I am the penguin

Tyrone hears me coming. He?s got the back door open as I pull up, heaving, in a compressed mess of jass-fumes and the motorway?s electricity evaporating out of me.

“Davey, jack your freaking payload, hey? I?m not burning hydro time hanging around for any more scenarios, okay?”

“Buff my ram, Tyrone!”

“Davey?”

“Kick it, man – just kick it!”

Tyrone’s foot hits the pedal, pumping like he’s playing a church organ. The vehicle lowers itself a little, then surges backwards.

“Hey!”

“Relah yourself, Davey.”

We take off like a bloated penguin, rockets for fins, cockpit in the eyes there, where the brain might be, if it weren’t the john.

“Okay, my little man,” says Tyrone, “we’ve got two days to evac – are you planning on some kind of fire sale in the aftermath? Coz little buddy, let me tell you this for free: you sure as lucky saved my laundry, but as sure as eggs is ham I’m not sticking around to count your loose change. Hey man, like what is it with the bottle tops? That shit ain’t been legal since Turnpike did the slow poke.”

“Tyrone, you want me to switch you off, is that what you’re saying?”

“No Davey, just, like – ”

“Coz I’ll switch you off whenever I have to, understand?”

“Well, not exactly, no – ”

“Right, that’s it.”

With a deft movement I snatch his remote control stick and push down every button, a trick I learnt playing the ancient games. Finally at my leisure, as it were, I can’t help but think what the balarney I’m going to do next. Instead, I say:

“I am the penguin.”

My fist lights dim. As the craft’s rockets hurl us into the dream nations, where interstitial possibilities lie, I feel the first anti-surges of shutdown. My crayon colours begin to blur, smudging the story board. Then there is a light that goes out.

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