1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Story [Penguins of Madagascar] Un-Boxing Day Instructions (response to prompts, complete)

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by pronker, Dec 28, 2019.

  1. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Title: Un-Boxing Day Instructions

    Author: pronker

    Era: One month after You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

    Characters: Skipper, Marlene, Private, Kowalski, Rico, Phil, Mason, Sally


    Boxing Day began in HQ with a standout presentation by Private of The True Meaning Of Boxing Day, completed by Marlene's touchy feely addition of give only what you want to give because intention is everything.

    Skipper felt all eyes settle on him. If his baby Sally weren't at the Doc's having her two month checkup, he assumed she would be casting him a daughterly expectant look, too.

    "Since you think you're my employees," he said shortly, "reconvene at 1600 hours. That is all."

    Marlene dismissed his words with a wave that said oh honey you're being silly and appeared excited during her first official Boxing Day as Team-Member-On-As-Needed-Basis. She left her love, him, behind as she led Rico, Kowalski, and Private to her own habitat for an exhilarating thirty laps of her own pond to be followed by a hostess-y round of hot cocoa on this chilly day. The crowds of Christmas turkey-sated humans stayed away in droves, and that was okay with Skipper because he needed time to think of what to give.

    By 1330, he had changed his mind three times. As Alice tromped over to their island via the gangplank that dipped into a crescent with her robust weight, the zookeeper in her oblivious way seemed not to notice that only a solitary penguin was on hand to receive his baby daughter back into custody. He tucked away Sally after shooting a dirty look towards the woman sprouting red colored long thermal underwear from beneath her khaki shorts.

    "'Bye, baby girl. Don't pick up bad habits from your dad," Alice snickered as she straddled the wood for an out of character conga line dance step while dragging the gangplank back to the zoo storage building. If she thought she inspired memories of the sainted Steve Irwin with her clothing and exuberance, then she was mistaken.

    "You pathetic excuse for a zookeeper --- never mind. Sally, we're going to visit Uncle Phil and Uncle Mason since your Mama and the team are still goofing off, doesn't that sound like fun?"

    Sally bubbled three blobs of spit in reply. After feeling the wetness of her fur in his brood pouch, Skipper held her high as he thought there was no time like the present to start water training for his pengotter daughter. "Into the drink, mavourneen!" he called as he plunged them both into the chlorined blue for the prescribed five second beginning of the training. Upon surfacing, he laughed at her astonished face and kissed away a droplet from her cheek. "Way to go, sweetie pie! You're one of us aquatic themed display animals now!"

    Phil and Mason provided holiday ribbon candy and they all sucked on it as Skipper directed what he required of Phil, the only literate animal he knew. Mason provided translation and general commentary and by 1530 hours, Skipper declared the gift complete. Mason supplied a puzzle box, which the keepers gave to chimps to "stimulate their minds with play," but as Mason put it, "Phil and I put one over on Alice and Doc by undoing the screws to the hinges, removing the hook-and-eye latch, and putting it all back together again in two minutes right in front of the human crowds. Color the scientific types confused, eh wot?"



    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
    Kahara and Mira_Jade like this.
  2. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    "Hold your horses, Marlene. Boxin' Day isn't Kidsmas." Private was no longer the newest member of the team and his voice suggested he was oh so much older and wiser.

    Marlene brushed him off with a psssht. "Kidsmas means gifts and so does Boxing Day. Two for two, right?" She elbowed Kowalski as the four sat dabbling their feet into her pond.

    Kowalski's cocoa sloshed in his cup. "You're right. Last year I received a new Erlenmeyer flask in my favorite color, puce. Where he got it from I'll never know. Sharper Image didn't have it because I asked Phil to check online."


    Rico's operatic cadenza proved perfectly in tune to express his hopes for the day. Kowalski chuckled.

    "Rico's always easy to please, but then you know that, Marlene. Salmon one day, sardines the next on Boxing Day. Skipper never fails."

    "Never?" Marlene swirled the last swallow of chocolate-y liquid and peered into the bottom of the cup as if she were reading tea leaves. "That's hard to fathom, teammate mine."

    Private plucked the marshmallow from his cocoa and ate it messily. "Juzduntaskbout --- "

    "That's enough.
    Private, as lieutenant I forbid you to continue. Marlene must earn access to all our past adventures."

