One day, after a competitive game of squash, Magic Penguin and Fat Giraffe decided to pop into the Shoe and Phone for a few drinks. As Magic Penguin had narrowly won the match, Fat Giraffe had to get the first round in. He went to the bar to order the drinks while Magic Penguin went to see if there was a pool table free. As luck would have it there was, so Magic Penguin inserted some change into the slot and proceeded to set up the table. When Fat Giraffe returned from the bar with the drinks he was accompanied by Edward the Ostrich.
“Alright Ed!” said Magic Penguin, “Haven’t seen you in ages.”
“No, I was hoping to be in the last story, but the writer went with Stupid Donkey instead” replied Ed.
Yeah, that was a strange choice,” acknowledged Fat Giraffe, “but that Donkey can certainly hold a tune.”
“Yes, I heard he was good,” muttered Magic Penguin, “shame I missed it.”
“Well it’s good you’ve turned up for this story,” said Ed, “after all, what would the Magic Penguin stories be without you?”
“I think I kept things ticking along nicely last week,” protested Fat Giraffe.
“I mean it was alright,” acknowledged Ed, “but it’s just not the same without Magic Penguin.”
“Cheers mate,” said Magic Penguin as Fat Giraffe bristled slightly, “hey what’s that?”
He was referring to the red drink that Edward was holding.
“It’s a Bloody Mary,” replied Ed, “I’m nursing a bit of a hangover. I had a few too many with Happy Rhino last night.”
“Fair enough,” said Magic Penguin as he picked up his pool cue to break, “Fancy playing the winner Ed?”
“Don’t be stupid,” replied Ed, “Ostriches can’t play pool. That’s just silly!”
“Yeah I suppose it is really!” laughed Magic Penguin as he took his shot.
Sometime later, after Fat Giraffe had managed to exact his revenge on Magic Penguin for squash by beating him at pool, the three friends sat down in a corner of the bar and whiled away the afternoon drinking and catching up on all the latest news from each other. Fat Giraffe was in the middle of telling a racially insensitive joke when they heard a loud sobbing. They looked up and saw a young tomato crying her heart out at the next table while drinking a large vodka.
“Hey there little tomato, what’s up?” asked Magic Penguin
“Nothing.” replied the tomato before bursting into a flood of tears.
“It doesn’t look like nothing to me,” said Magic Penguin kindly, “why don’t you tell me what’s troubling you? I might be able to help.”
“You wouldn’t understand,” wailed the tomato “you’ve got friends.”
“I’m sure you must have some friends too,” said Magic Penguin “things can’t be that bad.”
“None of the other fruit will hang around with me” cried the tomato, “Angry Banana says that I’m not a proper fruit like the others because you can’t put me in a fruit salad but you can put me in a proper salad. He says that I must be a vegetable but I’m not a vegetable I’m a fruit!”
Magic Penguin shook his head sadly, he had been a key figure in bringing about peace between the vegetable and fruit communities and it made him sad to see this kind of petty prejudice still existed.(Younger readers probably won’t remember the fruit and vegetable wars of the 70s.)
“I think it’s time we taught Angry Banana a lesson,” he said, “but how I wonder…”
“I’ll punch him if you want,” said Fat Giraffe.
Magic Penguin smiled, it would be a very unlucky person to be on the receiving end of Fat Giraffe’s wrath but violence wasn’t the answer. Angry Banana was well respected in the fruit community and assaulting him would just make the tomato’s exclusion permanent.
“There’s nothing you can do,” cried the tomato, “All the other fruit look up to Angry Banana.”
“I’m sure we’ll think of something,” said Magic Penguin, “in the meantime I think we should have another drink. It’s my round I believe, Ed do you fancy a pint?”
“No thanks,” said Ed,”I wouldn’t say no to another Bloody Mary though.”
“No problem mate,” said Magic Penguin, “Wait a minute that gives me an idea!”
Later that day, Magic Penguin and Fat Giraffe knocked on Angry Banana’s front door. It was opened by Jolly Apple, Angry Banana’s good friend and housemate.
“Hello Magic Penguin, hello Fat Giraffe, what brings you two here?” asked the apple.
