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Ten Pens


Geraldine Cook Davis

"Plop," the waitpenguin falls on his back in response to my order of Flipper on a Kaiser Roll.

"What happened?" squeaks the waddling head waiter. "Don't know," I say, feigning innocence, as fellow penguins drag the waiter away.

Another penguin steps to my table. "I'll have Charlie the Tuna, rare."

This penguin keels over. His flip flopping pen friends buoy him to the shade. Waitpenguins are cajoled, threatened, even pushed from behind to take my order. I whisper my luncheon choices, made of my own invention to each waitpenguin:

Flubber, spiked with garlic

The Little Mermaid, on a skewer

Shamoo the Whale, packed with veggies

Calla, laced over a garden salad

Ariel, arranged on angel pasta

Sebastian, raw, pinchers secured

Flounder, sprinkled with curry

Scuttle, dipped in ground pepper

In all, ten penguins lay stacked, in the shade.

"I'm so sorry," I demure. "Let me take your waitpenguins to the aquarium;  it's the least I can do."

I place them in the back of my truck. Drive to a back-street alley. My  friends rush out to help me line the penguins in a triangular position. We  roll a ball towards them, seeing how many we can fell at once. What a game!

Afterwards, the penguins say they had a jolly time and decide to quit their waitpenguin jobs.

In time, I imagine that waitpenguins will be replaced with, well, maybe  people. And this game may be played by generations to come, called "Ten  Pens," unless they don't know the history of the game.

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