At first he thought that more chickens had arrived. The last batch had made his super-bowl party a real hit, but he didn’t know what he would do with more now that the party was over. Maybe he could freeze them? Did whole chickens keep well in a freezer?
Chase mused over this as the light of the small television flashed images of a Mr. Ed re-run, lighting his dim living room in fits and spurts. At length, when no chickens arrived, he gave over his musings, and attributed the strange sounds he was hearing to his eccentric Russian neighbor. What was the man doing up at four a.m. anyway?
He hummed cheerfully along with the Mr. Ed. theme song. A horse is a horse of course, of course! It was always hard to think clearly at four in the morning. His stomach grumbled, and he considered getting up to make a sandwich, but quickly dismissed the idea when he realized the amount of effort he would have to expend. Besides, he might miss Mr. Ed.
There was a crash from down the hall. That definitely came from inside his apartment! He considered getting up to investigate, but, like the sandwich, it would be too much effort for likely too little reward. He knew from experience, that strange crashes in his apartment always ended up explaining themselves eventually. One just had to have patience.
His patience was rewarded, and he gave a small, satisfied nod when the penguin emerged into his living room. It was difficult to make out in the light of the television, but one does not mistake a penguin standing in one’s living room.
“Where do you keep your microwave emitter?”
Chase blinked. That was new. The chickens only clucked wildly and ran around pooping on everything. His stomach rumbled again. Chicken wings sounded great right then. Again he considered the sandwich, but instead just jerked his head toward the kitchen. His visitor nodded and entered the kitchen.
Chase went back to watching the show. He had missed a joke. He could hear the tail end of the canned laughter they always used in those old shows. Not for the first time that week, Chase wished that he had splurged and gotten tivo. One never knew when one might miss a joke.
The penguin passed by carrying his microwave. The cord dragged along the ground behind him.
“Umm…” Chase began, but the Penguin had already disappeared down the hall. He shrugged, and reached for the popcorn bowl. Cold popcorn seemed saltier somehow.
Soon, more crashing sounds emerged from down the hall. He hoped that his eccentric Russian neighbor didn’t wake up. Chase didn’t understand Russian, but he understood when someone was cursing at him in any language. There is just a certain tonal inflection when someone curses. It’s easy to tell. Another crash, followed by a bang, and then a wet thwop. Chase sighed. He really should check out what mischief that penguin was up to. One could never be too sure when dealing with talking poultry. Was Penguin poultry?He couldn’t imagine barbequed penguin wings. It seemed inhumane somehow. More canned laughter. Damn. He missed another joke. He shoved thoughts of his strange visitor out of his head and hunkered down further into his well-worn couch, determined to concentrate on the television.
That strategy worked well for a few minutes until, unexpectedly, his television turned off. He tore his eyes away from the blank screen and saw that the penguin had unplugged it and was preparing to pick it up.
“Hey dude…not cool. I was watching that.”
The penguin looked up at him and blinked, seemed to consider the statement, (if penguins could be said to be the considering types), and said, “Sorry sir. I need it.”
With that, it hoisted the television and began to walk down the hall.
Chase had had enough. It was time to get tough.
“Oh yeah and what do you need it for….man? He said, trying to sound stern.
“Your primitive mind couldn’t possibly understand.” Came the reply as the penguin disappeared down the hall.
“Jerk!” Chase thought darkly. Now what was he going to do? He looked around his dim living room, now lit only by the neon city lights outside. Empty pizza boxes, empty beer cans, chicken poop, half-empty peanut butter jar. Ohh! Peanut butter! He wondered briefly if cold popcorn went well with peanut butter.
The sound of glass breaking brought him to his feet. He raced down the hall his, heart pumping wildly.
“No, no,no,no!” he thought, “not my T.V.!"
The penguin met him halfway down the hall.
“Dude! What did you do to my T.V.?”
The penguin sighed (if you have never heard a penguin sigh, you ought to try it, it is quite an experience).
“I needed the tubes to fix the triangulation metro-meter on my ship.”
“You are making that up. Penguins don’t fly ships! You don’t even have thumbs!”
“Well, you seem to be speaking penguin and yet you don’t have a beak.”
Chase had to admit. It was a valid argument. He stood there gaping trying to think of a reply, but at length came to the conclusion that somewhere between Mr. Ed. and cold peanut butter popcorn, his brain must have turned to mush.