Magic Penguin, Fat Giraffe and Stupid Donkey were enjoying a few drinks in the Shoe and Phone one afternoon. Fat Giraffe was a little irritated by Stupid Donkey’s appearance in a second successive story.
“So you’re going to be a regular fixture then?” he asked, failing to mask his animosity.
“Yeah, the writer felt that the series needed another regular character,” said Stupid Donkey.
“Well I thought the first two stories worked quite well as two-handers,” muttered Fat Giraffe.
“I don’t think it really matters,” said Magic Penguin, “as long as I’m in the stories. After all, I am the principal character.”
“Well I think I’m quite important too,” said Fat Giraffe, “what would the Magic Penguin stories be without Fat Giraffe eh?”
“I think we’d get by,” said Magic Penguin.
“Oh, I think you’ll find that the stories would lose something without me,” said Fat Giraffe, “to be honest I’d go as far as to say I’m the only thing holding them together at the moment.”
“I’m not sure that the stories are working though,” said Happy Rhino, “they’re a bit samey really. Nothing much seems to happen in them.”
“Who are you?” asked Magic Penguin.
“I’m Happy Rhino,” said Happy Rhino, “I’ve been brought in to reinvigorate the franchise.”
“But you weren’t even in the opening paragraph to this story!” exclaimed Fat Giraffe, “where did you come from? This is preposterous.”
“Oh, I’ve been here all along,” said Happy Rhino, “I’ve been in the background of all the stories. You didn’t think it was just you two in the pub all this time did you?”
“I suppose that would be strange,” acknowledged Magic Penguin, “there were bound to be some other patrons.”
“Not to mention staff,” added Ed the Ostrich from behind the bar.
“Hey Ed,” said Fat Giraffe, “how come your name is slightly different to ours?”
“What do you mean?” asked Ed.
“Well, we all seem to have an implausible adjective as our forename and then the kind of animal we are as our surname. Whereas you have a normal name followed by the definite article and only then the kind of animal you are, which suggests that your species isn’t actually part of your name.”
“Oh yeah,” replied Ed, “I’d never noticed that before.”
“Well to be fair, you’ve only been in the story for a few lines,” said Magic Penguin, “maybe we’re asking too much of you.”
“Anyway,” said Stupid Donkey, slightly irritated that he hadn’t had anything to say for a while, “what happened about last week’s cliffhanger?”
“Oh yeah,” said Happy Rhino, “I forgot about that!”
“You didn’t forget,” said Fat Giraffe, “ you weren’t even in the story.”
“Yes I was,” explained Happy Rhino, patiently, “ but as I said before, I was just in the background.”
“So you say,” muttered Fat Giraffe.
“But seriously guys,” continued Stupid Donkey, “what did happen about the cliffhanger.”
“Well, you were definitely there, so I’m surprised that you’ve forgotten,” said Magic Penguin, “but allow me to jog your memory. If you recall, the mysterious stranger was just a red herring. Who went by the name of Red Herring.”
“Oh yeah,” said Fat Giraffe, “and if I remember correctly, Red Herring had a problem, that necessitated an investigation, which resulted in a compelling adventure, with lots of action and some thrilling twists in the tale, before it was all resolved in a satisfactory way”
“That’s right,” said Magic Penguin. “It was exciting stuff alright.”
“So why isn’t that adventure the basis for this week’s story” asked Happy Rhino, “that would seem a much better premise for a tale than whatever this is.”
“True,” said Magic Penguin, “it does seem strange that the writer has chosen to focus the narrative around a boring conversation rather than an exciting adventure story.”
“It’s almost as if he has no respect for the reader,” said Stupid Donkey.
“Yes,” laughed Magic Penguin, “it does seem if he has no respect for the reader at all.”
But Magic Penguin and Stupid Donkey were wrong. The writer did respect the readers.
He just wasn’t a very good writer.