Magic Penguin and Mardy Puffin were enjoying a drink in the Slipper and Pager, an establishment neither was known to frequent.
“It’s alright in here,” said Magic Penguin, “reasonably priced, good selection of craft beer, and the food looks pretty good too.”
“It’s not bad,” agreed Mardy Puffin, “I prefer the Sandal and Fax, but it’s nice to have a change every now and again.”
“Yes,” mused Magic Penguin, “I’d be loath to give up the Shoe and Phone, but a change is as good as a rest.”
“It’s not though is it?” argued Mardy Puffin, “I’d much rather have a good rest, all things considered.”
“True,” acknowledged Magic Penguin, “a rest is actually much better than change. But in these busy times, perhaps a change is all we can hope for.”
“To be honest, I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about,” said Mardy Puffin, “why exactly did you want to meet up?”
“Well, it does have something to do with change,” said Magic Penguin, “do you remember how you covered for me a couple of weeks ago?”
“Indeed I do,” said Mardy Puffin, “I thought I did an excellent job in that story. What was it called again?”
“It was called Magic Penguin and The Missing Main Characters,” said Magic Penguin, “and I’ll concede it was ok, but mainly because of Mistaken Moose. You were average at best.”
“I think I was a little better than average,” said Mardy Puffin, “I think I pretty much held that story together. Mistaken Moose was just comic relief. I was the true hero of the story.”
“If you say so,” said Magic Penguin with thinly veiled scepticism, “but it definitely wasn’t as good as if I’d been in it.”
“I’m not sure you’re right about that,” said Mardy Puffin, “I know you’re the titular character in these stories, but, for me, Fat Giraffe is the real star.”
Magic Penguin and Mardy Puffin both sniggered at the word ‘titular’.
“Obviously, you’re completely wrong,” said Magic Penguin, “Fat Giraffe is just comic relief, I’m the true hero of the Magic Penguin stories.”
“If you say so,” said Mardy Puffin with thinly veiled scepticism, “so why did you want to meet me?”
“Well, I was hoping you might cover for me again this week,” said Magic Penguin.
“Sorry,” said Mardy Puffin, “I don’t think I can.”
“Why not?” asked Magic Penguin, “You’d be doing me a huge favour. I need to meet my solicitor. There’s been some new evidence uncovered relating to the Kipper Scandal.”
“”Is that still a thing?” asked Mardy Puffin, “I thought you’d put that behind you years ago.”
“You never move on from something as big as the Kipper Scandal,” said Magic Penguin, “every time I think I’ve established my innocence, someone else makes a disclosure and I’m back in the spotlight.”
“I think the problem is that you’re actually guilty,” said Mardy Puffin.
“That has never been proven,” said Magic Penguin.
“But everyone knows that you are,” said Mardy Puffin.
“Look, we’re not here to discuss my whether or not I’m culpable for the Kipper Scandal,” said Magic Penguin.
“But you totally are,” said Mardy Puffin.
“That’s neither here nor there,” said Magic Penguin, “the point is that I need to meet with my solicitor rather urgently and I need you to cover for me.”
“Can’t do it,” said Mardy Puffin.
“Why not?” asked Magic Penguin impatiently.
“Well, the story has clearly already started, and you’re very much in it.” said Mardy Puffin.
“What!” exclaimed Magic Penguin incredulously.
“The story is happening right now,” explained Mardy Puffin, “this is it.”
“This is the story?” said Magic Penguin, “but this is just an inane conversation with no clear purpose or direction.”
“Isn’t that what every Magic Penguin story ends up being?” asked Mardy Puffin.
“I suppose so,” nodded Magic Penguin, “but this still feels like a new low.”
“I agree, this one has been pretty bad,” said Mardy Puffin, “but look on the bright side. If this is rock bottom, then surely the only way is up.”
“That’s true,” said Magic Penguin, “the writer is bound to up his game next time.”
But alas, once again Magic Penguin was being naively optimistic. The writer could, and definitely would, sink to even lower depths in the future.