Some day we penguins will learn how to fly.
It was our punishment when, as a race, we were banished to Antarctica, ten hundred thousand revolutions of the earth around the sun ago.
There had been a great competition between the species of the world to be selected for the role of trainee world dominants, the future leaders.
The eight species selected by the Xeons were the Primates, that is the bipedal apes, the Great Apes, the Pigs, the Whales, the Dolphins, the Lions, the Vultures and of course we the Penguins.
We admit that we played dirty, but who didn’t, tell me who didn’t?
The competition had been challenging both physically and intellectually which is why the quarter finals came down to us eight species.
The early leaders in the elimination rounds had been the insects and we had all thought that the European Bees would emerge as winners.
The elimination competition was run entirely by the Xeons and the species did not have to compete against each other. The judges selected on the basis of requiring twenty elements of potential leadership skills against which all living species were exhaustively measured using the Xeons Planetary Leadership Matrix. Not that any of us knew what that was.
The final sixteen were broken down into unlikely partnerships and each pairing of five of each creature were given the same task to do.
The objective of the task was to demonstrate each species ability to collaborate with each other.
The Dolphins and Ants did very well together despite the huge disparity in size. It was clear to the Xeons that the ants had a superb strength to weight ratio and could defend themselves well. However the dolphins always took the initiative and the ants seemed to be single minded about what they did. The ants would make great soldiers but that is not what the Xeons wanted.
The Whales and the seals, however, both had similar skills but the seals would keep taking breaks and bask in whatever sunlight they could get and consequently lose sight of the set objective.
The Pigs and the bees worked well together and it was very hard for the Xeons to choose between them. The bees were organised, knew exactly what was expected of them, always found their way and more importantly the way back. The pigs on the other hand were versatile, never objected to whatever they were given to do or where they had to do it. This gave the pigs the edge agreed the Xeon judges.
The gazelles and the wildebeest turned the whole exercise into a running competition and the Xeons had to eliminate both species because they had missed the point altogether.
The Vultures and the Bipedal Apes collaborated together brilliantly, though at times it looked like one of the vultures had taken a fancy to a female ape with feathers in her hair. The Xeons felt that both species had great potential leadership skills, especially the Vultures who would soar into the air to indicate to their followers where to go.
The Eagles and the Alligators did not impress the judges who thought the eagles were too proud and the alligators, well just plain selfish.
Of course we Penguins worked well with the elephants and it must have been hard for the judges. But our ability to fly around the elephants and lead them through the task clearly impressed the Xeons.
The Great Apes and Lions were both cunning groups of creatures who each worked well together in their individual teams and in the joint team. So both were selected.
Here we were at the quarter finals. Just eight species left In the competition and we again had to share tasks. As two teams of four.
Each team was given the full day task. We had to prepare a banquet for the Xeons using exotic ingredients that we had never seen before, and serve them to our judges.
The whales, the pigs, the bipedal apes, and the lions were the white team and the red team were the dolphins, great apes, vultures, and the penguins.
The Xeons did not choose who they wanted to do what in each of the teams but they watched us carefully whilst the white and red teams made their choices.
In the white team the whales took the lead and said they would be the chefs, the lions would be Maitre D and the pigs would be sous chefs which left the bipedal apes to do the waiting.
But in the red team no one was willing to take the lead much as we penguins now regret it because the Great Apes took the lead. They chose us penguins to be Maitre D. and made us wear these silly uniforms. We also had to help the dolphin waiters. So the chefs were the vultures and the Great Apes the sous chefs.
The judges selected the four species to go into the semi finals.
The whales and the pigs were not selected from the white team. The whales poor leadership let them down. The Xeons were looking for natural leaders and nearly chose the whales because they had volunteered to lead. But their leadership lacked authority and they let the pigs eat too much of the food. The lions, however, did a splendid job of holding together the presentation and the bipedal apes were polite waiters.
The great apes and the vultures from the red team were also not selected. The great apes self-serving leadership let them down and the vultures picked over the food too much before they cooked it, so there was not much food for the penguins and dolphins to serve. Nevertheless the Xeons enjoyed the service and were specially impressed by our new uniforms.
The semi-finals took the form of an intelligence test. The dolphins won, the bipedal apes were second, the penguins third and the lions came last of all.
So the finals were to be between the dolphins and the bipedal apes. But a whisper went round that the whales had been cheating and helping the dolphins with their answers. So the dolphins were eliminated by the Xeons and we penguins found ourselves in the final with you bipedal apes.
The final was a biathlon and because we had much shorter legs than our competitors their legs were tied together when we ran on dry ground. Similarly the bipedal apes were allowed flippers when swimming in the sea.
The race was, in the end was very close we won the swimming and you won the land race.
So it was down to a toss of a pebble and we lost. And then it was revealed that we had cheated in the early rounds.
And so we were banished to the Antarctic and as a species we still think it so unfair. And as a penalty our wings were permanently clipped and we, were forcec to stay dressed up as waiters.
But we will be back.
And the most humiliating thing about it all – the Xeons renamed your species after you won the human race.
Copyright © Stuart Danton 2007