Dreaming in Black ‘N’ White
Chapter 2 – The Competition
Back at the Central Park Zoo, Kowalski, Rico and Private were desperately trying to think of ways to change Skipper’s mind. “What are we going to do?!” Private asked the others, with a concerned look on his face, “This is only one night of the entire year. Skipper can’t afford to miss it.” “Don’t worry Private. I’m sure Skipper will come tonight. He just need time to think this through is all.” Kowalski assured him. “Do you think he would?” “Affirmative. However, if you’re not positively sure, go ahead and ask around for some advice. I’m sure someone here does.” “You’re right. There’s bound to be someone here who can help us.” Private skipped along to find some assistance. As he went around a corner, Kowalski turned his attention to Rico. “Rico… I know this sounds weird asking you this, but… Do you have any options?” Rico vomited out the flamethrower from his mouth. “Kaboom?!” he asked, as he held, ready to fire. “No, Rico. That wouldn’t be necessary.” “Aaw…” Rico sighed sadly. “I should’ve known that we would’ve been your answer to that.” Kowalski said, hitting his face with his flipper, “What was I thinking?” He began to walk away. “Rico, you stay here and man the fort. I’ll see what science can do to solve this.” “Yep.” Rico answered, as he stood firm just outside the base.
Meanwhile, Private continued to skip along. Presently, a faint shadow appeared from just behind him. He then heard what seemed to be beating of wings above him. He saw a darkened figure approaching, but could not make it out. When it landed, he saw a black and white bird, with an orange beak, staring directly at him. “Hi there-” Just as it started to speak, Private ran away, screaming. “Aaaaah… The Skorca’s feathered assassin. Aaaaah…. Run for your lives! The end is near!” He continued this scream until her found Rico. He was almost out of breath when he reached him. “Rico!” he yelled, gaspingly, “You’ve got to help me! The Skorca’s feathered assassin is here. It’s here to tear us all the shreds!” Rico got his flamethrower back out, and sprinted towards where he saw Private come from. “Go get it, Rico!” Private said, encouragingly.
When Private arrived back on the scene, the mystery bird had pinned Rico to the ground, with its claws on his chest. Private became absolutely horrified, but quickly changed his mood to an angry one. “You get off of him, winged assassin! Take me on instead!” “Listen, penguins. I don’t know why you’re attacking me or running away screaming from me, but I made a vow that I wouldn’t-” Private recognized the voice, which was female. “Wait a minute. Kitka?!” “So, you finally decided to recognize me?!”
“We’re sorry, Kitka. You just look different. I didn’t mean to mistake for a feathered assassin.”
“That’s alright. I forgive you.”
“Do you mind getting off of him?”
“Oh… Right. Sorry about that.” She released her grip on Rico, and backed away from him. “So, Kitka… um… Why do you like that?” Private then asked her. “I thought you might ask that.” she replied, “I’m assuming you know about the dance tonight!?”
“Well, that’s why I’m like this.”
“You’re trying to go after Skipper again, aren’t you?”
“Well, of course I am.”
“But he broke up with you!”
“I know. However… I feel as if this dance is opportunity to make a new and fresh start with him. I want to show him that I have changed from my former self.”
“How do we can tell you’ve changed?”
“Just, trust me… uh…”
“Right… Private. You can trust me. I haven’t eaten any mammals around here in months.”
Private and Rico got a disgusted look on their faces. “Well… um… I’m not sure that Skipper would want to do it. But… Since you are an old friend, and you did all this, well… How can I say no?!” Private told her. “Well, thank you Private. I assure you. I won’t cause you or Skipper any problems.” she replied.
“We’ll take you word for it.”
“Should I just go over to Skipper and ask?”
“No. I have a better idea.”
Private whispered the plan to Kitka. “I like that idea. All right. I’m in.”
In the meantime, Kowalski was in the “garage,” trying to come up with some kind of invention to help Skipper. The door remained open as he fiddled around with the equipment around him. “Blast!” he shouted, “I can’t invent anything that’ll get Skipper to that dance. What do I do?! What do I do?!” Kowalski then began to slam his head on the desk. “Think, Kowalski, think!” At that moment, Marlene arrived. “Hey there, Kowalski. Whatcha doing?” she asked him. “Hey there, Marlene. I’m just-” When he turned and saw her, his jaw dropped as he stared at the “new” Marlene. “Gaga! Great balls of fire!” he exclaimed in adoration.