    Marlene smirked. "I have ways to make Skipper talk. Oh, I have ways."

    Seated on Marlene's port side, Rico mumbled, "TeeEmEye, 'Eenie."

    Marlene could hardly contain herself. Kowalski decided she needed more training on how to be covert and he'd mention it to Skipper at their next officers-only meeting. "Never mind, guys. I didn't tell Skipper, but I saw him hide an IKEA box behind the TV in the HQ. The box is small, but not too small, get my drift?"

    Private's innate honesty came to the fore. "Not even close, Marlene."

    "Huh?" Rico and Kowalski chorused.

    Marlene twirled her empty cup by its handle, whistling All I Want For Kidsmas Is My Two Front Teeth before blurting, "Wellllll, I hinted that I wanted a new crib for Sally for when she's over at my place and since I didn't get one yesterday at Kidsmas, I figured he got one to surprise me with today."

    "That's so sweet that you wanted somethin' not for yourself, M-M-Marl--- pardon me. Splashed a dab of cocoa in my eye." Private scrubbed at his face.

    Kowalski pulled Private's head down for a noogie. "You softy."

    "Yeah, after having Sally," Marlene continued in a more thoughtful voice, "I think like that now. It's weird because you remember when all I wanted was a bigger living space? With the foos ball and air hockey game room? Well, in my head Sally runs up and down in the room and she's not even learned to walk yet. She still does that holding onto things, um, thing, before trying to stand up, it's so cute --- "

    Marlene contributed to the general awwwwwww.

    Kowalski as lieutenant felt compelled to usher the group back to HQ. He could use a new burette after his last one disintegrated via sulfuric acid titration, and he hoped he hadn't been too obvious about his wish. He didn't need lessons in covert operations.



    Kahara and WarmNyota_SweetAyesha like this.
  3. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    "Ittle dirl wuvs her mama? Esserdo!" cooed Marlene as she accepted her daughter into loving paws. "Isser okeydokey after checky wecky uppie?"

    Sally made a face and he smothered a laugh. "She looks fine and if she got any shots, she finished crying before I got her back, Marlene. I couldn't handle it if she cried from pain."

    The parents shared a look. "Me neither," said Marlene.

    Kowalski harrumphed. "Let's change the subject because scientifically speaking, Sally understands more than she is able to reciprocate at this stage of her development. Soon she will begin telegraphic speech, such as you-Tarzan-me-Jane."

    "Yeah, well, we can't do the spelling thing that human parents do to tiptoe around dicey subjects, Kowalski, so what do you suggest?" Skipper anticipated a problem and looked to his second for an option as solution to be proactive as he generally was. Sally hiccuped and Marlene bobbled her up and down.

    Kowalski considered, tapping his beak. "Option Number One is coded speech, which would be similar to our attack codes. For example, if we say Routine Forty-Six, that might mean Give Sally her binky."

    Rico submitted a hooboyKwoskii to the conversation as he produced a set of keys in his usual fashion to jingle them before Sally. She continued hiccuping and Marlene bobbled harder. "LookiekeezSawwykeez!"

    "Yeah, that's sounding okay about codes," said Skipper. "Codes work. I like your physical approach though, Rico, and we'll keep that as Co-Option One."

    Rico stuck out his tongue at Kowalski and Kowalski did likewise. Sally looked from one uncle to the other and did the same. Combined with the attack of hiccups, the spit production turned impressive.

    "Guys, guys, way to go setting a bad example," scolded Marlene as she swung around to divert Sally from viewing the two commandos. "Now she's learning to be rude."


    "Sorry, Marlene." Kowalski plowed forward as he gave Rico the stink eye out of Sally's sight. "Moving along, sir, your team is fired up and ready to receive Boxing Day gifts. If you see fit to give them, that is, and by no means are we hinting around --- "

    "No, you're not hinting, you're straight up asking. I get it, Kowalski." Skipper plotzed onto the bottom bunk that he and Marlene shared when she slept over. It was unlike his usual strut before his assembled team to give directions and the four teammates looked uncertain as to what would happen next. Marlene moved Sally from her hip to Skipper's lap with a wink.

