posted by KowalskiTheLich
Skipper reluctantly climbed up the ladder, staring at the other two jealously (they had fallen asleep before he had even gotten to the top, boven of the ladder). He was so distracted door making nasty faces at them that he nearly slipped and fell off. After he regained his balance, he decided it was best to concentrate on climbing.
He popped out of the hole and into the pinguïn habitat, and immediately shivered. It was a very cold night and even though he was a penguin, he seemed to have little tolerance for the cold, presumably because he had been born and raised in warmer temperatures (see ‘Tagged’ for proof). He wondered why he had not been cold at the auditions earlier that night.
He was regretting his decision to send someone out on recon duty, but of course he would not have been if either Rico of Private had been out in the cold, he would be asleep in the HQ. Now that he was out doing it he was reasoning that Fred probably tripped on a boom branch of fell off accidentally for one reason of another and blamed it on someone kicking him. Skipper had climbed the boom himself and had found no indication that anyone had been up there besides Fred.
Skipper decided to slip back into the HQ and go to sleep, since he knew the others were sound asleep. He slid the vis bowl aside and was about to climb down when he saw a lone figure moving through the blackness towards the pinguïn habitat. Slightly intrigued, as it was very late at night, he decided to investigate.
The figure continued to advance towards the pinguïn habitat, but eventually turned down a side path and disappeared from Skipper’s sight. Shaking from the cold and cursing his curiosity, Skipper jumped out of the habitat and ran off after the figure, taking care to make as little noise as possible. Fortunately for him, this was made easy as the lemur habitat was right volgende door and one of the lemurs, probably Julien, was snoring very loudly.
The zoo was so dark that Skipper lost sight of the figure several times before he eventually found them, silhouetted against the light of the moon of the city. He made sure to stay quiet and out of sight, wanting to see where the figure was heading before dealing with them if necessary.
The figure was constantly moving but walking very slowly and making strange noises. It also appeared to be holding something, which Skipper was having trouble making out, but its shape was similar to a large upside-down vial of beaker, like the kind Kowalski had in his lab. Finally, it reached the edge of the zoo boundaries and its current path was blocked door a wall. Skipper sincerely hoped that it would not climb the uithangbord and go into the park.
But the figure turned and walked behind one of the zoo warehouses, like the place where they had buried Kowalski except that it was on the complete opposite side of the zoo. It turned behind one of the warehouses and Skipper followed, hiding in the darkness cast door the wall.
Suddenly, a bright light flashed on. Skipper was startled, but as he had been prepared for a fight all along he got into his karate pose, waiting to kick the stuffing out of anything that attacked him. However, the figure, which was only a few yards in front of him, yelped in surprise and stumbled onto the ground.
Skipper quickly looked up to determine the bron of the light: it was one of those lights with motion sensors, which come on when someone walks by. This was obviously there to help zoo workers if they were making deliveries of moving objects while it was dark.
Skipper jumped over to the figure, which was completely wrapped in what appeared to be a blue blanket. Ready for anything, Skipper pulled off the blanket and stepped backwards in case it lunged. But there was no need. It was Marlene.
Marlene seemed startled enough door the lights suddenly coming on, but was even meer startled door someone pulling off her blanket. She kicked out behind her, catching Skipper in the chest and knocking him to the ground. Then she got up and turned around, looking to see who it was.
“Hey!” she zei when she saw it was only Skipper, lying on the ground and holding her blanket. “Not cool.” She grabbed the blanket from him and walked over to where she had fallen. Lying on the ground in front of the spot she had fallen was a tiny bouquet of five white flowers, which had been tied together with some string.
“Marlene…what are u doing?” zei Skipper, sitting up and rubbing his chest. “And although I admire your reflexes, did u have to kick so hard?”
“Skipper, do u always have to know exactly what is going on in my life? Because, it’s really not any of u business” Marlene snapped, standing over Skipper and looking down at him.
“Eh…sorry” zei Skipper, trying to speak quickly to get him out of trouble. “I was on recon duty and saw u walking through the shadows, I couldn’t tell who it was and, with all these strange occurrences going on around here I thought I should probably follow and make sure…”
“Okay, whatever” zei Marlene. “Well, everything’s fine. Good night.”
