pronker: (Default)

Title:  Nearly A Bodice Ripper

Author:  pronker

Era:  Waaay AU, dream sequence, fever hallucination, what have you

Summary:  Alien bodices are different.

A/N  Written as a drabble inspired by an image of a Pengauani on theforceDOTnet's Fanfic Writer's Desk.  See illustration.


Two moons shone off-kilter on the whitecaps just offshore like the headlights on an Acura that needed adjusting by a state-certified adjuster.  "Is it always humid like this on your planet, toots?" Skipper inquired as he struggled to strip romance-inhibiting combat gear from the willing Pengauani.  The nearest Earth equivalent was a Sam Browne belt, all buckles and snaps and hard-finished leather, a real hnsnzta to undo when you only had flippers.  She'd torn off her goggles before lying back and panting cmoncmon.  It seemed a lot of trouble to go through for a typical penguin dalliance of fifteen seconds.

pronker: (Default)
Title: Cartoon Forgiveness

Author: pronker

Rating: PG

Era: AU (or is it?) directly after the run of the show.

Summary: The funny animal cartoon genre isn't always funny.

A/N Written because not every jerk receives a clean slate to preserve the status quo in a TV program. Let's face it, the show's lead penguin in real life would be somewhat of a jerk. *dodges thrown shoes*


Just after dawn on a Wednesday, the most traveled crossroads of the Central Park Zoo appeared to be cursed by Hecate. Nothing proved that more than Marlene's next words, a classic phrase dreaded alike by girlfriends and boyfriends.

"We need to talk."

Her beau plastered on a big nervous smile, although he hated to smile on general principles. "Hi, Marlene! What's up?"

"I was, when you hoisted me by one ankle while demanding that I show my tentacles. Not cool."

Skipper made the face that used to charm Marlene. "Heh. Heh. Er, heh. Don't you remember the circumstances? Camouflaged space squid infiltrations were a definite possibility given the scenario --- "

Marlene narrowed her eyes. "Definite and possibility are two words that do not go together, Skipper, just like you and me. I don't like you anymore." She turned her back to walk away and this was unacceptable. Skipper dredged up the most effective terse retort he could think of, since he wasn't good with words. What came out sounded desperate.

"Don't leave!"

Marlene kept flouncing, her tail stiff with fury. Skipper felt his own temper surge and for Patton's sake, she deserved a verbal slap. "Forget I said that! I want you out of my life because anyone who ever thought Ringtail was boyfriendable --- "

"That was wild, feral Marlene who kissed Julien and Kowalski cured me, so stuff it!" Marlene shouted over her shoulder as she continued down the path.

"Hey! I dump you, not the other way a---- " But she was out of earholeshot. "Aw."

His troops approached, marching in formation as Kowalski counted cadence. Skipper had thought the morning couldn't get any worse; it seemed he was the opposite of right. He failed to eighty-six the slump of his shoulders, but he refused to surrender without a fight worthy of Yamamoto. "Bring it on. Unmake my day."

To the commander's utter shock, meek Private began. He put his flippers on his hips. "Skippa, I'm cheesed that you even hinted wot you hinted at about me!"

Kowalski was next. "I am not a nutjob that you need to nannycam in my lab! The EM pulses of your intrusive surveillance may have ruined any number of important experiments involving strontium-90! We're lucky we're still alive and not glowing, that's all I can say." The peeved sniff must have unblocked his sinuses all the way up to the top of his oblong head.

Before Rico could weigh in, Skipper marshaled his defenses. "Numero uno, Private, that thing that I may or may not have hinted at --- "

Private pinwheeled his flippers in outrage. " --- is completely untrue! Now Mason and Phil won't speak to me." The young penguin's innate honesty periscoped above his pique. "Well, Mason won't speak to me. Phil won't even sign at me."

Rico finally got in his blunt two cents' worth. "Kippaaahhh bad."

"Numero dos, I am not! And I'm still your commanding officer, all of you. Don't make me report you to the Big Boss."

"Like she'd ever cross the pond to inspect our base --- "

"Leave her out of this, Kowalski. She's got bigger fish to fry than smooth over one team's skirmishes. Things aren't good at our embassy in Atlantis." What to do, what to do. Redirect? Yes, a proven winning strategy. He adopted the tactic of squashing all his own anger over this kerfluffle down into a tiny pinched ball in the Davy Jones' locker of his soul. He was sure he didn't look to them like he felt.

"And now for numero tres. Rico, you endangered the whole team to shop for a Barbie ripoff wardrobe for Miss Perky" --- Rico used his greater height to glare down his beak at his accuser --- "Kowalski, your Chromosomal Curbulator threw the space/time continuum out of whack" --- Kowalski muttered chronal curbulator --- "and I saved the worst for last." He arranged his features into what usually smacked down insubordinate flightless birds. "Private, your mooning over a reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh couldn't have come at a worse time. That lo-er, like affair threatened Christmas itself."

Private had the grace to look abashed before countering with, "Cupid and I saved Christmas, Skippa."

The battle hovered on the Little Round Top cusp as Skipper paused to let his words sink in. What could they do, anyway? He held the better spread of cards.


On another plane of existence, Hecate cackled and pumped a fist as intoxicating discord pulsed through her ichor. Why, they'd be at each other's throats in a moment. Making trouble for mortals never got old.


"It's too late trying to patch things up. We want a divorce." Kowalski mirrored Rico's and Private's crossed flippers.

"Whaaat?" Kowalski was his second and understood him best. At the moment, Skipper regretted unbending enough to become so well known. "You're all crazy! Divorce?"

It could not be that the battle turned into a defeat or even a rout. "Skipper, by any military penguin standards, you are rude, crude and deluded if you think your command is flawless --- "

" --- never claimed I was perfect --- "

" --- so the three of us choose not to forgive you any longer. The slaps, the browbeating, and the sarcasm took their toll. We're leaving you. Not the service, you."

"Where the hell will you go? We live in a braaping zoo exhibit!" Right, curses waited until the end of the argument. This morning couldn't see the end of not only Marlene, but also his troops with whom he had been honored to serve. The one individual in zoomanity who might empathize with betrayal of this degree was Julien. Skipper quailed at the thought of confiding in him.

Kowalski picked up steam. "There are other places to live than at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York. We'll find a new home and spill the mung beans about you to HQ." The other two nodded. Even sweet, naive Private must have hardened his heart to match his uncaring face.

A Pickett's Charge disaster it was, then. He'd never felt this way before. Someone with his voice droned practicalities because, really, what was there left after devotion departed? "You'll want supplies. Take all the petty cash and my share of the fish that Alice will toss this morning. I'm not hungry." This was not seeking sympathy, it was not. The ulcers that flared up now and then burned into a nova. "Do what you gotta do."

"We shall because we must." Kowalski showed leadership, Skipper would give him that much. With the next words came the snap! of longtime comradely ties parting. It hurt as much as he'd ever thought it would. "Um, so long, and thanks for all the fish." Kowalski hupped and the three hustled away in perfect formation. The team, his team, double timed to their lair to clean out lockers, pack Lunacorns in excelsior, doll up Miss Perky in fashionable travel accessories and, Skipper supposed, sneak away with vials of bubbling green goo to play Mad Scientist with.

It didn't matter now.

The commander of nothing leaned against a lamp post. He'd lost battles through the years. Except ... why did this feel unlike a battle? He could not figure it out. Introspection was not his thing. First Marlene dumped him and then his men dumped him. What was going on? How would he defend the zoo against Hans or Blowhole or that demented blue chicken from Delaware? He was only one penguin. Could he have handled the sitches better?

He reviewed his actions because this was SOP in any mission debrief. Marlene blindsided him by being upset about a completely understandable action of his from the distant past, so he defended himself? Check. Private got all dithery about something or other he thought his commander had hinted about him and that Mason and Phil got wind of and overreacted to, so he defended himself? Check. Kowalski missing the point completely about the imperative safety issues inherent to bunking above a fusion reactor core and living with a waddling ammo dump, so he defended himself? Check.

The ammo dump would be Rico. And Rico's blast stung the most, for all its unspecified nature. Bad. Skipper never was bad. Not even once. He was firm and decisive and got things done the right way. Sure, he disciplined with whatever came to flipper. He cared enough to do it. If defending his actions with all his might wasn't effective, what was?

The lamp cast a glow through a clear sunset by the time the day's debrief dimmed. Skipper roused with a jolt and slow look around where he'd found himself. Alice's mucky boots stomped three feet from his position as she groused about schlepping food to ungrateful animals. The plash of Marlene's oysters hitting her habitat melded with Alice's right on underhand pitch of six mackerels to the penguin habitat. A bench's unlovely underside shadowed him effectively from her. He didn't remember sliding to it.

He looked up as Alice clomped further down the zoo's path. Blobs of atomic pink bubblegum stuck under the bench's slats. He grimaced. Nasty humans and their nasty habits. Gross. What he'd come up with as an answer to his problems would never work with them. The solution he'd worked hours on took the form of a snow white dove in his mind and he groaned. Aw, his subconscious bombed on with another spirit guide? What the deuce for?

The white dove fluttered six inches above the ground, just to show off its flying capability, he guessed. When it opened its beak to talk, Frankie The Pigeon's Brooklynese took flight.

"Waddaya doon, hatchin' a egg? Getta move on!"

"Go to hell."

"Where I'm frumz not even close, Leader Man. Ya know what youse gotta do."

"Yeah, yeah. Leave me alone." Skipper pushed the dove and his flipper passed through it. The dove hooted like an owl laughing at George Carlin's best joke.

"Big guy, aintcha? Smackin' a white dove what's one hunnert percent inna right?"

"No white dove has ever had a day like mine. Vamoose."

"I can go youse one better so much that it ain't even funny. Vamoose yerself." The dove pushed in turn and Skipper rocked back from the shove. What the pineapple hamsteaks? He'd never felt Alex The Spirit Guide Lion's touch, so who or what was this buttinsky?