    "A little bird tells me that Sally and I have something to look fooorward to," Marlene singsonged as she blotted her shoulder with a handy rag.

    Kowalski rolled his eyes and seemed about to exercise his lieutenant-ly right to admonish Marlene for being too flippant. That didn't sit well with Skipper and he moved to do some blotting of his own to distract Kowalski's laser-like focus. "Fetch the rag from Marlene for me, Kowalski. Ittle Dirl is a Ittle Fountain today."

    After a haughty look at the mother otter, Kowalski did as ordered before he settled for standing with flippers akimbo. Private stood at attention except for his gaze, which descended on the TV set against the wall. He jerked his regard back to eyes front, but time and again the TV set drew him. Rico was about as subtle as he always was and stared at the TV. Marlene placed herself at the far left as the team stood in loose formation befitting the informality of the day.

    Skipper kept a straight face. Little things like Marlene telegraphing her knowledge of his hiding the box behind the TV had no place in irritating a commander of his length of experience. He dandled Sally on his lap and he knew his expression softened, but that was all right. He was among friends even though they acted like employees in the heat of a mission or worse, a battle.

    "Any time you're ready, honey."

    He kept silent and concentrated on the bundle on his lap. Sally's hiccups ran their course and she leaned against his chest, a most agreeable sensation. Her back wasn't strong enough yet to enable sitting upright for long, her black and white fur remained fuzz without longer guard hairs, and as yet she had no teeth. Was the drooling a sign of teething? He himself had no teeth and thus no comparison. Teeth meant that she would exhibit yet another way than growing fur to be different from her father. Skipper drifted in concentration and that was all right, too. He had no enemies here in their HQ. May it ever be so, he thought as Sally reclined with heavy eyelids in the crook of his flipper.

    "Aaaaaany time --- "

    "Okayokay. I do have one present for you all, no individual gifts this year."

    "Oh." Marlene turned swift as thought from disappointment to excitement. "I knew it! It's a family sized blob of cotton candy, right?"

    She was sweet as cotton candy herself. Skipper rubbed Sally's fuzzy little head and said, "Nope, babe, it's better."



    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
    Kahara and WarmNyota_SweetAyesha like this.
  4. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    He was going to mess with them. He was going to mess with them so bad. Skipper drew the puzzle box from behind him on the recessed bunk to his side in a supple maneuver so as not to disturb Sally, whose eyelids drifted to half mast.

    "Here, Kowalski, take it."

    Marlene let out a squeal as the lieutenant flourished the puzzle box with the interesting part facing his teammates. Sally reclined further into her father's cushy grip as her breathing slowed. With the hard-won skills of parenthood, Marlene clapped her paws over her mouth to muffle another squeal that might rouse her drowsy child. "I saw Mason and Phil solve this! Come on, if chimps can open it, we can." Skipper smiled as pride in her team stiffened his love's spine. "We'll beat their time with minutes to spare. Let's do this."

    She appeared unaware of the tolerant and amused glances from everybody except her daughter as she diddled with the first latch on the mahogany wood structure featuring six small doors built into its front, like lockers in a gym. The puzzle box contained hasps, latches, dials, barrel bolt fasteners, and a hook-and-eye device. Marlene's otter quickness shone as she undid them all in what Kowalski would later estimate was .2813 minutes.

    "Huh? Where is the gift?" Each swift dive into the spaces turned up empty. "There are cubbyholes and no cubbies in them."

    Kowalski looked down his tall front but couldn't spy anything from that angle. "Rico and Private, Marlene needs backup."

    Marlene appeared too busy poking in the interior of each locker to show disgruntlement at his analysis of her needing help at this run-of-the-mill exercise. She came up blank, though, and stepped aside to let Private and Rico have a go.

    After setting down the keys that failed to beguile Sally, Rico charged ahead to slither his tongue into each cubby for a taste of clue and then shrugged. "Nada."

    Private said, "Yuck, Rico," as he felt cautiously and thoroughly around each compartment afterwards. "Nothin', Skippa. Are you havin' us on for a lark?"

