In this penguin’s life, he had no friends to speak of. It was lonely, being a penguin surprise. Sometimes people called into the center to surprise their loved ones with a penguin. It happened rarely, but it did happen. He and several thousand others waited in their cells to be delivered to their very first friends. Or at least Roger thought so. For all he knew, he could be the only one. Somehow, he just knew that he was going to be the perfect penguin surprise for someone someday.
He just had to wait.
Today, just like every other day, Roger’s food was delivered for breakfast. Each day he got three meals and three chances to see the face of another person. He would chat up his handlers, and they let him since they knew that without an appropriate amount of interaction, mental stimulation, and activity any living creature would eventually lose their grasp on reality.
Roger’s handlers were appropriately friendly, but they weren’t real friends in the way that he knew the person he would someday be delivered to as a surprise would be. They held him captive. It was an okay captivity, with plenty of water to swim around in and okay-ish things to do, but it was still captivity, and he hadn’t seen another penguin since he was a chick. His handlers didn’t want to run the risk of a sudden change in what the penguins people ordered from them were used to in their social lives if someone only ordered one penguin for a family.
Today, unlike any other day, Roger’s handler brought him outside his cell once he got done with their conversation for the day. Roger’s handler put him in an animal transport crate and then into the back of a van with ten other penguins just like him. The handler told them all to get acquainted since they were going to be living together now. He made an unfunny joke about someone getting a “big surprise,” but Roger got the feeling it was going to be the penguins themselves.
The Maurice’s Happy Fowl van pulled up to Mary and Greg’s house, backed into the enclosure, and dropped off the meal for Mary and Greg’s antarctic hunter-gatherer themed dinner party.