"What's the use? They've all left by now." Sunshiney briny whiney, he hated the sound of his own voice. He bucked up. "So I'll find them, right? That's what you'd say next, right? So don't even say it. I'll go. Just give me a moment, okay?"

Frankie The Pigeon's voice turned softer. "Ya goddit, m'main bird. Lil tip here: start with Marlene."

"Why so?"

"'Cause she's just one animal to practice mutual forgiveness on, plus she'll never desert her habitat the way yer men would. She's a nester from way back."

"Yeah, she is --- Reilly's Aces, how'd you know that about her? Who are you?"

"I'll tell ya when youse older."

"Smarta--- "

"Don't say it. My forgiveness has limits, boychik. Some don't think so, but it does. Gwan now. Do whatcha need ta. They might come around."

Skipper drew on Routine Seventeen, his least favorite: Just Relax And Take It, You Fool. "But they might not."

"True. Ya never know till youse try, goomba. Routine Two, Skipper."

"Peace Out? How do you know our secret routines --- hey! Where'd you go?"

No white feather left behind to show it was all real, no disembodied voice echoing through the calm zoo evening, none of that theatrical stuff soothed one confused penguin. He shook off the mood.

Skipper drew a deep breath as he assayed a little detour before a surgical sortie. Deciding to ask for forgiveness drew on all his strength and now he felt hungry. He'd better hope the men had enough regard left for him to leave one mackerel behind at his usual place at their table.

He'd know when he dropped down the hatch into a deserted lair.


Hecate plumped a cushion under her tush before grabbing a handful of popcorn to split among her three heads. This was going to be good. No way would The Other Side win this time.


The End.

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[community profile] three_weeks_for_dw

I am pleased to make a public comment about this fest, after learning of it via the illustrious [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith. Welcome to any new folks from LJ, as well as to others discovering Dreamwidth. This is a fine, easy to use site for fandoms; I've enjoyed the Snowflake Challenge and though I've not the time to do Three Weeks, it looks worthwhile.

In other news, The 2017 Golden Yoda Awards Ceremony over on The also is running until Monday, a big hooha event filled with excellent Star Wars fics, camaraderie and skits tailored to the fics. Woohoo! Come visit for Good Timez that include funny gifs.


Title: Adventures In Babysitting

Author: pronker

Era: Directly after the run of the TV show.

Summary: Marlene joins the commando team. Fluff ensues.

A/N Third entry in a loosely constructed trilogy consisting of "Sunny Days Sweeping The Clouds Away" followed by "Trial And Error." Skilene.


Through the morning murmur of Kowalski's ongoing lab experiments, Marlene could almost make out the lyrics that Rico blared to Momma Duck's latest batch of ducklings. Her imagination supplied the full version. Little Paul and Sarah swayed to the rhythm in the endearing way that babies moved to music.

Now I'm back in the ring to take another swing

'Cause the walls were shaking

The earth was quaking

My mind was aching

And we were making it and you

Shook me all night long ---

Rico leaned over the playpen and crooned, or rather croaked, to the two children. Marlene thought how far he had come from his allergy to mushy love statements and smiled before speaking in a stage whisper. The littles were so young that they didn't talk yet. She hoped their understanding was limited, too. Some invention of Kowalski's burbled on a high shelf of his lab; it must be dangerous because he'd placed it far out of little feathered creatures' reach. Marlene had in mind a more subtle danger, however.



"That's not the sort of lullaby to sing to babies, really it isn't, I mean they don't understand the words well not the way you sing them anyway but I do get the song. They might absorb the meaning oh I don't know much about babies --- "

Rico flung a strong flipper about Marlene's shoulders. "Wrytoomuch."

"Hey, since Private ducked out of babysitting they're your responsibility so if you want them to --- never mind. I guess you're right. Well, um, they're nodding off so I'll sketch the beginning of the surprise for Momma Duck." She leaned into his side. "Jefe Grande, set up my easel, huh?"

He astounded her by pecking her cheek before disengaging. "Yah." Her easel was new and untried, like she was in this plural relationship on the team she was beginning to think of as hers.

The splintered old easel made a campfire when she and Skipper hammered out their plans for the future one night as they roasted marshmeowmeows; namely, that she would join the penguin commando group on an as needed basis. He made it formal. He produced a pearl the color of a blushing peach to give to her, actually taking a knee to present it. "My pebble, Marlene." She'd felt faint as she took it, murmuring that she had nothing to give in return. "I'm sure you'll come up with something," he'd said softly and the words felt like a promise from the Labyrinthine Mollusk Herself.

Marlene swam back to the present as she felt Rico's gaze upon her. "Heh. Woolgathering, sorry. I'll get to work now." She framed the portrait in her artist's eye, arranging them all by height. It would be sweet to paint Skipper and Private helping Sarah to stand with one of her tiny wings in each of their flippers. To the left she would pose Kowalski and Rico with Paul in similar position. She took extra time to figure out how she would fit herself in. Between the two pairs? Cliché. Behind them, standing on a stool, as if she were their marionetteer? Maybe. She'd leave that for future inspiration. Momma Duck was busy teaching her older brood to fly, so the penguins had care of the infants for two whole days.

"'Kay, Rico, do that turn the mind off thing you do so well and freeze. Yeah, like that." Rico's eyes blanked scarily, but she was used to it.

She sketched the basic layout, ovals and circles forming penguin shapes of the penguins not in the lab. Rico she filled in more thoroughly and the babies' cuteness was easy; she condensed her usual broad strokes into more precise ones for their small faces and features. Paul and Sarah could both use a smile enhancement. Hmm, how to get them to smile when they woke up and she could begin work fine-tuning their tiny expressions?

She poked Rico when she was finished and he turned his mind back on. Marlene could nearly hear the vroom of his little gray cells at peak acceleration once more. She anticipated a simple day of sketching and playing with ducklings while leaving most of the work to penguins who had, you know, promised their mother to take on the awesome responsibility of caregiving.

What Rico did next amazed her.

Zipping from a blank expression to hyper alert commando focus, he homed in on her without saying a word. He leaned into her neck, sniffed hard and then tilted his head back with beak open. With his tongue slapping against the roof of his mouth, he made sounds that reminded her of the sump pump that Handyman Gus installed when her habitat flooded.

"Er, Rico, what are you doing?"

He did not reply, and the sump pump slurped at high speed. She grew uncomfortable.

Her curiosity got the better of her when he waved her closer. "C'mere." Now he slithered his beak into her right pit and she darted back when she felt a long lick.

"Stop! I don't like touching like this, penguin! Quit it!" She pushed him off.

His gaze refocused. "Sowwy." He looked concerned. "Yukay, 'Eenie?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. Why did you taste me?" Marlene blotted away his spit from her pit. "Ew."


She sniffed. "Well, you're weird, too, and you smell bad sometimes, but you don't hear me mentioning it."

What he asked next dropped a bomb into her lap. "Pregs?"

"What? No! How is that even possible!"

His lifted brow said it all. "kaffKipppaaaaahkaff --- "

" --- is a penguin. Honestly, Rico." She burst out laughing. "Really! Can it be that you don't know how impossible it is --- "

Rico indicated the two snoozing babies wordlessly.

"Sure, I'll keep quiet," she whispered, "but gosh, what gives?"

He shrugged as confusion rumpled his face. "Dunno. Yutastefny."

It had to be this next thing that he sensed, it had to be it. "Not that it's your business, but I'm coming into heat. This stays between you and me, okay? I'll tell Skipper if he needs to know." She looked at him sideways. "Do you realize what that signals, Rico?"


"Ha! The opposite, actually, because it hurts sometimes why am I telling you this?" She shook her head. "Just forget about it. It's only ten days, three if I get lucky."

He grinned.

"I don't mean lucky that way! Look, there are no other otters in Central Park Zoo so I can't become pregnant, the zoo never loaned me out for a breeding program or brought in a male otter --- I wonder why?" She fluttered her lashes because the grin deserved a comeback. "Aren't I pretty enough?"

Fat tears formed in Rico's eyes. He rolled her into a protective hug that had her gasping.

She broke out of it. "I'm kidding, you goofball! I have loads of green memories, working backwards from Skipper to everyone who's none of your business, m'friend." She patted his broad belly. "Aw, I'm all right. You know, maybe there are otters in Central Park." She frowned. "I've never thought about it. I've never scented any, though." She'd likely remain childless; she hadn't always been okay with that, but she was now. The solid relationship she had with Skipper helped immensely.

Sarah picked that moment to rouse and bop Paul's beak. He squalled and dotted her eye. The noises arising from the playpen took Rico's attention and Marlene's, too, as they each held a baby to soothe away tiny duckling owwies. Cuddling Paul, Marlene thought that babies were more interesting than she'd considered before two landed intimately into her life. There was the moro reflex, the rooting reflex, the walking reflex ... She mused herself into a reverie as she bobbled Paul up and down.

Skipper's and her baby would be an otguin, a furry black and white stub-tailed shape sporting penguin feet and flippers, but with an otter face. He or she would be the apple of her or his parents' eyes. She squeezed small Paul's yellow fluffy fuzz fondly and he farted. "Let wind be free for there shall be --- oh, skip it. Did you pick up that habit from Rico, Paul sweety?"

Rico huffed as he put Sarah on his shoulder to rub her back and jiggle her. "Nope. Kwoskii."

"Heeee, right! He farts, you burp, Private boushes and Skipper --- what does he do that they could pick up?"

Rico finished comforting. Sarah toddled around the playpen once again and Marlene placed Paul at the opposite corner. She gave him a fish plushie and Sarah a plushie that resembled a partially eaten ear of corn, but on closer inspection proved a mockup of Kowalski's abacus. Paul gnawed the fish plushie and then slapped Sarah with it. It was soft as an otter's winter fur and didn't hurt. "Oh. That's what they're picking up from him."


