of the floats and slid up and down on the ice until his head was dizzy and sore. He felt better after that, and realised there was another penguin sitting all on her own looking over at him, a penguin that he’d seen around. Her name was Scrappy, a plain little creature, the kind ofpenguin that everyone liked but no one wanted to date. She was nice simple homely sort, and as he sat there watching her watch him, Silo couldn’t help realising how much easier life would be if he was hanging out with Scrappy instead of Roy.

I don’t have to spell it out for you, kids, do I? Silo did the only thing he could do in the circumstances, which had been the right thing all along. He told Roy it was all over and said goodbye to little Tango, leaving them to cry themselves to sleep at night for several weeks to come.

Like I said at the beginning, life was unfair, and those penguins knew they got a raw deal from the beginning. So let that be a lesson to you, kids, and don’t forget what you’ve learned in this story: don’t ever let the media catch you with your pants down; when you’ve got to make a tough decision, take the easy way and do whatever the hell everyone else is doing; and don’t ever, never trust no one with a stupid name like Scrappy.

To read the sensationalised media coverage of this story, click here

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