“You like my new look?”
“How… Why… What happened to you?”
“Let’s just say I got a makeover for a special occasion.”
“But, why black and white?”
“It’s to appeal to a certain someone.”
Marlene laughed. “Kowalski. I’ll admit. You’re a cool guy, too. But… I’m dressed this way because I want Skipper to take me to the dance.” Kowalski spitted a little in surprise. “Skipper?! Are you serious, Marlene?!”
“I sure am.”
“Well now. You may be all I need to get Skipper to go tonight.”
“When Skipper sees me, Kowalski, he’ll have no choice, but to say yes.”
“I’m sure he will.”
“Let’s just hope he doesn’t mistake me for someone new again.”
“I think he learned from before.”
“Hmm… You’re right. Let’s go.”
“Right behind you.”
Back at the penguin habitat, Skipper was still busy cleaning around. He finally finished all the tasks he wanted to get done. “Finally. I’m finished. And not a sound from my boys! They must have given up. They were crazy thinking I would change my mind. Hah! Nice try, boys! But, this bird’s not going!” On the outside, Private, Rico, and Kitka were on one side of the habitat, while Kowalski and Marlene were on the other. “You remember the plan, Kitka?” Private asked. “Of course.” replied Kitka. “All right. Remember. We have to whisper.” Private continued. The three of them went inside the habitat’s fence. Meanwhile, Kowalski gave his own last-minute instructions to Marlene. “Wait here, Marlene. I’ll give you a signal when it’s time for you to come up here.” “I got it. I got it.” she replied. Kowalski nodded, and bounced around to get himself over the fence as well. Once he landed, he saw Private and Rico with the “new-look” Kitka. At first, he did not recognize her. “Preda-!” he screamed. Private quickly put his flipper around his beak. “Quiet, Kowalski. It’s only Kitka. She’s going to help us surprise Skipper.” Private then became extremely eager. “Uh… Private. There might a problem.” “Don’t worry. Skipper’s going to love her look.” “Uh… That’s not what I was talking-” “Come on. We don’t have much time.” “Private, I-” Before Kowalski could finish, Private opened the bowl and climbed down the ladder.
“Skipper…! We have a surprise for you!” “Sure you do, Private!” “But… It’s true. We do, and it’s rather ravishing.” Skipper sighed. “This better not be some kind of crazy outfit that you want me to wear tonight. Because, if it is, they’ll be some consequences for all of you.” Private gulped, but remained firm. “It’s not, Skipper. You’ll really like it, sir. Trust me.” Skipper gave in.
“All right Private. You win. What is it?”
“Wait and see.”
The two penguins proceeded back up the ladder to the outside. Skipper looked around, and saw nothing out of the ordinary initially. “So, where is this surprise?” “Right over here.” Private said, pointing in the direction where Kitka was standing. Skipper turned, and saw her. “Miss Kitka?! Is that you?!” “It is. It’s been a while Skipper.” Skipper walked up closer to her. “Why are you…? I mean… Why do you look like this?!”
“For you. That’s why! You like it?”
“Like it…?! I love it!”
As the two contiuned to talk, Kowalski quietly went back down to see Marlene. “Uh… Marlene. We have a little-” Marlene interrupted. “Is it time already?! Man, I am so psyched for this.”
“Marlene. We have a bit of a situation up there.”
“What kind of situation?”
“Well… you see…” Kowalski moved his head and right food around in a counterclockwise motion.
“Kowalski, what’s going on up there?!”
“Trust me. You don’t want to know, Marlene.”
“Just trust me. You don’t.”
Marlene stared intently at the penguin habitat. “I’m going to check out!”
“Wait, Marlene.” Before he could stop her, she jumped and rolled over the fence, and into the habitat. “What have I done?!” Kowalski asked himself.