Kowalski held the lab door open while Skipper poked his head around it. "Hey, artiste, how's it going?"

"Wedun." Rico exited the lab at Kowalski's wave. Skipper approached his ladylove.

"You look cute today, Marlene."

"So do you, honey."

"Yeah, um, well, mirrors don't lie. I look exceptional." He caressed her shoulder. "Wanna fool around?"

"Nooooo, unless you mean sketch." An ache began low in her belly to signal her condition of reproductive ripeness. If Skipper had taken the flehmen position like Rico did, he would have swallowed her scent like the finest Beluga caviar. As it was, he looked taken aback, but only for a moment.

"Okay. It would have had to be quick, anyway. We've got a full mission schedule today, and I was hoping you could cover for us in the babysitting sitch, what say?"

The peach of a pearl formed a tie with him and all the team, really. "Sure. What's up?"

"Kowalski needs to fix his first fixing of the zoo clock, Rico is itching to scope out Gus' excavating the main fountain, Private wants to pet the bunnies in the Petting Zoo and I am determined to face them head on in do-or-die combat drills."

"Combat with bunnies?"

"You didn't see what they did to us once, Marlene. We were pwned. Never again, not on my watch! Learn from your enemies, babe."

Her brow crept upward. "I don't have any --- "

"Sure you do! Anyone who's lived as long as you have has enemies. That's a given."

She sighed. "Same planet, different worlds, I guess. All right, Skipper, mission away. I could use downtime, anyhoo."

"Why so? You're usually gung ho to come along." He didn't appear worried, only curious, thank goodness.

"Let's just say it's my time of the year."

"I don't get y--- oh. You mean that." He looked at her like she was a fragile ice sculpture, melting if he so much as breathed hard on it. "Out of my jurisdiction and out of my league, Marlene. Tell me what you need. I'll get it for you, no matter what."

She did melt, but deep inside. "Awwww, honey. I don't need anything. It's just the Labyrinthine Mollusk's way of doing things to make otters make more otters. I'm fine."

He couldn't seem to look her in the eye. "Er, how do you handle ... everything?"

"You mean blood, Skipper?"

A wordless nod in the direction of the lab's door, which he might sprint for any moment now. She could tell he was cringing where it didn't show.

"I swim a lot. You may have noticed."

"Oh. Yeah. That'd work. Um, onward, Marlene, I will belay calling on your expertise when that sitch is on the calendar. Just let me know the times."

She wanted to lighten this moment up before he squirmed away. "It's not contagious, Skipper. I've been doing this a long while."

"I can imagine, but it's okay, Marlene. You take it easy today, you hear? We'll dash in at noon for smiling and waving and to bring you some cotton candy for lunch. We'll wrap our missions up by chow this evening and then you can split for home."

She just had to tease because messing with him was such fun. "So you're not spending the night at my place even though it's Saturday?"

"No, got things to do here at HQ." His eyes popped open wide with inspiration. "Can't leave these adorable moppets alone."

"With three others to watch them?"

"We'll take shifts overnight. The more penguins, the fewer hours in each shift. Yeah, that's it."

"I see. Uh huh."

He rubbed the back of his neck. "It's just that I'd never thought about dealing with this thing about you because birds don't --- uh. You know what I mean."

"Yes. I do."

"You mad?" Before they got together-together, he'd never have asked this. Her heart switched from melting to pinging like the sonar did on their sub when it homed in on a school of anchovies.

"Nope." She considered a moment. "I'd never thought about what this would indicate to you. You believe I can't perform on any mission you'd assign me at these times." She crossed her paws tightly over her white bib of fur and contemplated the lab door as if she were going to bolt for it.

He wasn't becoming angry, yet she caught the whiff of challenged authority. "You are so wrong, Marlene. I'm afraid that I'd think of you first and put the mission and the team last. I'd put you ahead of the mission. If that makes you think I'm mean, I can't help it."

He was serious. He was actually serious. Ah me, another pile of spraint to step over, as her mom would say. She ought to resist blurting what was on her mind, but her growing bellyache made her fractious. "For a tough guy, Skipper, you sure have a lot of fears."

"You never know the meaning of the word fear until you lead a team." Ooh, he'd been working on such a response because that sounded rehearsed.

Her heart pinged more, nevertheless. "I guess I never will know it, then. Let's table this discussion because you need to go and these babies need tending." Paul and Sarah played quietly. "Or they must, at some point today."

Okay, now he was at the door where he'd been hankering to be. "Bye!"

"Bye, Mr. Touchy-Feely. Be careful kung fuing those bunnies. Ouch, that was a dirty look!"

The door slammed louder than usual.


The End.

pronker: (Default)
Title:  One To Embody Power, Another To Crave It, A Third Along For The Lulz

Author:  pronker

Era:  Movie-Verse, fifty minutes prior to the film's beginning.

Disclaimer:  I make no profit from this fanfiction set in Dreamworks' franchise The Penguins of Madagascar, which I do not own. 

Summary:  Survival of the fattest.


A squabble didn't last long in a March of the Penguins.  For one thing, adults had learned by a certain age how to defuse, contain and laugh off their differences for the thirty mile trek.  It remained for the youngest to heed their elders' example and some of the youngest took longer to pick up hints on how to play well with others.

Skipper, for instance.

"What's the holdup?"

Kowalski eyed his new friend.  "Statistically, Skipper, we all waddle at an average speed of --- "

"Aw, you're going over my  head again, Smarty Beak."  Skipper paced in circles because scowling at the towering black back in front of him didn't work to hustle it along.  "I just want to move."

It had taken only two minutes after making his acquaintance for Kowalski to figure out that moving formed Skipper's raison d'être.  There was probably a song to be written about that, but for the moment he was more interested in a rotund penguin their own age belly sliding up to them past adults waiting in line like patient bowling pins due for a seven-ten split.

"Ahgrommtzmoooov," said the newcomer.

Kowalski noticed the recent scar savaging the edge of the left eye to score through the beak as it ripped down into newly regrowing neck feathers.  He didn't want to stare and focused on the words instead.  "What's that you say?"  What dialect was this?  He thought it was Hamarskaftet Nunatak, but he'd need more research to confirm his hypothesis.  He could tell that the voice had changed some time ago, like his own.

Skipper pounced on the bird as a distraction from inactivity.  "Hi!  My name's Skipper!  I know kung fu!"

A grin big as all outdoors split the beak of the half-grown penguin.  "Rico."

Skipper seemed untroubled by any strange accent as he plunged into what he did best.  "Well, Rico, this here is Kowalski and we're bored stiff.  C'mon, let's you and me change it up."  He bobbed and weaved like Chayaphon Moonsri, surprisingly light on his feet for such a chunky young penguin as he punched the air.  He caught Rico's glance askance at his shorter stature.  "Aw, don't be afraid.  I won't hurt you."

Small bird, ego the size of the Pantanal at full flood, analyzed Kowalski as reality tempered the glow of new friendship.  Nevertheless, he wanted to do something, as well.  "I'll be umpire."

Both of the other penguins burst out laughing.  "Umpire?"


Kowalski tried again.  "Shimpan?"

There was dead silence as Rico and Skipper traded glances.  "Um, yeah, Rico, Kowalski is the brainy one so I just throw his big fish words like recalcitrant back into the gobbledygook pool."

This might kill a friendship, new or, um, newer.  "Take that back!"

The audience factor likely played a big part in the tussling takedown of all three by all three as they spun out of the line: Kowalski smarting over being dismissed by Skipper in front of Rico while Skipper wanted to show Rico the ropes about how to fit into 'tween penguin society, at least the way he saw it, with Rico simply pining to show off what he could do.  Soft snowflakes flew everywhere in the flurry until the scuffling threesome reached harder packed snow and Rico had had enough.  He coughed, wheezed and hacked after he toppled over until both Kowalski and Skipper stopped throwing wild punches.  They gathered around in concern.  

"What is it?  What's the matter, buddy?"

"Do you have asthma?  Where is your inhaler?  Show me quick, Rico!"  Kowalski always knew his nurturing instinct would push him into a leader's position if the situation called for it.

Rico ceased breathing.  He added a convincing rattle.

"No!"  Kowalski pounded on Rico's chest, or meant to; in his panic, he hit the belly again and again.

Skipper edged away, noticing for the first time that the three of them had moved the venue of their bout quite a distance from the stalled March of the Penguins.  "I'll get backup!"

Before Skipper could belly slide for help, a rainbow colored silk parachute blossomed out of Rico's gut.  It ballooned over the three birds to trap them inside and it was only long after the incident that either Kowalski or Skipper could piece together what happened next.  

Kung fu-ing with both flippers inside a gaily colored straightjacket that fuzzed his sight, Skipper registered that some penguin upended him with what seemed super strength and slammed his head upon the gritty ice underfoot.  "Gah!  Wh-What?  Stoppitteemergencygottagetbackup --- "

Kowalski heard the desperate words as he concentrated on stop-drop-rolling upon the ice, thinking to spin out from under the enveloping shroud.  What occurred was that he tangled himself further.  Shroud, he thought, they'd need a shroud for Rico if he didn't free himself so he could search for Rico's inhaler, which must have fallen along their squabbling path.  "Eeeeeeeyurgh, I'm trapped!  Rico, hang in there!  I'll give you beak to beak if I can't find your inhaler --- "

Grunts, thumps and a series of ouches in Skipper's voice that hadn't changed yet reached Kowalski's earholes.  He bellowed back in his premature baritone.  "Skipper, I'm your backup oh if I only knew better curses than dangit --- "

Something resembling a laced whalebone corset compressed his flippers and squeezed them against his body.  Kowalski felt his breath sluice out of him until he couldn't breathe, either.  The pressure kept up until he saw spots.  Ooh, pretty little bubbles like dolphins make, he wondered in amazement.  I wonder how they taste?  He stuck out his tongue in a daze and then air pumped into his lungs.  The bubbles popped.

