Max and the Argentinian Death Penguin, Part 2: Currying Favor

August 21, 2012

choose your own adventure, Humor

Continued from yesterday’s Part 1: The Past Comes Knocking.

Max And The Argentinian Death Penguin, Part 2: Currying Favor

Maxine looked at Paulson, then at the door – behind which the pounding had reached a thunderous level – then back at Paulson.  She smiled.  “Agent Paulson, do me favor?  Get the door?”

Paulson tensed.  “Max…!

Maxine stepped back toward the beaded curtain that led to the little kitchen and bedroom in back, took a deep breath and shouted, “Help, help!  Two boring men in ugly suits are trying to abduct me!  Won’t someone help me!?”

There was a deep bellow, and a tremendous slam against the door – it crackled and shook against its hinges.

Paulson reached inside his jacket for his pistol.  “Damn it, Max! Don’t you run out!”

“Make yourself at home, Paulson.  Raid the fridge.”  Max grabbed her keys and a small amulet from a nearby table.  “Oh, but don’t touch the guacamole.  I don’t think the top layer of green is from avocado anymore.” Then she shouted, “Reginald!  Let’s go!”

Max and Bonkers ran through the back door, the deafening fight in her front room vanishing behind them, up in to an alley and from there to her old, beat-up ’62 Ford Fairlane.  Bonkers jumped in the passenger seat as she turned on the engine.  “Bonkers, you ever wonder how far this car can get when it’s on empty?”

Bonkers replied, “I wonder how far this heap is going to make it when the tank is full.”

“I hear that,” she said as the car rattled to life and they tore away from the curb.

As they got some distance from the carnage, and it became clear no one was following them, they calmed.  “What a frightful altercation,” Reginald said from the backseat.  “All the more wretched to me, me who am powerless to act, only to bear witness to the never ending—“

“Shut it!”  Bonkers snapped.  “Reggie, this seriously is not about you and your ghosty problems.  We need gas.  And a plan.  And someone needs to roll down my window so I stick my head out.”  Reginald sulked and stared out the window, so Bonkers turned back to Maxine.  “Is there a plan?”

“Sure,” she said.  “There’s a plan.  I need to see a lady about a lawn gnome.”

Inside Ilsa’s Curry ‘N More, the all-night curry place about 20 minutes away, Maxine walked up to the counter and rang the bell.

“Help you,” said the refrigerator of a woman who appeared behind the counter.

“Oh, hi,” Max said.  “I was interested in purchasing some lawn gnomes.”

The woman rolled her eyes.  It appeared to wind her.  “Don’t got ‘em.  We’re a Curry place, and we’re closing. Go home.”

“You sure?  Sometimes lawn gnomes, like shadows, are where you least expect them.”

The woman stared for a moment, then nodded and buzzed a nondescript door open.  “Here we go,” Max said, walking back. Bonkers trotted behind her saying to Reginald, “Oh, that was some kind of code, wasn’t it?  I’m down.”

In the back was an office.  It was filled with sod and grass, and hay strewn about.  Incense burned in the corner.  In the center of the room sat a large cow.  Maxine folded her hands together and smiled.  “Namaste, Pragyawati, my old teacher.  I need your wisdom.  And I need some information.”

“How can I help you, my old friend?” Pragyawati asked.

“A talking cow?!” Bonkers exclaimed.  “Weird.”

“Two groups of men just came looking for the Giggling Penguin.  They were… insistent.  I need to know how to get out of here.  And also where a gas station is because, I’m not kidding, we coasted in to the parking space outside your restaurant.”

“I see.”  She thought and chewed her cud for a moment.  “You can not run from this, Maxine,” she finally said.  “The Giggling Penguin has been waiting for you to return to it.  If you do not, great destruction and violence will befall many.”

“I don’t know where it is.”

“Seriously”? Reginald said.

“I… kind of lost it in a drinking contest.”

“These people believe you have it, but you do not.  The only way to be safe is to find it and then be rid of it again.”

“But I’m rid of it now!” she whined.

“Only physically.”

Max kicked the ground. “Fine.  I’ll find the stupid penguin.”

“Ilsa out front will give you a gas can.  You must go immediately to the Escheron Caves, outside the city.  There, you will find a man who can help you.”

“You mean Phil?  No way.   What can he do?  Besides, Phil is super pissed off at me.  I figured I retrace my steps to where I lost it in the drinking game.  Plus, I have to go back home and get a few things.”  Max sighed.  “Well, thanks, Pragyawati.”  She pulled an apple from her pocket and set in front of the cow, who sniffed it.