Marlene landed on top of the base, and greeted in her usual manner. “Hey, Skipper…! I was wondering-” She then noticed everyone else staring at her, and noticed Skipper was really close to Kitka. “Uhhh… What’s going on here? And what’s with the weird bird?” she asked them. “It doesn’t concern you, little rat! Will you please leave?!” Kitka replied. “Did you call me a rat?!” Marlene boomed, angrily, “Listen, sister. I’m no rat. Who do you think you are?!” Private then came over and tried to hold Marlene back. “Marlene, what are you doing here?!” he asked her. “Wondering what’s going on up here! That’s what!” she bellowed. Skipper chimed in. “Marlene. Kitka and I here were in the middle of an important conversation. Can you wait to chat with us ‘til later?!”
“No, Skipper! I have several important questions to ask you myself!”
Kitka then put one of her wings in front of Skipper, blocking his path. “Skipper… Don’t worry. I handle this little rat myself. I know what she wants!” Marlene also pushed Private aside. “Out of the way, soldier.” she snarled.
The two females came to a meeting at the center of the roof of the base, snarling and growling at each other. “Marlene, isn’t it?!” Kitka roared, “You, little rat, have no right to get between me and my Skipper!” Marlene growled even louder. “First of all, I’m an otter! Let’s get that straight! Second… Your Skipper?! Hah! Don’t make laugh! He’s my Skipper. So, why don’t you go fly away!” Kitka growled in complete rage. “Do you realize you are dealing with here! I’m a Peregrine Falcon, and I could tear a little mammal, like yourself, to shreds right now!”
“Yeah right! I’m not afraid of you!”
“You may say that now, but you won’t be when I’m done with you!”
The two growled loudly and angrily stared at one another at a close range. Skipper got in between them and pushed them away by pushing them with one of his flippers. “You two are fighting over me for a pointless reason. I told the boys that I’m not going, and that’s final! So, this whole argument is pointless! Now, back off and let’s move on!” Kitka and Marlene calmed down, and slowly backed further away from each other. “That’s better.” Skipper continued, “Now, I suggest you two go back to your home and habitat, and forget about this whole argument because I have bigger problems to deal with.” “Like what?” asked Private. “Like… uh… uh… Oh… That’s not the point. The point here is-” Kowalski leaped in and interrupted his leader. “Skipper, come on. These two ladies did a lot to impress you. Don’t you think you should feel somewhat amazed by all this?!
“I do, but-”
“But… nothing. You need to get out more Skipper, and prove to everyone that you’re not always violent, and you have time for a good social life.”
“Don’t I already prove that, soldier?!”
“Negative. Not to everyone. Besides, we’re just asking you to this for one night. Can’t you survive this kind of entertainment for just one night?!”
Skipper paused, and pondered for a bit. He quickly went back down into the base, while the others wondered what he was doing.
Moments later, Skipper got back out, with his chair, sunglasses, and a bag of popcorn. He set his chair back up, laid against it, and put the sunglasses on. “You’re just going to sit there and relax?!” Kowalski asked, with a bit of a screech.
“No. I’m going to sit here and watch the spectacle that’s about to happen in front of me while also eating this delicious popcorn.”
“What spectacle?” the others all asked in unison. Skipper pointed to Kitka, then to Marlene. “You two girls have at it!” “Have at it?!” asked Marlene, “What’s that supposed to mean?” “You know. Fight it out. See who gets me as a date and all that good stuff.” he replied. The two females were reluctant at first, but, after staring at each other, they growled once again, and went to opposite sides of the habitat. They stood on the edge, with the water just behind them, and ran their feet along the ground in a charging motion. The other three penguins quickly went back inside. They did not want to watch the fight that was about to occur. “All right, little otter! Don’t say I didn’t warn you before. I made a vow that would never harm a zoo mammal, but, with you, I’ll make an exception.” She put up he left foot and showed her talons. Marlene was not impressed. “Is that all you’ve got?! I’m still not afraid of you. You have the bark, but do you have the bite?!”
“Oh… I have more bite than you’ll ever know!”
“Sure you do! Bring it, sister!”
The two females whipped their heads violently back and forth, and then charged at one another. “He’s my Skipper!” Marlene roared. “No… he’s mine…!” Kitka roared back. The fight was on!