Between Skipper's angry mutters and Kowalski's befuddled huhs came the whisper of rainbow silk whisking off to drift away in the stiff Antarctic wind.  Kowalski and Skipper gasped like babies in a gale as Rico posed before them, hale and hearty.  

He fixed them with an arched brow and disciplinarian gaze.  "Nuffnao, Kwoskii.  Nuffnao, 'Kippaaahhh." He patted his gut.  "Morewherezatcamefrum."  He started to say something else and settled for batting his baby blues at them before rumbling thanx.

"So you're okay?  And you can do weirdo stuff with your blubbery belly?"  Kowalski halted at a warning frown.  "Um, well, it is.  Sorry if the truth hurts."  

Rico glowered before breaking into a sunny smile that showcased his good nature.  He bounced his spare tire with a gleam of pride.  "Eh, whayagonnado?"

"What was this, a lesson --- oh, I get it."  Skipper rubbed his head.  "You pounded some sense into us."  Rico and Kowalski swiveled to stare at him.  "Okay okay, mostly into me."  He nudged Kowalski.  "Science Boy, he squeezes like grinding pack ice, don't he?  You look like a pipefish."

Kowalski sized up Skipper.  "And your head is a --- "

"All right, point taken."

"Taken off, you mean," Kowalski jabbed back.  He was willing to be a friend and follow this dynamo of a penguin but that didn't mean he diluted his own spice.  He passed some sauce along to Rico just to be fair.  "What did you do to your top feathers?  Did your mama fix them this morning?"

Rico drew himself up as he curled a flipper into a fist.  "Aye."

Skipper stepped in fast to lead them from the brink of disaster.  "Guys, guys, mamas are off limits, agreed?"

Kowalski thought of what other tummy contents might lie in wait for anyone who crossed Rico and gulped.  "Agreed."

The three melded into a trio by the time they waddled back into their place in line.  After five minutes that seemed like five days to Skipper, the March resumed.  The three 'tweens passed the time marching by playing the dozens until they came into view of the ocean.

From an icy cliff two hundred fifty feet above the floes that dotted Weddell Sea, the water gleamed as blue as a wetter version of the sky.  The view took their breath away as much as any lung squeezing asthma.

"That's a beautiful sight, boys."


"It's cerulean as anything gets on our good earth, I think."  Kowalski forgot to use a smaller word and winced as he waited for the figurative knock out punch.  He was pleasantly surprised.

"Cerulean or not, it's as lovely as a new laid egg."


"Right, Rico, or lovely as a freshly caught smelt."  Skipper did a double take.  "Wow, you can sing?  All we need is one more penguin and we could do barbershop!"

As the March continued, Fate eavesdropped to grant the request in four ... three ... two ... one ...


The End.


A/N   SPOILERS FOR FILM Rewatched bits and: 

[1] took literary license with Rico in this fic (he is unscarred in the films); 

[2] noticed that as Eva is carted to her seeming execution in the equivalent of a tumbrel near imprisoned Kowalski that there may be a Star Wars reference (Kowalski stretches out through the bars to her and says 'I know'); 

[3] the scene with Skipper showing apparent beard stubble made me laugh hard as ever

[4] heard excellent James Bond-ish music (a la Thunderball) and absorbed

[5] that McGrath voice acted well to project softer and younger (while portraying kid!Skipper) than Skipper sounds as an adult.  
pronker: (Default)

Edited drawing and reuploaded here; growled while exercising patience using Photobucket with sloooowwww loads and popups not as bad as Angelfire, though, grrrrr; dragged and dropped onto the site for the first time, go me! Pencil onto white fiberboard then traced with sharpie before putting into Adobe CS2 for coloring. Photo taken with laptop camera to meh effect; my scanner no longer talks to laptop after beginning Windows 10, which seems a common issue with it. Onward.
pronker: (Default)
Title:  Trial And Error

Author: pronker

Era: Sometime after the return from Åland in Watermelon Snow.

Disclaimer:  I make no profit from this fanfiction set in Dreamworks' Penguins of Madagascar franchise, using its characters and settings.

Summary: Ars longa, vita brevis.

A/N Extrapolated from various eps in which Marlene's cave shows art supplies and various canvases standing against its wall.


"If Namath can do it, so can I!"  Skipper reclined on his side on Marlene's bed, stretched his legs coyly and propped up his head on a beguiling flipper.  

"Namath?  He's from, like, ice ages ago!  How old are you, Skipper?"

He winked at her and her heart skipped a beat.  "Need to know, Marlene."

"Yeah whatever keep your secrets."  She rolled her eyes.  "Pretend Kowalski's freeze ray zapped you when I get done posing you, mmmkay?"

Marlene adjusted his top knee to cross his other one to touch the bed's surface.  He winked again and she flushed as she aimed a cuff at his earhole, quickly enough for him not to dodge her blow.  She discarded the pillow and ruffled her blanket artfully around him to suggest movements from the recent past, blushing even more.  She tilted his head up.  She was satisfied with the pose.

Skipper was not.  "Does the model ever give suggestions?  This one has a doozy."

She crossed her eyes before narrowing them.  "Okay, yeah, I'll use it but only if I like it.  That's why I'm the master and you're the --- "

"Padawan?"  he said solemnly.

Marlene blew a raspberry.  "Go on, you silly!  Hurry up!  I'm losing the north light here."

"Slip me one of those pansies."  He pointed to her vase, which was out of his reach.


"From your bouquet, Marlene.  That's the right name for the purple flower, am I right?"

"Pblbpbpbl, Kowalski must have told you."  She passed him one.  

He adjusted it upright in front of himself at the natural crease between legs and torso.  She could tell he was barely holding back the chortles by the way his shoulders shook.  He looked up at her with doe eyes.  "Purple on black and white, outstanding, don't you think?"  He waggled the posy.

She took two steps back to frame the pose between her paws à la Renoir.  She shifted from portrait to landscape and back again.  She covered one eye.  "Needs something."

"Aw, come on!  It's perfect!"  

She realized that it was a daunting thing for a commander to share or give up command, but she was positive he'd like her addition to his suggestion.  She selected two more pansies from her vase, opened his grip on the original flower and pressed the three stems together before closing his grip again.  "You could do with more coverage.  Hold still while I adjust your, your --- "


"Uh, I was going to say accoutrements but okay, stance will do.  Only you're not standing."  She placed his flipper closer to his body and stiffened the pansy stems.  "We'll need to get this sketch done quickly before the flowers wilt."

"Mine won't dare wilt.  And what's a cootermon?  Is that some artist lingo like easel and Ben-Day?"

"Never you mind.  Hold that position and look pleasant.  No, not like that."


"Something else."


"Better, but with less determination.  Think of coming home to a nice warm lair or visiting a nice warm Kitka."  

He lowered his eyes and looked unsettled.  She had the impression that he wanted to open up about the Kitka situation but instead he said,  "Okay, um, Marlene.  Operation: Poser is a go."

"I didn't agree to that name."  She hustled her easel in place and made broad circles with her pencil.  She squinted harder at him after one minute had passed.  "Breathe, Skipper, it's okay to breathe."

"Lying about isn't my thing.  I at least look at picture magazines when I goldbrick around the HQ."

She had heard of models needing conversation to stay focused and multi-tasked for all she was worth.  "Oh yeah?  What do you guys subscribe to?"  She outlined boxes, circles and spirals and now the body was done.  The facial expression would be more of a challenge.

"Ground-To-Air Missiles Quarterly, Tanks Unlimited, Superior Strategies complete with pie charts, stuff like that.  Now and then Penguins Illustrated."  He paused.  "The annual beach bunny issue falls apart three days after it's delivered."

The blanket's ripples gave her fits.  "Mmmhmmm."  She could only imagine how difficult drawing would be if animals wore clothes.  The shading she could fill in later.  Skipper was showing signs of restlessness.  Oh well, vigor was only one of the things she liked about him.  Hmm, vigor ...  "Aw dang."

"What is it?"

"A change up in the pose, sorry, my friend."  She erased the bottom third of the body.  "I had a brainstorm."

"Marlene, I've got things to do this morning --- "

"Okay!  Two more minutes then you can split!"  She scrubbed furiously at the sketchpad with the eraser.  "Shoot, I dropped my rubber.  Toss it back, would you?"  

"Your ... rubber?"

"The eraser, Mr. Bad Pun.  See it bounced by the bed oh never mind I'll get it --- "

"Don't get your tail in a twist, Ms. Otter."  He moved from her meticulous posing and she groaned.  After a moment's fishing by the bed, he tossed the eraser to her.  She replaced it on her easel's tray.  

"Before you settle, here's a better pose.  Just relax and let me position you."

"That tickles!"

"Sorry sorry, now recline again on your left side.  Flipper under head, yeah like that.  Left leg crooked slightly, no a little more.  Now angle the right leg up like this" --- she slid a paw behind the knee --- "my goodness, you're ticklish!  I'm barely touching you!  Relax the right foot --- what's the matter with your pinkie claw?  It's shiny and new ---"

"I got hurt on Åland blah blah can we just get on with it?"

"Oh!  That must have pained you!"

"I barely felt it.  I was busy fighting a sasquatch.  Come on, let's do this thing and I'll get out of your fur."  He softened.  "Not that I'm unwelcome, I know.  Stop the pity party, okay?  I hate that.  The toe's all healed up, see?"  He wiggled it.  

"Did the sasquatch tear into you that bad?  Where was your team?"

"Yeah, Private was the only one with me that battle.  Come on now, I don't have all day."  The mood in her cave soured.

She assessed him.  He was uncomfortable talking about Åland.  A story would need to be told ... but not today.  "Gotcha.  Moving right along, Skipper, I'm ready to work."


She stifled her comeback as she shifted into artiste mode.  Now the pose was perfect and she sketched the open legs' apex garnished by the pansies and then the relaxed posture, saving the face for last.  A few defining touches about the beak and she declared the first sketch complete.  "All done.  Te ves grandioso.  Thanks. "

"Okay, uh huh, sure.  I'm not even going to charge you."