    Kowalski leaned the box up against Private's taxidermified dorado for a try. He surveyed each cubby before measuring the depth, width, and height of them. He tapped onto the wood, listening to the chuchunk, and then he upended the puzzle box and shook it. Not from a cubby, not from anything wood, it was from inside a barrel bolt fastener that a tightly-rolled up slip of paper spilled. "Ahah! Let's hear it for Science!" He held up the slip triumphantly and squinted at the paper cylinder's black marks. "The disguised barrel bolt itself was the gift, but you know as well as anyone, sir, that none of us can read."

    Marlene took the paper to unroll the scroll. "Way to go being sneaky, Skipper. What does it say, or are you making us head to Phil to get him to read it?" She looked closer at the tiny words as Kowalski leaned in, too. "Not that I'm an expert, but isn't this --- "

    "Cursive handwriting," proclaimed Kowalski. "Well. Thanks, sir. I guess." He put on his thinking face. "So, you're giving us a mystery to hone our skills? First of all, team" --- and he faced his fellows --- "by process of elimination, we know that Phil made this and so that is Clue Number One." His thinking face melded into his overweening face.

    Private zoomed in with an adage. "The Lunacorns say that give an animal a fish and you feed him for a day; teach an animal to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Kowalski, Rico, and Marlene turned to him with varying degrees of skeptic lifted brows and he floundered on. "So, um, everyone, it's a lesson that we need to learn to read! Righto, Skippa? Even though the sayin' is a tad sappy for your taste? Wot a, a, a, useful gift!"

    Everybody turned to their leader, who rocked his baby.



  5. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Skipper surveyed the familiar expressions: Kowalski's tiny smile below glittery eyes as he awaited data to sift in his formidable mind; Private eager to share anything with his buds because he remained so tenderhearted despite efforts to wring it out of him; Rico twirling the set of keys because he couldn't stay quiet long; and finally Marlene, whose playfulness seemed about to burst forth like one of Rico's M-80 fireworks. Should he do this?

    "It's my last will and testament," Skipper said.

    Rico dropped his keys.

    At the crashtinklegrit, Sally jerked fully awake, blinking like an owl. She drew a deep breath and oh gee whillikers gosh golly, she was about to howl. Before Kowalski could utter, "Routine Forty-six!", Private spun into action to retrieve her binky. He shoved it into her open mouth before she could siren an outsized cry for such a small baby.

    Somber regard replaced happy speculation on Kowalski's countenance as he asked, "Sir, are you ill?"

    Skipper noticed waves like those at Wailea Beach crest one by one on his lieutenant's face: realization, apprehension, acceptance, and then a holding pattern of gathering more data. Without a doubt, he thrust the shield of Science in front of him to blunt any emotional shock. It made Skipper feel a scosche better about the kind of mean trick he'd played.

    "Nope, Doc said at my last checkup that I'm fit as a fiddle and ready for love." Skipper looked pointedly at Marlene and the tip of her nose turned red. Her next words stopped his soothing of Sally in the midst of a pat.

    "Skipper, if you have caught something, is it contagious?" Sally's mother asked.

    Now this was a surprise. He didn't know if she were messing with him because she knew him so well to know that he was messing with her. In a flash, he gleaned that protectprotectprotect pounded in her veins too, as they faced each other over their daughter. Marlene inched towards him and if he had said yes, he was sick, would she snatch Sally out of his tender hold? Naw, that couldn't be right unless maternal instinct flamed so strongly that all common sense burned to a crisp. She would know that he'd never endanger Sally with so much as a case of the sniffles. She would know, right? Right?

    Sally munched on her binky, clutching it tightly as she gulped in air around it. Oh great, she'd have gas or colic or something afterwards. Maybe he shouldn't have done this with her around, but it was too late now. Private tapped his flippertips nervously in that way he had and already Rico reacted to possible threat to his commander by arching into his kung fu battle stance. Against a germ.

    "I'm not sick, I said."

    Everyone's shoulders dropped in relief and it took Private's pure nature to put things right. "Wot a Boxin' Day gift it is to hear those words, Skippa. But you know, you gave us the gollywobbles for half a tick."

    "Hwarg," added Rico. Skipper supposed that meant you're a bad boy in Rico's Hamarskaftet Nunatak dialect.

    Kowalski's eyes narrowed. "I know you. I've known you for longer than Marlene has and when you ramp up the sneakiness, nothing is what it seems." He picked up the curling scroll of paper that Marlene had dropped at the term last will and testament to eye it suspiciously.