“I do not require payment.”

“I know.  It’s just a way to say thanks.  A gratuity.”

As they walked back out to the street, Bonkers said, “I’ve never seen someone actually tip a cow.”  His tail wagged wildly.  “Get it?  Get it?  Because—“

“We get it,” Max and Reginald said in unison.

Reginald asked, “So what now?”

Continue to Part 3: The Smell of Danger

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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42 Comments on “Max and the Argentinian Death Penguin, Part 2: Currying Favor”

  1. auntyamo Says:

    Hurrah for the cow tipping!!!! excellent… want more! 🙂


  2. Hippie Cahier Says:

    I’m developing a mild crush on Bonkers. Is that weird?


  3. speaker7 Says:

    I voted for the lack of hugs, but I would like to see all of those things in the next installment.


  4. Jackie Cangro Says:

    My dog’s name is Reggie, so of course he thinks that’s the best part of the story.

    I love that they were going to buy lawn gnomes.


  5. Don't Quote Lily Says:

    This stuff’s great. 🙂


  6. Michelle Gillies Says:

    Clever boy…getting in all the things everyone wanted. I especially enjoyed tipping the cow.
    I am loving this threesome, Max, Bonkers and Reginald.


  7. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson Says:

    If you sell this thing and make a zillion dollars, I’ll be really pissed…I mean thrilled for you! 🙂


  8. SnowfoxBandit Says:

    Your creativity is boundless! I like the way you worked the cow-tipping comment in there. 😀


  9. mistyslaws Says:

    She gave the cow a tip. Tipped a cow. Cow tipping. Oh!! I get it. Can’t get anything by me. Sharp as guacamole I am. Can’t wait to see what kind of word play you come up with next!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      In the initial “what would you like to see?” post someone left “Holy sweet whale carcass” and really struggled with that one, until I thought of Axe Body Spray. It even seemed strangely accurate.


  10. Go Jules Go Says:


    Okay. I just had a reaction I’m not sure I’ve ever had before in blog reading, when I got to the cow tipping. I pushed my chair back, burst out laughing and CLAPPED my hands together. CLAPPED them.

    And the cow talked! And it was a holy cow! Oh B. You are the BEST.

    P.S. – I saw your reply to Darla. Allergic to avocados?? That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.


  11. mj monaghan Says:

    I now want to legally be called Pragyawati, or Pragmatic, which ever is easier to say when you’ve had two or three of those frozen drinks in a foil bag-things. What?? I’ve never had them myself, really!


  12. Lisha @ The Lucky Mom Says:

    Because of the cow-tipping phrase, all the hipsters in the coffee shop now think I’m a lunatic. Well done!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      In the version in my head, you laugh, everyone stares and you tell everyone what you’re laughing at, and they all log on, and I become an Internet sensation.

      I bet that’s what happened, isn’t it. My daily hit stats are just broken because so many people visited.


  13. Barbara Backer-Gray Says:

    Pragyawati! Wonderul! And the tipping! I can’t wait for the next one.


  14. Audrey Says:

    This has got to be the most fun “Choose Your Own Adventure” that I’ve read! Keep it up, Byronic!!


  15. She's a Maineiac Says:

    Okay, fine. The cow-tipping thing was brilliant. yeah, yeah, yeah….

    but the guacamole! That was green! Icky green! And there’s a photo! Yessss!!!
    (I still can’t believe you can’t eat it either!)

    By the way–well done. Bravo!


  16. Carol O. Says:

    This has reminded me of — yet far exceeds — “A Confederacy of Dunces.” I am liking this and am truly glad to have not missed the cow-tipping–OMG, how clever!


  17. The Bumble Files Says:

    That was a clever way to include the cow tipping. Took me totally by surprise. I especially liked the incense burning in the corner. Nice touch 🙂


  18. Wilma Says:

    I don’t know what you’re smoking, but this is awesome! Even though I saw the cow tipping from miles away, I liked how you pulled it off.


  19. Dale Long Says:

    This has a very Piers Anthony feel to it, only funnier. I use to love these kind of books as a kid.
    Love it.



  1. The Smell of Danger | The Byronic Man - August 22, 2012

    […] Part 1 and Part 2 of our Choose Your Own Adventure […]

  2. Max and the Argentinian Death Penguin, Part 1: The Past Comes Knocking | The Byronic Man - August 24, 2012

    […] to Part 2: Currying Favor Take Our […]

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