May. 8th, 2017

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.



pronker: (Default)

August 2017

6789 101112
131415 16171819

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 21st, 2017 12:24 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios