Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) are not known for their ability to travel great distances (cognoscuntur non facultatem longissimas travel). However, one day Kelli, a penguin from Dublin Zoo went on quite an adventure. One morning, she was sleeping in her favourite tree when three men broke into the zoo, without paying for a ticket, I should add, climbed over the perimeter fence, and bundled her into a bag. Next thing she knew she was being carried out of the zoo and found herself being bundled into the back seat of a taxi. She popped her head out to get a look at her kidnappers. One was wearing a tuxedo, the second a nun’s habit and the third a pink tutu, because he’d obviously misread the memo about what bird they were planning on stealing. ‘What’s that?’ said the taxi driver. ‘It’s a rabbit,’ said the man in the tuxedo. ‘Quack’ said Kelli. ‘That doesn’t sound like no rabbit I’ve ever heard!’ excaimed the taxi driver. ‘Oh, well, he’s foreign.’ said the nun. ‘FOREIGN? I won’t have no foreign animals in MY taxi. Just look at what they did to the ecosystem in Australia! Go on, get him out of here.’ The taxi driver pulled over and Kelli was lobbed out onto the path.
She stood up and straighened her beak. Looking around, she saw a great towering spike that must have been 400 feet tall. She was relatively unimpressed. So she set off down O’Connell Street, flapping her flippers against her side as people asked her for change. This became frustrating very quickly, coupled with the fact that she’d missed feeding time because of the abduction and was getting pretty hungry. Being magnetically attracted to the South Pole, she headed toward the Liffey, in search of water. Having not found any in the Liffey she continued down Westmoreland Street and wandered into that College there. She went into the reception and started talking with the receptionist, a gruff man called Dáire McNab. ‘eeek ehhh bree braaa.’ The receptionist seemed confused. ‘What exactly are you looking for?’ ‘sheaaeeee eeeeeh chk chk’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘the department of marine biology is as close as we get to a school of fish. Will that do?’ Kelli rolled her eyes and left.
When she got back outside there was a guard questioning people. He said to a little girl, ‘excuse me have you seen a penguin?’ ‘Yes,’ she said. ‘I’ve seen lots of penguins. They’re in the zoo. That’s WAY over there. You should just go to the cinema, it’s closer.’ ‘No, I mean have you seen any penguins around here?’ ‘No, I don’t think so. What kind of penguin?’ ‘A humboldt penguin.’ ‘Oh! There’s one of them just over there.’
The guard approached Kelli. ‘Hello, we’re going to take you home now,’ he said. Kelli was delighted. She had missed the shores of Chile for many years, and longed for it’s sand and guano covered beaches. She missed the salty air, and being able to wear just a t-shirt during the summer.
Two hours later she arrived back in Dublin Zoo. ‘Oh well, she thought. Close enough.’
Conor O'Toole is a comedian from Dublin who draws a series called Concerns. He plays Conor Shaw in Student Teacher and @ConorOToole on Twitter. He hosts The Death of Comedy once a month. He is currently writing a show about his impending funeral.