Friday morning had the makings to be a really good day or the worst day ever.
It started the same way most days did, with her alarm clock going off and being chucked sleepily, but with surprising accuracy, across the room and into the trashcan. She turned over once, lay still for another three minutes, and then sat up, stretched, and grumbled when she realized what day of the week it was.
She didn't like Fridays. For most people, it was the start of the weekend, the last big hurdle before two glorious days of absolutely nothing happened. Not so for a zoo-keeper.
It was spring, meaning the weather was most likely going to be fine, not too warm and not too cool, perfect for going out and enjoying the fresh breeze. Weather like that meant that she could expect to be busy with roughly two thousand families all wanting to visit with Katy the Penguin Lady, and, of course, her troupe of 28 penguins. Katy groaned and slumped back into her bed, one hand draped across her eyes, the beginnings of a headache already forming in the back of her head.
"Oh, someone kill me now..."
Charlie was a penguin. He liked fish. He didn't like heat or visits to the blue room where he was poked and prodded and then jabbed with sharp objects. He liked the fish he got at the end though. Charlie liked fish.
Katy poured herself another cup of coffee and tried to make sense of the words in front of her. Daily bulletins were always trying, even on days when she wasn't mostly asleep, but this one appeared to have been written by one of the apes Alyssa looked after and then translated into very poor Greek. Possibly from. She wasn't entirely sure.
She stared stupidly at the paper for a while and, after realizing she had just read the same line three times and still had no idea what it meant, gave it up as a bad job and slid down off her stool, hissing as her bare feet hit the chilly tiles. She shivered and hopped from foot to foot, barely avoiding spilling her coffee as she made her way across the freezing kitchen. She ran a hand through her hair before leaving the kitchen.
It wasn't really a surprise that she was cold, given that she was only wearing a camisole and boy-shorts, and she slurped down more coffee, letting it heat her from the inside out as she dropped a slice of bread into the toaster.
Charlie was a penguin. A penguin needed fish. Fish came from the lady. The lady was not here. Charlie had no fish. Charlie wanted a fish. Charlie liked fish. Charlie liked the lady who gave fish. Charlie liked the fish she gave. Charlie liked her. Charlie liked fish.
She stumbled out of the shower, wrapping a blue towel around her. She sighed at the fogged over mirror and wiped it clear of condensation. She blinked at her reflection, her brown eyes stared back at her. She bit her lip and raised her dark eyebrows as she grabbed her contact case. She poked them into her eyes and left the bathroom. Heading into her bedroom, she grabbed her clothes.
There was the sound of something hitting the ice. Charlie waddled over to it. It wasn't a fish. He wanted a fish. This was not a fish. It was not shaped like a fish. It did not smell like a fish. It was not a fish. Charlie wanted a fish. He did not want the small brown hard thing that was sitting on the ice. It was not a fish.
Katy walked down stairs, grabbing her navy jacket off the coat rack and her hat. She slipped them on, looked in the hall mirror and straightened her tie. She headed out. Her commute to work was short, she headed down a flight of stairs and through a hall and swiped her id card into the reader. A door slid open and she was in the maintenance area of the Antarctic Hall of the zoo. She went to get her bucket with which she held the food for the various animals she took care of. Her first stop were her penguins. She filled her bucket and set off.
She dumped the bucket of fish into the large environment. "Morning guys!" She said with a smile, "Morning Clara, Morning Becket, Morning Charlie. Charlie? What have you got there?"
Charlie looked at the fish. He wanted a fish. This thing that was not a fish was sitting there. Charlie waddled over to it. He pecked it with his beak. It didn't taste like a fish. He smelled something. Fish fell from the ground. The lady had come. Charlie wanted a fish. The thing was more interesting. He pecked it again.
"Charlie! Why do you have a book?" Katy opened the door. She crossed over the large emperor penguin. "Charlie! Stop that! Stop pecking that book!" She reached to grab the book. She fell, the shriek of Charlie accompanying her squeak of fear as she tumbled through nothing.
She landed roughly. "Ow." She grumbled, rubbing her rear end. "Where the hell am I?" She looked around. Her surroundings were gray, that was the only way to describe them. She stood up, not sure where the ground was. She picked up her bucket, "Charlie? Where are you?"
A paper fell out of the bucket. She frowned at it, but picked it up anyways, not wanting to liter and ruin what ever creature's habitat. Katy looked about. What ever lived here, if anything lived here, must be very boring. There was only gray around her, there was no black, no white, nothing even remotely penguin looking other than the logo on her hat. "Charlie! Where are you? I have a fish, do you want a fish?"
Charlie wanted a fish. He liked fish. He didn't like where ever he was. He didn't like how it looked. He liked fish. He liked the lady. He didn't know where the lady was. He didn't know where he would get a fish. He clacked his beak. He looked around. He cocked his head. There was a thing ahead of him. A thing that the lady would go through when she came to visit. It wasn't white like her thing. It was thing though. Maybe the lady wad there. She would have fish. Charlie liked fish. He clacked his beak again. Charlie waddled through the thing.
Katy stumbled, looking around. Saying the scenery was boring was an understatement. Everything was just gray, and there was no change. She saw something dark ahead of her. "Charlie!" She called out, running for the blob.
It was not Charlie, but a door. She looked around her. She couldn't see anything that could be Charlie. She sighed, straightening her hat. She opened the door and went through it.