Magic Penguin And The Third Character

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One afternoon Magic Penguin and Fat Giraffe were imbibing alcoholic beverages in the Shoe and Phone, as was their way, when in walked Stupid Donkey.

“Alright mate?” said Magic Penguin greeting his old friend.

“Not bad,” replied Stupid Donkey, “How are you guys?

The exchange of banal greetings continued for a few more moments as the three friends established that they were all in adequate health and generally doing well, even though such exchanges were merely platitudes and not entirely true.

Fat Giraffe, for example, despite claiming to be fine, was actually concerned about a worrying growth on his right buttock, while Magic Penguin was more than a little preoccupied by a letter he had received from his bank that very morning. Stupid Donkey also had his woes.

“I have my woes,” he said to the other two.

“That’s a strange way of putting it,” observed Fat Giraffe.

“I know, I’m not sure why I phrased it that way.” acknowledged Stupid Donkey.

“What are these woes?” asked Magic Penguin.

“Well, it’s a bit of a long story,” began Stupid Donkey.

“Oh, well then I’m not really interested,” said Magic Penguin, who hated long stories.

“Oh, ok,” said Stupid Donkey, “I won’t tell you then.”

“That’s a shame,” said Fat Giraffe, “I had a strong inkling that your woes were very likely going to be the basis for the plot of this story.”

“True,” acknowledged Magic Penguin, “It would seem the obvious direction for this story to take. Go on then Stupid Donkey, let’s hear your woes.”

So Stupid Donkey told Magic Penguin and Fat Giraffe all about his woes. And really they weren’t all that interesting.

“Nope, no plot there,” sighed Magic Penguin, “bit of a waste of time you telling us really.”

“Well, I’m sorry,” said a visibly wounded Stupid Donkey, “but my woes are very real to me.”

“Yeah but they are first world problems aren’t they?” said Magic Penguin, “Not the sort of thing I can investigate as part of my new role as Private Detective.”

“I thought you were a Private Investigator,” commented Fat Giraffe.

“Aren’t they the same thing?” asked Magic Penguin, suddenly concerned about the three hundred business cards he’d recently ordered online.

“Dunno,” conceded Fat Giraffe.

“Wait, you’re a PI?” asked Stupid Donkey, “Don’t you need a license for that or something?”

“Probably,” said Magic Penguin, “I’ll get round to that eventually.”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure you do need a license,” said Stupid Donkey, “Do you think they’ll let you have one with your history?”

“I don’t know what you mean” said Magic Penguin.

“Well, I mean, what about, you know…the thing?” mumbled Stupid Donkey.

“What thing?” replied Magic Penguin haughtily.

“Well…you know…The Kipper Scandal!” said Stupid Donkey

Magic Penguin sighed. He’d managed to get through two stories without anyone mentioning the Kipper Scandal. He’d started to think that people had forgotten about it. But, he realised, something as big as The Kipper Scandal was not just going to go away.

“Oh yeah, I forgot about the Kipper Scandal!” exclaimed Fat Giraffe, “You’ll never get a PI license mate!”

“I’m sure I will,” muttered Magic Penguin, even though he was not at all sure, “but it doesn’t really matter anyway does it?”

“Why not?” asked Stupid Donkey.

“Well because I’m the eponymous hero of my own series of short stories,” replied Magic Penguin, “so I can definitely be a PI if I want to be.”

“I suppose so,” said Stupid Donkey, “but don’t you think you should actually investigate something then? I mean this is the third story in as many weeks and as far as I can see nothing much has really happened in any of them yet. In fact there were only two characters until I turned up.”

“I’d hardly call you a character,” said Magic Penguin bitterly, “and if your so-called woes had been more interesting we might already have a story on our hands. So it’s your fault really.”

“I don’t see how,” said Stupid Donkey, “but I think something needs to happen to retain the interest of the readers.”

“Oh I imagine we’ve lost any readers we ever had by now,” said Fat Giraffe, “but I agree, something needs to happen on the off chance anyone is still reading this.”

“Like what?” asked Magic Penguin.

“I dunno,” said Fat Giraffe, “what about ending this story on a cliffhanger?”

“Yeah, that’d work,” said Stupid Donkey, “What we need is a good cliffhanger.”

The three friends were pondering what kind of a cliffhanger might work to retain the interest of an already diminishing readership when the door of the Shoe and Phone opened and a mysterious stranger walked in.

“I need help,” said the stranger, “and it’s a matter of life and death!”

“Yep,” said Fat Giraffe, “that’ll probably do it.”