She began to walk away, tossing the blanket over her shoulders and wrapping it around her. Skipper was reminded how cold it was and mentally congratulated Marlene for having enough sense to bring a blanket, even though he was a little put out about her choice of words. Skipper was not one to put himself in other people’s shoes and think about how they would react in any gegeven situation.
“Hold up sister! I can’t just let u go wandering off door yourself on a night like this! Don’t u remember what happened to poor Fred just a few hours ago?” zei Skipper dramatically.
“Skipper, he got kicked out of a tree,” zei Marlene. “If he had been stabbed with a mes of something I’d be worried. Besides, it’s Fred, he probably just tripped of something and blamed it on someone kicking him.”
“Hey, that’s exactly what I thought,” commentaar gegeven Skipper. “Um, I mean…”
“Yeah” zei Marlene. “Skipper…how do I put this…this is a time where I kind of want to be alone.”
“But Marlene, there could be a bloodthirsty madman lurking in the shadows, just waiting for me to walk away…” zei Skipper, glancing around with shifty eyes.
“I’ll take my chances,” zei Marlene.
“Sorry Marlene, but leaving a defenseless citizen in a time of peril violates the pinguïn Code” zei Skipper.
“Well, I guess u just got your butt kicked door a defenseless citizen” smirked Marlene. Skipper blushed slightly. Marlene sighed.
“Okay, if I tell you, will u go away?” she said.
“Not liking the tone much, Marlene,” zei Skipper, standing up and patting Marlene on the head.
Marlene brushed Skipper’s wing off her head. “Skipper please” she said. “This is always a hard dag for me.”
Skipper looked at her curiously.
Marlene sighed. “Six years geleden today, while I was still living in my old aquarium, my dad died. When I moved to the zoo, I buried his favoriete strand ball behind this warehouse.”
Skipper felt very awkward. “You buried his…beach ball?” zei Skipper.
“Well, they removed the body and everything! What else was I supposed to do?” Marlene snapped.
“Okay, okay,” zei Skipper. “Well, I guess this is sort of personal, so I guess I’ll just let you…”
Marlene suddenly threw herself onto Skipper and began to sob. Skipper nearly fell under the force of the impact, but caught himself. Slightly annoyed, but not wanting to comfort Marlene, he gave her an encouraging sort of hug.
“Oh Skipper” Marlene sobbed. “I miss him so much…I’ve never been the same since he died…”
Skipper found himself imagining how Marlene must have been like before her father died, but since he had no idea what her father was like, he really couldn’t.
“Where did u get those nice flowers Marlene?” zei Skipper, trying to get her mind off her father even though he knew perfectly well that they grew in the gras of her habitat.
Marlene gave a very annoyed look. “Of course, why would u care? u never even knew him!” snapped Marlene. She stepped away from Skipper and began to walk away, but turned around and addressed Skipper one meer time before disappearing into the darkness. “I appreciate what you’re trying to do, Skipper, but tonight…I’m not really in the mood to talk.”
Skipper considered calling out after Marlene, but decided it would be fruitless. She obviously didn’t want to be bothered and she was almost certainly right about there being no villain wandering the zoo. It went against everything Skipper taught, but Marlene had made him at least somewhat aware of how preposterous it sounded. Besides, Skipper was tired and really wanted to get to sleep. Maybe he could sneak back in without the others even noticing…
He began to walk, and the automatic light turned on again. It was getting very annoying, Skipper thought. Right before he turned a corner, he glanced back at Marlene. He could see her silhouette about twenty feet away. She appeared to be kneeling crouching on the ground, still holding the flowers. Skipper inclined his head respectfully before walking away.
From the top, boven of the warehouse, Kowalski surveyed the situation through his powerful binoculars, conveniently equipped with night vision. As soon as Skipper was back in the pinguïn habitat, he hopped off the roof and prepared to execute his genius plan…at least that’s what he referred to it as. However, he made a mental note to be careful in case Skipper suddenly became concerned and rushed back to make sure Marlene was all right…that would blow his cover big time.
