We don’t expect you to believe what we’re laying down here. That’s fine. But we wanted a place to keep track of our crazy adventure with the creature we’ve come to call “Pengda.”
Here’s what happened. As usual, I was out of town on business. I travel a lot. Not every week, but many of them I’m somewhere other than home for a night or two. Sometimes more. On a recent trip I was late to get to the airport for my flight home and there was no room for my suitcase on the plane, so I had to gate check it for two flights. It’s not my preference, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
Hours later I was waiting at baggage claim for my suitcase. In a hurry to get home I didn’t stop to inspect my bag and hustled on to the shuttle bus to get out to my car. When I lifted my bag up to stow it I noticed it was heavier than I remembered. But still distracted by texts from my family and trying to remember where I parked my car (almost always D4) I pressed on.
It was when I arrived at home that I knew something had happened to my suitcase. Lucy, our family dog went NUTS. Normally she enjoys a long, but calm sniffing session with my bags after a trip, but this time she was barking and pacing all around my bag. Everyone stirred to see what was happening and together we opened my suitcase to find Pengda.
Of course we didn’t have a name for it right away, but there’s really no other way to talk about him (?). A creature, appearing to be a penguin in general size and shape with the exception of black furry ears, much like those of a panda, was on top of my clothes in the suitcase. Bags of (formerly) frozen tater tots were packed around him and a bottle of that rooster-label hot sauce was under his left flipper. (Or is it a wing?) He blinked at us, exclaimed “Maaaaaaaa!” at Lucy and hopped out of the bag.
You can imagine for yourself the fracas that ensued. Probably not unlike some sitcom episode you’ve seen. Chaos, arguments about what to do, me lamenting the loss of my favorite suitcase (a penguin-like creature still smells more like penguin than anything else and that’s not great for business-wear or expensive cases), wondering how to feed it (but not what) and, finally (after convincing the adult in the house to hold off on a call to Animal Control) where it would sleep.
Suffice to say, our family includes a father, a mother, three daughters, a dog, a horse that lives elsewhere, and Pengda. Stay with us. There’s more to tell.