"Haw.  Haw.  Let me make tea --- "

"I'm a coffee penguin, you know that."

"Whatevs.  Vamoose, then.  Catch you later, alligator."

"After while, crocodile."  Action mode restored, he waddled to her drainage grate and disappeared down it.  

Marlene whooshed out a breath.  "Girl, you will never learn all the penguins' secrets no matter how long you live.  Get used to it."  She sat on her bed to critique the sketch.  "Hmm, not bad.  A Caillebotte I am not, but not bad."


The End.

pronker: (Default)
This is a chocolate-orange cake that sounded fantastic. It is delicious.


And here is the recipe from my go-to comm, Vintage Ads on LJ:

Behold the KABOOM!!! cake.


The recipe for the frosting actually doesn't need the 3 T. OJ because of all the orange pulp; the frosting is more sauce-y even with 1 extra cup powdered sugar to thicken it. This took an entire box of unsweetened chocolate and so I omitted the shaved chocolate on the top layer.
pronker: (Default)
Title:  Absence

Author: pronker

Era: Far, far in the future, we hope.  Or maybe never.  

Disclaimer:  I make no profit from this fanfiction set in Dreamworks' Penguins of Madagascar franchise, using its characters and settings.

Summary:  The four times Skipper listened and the one time he didn't.

Warning:  Not a happy story.






"Ski--- p-p- uhhhhhhhh ---- "



"I want to discuss options with you, Private."  Kowalski's eyes were red-rimmed but his voice held steady.  

Rico turned away from his remaining teammates to give privacy.  He settled near the TV beloved by all of them, turned the sound down low and watched this morning's Lunacorns' Episode 86 of Season Three: Feelings, Whoa Whoa No Feelings.  That had been an artsy episode, filled with stylized scene fades and sparkling effects when Queen Pleaseandthankyou ceded leadership of all the Lunacorns to Princess Self-Respectra.  The transition of power shifted royal court dynamics as smoothly as Rico had ever seen.  He could not help but wonder if humans could take a leaf from the episode's Big Pastel Picture Book Of Politeness.

Private spared no glance for his favorite TV program.  "I don't care where I end up, K'walski."  He shrugged.  "Assign me any old place."

"Skipper would not wish you to drown in the Slough of Despond."  Kowalski cast a look at the unfinished Sloop John B at the empty place near the head of the table.  After one week, no one had had the heart to either discard the ship in a bottle or finish the project.

Private followed Kowalski's line of sight.  "Too late!"  He swallowed hard.  "Everythin's all wrong in my heart, somehow."  He studied his clasped flippers.  "My head says it wasn't my fault because I warned Skippa, I did, that the gun Hans aimed looked like a Webley Mk VI and not a harmless freeze ray but Skippa claimed Hans would never use anythin' but a Danish Madsen ranged weapon oh why didn't he listen to me before rushin' out from cover --- "

" --- and so your heart tells you that it was your fault he was killed, but Private, we all know our Skipper.  Sometimes he just didn't listen to any animal."  Kowalski's face grew as long as Private's.  "And so he's p-paid the price."  He swiped a flipper over his face.  "Ahem.  HQ Skyped this morning while you were sleeping and put me in charge of this unit.  We're going after Hans, Private, and I want you along on the mission.  What do you say?"

Rico tired of simpering Lunacorns; he clicked the TV off and a glum brooding silence shrouded the team's lair as it had for many days on end.  He waddled to the all-purpose table to fetch the deck of cards and returned to plotz once more by the TV without taking notice of anything or anyone else.  Kowalski shared a puzzled look with Private.  Rico could have regurgitated the deck where he sat, but the explosives expert had produced nothing but burps from his gut in a week.

Kowalski began another tack as he indicated the healing bump on the younger penguin's temple.  Rose pink replaced purple as it protruded twenty per cent less than yesterday from glossy black feathers.  "Rico stays with the Central Park Zoo team because he insisted and has seniority, so The Big Boss agreed.  I wanted to give you options, though, because you can choose reassignment to HQ for trauma treatment and select another team to join for more training.  Our team might hold unpl- er, I mean, guilty, oh drat, overwhelming memories."  He made himself continue.  "This may influence you to leave.  It's my job to present all options, even those I h-hate."  The lieutenant-turned-commander faced his subordinate squarely.  "You might even quit commando life altogether.  Rico and I would understand."

That got a rise from a confused and grief-stricken heart.  "Wot?  No!  Skippa kept me under his wing since forever and I'll dive headfirst into bein' a commando if it kills me.  This" --- he poked his bump savagely and then winced --- "is nothin'."  He slumped again.  "He tried to teach me everythin' but wot he taught me most, whether he meant to or not, was that I needed him."

The depth of Private's tragic loss in harrowing circumstances hit Kowalski for perhaps the first time.  He leaned forward earnestly.  "When you're in a hole, you oughta stop diggin'."

"That didn't sound like you, K'walski."

"Er, it was Dr. Phil.  I quote him a lot.  You may have noticed."

"Righto."  Rico's shuffling of the deck of cards supplied background noise as Kowalski swam through his own sorrowing sludge to supply guidance from a tiring brain.  Finally, he took a deep breath.

"Private, bad things in life take it out of us and we get stuck in a hole with a hole in our heart.  I know.  But" --- he jerked his head in Rico's direction, who was laying the foundation for yet another house of cards --- "life gives to us, too.  You'll find life makes a way to fill up the holes and little by little, other events, and and interests, and well, just living day to day smooths out the, the holes until you're on level ice again."  

The dull look on Private's face showed that Kowalski had not reached him and the fledgling commander sailed onward.  He luffed the canvas of his argument to prolong the tack into a friendlier port.  "Promise me you'll sleep on your decision tonight and we'll revisit this tomorrow morning.  Redier's ringlets, not too early, we still need extra rest to process ... everything that's happened.  And Private," he forced a smile, "take Rico as a good example, okay?"

Private swiveled his head in the direction of the TV.  "Wotever for?  He's done nothin' but build a house of cards every braapin' day since we laid Skippa to rest in the park."  A petulant frown creased a white brow and Private squirmed where he sat.  "Useless, if you ask me."  He tapped both flippers on the table as if barely able to sit still as his shoulders hunched in agitation.

The smile vanished.  "Rico grieves in his own way.  His decision to stay with the team was the right one --- "

"Says you!"  Private jumped onto the table and dropped to his haunches for an expert sweep kick at the ship in the bottle project.  The Sloop John B shattered on an unyielding cement floor.


From out of nowhere, four flippers held the tantrum under concerned control.  Private heaved to rise to no avail on the table as his face worked to stem tears.  "Crikey, let me up.  I'm good to go anywhere.  I'll leave right now, in fact."

Rico tightened his grip.  "'Rivatedown," he said firmly.

"No, Rico, let loose.  He needs to work through this --- "

Rico stood by his judgment as he had on the soothing nature of constructing a house of cards with no help from his amazing gut each day only to deconstruct it each night.  "Down!"

He was proven correct at Private's next words bitten out through a trembling beak.  "K'walski, you say other events and livin' day to day fill in holes and you were meanin' to add other friends at some point in future, am I right?"  Private stopped struggling at Kowalski's helpless nod.  He pretended to be fascinated by something on the ceiling.  "Wot if there are no other friends?  I've got no one else to lose."  He went limp and Rico eased up.  Kowalski loosened his hold, too, and circled the table to approach Rico's side.  At one step short of goal, he made a grab to block Rico's lightning fast strike.

Rico slapped as hard as Skipper ever did.  "Wubboutus?"  

Kowalski seized Rico, who wrestled out of the grip as Private rolled with the blow to land on nimble feet on the opposite side of the table from his teammates.  The three took a beat to gather themselves before Kowalski produced another option in desperation.  "Nigel!  Talk to Nigel!"

Kowalski could tell that Private was thinking at least a little because he tapped his flippertips together.  "Yeah, right, Uncle Nigel said I could stay with him awhile to get sorted.  I dunno wot to do, K'walski.  Life is all gobsmacked."

He turned away from them both as he headed to his bunk and rolled over to face the blank inside wall.  He kicked his Princess Self-Respectra doll to the floor.

"Lights out, Rico."

Rico did a double take.  "Zmornin!"

"You heard me.  Lockdown, computer."  Kowalski had nothing left to give to this day.  


"Rowan's message, not you, too!  I said lockdown!"

The lights dimmed to night setting and the only inorganic sounds in the lair were the slamming shut of the topside hatch and whssshpt of porthole coverings activating.  Heavy organic sighs continued for some minutes.  Private's trophy fish that at one time was organic gaped as uncaringly as ever.


Twenty-two hours later, Private stretched languidly.  Rattling snores drifted to his earholes from above and below his bunk and he smiled.  He'd awakened first.  He felt rested.  He'd dash to the latrine, prep for the day and show how ready he was for duty to Sk-


He'd held off memories for a tad shorter this time.  That was good, wasn't it?  That showed progress?  He was adjusting better?

No.  The new reality was unthinkable to adjust to.  Leave the team after returning to HQ for treatment of his puny injury?  He stuck up one flipper to represent that decision.  Talk to Uncle Nigel first?  He raised the other.  He zipped looking from one flipper to the other faster and faster, like the one time he had played Pong with Skipper in a bar featuring retro arcade games made into cocktail tables.  Of course, Skipper had won before hustling Private away from sitches bad for young penguins, his favorite term for anything from the zoo's St. Valentine's Day Serenading Sleepovers to drinking beer, even root beer.  

Private stirred the air in his bunk faster and faster with both flippers because options were the first thing on his mind, well, after that horrible wave of memory receded.  His whole body hurt and not just his bump.  He slammed his flippers down.  What was this pain?

