Continuing Our New Serial!
Who Ate All the Fish?
Archibald Penguin, Our Bird,
The Famed Detective.
The Cheeky Penguin who
Loves Fish as Almost as Much as
He Loves Fighting Crime!
Polar Bear — A Hungry Animal
The Walrus — A Certain Tusked Mammal
Seal — A Happy Fellow
Pelican — A Creature with a Large Mouth
Archibald Penguin — Our Bird
Henrietta Puffin — Penguin’s Ever-Present Companion
Shark — A Miracle of Evolution
Killer Whale — Poster-Fish for the Misunderstood
Seal looked at the pair, clearly undone by the situation. “Okay! All right! I can’t hide it any longer. I took –“ Seal made one more nervous scan around his surroundings and lowered his voice. “I took a correspondence course.”
“A correspondence course?!” Henrietta Puffin was clearly taken by surprise at his answer as evidenced by the high pitch of her voice. “A correspondence course! A course for what?”
Seal looked down. “Circus performance. I’m interested in becoming a circus performer.”
“Off to join the circus? Oh, for goodness sake!” Ms. Puffin was a bit undone. Perhaps due to the absence of her breakfast?
Our Bird calmed Ms. Puffin with a gentle touch of his flipper, then turned his attention to Seal. “We are investigating the whereabouts and possible recovery of the fish. Please tell us what you know Seal.”
“Well. I went to the cove early this morning. For breakfast, you see. But there wasn’t a fish to be seen. Not close by at least. I didn’t want to venture out too far into the water. There’s that Killer Whale. He’s been swimming so close to shore lately. I don’t like him.”
“I agree with you on that count.” Ms. Puffin said. “And that shark friend of his.”
“Well, I don’t know about sharks. Killer whales though. Us seals have to keep a keen eye open for them. So I say enough with this. I’ve been taking the course for a while. Train to be a circus performer.“ Seal frowned.
Archibald nodded. “Go on.”
“It’s harder than you think. It’s a real art. I know everyone around here talks poorly of the circus. ‘You’re nothing but a caged animal.’ Well, I don’t know. At least they feed you. And after this morning. No food at all. I’ve had it.
“So I figured today was the day I nail down my routine. I’ve had enough of living in this place. And if those other seals say that the circus is so bad because you’re locked up. That you’re not free. Well, I’ll take being locked up and safe over being free and being eaten by some old killer whale.” Tears trickled as Seal began sobbing.
Henrietta frowned. “You have nothing to be ashamed of. It’s all right. It will be all right.” Then she hugged Seal as best as seemly decorum would allow.
< — — <— — < > — — > — —>
With a drove of emotions thus released, it took some time to calm Seal down. Having done so, Archibald Penguin and Ms. Puffin wished him well and went on their way. Their icy walk back to the start of the trail was undertaken without a word being spoke. The occasional stomach grumble provided the only discourse needed.
Archibald’s feet hurt, he flexed, but he said nothing as he looked at the three sets of prints. Again, Pelican was flying overhead, his shadow trailing over the ground Archibald had no choice to walk across. Our Bird looked up to the sky, watching the seemingly effortless movement of the bird.
Henrietta could almost read Archibald’s thoughts. “This no matter. Not every bird can fly, but every bird has its strengths.”
“Yes Henrietta.” Archibald smiled as he looked at her. “We do all have our strengths.”
“The polar bear then?” Henrietta suggested.
If was a cold and hungry walk following the trail of the polar bear. Polar bears have quite a longer stride than do penguins! So by the time the pair reached the ice cave of the polar bear, the sun was past its zenith. The two bird’s stomachs were growing in vocality about their unwanted vacancy.
If there had been a jovial mood to the start of the investigation, then it was gone now. Replaced by some hunger pangs that were working in partnership with mounting frustration. Because of this Archibald came straight out with the purpose of their visit.
“You know. Always I’m being accused of something.” Polar Bear grumbled. “Just because I’m big, well then that must mean I’m such a big old brute too. Gobbled up those fish all for myself?”
“I meant no offense.” Archibald calmed.
“You know what. I did eat some fish. I ate a lot of fish, but I’m big. Takes a lot to fill me up. Would you rather I ate some penguin?”
At this most blatant potential breakdown in fabilic rule and logic, Our Bird took a few nervous steps sideways. “Now see here bear. I’m simply doing my job.”
“And me mine!” Polar Bear stopped short. He looked a bit embarrassed. “Look. I don’t have anything against you. I’m sorry. I’m a bit undone lately.” He put a paw to his eyes and tried to rub the sleep out of them. “I have three little mouths to feed. Kids!” And from out of the cave came three little polar bear pups. Three of the cutest fuzzy puffballs of cuddly white fur.
Have ever polar bear cubs failed to stir and warm the heart?
“That’s nothing to be ashamed of. Providing for your family.” Archibald counseled.
“Well maybe for you male penguins it’s fine to sit on eggs all winter. But us male bears are supposed to be strong. Oh. I ah. I ah. I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“No no. I understand Polar Bear.”
“If you don’t mind my asking.” Henrietta interjected. “Is the missus not with you?”
“She’s still with us. Just looking after her mom. She’s getting on in the years. Poor thing, her old claws can hardly cut through a half foot of ice anymore.”
Archibald nodded sympathetically. “We will continue our search then. In the mean time, if you happen across any information, please pass it on, will you?”
< — — <— — < > — — > — —>
Back again at the water’s edge, the two birds were quite hungry, and quite out of tracks to follow.
“Penguin.” Henrietta tentatively started. “Could it be the killer whale and shark are in collusion? I know they’re not the smartest lot. But perhaps? They’ve eaten all the fish so that every other animal has to venture further out to sea in search of food? We’d all be easier to catch then.”
“Yes.” Archibald absently looked up at the sky. “That could be.” He thought some more. “I think they have some involvement in this affair, but they’re not the chief culprit of this caper.”
“If not them, then who? We are out of tracks.”
“My dear Ms. Puffin. The party responsible for the removal of these fish did not leave tracks in the snow.”
“No. But I know who took the fish!”
Read our next installment to find out!
to be concluded . . .