    Marlene gripped her elbows as she directed a scowl at her love. "Sneaky, covert, whatever. Out with it, my dear, and make it good."

    Skipper resumed patting and Sally burped out her binky with a brrrrrpip. Skipper replaced it and said, "Thaaaat's it, better out than in, cutiepie. But um, yeah, okay, here goes. I'm your leader, right?"

    Four uh huhs sounded as one.

    "I demand options" -- he nodded at Kowalski, who nodded back --- "I requisition ordnance" --- Rico saluted --- "I head to my go-to inspiration guy for inspiration" --- Private scraped a bashful toe against the lair's cement floor --- "and I determine when the mission needs extra key personnel" --- Marlene winked at him and he stuttered as his face heated beneath its feathers --- "s-so what's the best gift I could give as a leader to show appreciation of my team?"

    "A box of soan papdi that we could all share? Oh come on, Skipper, how in the world could we know?" Marlene locked her paws behind her, simpering as she swayed while she looked up at the ceiling. "Somebody better hurry up."

    They all checked the clock. "It's 1645 hours, sir. Sally needs her milk soon." It must be Skipper's imagination that Sally perked up at hearing milk.

    Marlene fanned her face and looked only at the father of her child. "Between the fish you feed her and my milk she's growing like a weed and we want to keep her on schedule 'cause that's what makes her grow, right, Leader Person?"

    Kowalski tapped his clipboard that he'd plucked from its usual place and checked something off. "1700 hours approaches, Little Mother and Little F- uh, sir."

    Speaking of time, it was time for full disclosure. Skipper stood, balancing Sally on his flank as he cradled her delicate neck because pacing would speed this along. He couldn't resist striding five steps each way in front of his troops before speaking.

    "Point taken, men and Marlene. Ittle Dirl gave me the idea for this gift. Proceed with unboxing instructions, Kowalski, and we'll get the show on the road."

    The four looked askance at their commander. "The present's already unboxed," ventured Marlene. "Honey, are you sure you're in tip toppiest shape --- "

    "Humor me. And I'll show you the shape I'm in. Later."

    Kowalski took over as Marlene's jaw dropped. "Phil signs that unboxing instructions on YouTube contain the same snide tone no matter the item so I'll imitate Mason translating for Phil." He aped Mason's bow legs and waddled back and forth. "Chaps, as you can see," he began in Mason's nasally British voice, "the puzzle box contains shoddy fastenings that Marlene undid as easy as mince pie. The quality of the wood leaves much to be desired, doncher know, and the paper quality of the so-called gift is definitely inferior with a low percentage of cotton to wood pulp." He seemed to really get into miming and dragged his flipper tips along the floor in a lumbering chimp walk. Sally waved in the spastic way of darling babies and Kowalski waved back as he ripped into the puzzle box and the gift inside it. "The cursive handwriting resembles scratches that the Blue Hen makes --- "

    "Private, open the left middle row door," interrupted Skipper.

    Private opened the door obediently. "Nothin', still empty, Skippa." He stuck in his flipper again and shrugged.

    "That's where you're wrong. It contains the spirit of independence. It's the more important gift I'm giving you four. In case something happens to me, you'll need Phil to read the other gift with Mason translating. You'll be sad for awhile --- Kowalski, pass Marlene a tissue --- but you'll go on as a team. Oh, I'll do everything I can to stay with you, but now and then it isn't possible."

    He allowed them to digest the gift, which was not as sweet as soan papdi but more like a tangy mango-cranberry snow cone. Sally burbled after she spat out her binky yet again and he hoisted her high above his head. "Stay frosty, kid." She didn't need independence, oh no, not yet, and he savored the feeling of her dependence on him.

    Time drew near for Sally to be passed along to her mother, so onward. "One more thing, a third gift, if you will and yes, I know I said there was only one. Sue me. Marlene, IKEA makes a dandy crib and it's behind the TV as you saw me put it there but didn't see me seeing you see me oh you know what I mean. We'll mush to your habitat now, you feed Sally and afterwards we'll help you put the crib together in solidarity like compadres."

    Marlene shouted, "Group hug!"

    "Watch it, you'll squish Sally!"

    They didn't, of course.


    The End.

    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
    Kahara likes this.