In fact, that night, Private had much difficulty in falling asleep. Simply the thought of a friend who was in need prevented the penguin from sleeping. He wondered if Rico was awake, too. He certainly hoped not. Private only wished the best for the regurgitating penguin.
Suddenly, a noise from below grasped Private’s full attention. On first inspection, it was difficult to determine what the sound was. Luckily, Private merely turned his head to the side and caught the perfect glimpse of Rico’s back. The heavyset penguin was slowly heading towards the television. This baffled Private, for he had rarely witnessed Rico leave his bed at this time of the night. Perhaps he only wanted some entertainment?
Rico plopped in front of the TV, pressing a button on the remote that caused the monitor to flicker on and off very quickly before finally residing on a channel. Unfortunately, the TV wasn’t displaying a channel at all; only a static image. This greatly angered Rico. Where had his show gone to? He wanted it back now!
He then picked up the remote with his flippers and examined it closely, inspecting all of the buttons and such. None of them really looked familiar, excluding the large red button at the top-right corner, which he knew powered the television. He tried pushing many other buttons, but they only appeared to do everything that Rico didn’t want. This immediately induced Rico’s fateful tantrum.
Rico threw the remote on the floor and began to hop on the device, hoping to somehow to destroy the contraption. If only the remote wasn’t so massive, he probably would have tried to consume it. Instead, he was forced in resorting to more violent methods of destruction.
Private noticed the anger that was practically emitting from the mute penguin. Rico suddenly began pecking at the remote with his beak in frustration. Pieces of plastic began to fly in all directions from Rico’s brute force. He couldn’t imagine when he would have another chance to watch the man and woman by himself again. He refused to go back to bed without first viewing another episode of…that.
The small penguin that had been watching the entire time finally decided to take action. Private slowly scooted across his bed, aiming to drop from the ledge and assist Rico in his attempts to operate the TV. Only, that probably would have occurred, had it not been for Kowalski’s sudden appearance from above Private’s bed. From the looks of the situation, the tall penguin had been lying awake as well, watching Rico from his own bunk.
Kowalski climbed down the ladder from his bed and hopped to the ground. At this point, Rico ceased his tantrum and froze, turning his head to eye Kowalski. The intelligent one simply shook his head and smiled a bit in amusement as he walked closer to the scene. Now that a much more educated member of the team was involved, Rico lightly sighed with a big grin and fell on his bottom once more to watch his teammate.
Private chuckled to himself while he watched from the safety of his bed. It seemed as though everyone was awake, that night, not including their leader, Skipper. Of course, with so many team members up and about, the small penguin wouldn’t have been surprised if Skipper was watching as well. Interactions between Kowalski and Rico were very rare; but, when they took place, it was never a disappointment in relations to being entertained. In fact, Private thought it to be very cute and heartwarming to see such a simple event take place before him.
“Having some difficulty, Rico?” Kowalski asked as he approached the damaged remote. The penguin arched a brow in curiosity as he removed the remote from the floor. Rico wildly nodded his head and grunted in response, his tongue taking its usual position as it hung loose from the side of his beak. Kowalski appeared to have simply pressed a single button; and in an instant, the static was gone, and the TV immediately began to broadcast a cartoon.
Rico clapped his flippers and laughed with astonishment in Kowalski’s seemingly monumental achievement. The tall one smiled at Rico’s behavior and then looked to the TV, “Is this program acceptable?” he asked his comrade, who, to answer Kowalski’s question, shook his head in a playful manner. Kowalski frowned in contemplation and looked down at the remote he was wielding, “Let’s see…” he softly spoke to himself, searching for the key that would change the channel.
Suddenly, the cartoon on the television vanished and, in its place, something else appeared; two men who seemed to enjoy blowing things up in order to solve questions, “That’s more like it, eh, Rico?” Kowalski suggested with a smile. Surprisingly, Rico shook his head again. Kowalski’s grew from shock, “Um…very well, then…eh…” Kowalski hesitantly pressed the button once more to change the channel. He would do this many times, with every selection being denied of Rico’s viewing; until Rico saw them.
The very same man and woman that he had noticed earlier that day! They were now sitting on a couch, watching the TV, which was clearly off-screen from the viewer, yet could still be heard. Rico suddenly nodded his head in satisfaction. Kowalski cocked his head to the left in confusion. This particular channel was the last thing Kowalski had expected Rico to settle his mind on. Of course, if it was what Rico wanted, how could he possibly refuse?
