Archibald Penguin No. 4

Concluding Our New Serial!

Who Ate All the Fish?

featuring

Archibald Penguin, Our Bird,
The Famed Detective.
The Cheeky Penguin who
Loves Fish as Almost as Much as
He Loves Fighting Crime!

Detective Serial featuring Archibald the Penguin

The Players:

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

Chapter 4

 

We find Archibald Penguin, Our Bird, on the ice and snow-covered land of the Southern-Most Continent, with his ever-present companion, Henrietta Puffin. The two are investigating the disappearance of the fish from their cove-sheltering water. At the scene of the crime they discovered three sets of footprints: a bear, seal, and walrus. Having investigated all three tracks, they failed to locate the culprit. However, Archibald had one last idea and we left him on the verge of naming the fish-nabbing nar-do-well.

 

“My dear Ms. Puffin.  The party responsible for the removal of these fish did not leave tracks in the snow.”  Archibald Penguin explained.

“No?” Henrietta Puffin asked.

“No. But I know who took the fish!”

“Bravo Penguin! Do explain.”

“We do know from our questioning of Walrus that the disappearance of the fish may not have been so sudden. It seems possible that the fish were removed over a period of days or weeks. While this is an assumption, we will assume, for the purposes of supporting our supposition, that it is accurate.”

“Not taken overnight then. And it doesn’t seem that any of our large land-fellows are directly involved. Would you consider a shark or killer whale?”

“It’s possible they would help, but if I were to wager, I wouldn’t place either of those two as the ringleaders.”

“If not them, and not Walrus, Seal, or Polar Bear, then it’s a smaller animal? One who doesn’t leave footprints.”

“I do concur Ms. Puffin. A smaller fellow could do the job, if he could move swiftly.”

“Yes. Swift moving and with a large . . . mouth, to gather up all the fish.”

“An animal with a large –“ And at that moment, as though it had been written for it to do so, the shadow of the pelican traced upon the ground. “– a pelican is a bird with a big mouth, wouldn’t you say?”

“I would. I would also say that Killer Whale may not be the culprit, but he knows more. I purpose a second interview.”

“Perhaps not the culprit? I will not thrice deny your hunch Ms. Puffin for so rarely have I witnessed a hunch of yours to turn up false.“

She gave him a wry smile, but said nothing.

< — — <— — < > — — > — —>

The two birds trudged back down to the shore where they spotted the great fish. He swam over, “You two still looking for all those fish?”

“At the moment,” Archibald said, “we’re looking for a particular pelican.”

“With a large mouth.” Added Henrietta.

“Don’t they all have large mouths?” Replied Killer Whale.

“So you’re familiar with pelicans?” Asked Archibald.

“I know some things about them, sure.”

“So you know they’re not native to this continent.”

“I dunno. Out of all this. That’s what you’re going to fact check?”

“Right.” Our bird quickly questioned, “Have you ever worked with a pelican?”

“Me! Work with a pelican? Oh ho, that’s rich. A killer whale work with a pelican!”

“So you are saying you did not work with a pelican.”

“Didn’t I just say that?”

“Technically,” Henrietta muttered under her breath so only Archibald Penguin could hear, “you didn’t confirm or deny. You only made vague statements that were meant to give the impression of denial without making the definitive statement.”

“No. Not exactly.” Archibald stated succinctly.

“Well then.” Killer Whale spun around in the water, showing signs of agitation.”

“Do you know where he is? Could you help us with that bit of the puzzle?”

The killer whale flapped his tail aggressively at the water. “I reckon he’s about somewhere.”

“Oh ENOUGH!” Puffin politely squawked. “Archibald may have the stamina, and fondness, for such banter, but I, at the moment, do not.” For confirmation, her stomach echoed the hunger rolling through the void. “I believe your dodginess answers all of our questions –“

“Save one,” interrupted Archibald. “Stop us when we say false. Pelican took all the fish from the cove.”

“However,” continued Henrietta Puffin, “he needed help rounding them up.”

“So you, and shark, drove the fish in close to the shore.”

“For which, in return, hungry animals would need to venture further from land to look for food.” Said Puffin.

“And directly into your territory.” Archibald watched as whale looked chagrined.

Ms. Puffin deftly added, “Now Pelican is with all the fish past the ice flow on the far inlet.”

“HA! That’s where you’re wrong! Mr. and Mrs. Smarty Birds!” Finally whale knew something they didn’t. “He’s inside the ice cave just on the other side of the breakwater. There’s a tidal pool in there.”

Then Whale watched, a bit confused by the abrupt end of the conversation, as Penguin and Puffin turned at walked in the direction of the ice cave.

< — — <— — < > — — > — —>

Sure enough, on the other side of the breakwater, inside the ice cave was a certain big-mouthed bird, rubbing his wings together, looking down into a tidal-pool full of fish.

“Pelican!” Archibald shouted.

Startled, the bird jumped, flapped his wings to take flight, only to knock his head on the ceiling of the cave. THUMP, he fell back to the ground. “Who? What?”

“What are you doing here with all of the cove’s fish?”

“Well, I don’t know about the cove’s fish. But what I’m doing here? I’m watching over my fish.”

“You’re fish?!”

“That’s right. My fish. I have –” The large mouthed animal puffed up his chest, proud as a pelican who had, “cornered the market!”

“Cornered the market! What market?” Archibald exclaimed.

“The fish market of course.” Replied the Pelican.

“But there isn’t a fish market.” Explained Henrietta.

“Well not yet. But I’m about to make one.”

“No. You’re attempting to hoard a shared resource and extort the honest animals that rely on those fish for sustenance.” Henrietta said.

“Nah. You got it all wrong. I’m just making a few changes to the shared-resource distribution model of the cove.”

Archibald interjected, “Earlier we spoke to a very hungry polar bear doubly concerned about the welfare of his hungry children. Perhaps you could explain your new shared-resource distribution model to him. I’m sure a wise bird such as yourself will have no trouble communicating the finer details to the large bear.”

“I ah. A polar bear. Sure, I’ll explain.” Pelican was quiet for a bit. For the first time he thought of more than the wealth enhancing broad-strokes of this plan and instead began to consider the nuanced details of his business model. “I suppose, on second thought, why don’t I revert to the old model of distribution.”

“You’ll return all the fish to the cove immediately?” Henrietta prompted.

“Yes, yes, of course.” Pelican agreed.

“And make personal deliveries of fish to our hungry animals around the cove.” Said Archibald.

“With your apologies.” Henrietta added.

“Yes. Oh yes. Right away.” Pelican concurred.

The Fish!