“We’d like a word with Angry Banana if we may?” said Magic Penguin.
“Certainly,” said Jolly Apple, “I think he’s taking a shower at the moment but you’re welcome to come in and wait.”
So the two friends entered Angry Banana’s house and awaited him.
After about ten minutes, during which time Fat Giraffe entertained them with his humorous impersonations of minor celebrities, Angry Banana entered the room.
“Hello!” he exclaimed “I wasn’t expecting guests!”
“Hello Angry Banana,” said Magic Penguin, “I’m afraid we’ve come to talk to you about a rather sensitive matter.”
“Oh yes?” said Angry Banana looking interested.
“Yes it’s about young Melancholy Tomato.” said Magic Penguin, “She feels that you’ve excluded her from the other fruit.”
“I see…” began Angry Banana but Magic Penguin interrupted him.
“I know she’s not like other fruits and I agree that she does belong in a normal salad and not a fruit salad, but that doesn’t make her a vegetable. Essentially, she does match all the other credentials of a fruit including one that, if I may say so, you lack yourself.”
Angry Banana arched one eyebrow, “And might I ask what that is?”
“Well you can have orange juice, apple juice, pineapple juice, “observed Magic Penguin, “and as my good friend Edward the Ostrich reminded me with his choice of drink in the pub earlier, you can have tomato juice, but I’ve never, in all my experience, come across banana juice!”
Angry Banana looked slightly sad at this remark and Jolly Apple leapt to his defence.
“How could you say something so hurtful?” the apple snapped, “Angry Banana’s very sensitive the juice situation, and anyway, it is entirely possible to get banana juice, but it’s very difficult to separate the pulp from the juice, so it tends to be sold as a ‘juice drink’ with the pulp supplemented by additional water and sometimes other fruit juices, but ideally with no added sugar. Also bananas make the basis for many a smoothie !”
“It’s not quite the same though is it?” observed Magic Penguin, “ I didn’t wish to upset Angry Banana but perhaps now he understands how Melancholy Tomato feels.”
“But I didn’t exclude Melancholy Tomato at all!” protested Angry Banana. “It’s just that there is still a lot of tension between the fruit and vegetable communities, as you of all people should know. I merely pointed out to Melancholy Tomato that her involvement in normal salad might be a conflict of interests at this sensitive time”
“Well I think the sooner this issue is resolved the better,” said Magic Penguin, “as it happens, Melancholy Tomato is waiting outside, and perhaps if I bring her in we can discuss this properly.”
“Of course,” said Angry Banana, “bring her in.”
So Fat Giraffe went to fetch Melancholy Tomato and Magic Penguin smiled to himself. He enjoyed being a diplomat again, and if only it hadn’t been for the unfortunate Kipper Scandal perhaps he’d still be doing it for a living.
Melancholy Tomato entered with Fat Giraffe. Angry Banana rose to greet her but before he even had time to speak Melancholy Tomato pulled out a dagger and stabbed him.
“Die fruit scum!” she cried, “Long live vegetable-kind!”
And she ran out laughing. Fat Giraffe ran after her but she was too fast and managed to escape.
Jolly Apple rushed over to Angry Banana.
“Oh no!” he cried “hang in there old friend.”
“It’s too late,” gasped Angry Banana “the wound is fatal.”
“No!” cried Jolly Apple
“Avenge me,” sighed Angry Banana and with that he died.
“See what your meddling has done?” growled Jolly Apple at Magic Penguin, “Fruit-kind will not allow this insult to pass without retaliation. Those vegetables will pay!”
Later that same day Magic Penguin and Fat Giraffe were back in the pub discussing the day’s events.
“So there’s going to be another war then?” asked Fat Giraffe.
“Looks like it, yeah,” replied Magic Penguin.
“I suppose it’s our fault really.” said Fat Giraffe.
“No arguments there.” said Magic Penguin.
“Not really our problem though.” said Fat Giraffe.
“Nope, not really.” said Magic Penguin.
“Fancy another drink?” asked Fat Giraffe
“Yeah go on then mate,” said Magic Penguin with a grin, “I’ll have a Bloody Mary!”
And the two friends laughed.