It was the same pain as yesterday morning and the morning before that and the morning before that; in fact, every morning since he had surfaced to a throbbing head and shattered heart.  He couldn't remember how he'd returned to the lair from the dock.  Only one memory seemed more than hallucination: Rico plodding slowly beside Kowalski, Skipper's body slung over one brawny shoulder.  Private must have been carted in similar fashion by Kowalski at Rico's side, only he could open his eyes enough to see Skipper's beak trailing nervelessly down his soldier's back.  He gave a small cry at the recollection of glimpsing white feathers blown away from his commander's throat.  Face it, Private, he thought: you're bollocksed.  

He groaned and pressed his pillow over his face.  Serenity swam away from him as fast as a tarpon could flash through the briny mid-deep.  He had to do something or go mad.  He listened to the snores a moment more and acted.  The lab.  Yes, the lab provided solitude for the option that he had in mind.

With a stealth that came hard-learned, he dove from his bunk, landed in a roll and then waddled in circles while firming his resolve.  At last he straightened and eased open the heavy door.  Inside, the large space was black as Hans' heart.  He knew exactly where the light switch was, of course, but navigating in the dark provided one more way to avoid thinking about his loss.

No device glowed or hummed; Kowalski used his lab to putter aimlessly these days, neither completing nor beginning a project.  Private began his final morning workout in total darkness.
With a muted hi-yaaaah!, he became a ball of furious energy, concentrating on keeping all his movements inside a proscribed area.  He leaped high, he crouched low, he karate chopped and hip-flipped his invisible foe.  He stood on his head and bicycled his feet to distract Hans from aiming the kill shot.  Fast as the cheetah that the zoo was promised but who never arrived, he spun, kickboxed and capoeiraed the imaginary deadly puffin into submission.  In the dark, it was easy to imagine Hans' gasping, hateful face ground into the wooden dock.  Private allowed himself the joy of victory.  It was only fair to the situation in general since the team had thwarted Hans' scheme.  

The agony of defeat returned.  True, Hans hadn't succeeded in his attempt to hijack their submarine as he and Skipper set off to visit Atlantis.  If he had, then he would have learned the coordinates to that fabled continent, broken into their armory of superior weapons and returned to blow away more righteous citizens along with Skipper.  As things stood, Skipper's death was a reasonable price to pay for securing Atlantis' privacy as well as the peace of the other seven continents.  Skipper would have called the outcome a win-win-lose and not a true defeat at all;  Private knew himself unable to be so lighthearted with such a cost.

The sound of his labored breathing filled every square centimeter in the lab, Private figured.  A tale told of three princes who would receive their old king's crown if one could fill a room completely.  The first had shoveled sand into the room floor to ceiling; the king demonstrated how one more grain could be forced in.  The second son filled the room with feathers; the king compressed the feathers to add more.  The third son placed a candle in the middle of the room and lit it.  "Now it is filled with light," he said, and the king agreed.

Private's unanchored thoughts in the dark drifted from fairy tale to recent history.  It was supposed to have been partly a pleasure trip for them both, partly a training exercise for Private to separate the wannabes from the bees, according to Skipper.  When Kowalski challenged the skewed analogy, he'd been laughed off as Skipper ruffled Private's head feathers.  "C'mon, go with it, man!  I'll come back with an Atlantis turbo sea sled for you to reverse engineer.  Maybe even a sample of their permeable whatsis that they use to keep water out of their houses, how about it?"

Kowalski had persevered.  "Make the analogy separate the worker bees from the queen and I'll be happy."

"Queen?  Aw, have it your own way, sure.  Let's be gone, hey, Private?"

The memory of that day bit deep.  Rico and Kowalski waved them off in farewell, they sped to the docks via oblivious buses and made to retrieve their sub from Dock 25's underbelly.  That was when everything went pear-shaped.  Hans had been lying in ambush, the coward.

Private had trouble catching his breath.  He steadied himself with a flipper on the precise quadrant of work table where lay his desire.  More memories bloomed.  Skipper had listened to Rico's advice just before departing.  Rico had exploded the commander's notion to go off the grid and communicate only at their return with their sub's phased array.  He'd pressed a walkie-talkie into his leader's grip with a goofy grin and powerful clasp.  Skipper had rolled his eyes but accepted the device.

Private closed his own eyes to sharpen his senses for what he was about to do.

"Yeah, Ringtail, that's a good idea you've got there.  Mark my words because I'm not likely to ever say them ever again.  Ever."

Private snapped his head to the corner of the lab that was darker than dark.  "Wot?  Who is it?"

It couldn't be who it sounded like.  

Private touched his bump gingerly.  Kowalski said that the concussion was improving; had he been lying to comfort an aching soul?  

Okay, now that was just wishful thinking, or was he still asleep?  He pinched himself.  "Ow!"

The dark corner spoke again.  "Marlene, for a mammal, you've got a good head on your shoulders and I'm proud to high-uh-four you.  Men, follow the otter's tactics and off we go!  Hurry up, Private, hustle that muscle!"

Right, then.  He'd gone nutter.  Actually, this event made his decision even more wise and true.  Private reached up on the worktable for the weapon that none of them had gotten around to disposing.  When Skipper's terse "Backup!  Dock 25!" produced Rico and Kowalski in record time, Hans proved inept at evading Rico's furious chainsaw attack at the quay deserted by humans; he lost half a wing and he'd never fly again.  As he raced away, the Webley Mark Vi dropped and Rico retrieved it before Kowalski signaled him to help with their fallen warriors.  They were only able to help one of them.

"Soon, sir."  By touch alone, Private hefted the weapon and checked the chambers.  The empty one he jacked around to be certain that it would not be in play when he next used the weapon.  He ran a double check, congratulating himself on his thoroughness.  

Private's throat ached with holding back tears and his head ached and pain raced through him like sheet lightning on the prairies of Nebraska.  Crikey, what was it?  Why wouldn't this pain go away?  No animal could survive it.   He knew he was going to die of it because it ripped his being to shreds every day.  He gave himself options: he could reverse the decision he'd made this morning, or he could push through the pain and make the decision real.  All the suffering would be over --- his breath caught in his throat --- and maybe he'd see Skipper again!  In a few minutes!  

Whyever not?  he counseled himself.  With that happy prospect before him, how could he not go through with it?  Who would deny him such a joyful reunion?  He knew exactly where on his chest to place the barrel, how to use the Webley Mark Vi neatly and sweetly to fix his problem.  It would be simple.  He'd better do it now before anyone woke up.  For a moment, he was complete.  His team and his uncle would grieve and then move on, like Kowalski said regular folks do.  He'd be put in a hole, where regular folks go.  

"Comin', Skippa."  

Private pulled the trigger.  

There was a white light and then nothing.


Kowalski flicked the switch and his lab blazed to life.  "He's got to be in here, Rico."


"I'm worried about him --- Leonidas's loincloth!"  Kowalski knelt by his youngest soldier.  He opened a slack eyelid, slapped a feathery cheek and sighed.  "What was he doing?  He likes science about as much as you do, so what was he doing in my lab?"

Rico took in the scene with the gun on the floor within Private's reach.  He cocked his head in thought as he replaced the weapon on the work table.  He looked down at Kowalski's bowed back while the erstwhile lieutenant laid his earhole against the softly rising and falling chest.  "Kwoskii."  He upchucked a sphygmomanometer.

Kowalski grabbed the instrument without a second look.  He listened and palpated and declared Private fit to be moved to his own bunk.  Rico did the honors and Kowalski slid the blanket up to Private's pure white throat before tucking it in tightly about him.

It was a half hour before Private awakened.  He stretched without opening his eyes, a smile on his beak.  "Skippa?"

Rico gestured to Kowalski, who spoke a few hurried words into his Skype before clicking it off.  He'd heard Private's first utterance and shared a concerned look with Rico.  "Private, it's just us."

Private's blue eyes opened wide.  "Skippa's not with me?"  He got to his feet, wobble-legged.  He tottered forward into bracing flippers.  "Where is he?  And why are you lot here --- oh.  Oh, no.  Nothin's changed?  Nothin's better?"

It must have been this feeling that bent but never broke Skipper.  Kowalski could do no less in service to his bequeathed team.  "Private, Skipper is dead.  He'll never be with us ag--- "

Private's eyes watered.  "Don't."  

"I've got to."

The young penguin stumbled across the room and a laugh bubbled up.  "I had the answer to everythin'!  I had it!"

Rico pulled Kowalski aside and whispered into his earhole.  Kowalski's eyes dilated to nearly black.  "What?  Private, Skipper would not want you to do such a thing and I will not let you!"

"You don't understand, it's nothin' to be afraid of, it's not it's not --- "

Kowalski's voice cracked.  "You must understand that Skipper no longer lives, he'll never lead us again, he'll never command the sub again or play with Eggy again.  Not even once."  Rico had remained staunchly at his new commander's side, his face wet, but now his knees buckled and he sank to the floor.  

Hoarseness could not keep Kowalski from securing his team's safety.  "Promise me you won't try this again."

More laughter erupted as Private remained torn between hysteria and pain so great it blinded him to the friends he had left.  "Why?  I heard Skippa speak to me, he was this far away" --- he placed his flippers two inches apart --- "and he, he commanded me to come --- "

Rico croaked a question.  "'Kippaaaahhanted?"

Science proved Kowalski's salvation from insanity once more.  "Haunting is not possible, Private.  As much as we'd all love to see him again, it's impossible.  Let him rest in peace, for Blavatsky's sake.  He earned it."

With every word, something in the deepest part of Private withered.  He nodded distantly as he stared at the floor.  Rest.  Gone.  Earned.  Peace.  The ache inside him swelled to blot out all else, and then it receded the teensiest bit.  He looked around him.  Rico contemplated six square inches of the same floor in front of his slumped body; Kowalski strained to make eye contact with his distraught junior soldier as he stood with flippers akimbo in an unconscious imitation of Skipper.

