A neighbor tipped me off to a potential story. A petite, angry brunette was seen chasing two runaway penguins down a hillside near Sandy Flats Road on a Monday afternoon.

Could be a story there, the neighbor said. Runaway penguins are not something you see every day in the hills of Southwestern Virginia. Or most other places unless you call the North or South poles home.

But there was more. The neighbor said there might be evidence of penguin abuse.

So I took a drive along Sandy Flats Road Tuesday afternoon. Just down the hill from the intersection with Harvestwood Road, I saw them: Two six-foot penguins imprisoned in a gazebo in a front yard.

My front yard.

Could it be? Was my wife the angry brunette seen chasing down penguins and then tying them up and gagging them as prisoners in a gazebo?

I’m an investigative journalist. I had to get to the bottom of the story.  The angry brunette, aka Amy Thompson, was not home. Probably out establishing an alibi for her crimes.

So I interviewed neighbors. Yes, some of them saw it all.

"Oh, it was terrible," one said. "Those poor penguins were struggling to be free, only to be captured and possibly tortured."

Could happen, I thought. Amy is half-Irish, half-Lebanese. Terrorism runs in her veins. Torture too.

Through interviews and investigations, I pieced the whole, horrible story together. Amy Thompson, aka the dominatrix of penguins, purchased two six-foot tall inflatable penguins to put up in our front yard as Christmas decorations.

She staked them down in the front yard and inflated them with electric compressors and went inside the house, content with the illusion that the penguins would stay put.

But nature has a habit of interfering with the intrusions of humans and the penguins swayed in the wind, worked themselves loose, rolled down the hill, freed from their stakes and their compressors, escapees into the wind as they deflated. Not far behind, an angry, screaming Amy, chasing down the runaway Christmas decorations.

When Amy returned, I confronted her with the evidence and she came clean. Yes, she chased down the penguins and tied them down inside the gazebo, confident that they cannot, once again, escapes the bounds of captivity,.

She showed no remorse for her actions so I must turn her in.

I’m calling the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Inflatable Penguins.