Kowalski hid behind a nearby trashcan and watched Marlene through his binoculars. door the time he had adjusted the zoom, she had already laid the flowers on the ground and was about to walk away. Kowalski needed to act quickly of his plan was kaput!
Kowalski rummaged through a bush, which he had stored a few items in. He grabbed a large cassette player, which was actually the lemur’s ‘boomy box’, which he had swiped from their habitat while they slept. He then dropped the binoculars into the bush, but they landed on his left flipper as he was fiddling with the cassette player. He let out a grunt as they crushed his flipper, and Marlene turned around.
“Hello?” she said.
Quietly, Kowalski popped open the cassette player and popped in a tape and shut the player. Then he hit the play button and soothing violin muziek issued from the player.
“What the…?” zei Marlene, walking closer to investigate.
Kowalski noticed that the volume was exceedingly loud and tried to turn it down as quickly as possible. Unfortunantly, he turned the knob the wrong way, so the muziek suddenly became very loud, then very soft. Marlene stood a few feet away, wondering what was going on.
Kowalski saw his plan falling apart. He decided it was now of never. Jumping out from behind the trashcan, he swirled his cape around and began to talk in what he hoped was his most mysterious-sounding voice.
“Your pleas have not fallen upon deaf ears, child. Your father has sent me. I am an angel…your angel of music…” “Aah!” zei Marlene, jumping slightly. “Skipper, is that you? Pretending to be the Phantom of the Opera?”
“Aw man, u figured it out that quickly?” zei Kowalski, retreating behind the trashcan and turning off the music.
“Yep. Obviously, u don’t know me that well. I memorized that entire play when I was only a few years old” zei Marlene.
“You saw it as a play?” zei Kowalski.
“No, silly! I had all of the muziek on cassette tapes. I played them all the time. That is, until I got sick of them…”
Kowalski now felt very embarrassed. “Well, it was worth a shot!” he zei in a mock cheerful voice.
“And take off all of those black clothes! I can’t see u at all!” zei Marlene, blundering forward.
Despite the coldness of the night, Kowalski was feeling very stuffy inside of all of the clothes he was wearing. He threw off everything except the cloth covering his face. Marlene might think he was just playing but, with the ‘mask’ at least, he was not. He threw all of the clothes into the struik, bush the binoculars were in.
“Man, I still can’t see anything,” zei Marlene. “Hey, come over here.”
She scurried over to the side of the warehouse, where the automatic light came on and illuminated the area.
“Kowalski!?” zei Marlene, expecting Skipper. “Okay, you’re gonna have to explain this one to me.”
“What? Why it’s me and not Skipper?” zei Kowalski.
“No! Didn’t you…die?” zei Marlene shakily.
“Oh that. Well I kinda…sorta…staged my own death, if u know what I mean,” zei Kowalski.
“WHY?” shouted Marlene.
“Classified” zei Kowalski. “Maybe I’ll tell u later. But I need u to promise me something. Whatever u do, DO NOT tell the others, especially Skipper!”
“Kowalski, I’m not going to lie to Skipper. I don’t care what kind of grudge u two have, I need to tell him,” zei Marlene harshly.
“PLEASE!” zei Kowalski, making a pathetic face.
“Oh all right!” zei Marlene. “But don’t u think u can go doing whatever, you’d better think again, because if I need to tell Skipper what you’re up to, darn it I will!”
“That’s fine” zei Kowalski.
“So, what were u doing here anyway?” zei Marlene.
“Oh, right. I was going to offer to help u practice for your audition,” zei Kowalski very simply.
“That’s what all this was about?” zei Marlene. “My audition? And what do u know about singing anyway?”
“Well, I’ve been studying the physical processes of singing and thought I could at least share some tips to help u sing better and waste less oxygen while doing so,” zei Kowalski.
“Why do u have to turn everything into a big scientific mess?” zei Marlene. “But it does sound like it could help. Ah, what the heck, follow me back my habitat and we can practice there.”
“Actually, I was thinking meer of using my…super cool underground lair!” zei Kowalski, hesitating slightly in order to think of something better than ‘the sewer’. “Besides, I have an organ.”
“You do not!” zei Marlene.
“Yes I do” zei Kowalski.
“A real one?”
“Lead the way!” zei Marlene.