Private lifted his gaze as his exhausted mind discerned a puzzle to seize upon as a distraction.  "Hang on.  I pulled the trigger after I heard Skippa or thought I heard him.  Wot am I doin' still breathin'?"  He looked even more confused than before.  "Or am I?  Am I dead, K'walski?"

Now this was something that Kowalski could sink his analyzing beak into.  "I am firmly convinced that you are not and neither are Rico and I.  Let's examine the evidence."  He looked down at Rico, who still had a depressed air.  "Er, I'll go it alone."  New energy gained from twenty-two hours of restorative sleep strengthened his steps as he paced in front of his team.  "What did you do right before you took up the Webley?"

Private waxed poetic.  "I played handball with Hans' head, so to speak.  I smashed his bleedin' beak in, I gutted him like a shrimp for jambalaya after rippin' off his legs and I made him pay --- "  He didn't seem to notice the tears that finally fell.  He sighed.  "In my mind, anyway, but on the outside I finished quite the tough workout and had to stop to get my wind back.  That's when I heard Skippa."

Kowalski invaded Private's personal space by a factor of one third.  "Stand still."  He brushed away the tears before gently feeling the bump.  "We found you on the floor with the gun near.  It had not been fired."  He frowned as he ran a flippertip around the pink circumference.

"I remember pullin' the trigger, K'walski.  Am I bonkers?"

Kowalski's smile was sad.  "I think we're all a little nuts lately.  What did Skipper say?"

"Somethin', somethin' --- oh, it's hard to think --- he gave in and really listened to, to you, and Rico, and Marlene and even Julien.  It was like a mishmash of the times I heard him take advice.  It was so nice to hear, K'walski --- "  Private started to sob.

Kowalski wrapped Private in a hug and comforted as would any good commander.   "There, there, now, Dr. Phil would say winners deal with the truth and the truth is that your bump isn't fully healed.  All that exercise shot up your blood pressure and you fainted when you lifted the heavy gun.  The rest was not real and you imagined you heard what you needed to about Skipper taking advice."

Private turned woeful eyes up to his tall friend.  "You really think so?"

Kowalski nodded and patted the quivering back.  "I do.  HQ is dispatching your Uncle Nigel here to liaise with you, and them, and us, and uh, me.  You two will have a nice visit, especially since he's not doing that dippy daffy doofus impersonation as a cover anymore."

Private pulled away a trifle.  "Yeah, um, thanks for fetchin' him, K'walski.  One thing, though."


"Wellll, I pinched myself to see if I was dreamin'.  And I wasn't."

Kowalski patted some more.  "Another hallucination that's entirely natural, Private."

Rico got to his feet and squeezed them both hard.  "Wuzthere," he said.

"So, Rico, you're sayin' Skippa knew I needed him one last time?  So he swam back from the Endless Iceberg through the Eternally Foggy Sea to help?"

Kowalski had the last word.  "Well, if any penguin could do it, he could."


The End.

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Slashy Penguins of Madagascar cartoon; yeah, it's hard to tell with birds. Premise extrapolated from episode "Marble Jarhead," in which Kowalski's invention that is supposed to level a radius of five miles ... doesn't. Attempting manga/doujinshi layout with conventions of red lines for blushes, sparkly diamonds for shiny happy moments, and 'CHU' for kisses. Apologies for quality of photo; I own no scanner, so this is a laptop's camera shot. Sharpie on white fiber board. Submitted to deviantArt for St. Valentine's Day 2017 community-wide celebration. Sent valentines to about 100 arters whose slashy goodness in various fandoms makes me smile.
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I spent the morning cleaning a closet and discovered binders filled with printed out fics that I used to read, prior to owning a Kindle in '13, on trains, buses, doctor's waiting rooms, at the beach, etc. Wow. Some were from defunct sites such as GeneralsGrrls Fic Archive on Geocities, but to my delight, Five Deaths To Die by Cassia that I printed is still up at her site. Also in the binders were cartoons by Elthegeneral and manips by Bodeewan along with her delicious slashy stories.

Five Deaths is one of the few stories that came close to making me tear up; it didn't, because I am a tough old bird, but it came close. In bits and pieces, I've been reading Was Fanfic Any Different In The Olden Days? and must say it's a treat to share memories with others from the 'zine age.
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Is there a better way to start this work week with a/let up in the rain and Roof Leak #2 not worsening while #3 remains only a black spot with no drips, b/finding THE LAST BOX OF CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRIES ON THE CHRISTMAS DISCOUNT SHELF AT THE DRUGSTORE LUCKY IF THEY LAST THE DAY, and c/Nice Guy at mailing depot allowed me to pay next time for making numerous copies because all I had was my credit card and he didn't want to fuss for such a small amount?  I am blessed.
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Title: Dawn's Early Blight

Author: pronker

Era: Sometime during the TV show.

Disclaimer: I make no profit on this fanfiction in Dreamworks' Penguins of Madagascar franchise using its characters and settings.

Summary: Power breakfasts have their place.


At 0640 on a Monday in January, Skipper paced in front of his troops. First light meant first light and not dawn, as his team had all learned when Skipper originally took command. Night still draped the zoo by eighty percent as from Leonard's habitat came the sounds of jump rope exercise before the koala's daytime slumber. "Gypsy, gypsy splat please tell me splat who's my splat sweetheart going to splat be Hots! doctorlawyerbankerthief --- "

The team looked droopy-eyed until the familiar bark. "Tennnnnhut! I hope you all enjoyed the macerated mackerel marinated in monkfish mungbeans. We start the first day of Team Building Week Training with undercover work. A commando never knows when the mission requires stealth and scheming, yes, Kowalski, put down your flipper, I know that you know that I know that you've practiced being Señorita Esmerelda Ramirez to perfection. Stow it for later."

The commander addressed the giggles from Rico and Private along with shhhhhs from Kowalski. "Stifle that noise!" He added his patented glare. "Better. Now ahem I have compiled various scenarios with accompanying phrases in one of my undercover personas, International Playbird Diego Garcia. Listen hard."

He clasped his flippers behind his back and strode without looking at anyone. "Numero uno: Bar pickup lines defense drill, as follows." He cleared his throat. "Always be ready with an answer whether you are in disguise as a female or remain your macho manliest machismoriffic self. You'll thank me later." A deep breath and then release. "In no particular order, here they are."

It's my birthday. Can I have a hug?

Don't lose this napkin. It has my number on it.

Hmmm, we have whipped cream but no pudding. What can we put it on?

Leaving so soon? Give me a chance.

Lean closer and tell me what you think of my after shower splash.

My posse and I voted you sexiest gal in the bar. Prove us right.

What's your gym? You look like you work out.

I'm thinking of getting a tattoo. Show me where you'd put one on you.

Where are you most ticklish?

The team exploded into speculation until Skipper had to step in. "Whoa whoa whoa! One at a time! Kowalski, you're ready with an answer? Get out of any pickle in the list without a hissyfit by either side. Remember, low-key is the object, never mind that I said I don't do subtle. I learned how and so can you all."

The tallest penguin fixed his leader with a jaundiced eye. "You just made up that one about the tattoo to get me to show where mine is of Doris --- "

"Soldier, I could care less about your ink spot. Now come up with a comeback or step back in formation." The growing amount of light showed commander and lieutenant nearly beak to beak.

Kowalski produced his clipboard and sketched furiously. "Ha! Most effective noncommittal response to the tattoo scenario is I had no idea you were such a tease." The lieutenant looked smug. He flourished the clipboard, which showed a penguin with unlikely curly feathers and mascaraed eyes flouncing away from a bar with turned up beak.

Skipper kept a straight face. "Man, if you say that, you're going to be moved in on so fast --- well. No, Kowalski, the correct answer is Check back with me tomorrow and we'll grab new ink together. Nobody would get something as intimate as a tattoo with a comparative stranger."

Kowalski had to concede with a rueful rub to his neck. After noticing everyone's eyes on the position of his flipper, he stopped short. "Very well. I'll take the answer under advisement if Esmerelda ever needs it." He stepped back into formation and shoved Rico. "Go for it, big fella."

Rico stumbled forward with a nasty look behind at Kowalski. "Ahgrommtztklshhere." He pointed to his left pit.

"Now, Rico, I appreciate honesty but the world might not. If you tell everyone where your tickle spot is, if you spill your guts --- Stop! I didn't mean it literally!"

Rico slurped back a string of drool and looked lost. "Howzen?"

Skipper thought hard. Rico was a special case; some would opine a special headcase, but he wouldn't. "Say I have hypergargalesthesia and I don't think you can keep up with me but if you're game then I am."


"Say I'm sick, cough and look pathetic."


"You got it. Private?"

A frown creased the usually worry-free brow of the most junior member of the team. "Need a moment, Skippa." The frown disappeared as he stepped towards his commander, flippers wide.

"No no no! Hugging is not the optimal response to the first sitch."

"It isn't?"

"The object is to get whoever is bugging you to bug off. Think about that and I'll come back to you later. Now everyone pay attention to my enacting a, a, complication from my latest solo mission." He stretched himself as tall as possible, sipping from an imaginary champagne flute. "It's your birthday? Honeybunch, my friend in the band who says he wants to meet you will go nuts. Who is it, you ask? See that drummer on the snare I'm waving to? He just played a rimshot for you hey wait where are you going?"

Kowalski and Rico chuckled but Private remained nonplused. "Eh, I don't get it."

"He's the drummer, Private."

"So wot?"

"Mama always said to never date the drummer because drummers are all crazy."

Private pulled a skeptical face. "Mmm, well, I'll leave that bit of folk wisdom on your doorstep, Skippa, but I've got an answer for Wot's your gym? You look like you work out."

"I'm ready. Hit me with it." Skipper doubled up at the sucker punch that Private delivered. He gasped and dropped to one knee. "Hrrrgh --- "

"That's my answer."

Private folded to the unforgiving cement ice floe when Rico and Kowalski tackled him. "Wot? He ordered me to --- "

"Bad 'Rivate! Bad!"

"I am not!"

