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The Penguin Who Knocks

by on June 21, 2014

The Malevolent Med-Student was in a fume. He had so many brilliant plans. Yet, every time he tried to carry them out, he always found himself snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It didn’t help matters that his sidekick, Candystriper, was a perpetual loony who believed that she was advised on ethical issues by an invisible winged manatee named Marcia who lived over her left shoulder. Not to mention, Edison City was just crawling with superheroes: Captain Happily Married, Super Soccer Mom, Meg Atomic, the Incredible Postman, and Mr. Ecosystem, just to name a few and not counting sidekicks. Apparently there wasn’t any other city in the world that needed caped protection, oh no. It just had to be this one. Always.

He’d thought tonight would be different. The Rogue Jaywalker had sworn up and down that this abandoned old warehouse contained an artifact of ancient power. The Malevolent Med-Student had planned to seize it, and then wield its power to challenge the superheroes and take over the world. Candystriper had diverted the capes by staging a robbery of a downtown bank. (At least, that was the plan. Actually, she had decided to convert the whole thing into an impromptu stage musical, with the security guards pressed into service as backup dancers). Meanwhile, the Malevolent Med-Student had broken into the warehouse. He had spent an hour searching through dusty corridors, to no avail. He had nearly decided on renunciation of the project, when he entered the last corridor and found the box he was seeking. Quickly the Malevolent Med-Student tore it open with a crowbar. Then he gaped. “What…what is this? This isn’t an ancient artifact! This is just a useless piece of ironmongery!”

It wasn’t entirely useless. It was a perfectly good door knocker. It wasn’t actually attached to a door, to be sure, but if it had been, it would’ve worked wonderfully. Still, it looked like just an ordinary door knocker. It wasn’t made of kryptonite, or cuendillar, or adamantium. When the Malevolent Med-Student touched it, he wasn’t suddenly transported into another dimension. Nor did it start glowing and summon the wrath of God to melt his face off. It just lay there in his hand. He sighed. Once again, it looked like a waste of an evening.

He decided to take the door knocker anyway, as a souvenir. He made his way back to the door of the warehouse, and pulled it open, prepared to slip out quietly into the night, Then he stopped. Before him was a penguin. A penguin with a nasty look, and an unpleasant smell. Indeed, it hardly looked alive at all. Then it clicked its beak and let out a horrible squawk, and the Malevolent Med-Student realized. It wasn’t alive. It was a zombie penguin! “Good heavens,” he exclaimed. “What foul aquatic necromancy is this?”

Then the zombie penguin, hearing his voice, flung itself down and began to paw at the ground before him. The Malevolent Med-Student smiled. He could think off all sorts of potential uses for the ability to command an army of zombie penguins. The evening had not been wasted after all.

I wrote this story in response to a writing challenge presented at Miriam Joy Writes, in which the idea was to use several random words like ironmongery and necromancy. I hadn’t written an adventure of the Malevolent Med-Student and Candystriper in a while. This seemed the perfect opportunity.


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  1. Entertaining! Those are hard words to work into a story… only you could bring zombie penguins into it, haha 🙂

  2. Well, this was an excellent return to this story line, in my humble opinion. AND – you earned your Jordan Reference Badge for ‘cuendillar’, well done 🙂

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