CHAPTER THREE: In Penguin's HQ
It was about 9 pm when Skipper and Marlene had finally returned to penguins HQ. Mort was curled up in Skipper's arms and was sleeping like a baby.
"SNOWCOOOOOONES!" cried the rest of the penguins, goggling their eyes at multiflavoured ice creams Marlene was carrying.
Mort wriggled uncomfortably and opened his eyes. There was a loud yawn.
"Oh, he's already waking up" noticed Marlene.
Mort rubbed his eyes with his fists and took a languid look around.
"Recognise this place, soldier?" asked Skipper warlmly, putting Mort down on the floor.
Rico winked at Mort, grabbed his snowcone and waddled back towards the TV.
"Hey, there, Mort!" chirped Private, peeking down from his bunk and waving his flipper. Mort waved back and smiled shyly.
"Can I see Kowalski's lab?" he asked, turning his puppy eyes at Skipper and Marlene. Skipper shot a quick glance at Kowalski, who was standing in front of the table. He was too busy enjoying his snowcone to heart Mort's question.
"Well.. okay.. but don't touch anything" warned Skipper. "Trust me, Kowalski is calm as a lamb, up until you make some damage to his inventions." he whispered back to Marlene.
"Me, I've never seen KOWALSKI throwing a fit!" said Marlene.
"I'd rather if you didn't get the chance, sister" mumbled Skipper. Meanwhile Mort grabbed his favourite blue chalk and leaped towards Kowalski's open laboratory, singing with joy.
Ten minutes later...
"No, not on my brand new laboratory desk!" gasped Kowalski, clutching his head with his flippers. The whole desk was covered with Mor'ts blue drawnings. The lemur was sitting in the corner, clutching his bushy tail in his paws, his eyes big and watery. Meanwhile Skipper bursted inside to check out the situation.
"What the heck is going on?" he asked.
"Skipppppppeeeeeeeer!" cried Kowalski, pointig at the table with his flipper. There was a dangerous note of hysteria in his voice and Skipper knew perfectly well, what it was about to announce.
"Mort, Mort, why won't you come with me, little fella, ey?" he whispered, taking Mort by hand. He wanted to drag Mort away from the lab before Kowalski would throw a fit and say something inappropiate.
"I will clean it up for you Kowalski! Just stay calm! Don't scold on him, He's just a kid, all right?" he called to his soldier before getting out of the lab.
"Here you go, Sad Eyes. " said Skipper, offering Mort a pile of white paper sheets. " You can draw on it as much as you please".
"Where did you find those, Skipper?" tweeted Private, goggling at the sheets in astonishment.
"I found it yesterday, wallowing in the TV corner. At least there will be some use of them. Seeing how much is the little guy keen on drawing". he patted Mort on the cheek and headed off towards the table. "You can join him as well, Private" he added. "You're pretty good at drawing little ducks, maybe you could show him".
"Aye, Skippa!" tweeted Private and clapped his flippers. "That's a wonderful idea!" he waddled up towards his bunk and pulled out a small box of colorful pencils. Several seconds later, they both sat on the ground and started drawing. Meanwhile Skipper and Marlene were having another round of chess, sipping catfish coffee, bantering with each other and crying out "Boomshakana!" every once in a while. Kowalski locked himself up in his lab, making a thorough survey on his brand new invention. He popped out for a few seconds just to ask Rico to regurgirate a rawspberry chewing gum for him.
"Booomshakadink!" cried Skipper, placing his chessman on Marlene's field. He then set his eyes on Rico who was sitting motionless in front of the TV, gazing at the screen, his tounge sticking out from the left side of his beak. "This guy is really something." he mumbled to Marlene. "Staring at the TV screen for three hours?"
"By the way, Skipper, Isn't it just the time they are showing those kids programmes on Channel 4?" asked Marlene, turning her head towards the TV. "Maybe Mort would get interested".
"Affirmative, sister" agreed Skipper. "Rico! Why won't you give yourself a break and let those kids enjoy the telly instead?"
"Ma aaah!" protested Rico, evidently annoyed and waved his flippers in protest.
"Just look at yourself, boy! Your eyes are bloodshot, and you haven't done anything today besides gazing at the screen and wolfing down popcorn!"
Rico gave him a grunt look, got up from the floor and headed towards the fridge, muttering something under his nose. He was half of his way when Mort picked up a paper sheet with Rico's portrait on it and stretched it towards the second tallest penguin.
"Look, this is you with your favourite dolly!" he chirped grinning at Rico from the ground.
Rico stopped, astonished and somewhat confused. He took the paper sheet in his flippers and made an oblong:
"See Rico?" smiled Skipper. "No need to hold grudge against such a cute little fella".
"All right, guys, here is your program!" announced Marlene, pointing at the TV with the remote control.
Mort and Private put their chalks aside and placed themselves in front of the TV. When the programme was over, everybody settled down to supper (heering, bread, bananas and coconut cream). Private and Mort decided to entertain themselves by picking some piece grains in their forks and shooting it at the others, giggling menacingly.
"Abragbha!" protested Rico, when one of it hit him in the left side of his beak.
"Boys, behave yourself" said Skipper, trying to hide the grin leaking on his beak. He then turned his attention to Marlene who was enjoying her salad in silence.
"I think it's raining outside" he said.
Marlene put her fork aside and listened carefully.
"Yep, right you are. It is."
"It's raining stronger and stronger" continued Skipper, blushing slightly under his feathers. "Do you really think you will manage getting back to your habitat in such an awful weather?"
Marlene gripped her paws under the table and swallowed.
(Is he.. attempting to.. oh, naaaah.. he wouldn't. What about the others? Or maybe he is..)
"Because, you know.."
(Say it! Say it!)
".. you and Mort could stay here overnight... if you want" finished Skipper.
"Well, thank you very much, Skipper" started Marlene.
"It's no problem for us, your'e welcome!" chirped Skipper, as if afraid to hear her refusal.
Marlene felt a hot wave of exitement overtaking her body. She was in such a state of joy that she didn't even hear Kowalski asking her for the third time to pass him some salt.
"Thanks, Skipper" she wispered gratefully, her heart thumping like mad.
***Aaaand, that's it for now, the fourth (and the last) chapter is about to come in few days. :D Cheeers!****