You should know better than take him at his word!   Er, uh, I mean in these scenarios, oh you know what I mean --- "

"Let him up." Skipper rubbed his tender gut. "I intended to save approval of excessive force for the final day of Team Building Week, soldier. Tell me why you did that."

Private's expression crumpled as he slumped. "I'm sorry, Skippa, but wouldn't gettin' physical put some pushy git off?" He tapped his flippertips together in agitation.

Skipper adopted his paternal face. "Well, sure it would but then you'd have the bouncer give you the bum's rush out the door and where would the mission be? What if your informant were to meet up with you and got cold flippers because of the foofaraw?"

The young penguin straightened himself with resolve. "Righto. I'll think of somethin' else."

"As long as it's, and I never thought I'd hear myself say this, nonviolent."

The sun peeked over the tallest buildings before Private came up with an answer. With dawn's warmth flooding the habitat and the others involved in stretching before calisthenics, he pulled his commander aside.


Private beamed. "Someone in a pub asks me Wot's your gym? You look like you work out and I reply, sauce and all, Shall we compare our Fitbits?"

Skipper choked on his fish coffee. "Private, that's the most suggestive thing I've ever heard from you, so negatory all around. Let's shelve this lesson and move along." He turned on his heel. "Tomorrow's Team Building Week Training: Numero Dos is in forensics with the affirmative team debating You Lose All Your Dignity Running To Catch A Bus. Negative team rebuts with It's Not The Running, It's The Yelling. Discuss among yourselves and choose up sides by 1800 hours chow. Fifty pushups on my mark."

The wintry sun shone warmer than usual on the doughty team that protected Central Park Zoo. There were four more grueling days of Team Building Week to endure and everyone set to staying in shape with a good will.



The End.

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Day 7

In your own space, create a fanwork. Make a drabble, a ficlet, a podfic, or an icon, art or meta or a rec list. Arts and crafts. Draft a critical essay about a particular media. Put together a picspam or a fanmix. Write a review of a Broadway show, a movie, a concert, a poetry reading, a museum trip, a you-should-be-listening-to-this-band essay. Compose some limericks, haikus, free-form poetry, 5-word stories. Document a particular bit of real person canon. Take some pictures. Draw a stick-figure comic. Create something. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

The laptop gave fits for six full days, refusing to do basic things like open Pictures. It's fixed now. This cartoon bubbled up and here it is, *pop*

Day 15

In your own space, write a love letter to Fandom in general, to a particular fandom, to a trope, a relationship, a character, or to your flist/circle/followers. Share you love and squee as loud as you want to. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Dear Fandom,

Thanks for being there in thick and thin, through many changes in life that come to everyone in some sort or another. I appreciate knowing so many fellow fans and thinking of them peeking back at me as I peek at them. You were the inspiration for getting a computer in the first place in '05, after running to the library for twenty minute sessions after taking turns for the sign ups. From your first iteration as a plaything, I went on to work online for which I remain grateful.

Most of all, you are fantastic and fun and life-affirming. Yay fandom!



PS Way to go, mods, getting the Challenge up this year! It's been a squeeful ride.

PPS Er, the cartoon likely is obscure for non-fans of Penguins of Madagascar, explanation cheerfully given!
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Day 14
Go forth and commit an act of kindness. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it, tell us about it if you’re comfortable doing so.

I'm uncomfortable talking about it. Back to work.
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Day 13
In your own space, write about a moment in fandom that meant a lot to you. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Easy peasy. Bjo Trimble began a letter-writing campaign in early 1968 to Save Star Trek and somehow my friend the Superfan discovered it. She was the one who scribbled reams of Star Trek fanfic collaborations from us all onto legal pads and who came up, honestly, with stuff like plots while the rest of us supplied the longing sighs over Shatner, et al.

Superfan, who later became my first apartment roommate, was more smarter, more fannish, more dating-ish, more social-ish, just more. She organized our clique of five fourteen year-olds into writing letters to NBC during our almost-weekly sleepovers. There was one rollaway bed crammed into the average suburban 11x14 foot bedroom that already contained two twin beds, but somehow we managed to get close to 20 minutes of solid sleep on Friday nights with two per twin and one lucky in the rollaway. Of course, we slept in and My Second Mom, who had owned a bakeshop along with her ex-Navy cook husband, prepared pancakes and all sorts of goodies for us the next morning every time. Loved that family. Still do, after 59 years of friendship.

Er, back on track. That moment of fannish glory, added to the fact that there was a Season Three for Star Trek and what we did worked, was empowering.
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Day 12

In your own space, post a rec for fannish spaces and resources - comms, challenges, twitters, tumblrs, etc. Tell us about where you hang out.

Such riches out there; here are a few:

Pixiv has fannish space, which seems to be Japanese and the site has neat artwork, comics *I include manga and I guess, doujinshi, under this term) as well as interesting layouts. I wish I read Japanese and could contribute translations, but maybe it's enough to sort of figure it out anyway. If there are comms here, I don't know about them, yet it's a fun space to meander.


This is the 'human Penguins of Madagascar' search on Pinterest, which busts me up each time. I mean, it shows such twists of imagination that I am gobsmacked, to quote Private. Way to go, artistes! There might be comms, but again, I'm ignorant of them and just like to graze.

Vintage Ads on LJ. This is borderline fannish because of the emphasis on ads. The link is to an appearance by Superman. Anyway, I visit this comm each day to squee over vintage ads, lovingly maintained by MissTia (link is to her tumblr) and updated daily by welcoming and friendly folks contributing posts. This makes my day many times. :)

The Force DOT net. This site is always welcoming with a mod's input to newcomers. The link is to the site's non-Star Wars fanfiction section because that is where I hang out a great deal of the time. The fandoms range from Hamilton to oldies like Get Smart with a series of drabbles. One thing with a moderated site is that your fanwork is guaranteed at least one review. This is a most welcoming and friendly place.

Google! Yes, Google. Google links here to another 'human Penguins of Madagascar' search that makes me smile. Links on the google search abound to sites such as deviantArt that have slash comics such as the one in this link. Since PoM is an animated fandom, artwork is a prime attraction in it, to me.

Finally, Furaffinity with this (possibly?) NSFW entry. It's 'possibly' because they're animals. LeoKatana remains a premier artist and her work blossoms from fandom to fandom to original art for commission. What a talented person. Furaffinity is for smut and deviantArt is for milder smut when you'd rather not think about snatches or junk, just sort of, you know, blur them out. *LOL at delicate self*

So that's it for current sources of fandom fun. If google can be fannish, then anything can!
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Day 11
In your own space, talk about a creator. Show us why you think they are amazing. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

How else might you demonstrate your love for your chosen creator? You could make a recs list of your favorites. Or post a link to their personal website or to an archive, whether it's at or Instagram. You could even create a page for them at Fanlore, or add to an existing one.

ruth baulding is a capital writer for Star Wars. I can't think of a better one and I'm not alone, so making her presence known on fanlore took on epic proportions. Here ya go, lady!

ruth baulding fanlore entry

Whew, took all day off and on, but here is an entry for you, r.b. *falls over ded*
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Day 10

In your own space, share your love for a trope, cliché, kink, motif, or theme. (More than one is okay, too.) Tell us about it, tell us why you love it, give us some examples and recs. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

I love tropes themselves. That's a theme, right? Upon much dithering personal reflection in my solipsistic 'verse, tropes remain glorious bits of fandom ranging from current obsession Ho Yay In Cartoons to not-so-long-ago one Wow, Tropes Existed In Greek Mythology? to ancient one Mommy, I Want To Go To France To Help Sgt. Saunders Fight Nazis.

Regarding the last, how exactly was a little girl supposed to help Chip fight? Hand him the occasional grenade? Set up the BAR? Provide inspiration? I dunno about me sometimes; other times, I'm sure. What I do know is that tropes abounded in the show, including subverted ones. For example, we watched action shows galore and each longrunner seemed to have an episode in which a character went blind. One episode portrayed Chip going deaf and being helped by a doggie, aw. Of course, the doggie had to die.

Yup, I love tropes.
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DAY 9:

Send feedback to two fannish people — they can be anyone you want: a writer who’s made you happy, a moderator of your favorite exchange (not us!), a fanartist you avidly follow… There are so many possibilities. Just let someone know you appreciate their work.

Done, to Mud, Alcalina's foray into the glorious world of Star Wars. With the release of Rogue One and the Force Awakens, fandom is blessed with a fine talent to juggle the characters of Anakin, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, Quinlan Vos and others in the Clone Wars era. Come along for the ride to discover how Anakin and Obi-Wan form a partnership in all senses of the word. Rich and evocative prose delineates the relationships: Master-Padawan, Jedi-Council, Hondo-Aurra, stop if you are already intrigued and just go read. 34 chapters and counting, a fine debut. Add to the rec that her artwork exceeds hawt and goes straight to steamy.

Done, to Getting Into Character, GrandOldPenguin's RPF that blends Penguins of Madagascar characters with Tom McGrath and Co. who bring them to glorious life. Really, the work melds human and penguin personalities in the best way possible, along with displaying an intriguing method of getting its plot going. Think smoke detector. Go on, you'll never guess why/how/who.
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Day 8

In your own space, make a list of at least 3 things that you like about yourself. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

1. I'm good enough.

2. I'm smart enough.

3. Doggone it, people like me.

Soul searching time: I'm good enough, like the bookstore in Hometown named The Good Enough Bookstore because the Good Book Store already covered Scripture.

I'm smart enough to have a four year degree that enriches life all these years later. The ways in which I'm not smart enough would fill OneDrive's storage for my Microsoft account.

People like me because I'm polite and respond to comments online, and people in RL like me because I am a good listener. Cats like me because I feed them. Dogs like me because I'm unafraid of them. Squirrels like me because I like them and used to put out nuts for them so that Mom could see them from her rest home window. Squirrels in my neighborhood like me because I talk to them. Way to go, me. :)
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