Tune in next week to find out if the mysterious stranger is going to lead to an actual adventure for Magic Penguin or whether it’s just a red herring to dupe you into committing to reading another of these, frankly awful, stories.

Magic Penguin And The Career Decision

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Magic Penguin and Fat Giraffe were spending the afternoon playing darts and drinking heavily in the pub of their choice, the inimitable Shoe and Phone. Fat Giraffe was winning easily.

“One hundred and eighty,” bellowed Fat Giraffe as he landed a third consecutive treble. It was a treble seventeen, which made Fat Giraffe’s claim slightly erroneous, but as he was nowhere near good enough at maths to work out what his actual score was, he maintained that all trebles were worth sixty points.

Magic Penguin, for his part, had no interest in the honesty of his friend’s scoring. He was happy when any of his darts even made contact with the board, so he knew the score was irrelevant. Cheating or not, Fat Giraffe would eventually win. Magic Penguin didn’t much care. Losing at darts to Fat Giraffe was still far preferable to the alternative of ‘actually going to work’.

Although, he realised as he scratched around in his pocket for enough change to purchase another pint of overpriced craft IPA, he did need to find a source of income soon. And he certainly wasn’t going to make any money through maintaining a blog. He wondered why anyone would ever commit so much time and effort to writing blog posts when they had no chance of ever making it their career. Talk about an exercise in futility. But he needed to do something to get some cash…

“Why don’t you try being a private investigator?” said Fat Giraffe almost as if he had read Magic Penguin’s mind.

“Did you just read my mind?” asked Magic Penguin.

“Yep,” said Fat Giraffe, “It’s an old trick I picked up in ‘Nam.”

“You were never in Vietnam!” exclaimed Magic Penguin, “and even if you were, that still doesn’t make sense.”

“Sorry, did I say ‘Nam?” asked Fat Giraffe, “I meant to say Nandos.”

“That still doesn’t make any sense!” said Magic Penguin, “and do giraffes even eat chicken?”

“This giraffe does,” said Fat Giraffe, “anyway, that isn’t the point. The point, my friend, is that you need money and you aren’t prepared to work for a living.”

“I still think we need to discuss this mind-reading thing,” said Magic Penguin, “but you’re right, I do need money and I’m not prepared to work.”

“So, become a PI,” said Fat Giraffe.

“Doesn’t that still involve work?” queried Magic Penguin, “and wouldn’t I need a license or something?”

“Details my friend, details,” soothed Fat Giraffe, “Sherlock Holmes never had a license, did he?”

“I don’t know,” pondered Magic Penguin, “but wasn’t he a fictional character?”

“Aren’t you a fictional character?” replied Fat Giraffe.

“True, I am indeed a work of complete fiction,” agreed Magic Penguin, “but even so, I’m not sure I have any skills that would allow me to become a PI.”

“You’re the titular character in your own series of short stories,” argued Fat Giraffe, “what more skills do you need than that?”

Magic Penguin pondered this for a moment. Then he giggled at the word ‘titular’. Then he pondered some more.

“Ok,” he said, “I’m up for that. Private Investigator it is.”

“And obviously, every PI needs an assistant,” said Fat Giraffe.

“Yes, but who could it be?” mused Magic Penguin, hoping that it might be someone glamorous.

There was an awkward silence.

Then the penny dropped.

And, as he bent down to pick up the penny, Magic Penguin realised that it was a metaphorical penny and also that Fat Giraffe had been referring to himself.

“Only joking mate,” he laughed, even though he hadn’t been joking at all, “of course you can be my assistant.”

“We’ll have the best of adventures!” enthused Fat Giraffe, “this is going to be brilliant.”

But Fat Giraffe was sadly mistaken. It wasn’t going to be brilliant at all.

 

Magic Penguin And The Broken Fourth Wall

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Magic Penguin and Fat Giraffe were frequenting their local public house one afternoon, as was their tendency. Fat Giraffe was drinking a generic lager, but Magic Penguin had opted for a more pretentious craft IPA. The Shoe and Phone (for that was the name of the establishment that they were currently patronising) was relatively empty, suggesting that either it was not a particularly thriving business, or that Magic Penguin and Fat Giraffe were drinking when most of the rest of the world was at work. There was more than a little truth in both theories.

“I mean, it’s hardly the ‘Will of the People’ if only 52% of the electorate voted for it,” said Magic Penguin.

“I dunno mate,” reasoned Fat Giraffe, “I’m no mathematician, but 52% does sound like a majority to me.”

“Yes, but it’s a slim majority,” argued Magic Penguin, “and, if you take into account all the people who didn’t vote, then you could argue that more people didn’t vote for it than did.”

