Use the word Penguin to refer to something other than the animal.
“So penguin, I was thinking of using THIS color in place of the red here. It looks too … bloody, don’t you think? I mean, we don’t want to scare off – ”
“Wait, did you just call me penguin?”
“What?” Tony continued to examine the brochure layout on the computer monitor.
“Tell me you did not just call me penguin.”
“Are you paying attention? We need to get this thing out in two hours and we still haven’t agreed on the color scheme here. Focus.”
“It’s hard to focus when someone just compared you to a fat, round, waddling animal wearing a tux.”
Tony ran his hand through his hair and sighed heavily. “Do you like your job? Because if we don’t get this done …”
“So, you think I’m fat, is that it?”
“Penguins aren’t fat. They’re … chubby.” He winced as soon as the words came out of his mouth.
“Wait. You did not just say that. Did you admit I’m chubby?”
Tony sank down onto his computer chair and glanced at his watch. This was not going well. “No, it’s just … it slipped out, okay?”
“How can the word penguin just slip out? Did you mean to say pen? Though I can’t imagine why you would want to call me a pen …”
“Penny seriously, we need to get back to work. We’re on – ”
“Hold up.” Penny tilted her head, her expression neutral. “Penny. Penguin.” Her hands moved up and down as if they were scales and she were weighing something. “Why did you … is that what people call me?”
“Nooooo,” Tony drew out the lone word. He could feel a trickle of sweat creep down his spine. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Tony,” Penny took a deep breath and pulled up a neighboring chair. “I’m going to ask you this one more time, is that what people call me?”
He simply blinked at her.
Penny’s shoulders slumped. “That is mean,” she whispered. “Penguins are fat, bald, waddle and smell fishy.” She suddenly sat up. “Do I smell??”
Tony sighed and again, glanced at his watch. “I’m sorry Penny. We don’t mean anything by it. Everyone has nicknames in the office. For instance, I’m Tiger; you know, like Tony the Tiger? Shelly is well, Shell. And Kelly is, um …”
“Kell?” Penny supplied.
He could feel his cheeks burning with embarrassment.
“So, I’m the only one with an unflattering nickname, is that it? What is it with you people?”
“Penguins are very smart,” Tony offered weakly. “And they’re always sharply dressed. And you gotta admit, you are definitely the best dressed person here.”
“Tiger?” she said, enunciating each word, “When this is over, penguin is going to kick your ass.”