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The Escape from Cacophony Island

Chapter 7

The Slow Boat Returns

7.1 The Disenfranchised Arrive

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The hot morning sun had been up for hours when a ship's horn from the Slow Boat awoke Tricksee from a deep, dreamful sleep. She struggled to remember her dreams; something about them made her feel good. But it all silently slipped away as she walked into the hot sun on her balcony and watched as a gaggle of Disenfranchised Penguins arrived.

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The SlowBoat's captain and chief engineer, Johannes, shook each of the 20 King Penguin's flippers as the symphony of birds skipped down the stairs from the Hotel's lorry at the top of the Chaotic Hotel's circular drive. Johannes must have had a specific affection for these Disenfranchised Penguins because he joined them on the Lorry's trip from the boat dock and then acknowledged each one by shaking their flippers and kissing their beaks as they disembarked.

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Using a feathered wing to shade the sun from her sleepy eyes, Tricksee watched as they excitedly hopped up the steps to the hotel lobby where the Raven registered them.


They were overheated from the long trip and were looking for cool water, so the bellman immediately ushered them to the poolside. He waited for a tip, but none was coming from any of the 20 Disenfranchised Penguins—not even one red copper. He would be sure to remember that later.

Frick and Frack, the two monkeys, threw each King Penguin a towel. The birds gathered at the pool's edge, threw their towels on the four chaise lounges allotted to them, and merrily dovetailed into the pool's deep end.

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Not So Funny, a lemur hired to keep the pool clean was skimming the shallow end of the pool water. He cursed under his breath.

      I won't be sweeping fish entrails out of the pool; I'll quit first.

And with that, he threw down the skimmer and stalked off.

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After splashing and swimming in the cool water, It's Not My Job, a penguin recognized by all his peers as completely lazy, jumped onto the pool deck and surveyed his new environment. It was a far cry from Cacophony Island, where a new leadership regime recently took over, and they were all unceremoniously kicked off. In his quiet moments he had to admit that he deserved it, but the others didn't.

The island's leadership's approach was simple: Cheaper labor was replacing their jobs, and each Penguin immediately had a target on his back, regardless of the skills. First, they were banned from the Island's pond, and then their fish allocation was reduced. And even worse, their fish supply severance package was cut. They were starving, so there was a lot of bitterness in their rank and file.

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At the far end of the pool deck, It's a Thankless Job tried to console Stabbed in the Back. He was due for a gold diving watch, but that was not to be. Didn't Get the Promotion chimed in with something about being unappreciated. All twenty, the whole lot of them, got their walking papers together on the same day. My Stupid Boss, their leader, left with his compensation intact, but he had to leave the Island like the rest of the Penguins.

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The only happy Penguin was The Baron. He suffered other defeats and always landed on his feet. He was much admired by his bird peers, which more than offset the disrespect he suffered from his former employers on Cacophony Island. He would set up shop again and swim up a new corporate ladder elsewhere.

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