“Yes,” acknowledged Fat Giraffe, “but I’m not sure that’s how democracy works. If you don’t vote then you don’t get to have a say.”

“Fine, said Magic Penguin, “but surely you must agree that quite a lot of the 52% didn’t actually know what it was they were voting for.”

“That’s certainly true,” acquiesced Fat Giraffe, “I thought I was voting for breakfast.”

The two sat in contemplative silence for a moment before Fat Giraffe broke it. The silence that is.

He didn’t break anything else, though he was not unknown to break wind on occasion. Sometimes he broke wind and silence at the same time.

But on this occasion, he just broke the silence.

With words.

“Is it me,” he began, “or were we just debating Brexit”

“Sounded like that to me,” affirmed Magic Penguin.

“In which case, does that mean that we are, in fact, in Britain?”

“That would seem the logical conclusion,” said Magic Penguin, “Why do you ask?”

“Well, I’d fully accept, that as fictional beings created by a UK ‘writer’, that we’d probably have certain British characteristics, but I wasn’t sure if we weren’t in some sort of made up place that isn’t actually Britain, but more Britainesque.”

“You mean like how Thomas the Tank Engine is based on the island of Sodor, a place that seems a bit like the UK but really isn’t at all?”

“Exactly so.”

“I’m not sure,” pondered Magic Penguin, “I don’t know if the ‘writer’ even knows.”

“Well to be fair, I wouldn’t put a lot of store by what he says anyway,” said Fat Giraffe, “I mean, I’m not sure if that bloke even knows whether he’s coming or going half the time.”

“That seems a little bit harsh,” contended Magic Penguin, “I mean he did create us after all.”

“Yes, but he’s basically ignored us for the best part of 15 years,” countered Fat Giraffe, “he found us entertaining enough when he was avoiding writing essays during his student days, but this is the first time he’s bothered to let us out in ages. I mean he’s had this blog for nearly three years now, and yet this is our first outing. It’s not like he’s been writing much else that’s any good. He could at least have given us a shot before now.”

“It’s true,” mused Magic Penguin, “and he did promise that he was going to bring us back as far back as January 2017

“Exactly,” fumed Fat Giraffe, “Why’s it taken him a year? What else has he been doing? He’s got time to write 24 rubbish film reviews during December, but he hasn’t got time for us?”

“I quite liked the Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) films,” said Magic Penguin, “but I take your point. He could have made a bit of time for us earlier.”

“Too right he could have done!” exclaimed Fat Giraffe, “and when he does finally decide to let us have our day in the sun, he buries us on a Sunday morning, fully aware that no-one ever visits his blog on a Sunday morning. And by the time Monday rolls around he’ll no doubt have written something trite about novelty egg cups which means no-one’ll ever read this!”

“That may well be for the best,” suggested Magic Penguin, “It’s not as though this is even very good is it?”

“That’s hardly our fault!” raged Fat Giraffe, “He’s the buffoon that wrote this! Even the title doesn’t make sense. Breaking the ‘fourth wall’ surely only applies to visual media. The man is an absolute idiot”

“You know, I’m not sure it’s all that wise to call the ‘writer’ an idiot,” mused Magic Penguin.

“Why not? He is an idiot!” seethed Fat Giraffe, “What’s he going to do about it?”

At that precise moment Fat Giraffe fell off his bar stool, almost as if pushed by an omniscient and slightly irritated narrator.

“That was a cheap shot,” muttered Fat Giraffe as he picked himself up.

“Anyway, I think the point is that our esteemed creator has had the grace to bring us back today,” said Magic Penguin, almost as if he was sucking up to an omniscient and slightly irritated narrator.

“I suppose so,” agreed Fat Giraffe, who had learned the errors of his ways, “and even if this story isn’t especially good, it is nice to be back.”

“And who knows,” said Magic Penguin optimistically, “Maybe next week’s adventure will be a bit more compelling than this one was.”

But sadly, as he would soon discover, Magic Penguin’s optimism was very much misplaced.

 

 

 

 

 

Magic Moodles

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What’s this?

A bonus ‘Artist’s Corner’?

After Friday’s stunning portrait of Mrs Proclaims and me, surely I’ve given enough art to the Blogosphere for one weekend?

Well, yes, frankly I have.

Yet I have been moved once more to display my formidable talent in the prestigious realm of the doodle.

Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, I present to you, arguably one of my finest creations, the noble ‘Upside-down-head Duck’.

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It is, quite literally, a picture of a duck with his head on upside-down. Continue reading Magic Moodles