“For a Few Bottles More” was my entry in a flash fiction challenge Chuck Wendig ran calling for stories based on the discovery of Shackleton’s Scotch.
I subsequently included it in my second collection of “animals and oddities,” TURTLE FEATHERS.
Here is the opening of the story.
The Lost Scotch
excerpt from “For A Few Bottles More”
by Marian Allen
Pilar Penguin lit a cigarette and blew a smoke ring into the frigid air.
This life, she thought. This life is no good. How long had it been since she had seen the sun? Well, six months, obviously, but it had been longer than that. She slept through the days now, weary and bleary from late nights at the cantina.
But what was she to do? Pehuen had put everything they had into the place. She either worked by his side or watched their lives come apart like a calving glacier.
She wiped the bar, flipping the cloth free at the edge so it didn’t freeze to the damp surface. Pehuen would be back soon, and then they would open the doors for the evening and the other penguins would trickle in by ones and twos. Pilar disapproved of guys coming in with their eggs tucked between their feet and their bodies, but Pehuen was right—either they let guys in carrying concealed or they had no customers at all for part of the year.
The door slammed open, and Pehuen slid in. His breath puffed out in steamy heaves that crystalized and fell.
“Pilar!” He staggered toward her, stumbling over his own feet.
“Calm down, mi marido.” She waddled sensuously toward him, offering him the cigarette still warm from her beak. “I am here, as always.”
“But the stock—the stock!” He pushed her aside and scuttled behind the bar, coming out with The Peacemaker—the shotgun they kept there to settle any brewing violence.
“What about the stock?”
“They are taking it! They—the ones from the north!”
“Yes!” Pehuen loaded the gun and crammed extra ammunition onto his feet. “I will kill them! It is I who found Shackleton’s Scotch beneath the floor of his hut—I! What makes them think they can come here and steal it from me?”
“But, Pehuen, there are so many of them!”
“There are also many pellets in my shotgun.”
This is flash fiction, so the excerpt is about half of the story.
You can also read excerpts of all the stories on my TURTLE FEATHERS page.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write about a penguin. Or about Scotch. Or about a Scotch penguin.