During this time, Rico had been watching Kowalski fiddle with the device. He almost admired the tall penguin’s decision to leave his bed for Rico. He must have really cared for the mute penguin. Rico took note of this feeling that he suddenly had. He had never felt it before; at least, not like this. Was Kowalski aware of this feeling as well? He certainly hoped so…
Kowalski finally decided to set the remote on the floor and turn to walk elsewhere. After all, he had been given orders from Skipper, earlier that day, to lock every entrance that leads into HQ; what he had originally intended to do, upon leaving his bed. Unfortunately for Skipper, however, Rico made a hurtful sound; similar to that of a dog’s whimpering. Kowalski sighed and turned to face Rico.
“Is this not the program you requested, Rico?” Kowalski questioned, not quite understanding the reason for Rico’s behavior. He was given everything that he asked for, so what was the problem?
Rico narrowed his eyes and gave Kowalski a mischievous grin, patting the floor next to him with his flipper. Kowalski didn’t know how to react; not from the offer to join him in the viewing of the television, but from the look that he was receiving. What on Earth was Rico thinking that would provoke such a strange gesture?
Kowalski sighed and looked away with closed eyes, “Sorry, Rico, but…I’ve been given orders to secure the premise. Afterwards, I will be required in going to sleep for the remainder of the night; and I suggest you do the same.” He responded, turning once more to continue his duty.
Predictably, Kowalski was given the very same whimper from behind, causing him to flinch and stop in his tracks. Did he really have to leave so soon? Would it hurt to simply watch a little television with a friend? Besides, Kowalski had already disappointed Rico enough for one day. It would most likely make up for how he treated Rico, that morning.
Knowing that he was defeated, Kowalski turned one last time and made his way towards Rico, who immediately smiled and chuckled in a psychotic manner. The tall penguin plopped next to Rico, trying to leave a few inches of space between he and the much larger penguin.
Rico didn’t do anything for a while, after that. He would chuckle a bit during the episode, but nothing more. Kowalski was beginning to ponder on how much longer he would have been forced to remain there. He knew for a fact that, should he rise to his feet and move away from the scene, Rico would have whimpered in his previous fashion; and that would only make Kowalski feel guilty of himself.
A scene in the episode quickly transitioned to the same as earlier; a man and woman sitting side-by-side on a couch, watching the television. Rico leaned closer to the monitor on the TV, examining the characters’ every moment. Kowalski turned his head to watch Rico’s behavior. It almost fascinated him…
Private was still watching from across the room. The little penguin couldn’t resist from spying on such a cute display. It was nice to see two friends doing something that they both enjoyed.
Kowalski, on the other hand, wished to leave and proceed with his duties. He didn’t know how much longer he would have been able to remain where he was.
Rico noticed the man wrap his arm around the woman, nuzzling her neck in a loving manner. The woman laughed and playfully pushed the man away.
“Oh, stop it!” she laughed, sending chills up Rico’s spine. He wasn’t sure as to why he felt that way. He only wanted to experience it as well.
Therefore, when Kowalski least expected it, Rico slyly wrapped his flipper around Kowalski’s side and pulled the tall penguin closer; so close that Kowalski was practically being forced into Rico’s form. Rico took this moment to lean his beak forward, rubbing it across Kowalski’s neck and shoulder, ruffling the penguin’s feathers. Kowalski immediately tensed up, having not expected Rico to do such a thing. Rico quietly chuckled in his low and raspy voice, continuing his snuggling behavior.
Private rose to a sitting position, surprised at what he was witnessing. A friendly and innocent moment had taken a turn for the worse!
Kowalski struggled to break free, but only induced Rico’s grip to tighten. Rico had always been the strongest penguin of the four, rendering Kowalski defenseless against Rico’s loving embrace. The struggling penguin then decided to use words in this situation.
“Rico, may I ask what you’re doing?” he attempted to say while being squeezed in between Rico’s flipper and side. Unfortunately, Rico only responded with another chuckle, “Rico, release me, immediately!” Kowalski raised his voice a bit. From across the room, Skipper’s sleeping form tossed and turned, causing both Rico and Kowalski to freeze. How embarrassing it would have been for Skipper to wake at that moment to find Rico and Kowalski snuggling.
Kowalski noticed Rico’s grip had loosened and decided to take advantage of this. The penguin quickly slid from underneath Rico’s wing and rolled away to keep his distance. After having escape, Kowalski stood on his feet and dusted himself off with his flippers. Rico looked very hurt and confused.
“I apologize, Rico…but, I have to follow Skipper’s orders.” He said reluctantly, slowly turning to continue what he had intended to do in the first place. Sadly, Rico was left alone with no one to hug. Perhaps he was better off with simply going to bed. Besides, the episode had ended, anyway. As he sluggishly made his way towards his bed, Private tossed in the opposite direction, as to not be seen by the troubled penguin.
‘How sad…’ Private thought to himself as he made every attempt to fall asleep…