The Penguin and the Whale – A 1000-word Sentence Experiment

It was not long after dusk on the sea of muted blue, when a languid penguin waddled carefully into the waters of the sleepy bay, barely touching and yet terribly disturbing the coarse sand and fine rocks, hoping for nothing more than to find a friend on its dinner hunt, routine it had observed religiously every evening over the previous seven years, since its mate had died prompting it to ponder the value of life, not because it felt it had anything in store for it, but because it felt the sting and the shame, responses acquired over a pleasant, very long time spent cohabiting, the framework to officialise the relationship having been refused by the powers that be to mammals other than human, when any mistake earned it a long stare and a sigh akin that of sea lions and less that of penguins, felt deeply knowing its former mate would have wished for it to continue swimming out to sea, catching the insipid fish, and proudly coming back to the desolate bay to devour it among colony, as they had done in equally religious observance of habit, not because other food was not available elsewhere, but because the colony had always done so, and so it dared not break the prescribed ritual in spite of growing arthritic pains, and with no hunger due to a bad digestion following the previous evening’s meal of haddock, it swam surely, and with every flap of the swimmers grew increasingly hopeless, knowing all too well that tasty fish swims in the shallow waters only when the colour of the moon matches that of the volcanic rocks, which it probably never had nor would, but the penguin kept hoping because colour-blindness it had heard improves with age, but not truely believing as the chatty krill knew not much about colour or age, and judging in this manner it found itself more nimble than usual and in deeper, colder water than usual, and in less discomfort than usual, all positive signs it had learnt in its long life that pointed to clear misplaced position and shameful lack of insight on required direction, but if the colour-blindness did not improve with age, at least the shame of being wrong dramatically decreased, it thought when, unexpectedly like the moon changing shade in one night, a strong warm current tickled its every single pore and feather, and created curiosity as not seen since the days when the arctic explorers came pointing strange shiny boxes at the polar bears doomed to float on increasingly filthy ice cubes until, and before it could finish the thought, it found itself violently thrown into surfing a wave like those caused by the explorers’ icebreaker, but fear and horror were strangely missing, and the emptiness left in the space saved for them was filled by curiosity mixed with the lukecold rays of the moon, curiosity which not long after, the period of time determined by the rate at which slurried blood powers penguin brain electrical impulse movement, was quelled by the recognition of a massive shape it had never seen but often heard of, that of a whale surfacing for air, caring about nothing around it, both out of bravery and ignorance of whaling ships, and which in the process of gasping had simultaneously released a lingering cloud of partially digested krill aroma, then gradually slowed down having moved away from the fragrant apparition and gently swam on its back with eyes fixed on the whale that by now had inhaled and instead of diving aggresively back towards the depths, was casually swimming towards the penguin, as if it had also come out for its evening meal ritual, before it briefly increased depth in preparation for an inexplicably smooth and utterly terrifying lurch in the penguin’s direction, which the penguin noticed, just about comprehended, and proceeded to ignore in lack of alternatives, then found itself surprisingly gently picked up on the whale’s head and gaining altitude, the name penguins use for any height larger than the colony’s chief penguin’s height, and then taken on a comfortable ride, which provided ample time for moon gazing, feather draining and nose numbing, the latter having allowed for the penguin’s full appreciation for the wonderful service to install, the nature of which remained confusing in its mind only because of the challenge in distinguishing the warmth of friendship and company from the feeling of enduring the slightly less freezing cold of the air compared to that of the sea, this debate on the relative intensity of abuse the elements cause to the bodies of even highly adapted creatures having caused much tension and implicit entertainment in the relationship not just of this penguin, but of all penguins, creatures which having gained significant ability to withstand the cold lost in the process almost all ability to lead fulfilling lives, problem felt more accutely by the females, not because they were more sensitive, but because they had superior determination to withstand the cold, feature which was essentially equivalent to being better able to, this achievement unfortunately creating a vicious circle of improving ability and diminishing satisfaction, satisfaction which had been found serendipitously by a penguin aware it was experiencing altitude for an extended period, and that also hoped those strange humans would finally learn that penguins get cold too, and with this thought in its mind it found itself then brought back closer to shore, forced to lose altitude and gain humility by being lowered into the water, which in no way diminished the value of the experience, that was to serve from there on as reassurance on every boring evening dinner dash, that, even if its whale friend never came back, it had something its long lost partner would have waved a swimmer at and the colony chief would have flapped two, only to try and prove that penguins can’t gain altitude, a myth that not only they, but whales as well, had long sought to disprove.

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