The Robin family lived in Tweet Cottage in Appletree Road in Dingley Woods. There was Mr and Mrs Robin and their two children Tommy and Timmy.
One day Mrs Robin was cooking bacon and eggs in the cheery kitchen when Tommy walked in stretching his wings.
‘You got up late,’ said his Mummy. ‘You had better hurry or you will be late for school.’
‘In case you’ve forgotten, birds don’t go to school,’ said Tommy. ‘And how many times have we got to tell you not to cook bacon and eggs in here? It’s a fire hazard – this is the third nest we’ve had to build in three days.’
‘Don’t be silly, this isn’t a nest, it’s a cheery little cottage made of red bricks and thatch,’ snapped Mrs Robin. ‘Now eat up, there’s a good boy – a growing lad like you needs a good breakfast.’
‘But I don’t like bacon and eggs! Birds are supposed to eat berries and flies, not pig meat and chicken foetuses, you stupid woman!’
‘Don’t argue with me, boy!’ shouted Mrs Robin, clipping him round his totally nonexistent ear. ‘Shut your beak and get it down your neck, or there’ll be more where that came from.’
Just then, little Timmy walked in and pooped on the kitchen floor. ‘You horrid boy!’ shouted his mother. ‘You’re supposed to do that in the lavatory!’
‘We haven’t got a lavatory,’ Timmy pointed out.
His mother inspected the poop closely. ‘Have you been eating fruit yoghurt again?’ she sighed. ‘You know you’re allergic to it.’
‘Bird poop is supposed to look like that, Mother,’ said Timmy. ‘I’ve been eating berries.’
‘Well, I wish you wouldn’t. They’re obviously no good for your digestion.’
Mr Robin came in and sat down at the kitchen table with his newspaper. It was a local newspaper, full of Dingley Wood gossip. ‘I see Mrs Robin’s been shoplifting again,’ he said ruefully.
‘Ooh, naughty Mummy!’ chirped Timmy.
‘It’s not Mummy,’ said Mr Robin hastily. ‘It’s Mrs Robin in Number Five. And Mr Robin at Number Twelve has been embezzling Dingley Wood Council funds.’
‘I always knew he was no good,’ said Mrs Robin.
Timmy looked confused. ‘If you’re called Mrs Robin, and Mrs Robin at Number Five is called Mrs Robin, and Mrs Robin at Number Twelve is Mrs Robin as well, how do you know which Mrs Robin they’re talking about?’
‘There isn’t a Mrs Robin at Number Twelve, dear,’ his Mummy said carefully. ‘Mr Robin at Number Twelve is divorced. His wife has gone back to her maiden name.’
‘Oh, I see.’ Timmy thought for a moment. ‘What is her maiden name?’
‘Robin. But she isn’t living at Number Twelve any more – she’s gone to live with Mr Robin at Number Seven.’
‘What happened to Mrs Robin from Number Seven, then?’
Mrs Robin looked disapproving. ‘We don’t like to talk about her – she married a Starling.’
‘Don’t you children ask a lot of questions,’ chuckled Mr Robin putting his newspaper away. ‘You’d better get dressed now, or you’ll be late for school.’
‘For God’s sake,’ said Tommy, ‘when are you two going to wake up from this delusion that we live in a cute little cottage in a cute little cul-de-sac in a cute little village in Middle England? We don’t eat bacon and eggs, we don’t dress up in duffle coats and cute little stripey scarves, and we don’t go to school. We’re too young to leave the nest, Goddammit!’
‘There’s no need for language like that,’ said Mrs Robin frostily. ‘Now put on your things and go to school, or you’ll feel the back of my wing.’
So Tommy and Timmy put on their cute little duffel coats, wrapped their stripey scarves round their necks and set off for school. Alas, they were very quickly gobbled up by Mrs Robin’s tom cat from Number Nine. And that was the end of them.
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