January 20th is Penguin Awareness Day
Many astute readers of my book, North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus
, have asked me how is is that my family has a penguin for a chef.
As everybody knows, penguins are found in Antarctica, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, the Falkland Islands, and the Galapagos Islands -- NOT in the North Pole.
Well, it's a short story. Literally. Shortly after my book came out, I released a collection of short stories by some of my closest friends. Chefy's story of how he came to live in the North Pole is one of those. Here's a taste:
The First Welcoming Feast (Excerpt)
An oral history of Chefy, as told to Candycane Claus.
My story? Why, thank you for asking. I am beyond flattered. Nobody here ever wishes to be regaled by my glorious tales from the south lands, much less comes straight out and requests to hear one.
Let me see. Where to begin? I was hatched by my father many, many years ago on the South Shetland Islands, where I developed an interest in cooking at an early age. I simply could not stomach my parents’ food preparation methods. You see, first they’d eat my meal themselves—to ensure it was not poisonous, they’d say—then regurgitate the already digested food into my beak. Now I ask you, is that any way for a young chick to enjoy the sumptuous taste of a fine kettle of fish?
Are you getting all of this? Please do let me know if I am going too fast.
Anyway, by the time my adult feathers came in, I had already invented a number of signature dishes out of little more than snow, ice, rocks, calling bird feathers, and magic algae from the floor of the sea. One day I waddled up to my parents and said, “Excuse me, please, but I have decided to be a chef.”
My older brother fell in the snow and rolled about, laughing.
“And just whom, pray tell, do you plan to chef for?” my mother nay-said, slurping a mollusk off her webbed foot. “Not everyone in the South Pole is a fussy eater like you. Most of us are fine with our food the way it comes.”
“If our baby wishes to spend his life wearing that funny hat and an apron,” my father began, in his grandest attempt to sound supportive, “what harm could it do?”
To show my commitment to my new occupation, I decided to change my name. “From now on, I want you all to call me Chefy
To my delightful surprise, they agreed to comply with this instruction, though that may have been more because my given penguin name, Ejarkthamaptonaraaliey Yennnnisferiptidognoman, was so difficult to pronounce. The ‘g’ is silent.
“And to answer your question, mother, it is my dream to one day cook an immense feast for His Honor, Mr. Claus.”
* * * * *
I guess it's not that short a story. If you want to learn the true story behind the South Pole Flying Seal Think Tank and the subsequent North and South Polar Trade Agreement and how it all led to my father discovering Chefy and bringing his talents to the North Pole, then celebrate Penguin Awareness Day with North Pole High: Beginnings
, available at Amazon
, Barnes & Noble
, and Google Play