You cock your head on one side, so I know you’re listening. But what are you thinking?
Don’t answer that.
Not that you can, being a robin. That’s rather the point. Last time I needed to tell a secret, I told a magpie. Not that I was looking for a magpie in particular; he just happened to be there.
I’d been carrying the secret for so long that I felt I’d burst if I didn’t tell someone, but you can’t tell someone a secret, can you? That’s the point of the secret. When that magpie landed on the tree I was sitting under, it looked like the perfect solution. If I told him the secret, I’d let it out and keep it at the same time.
How was I supposed to know magpies can talk?
Next thing I know, he was flapping around the park, squawking, “Ray loves Carla, Ray loves Carla.” Some of the local kids thought it was hilarious. They took to chanting “Ray loves Carla” in magpie voices all the way to school. Yesterday, I saw it graffitied on a bus stop.
So that’s not the secret I need to tell you. It’s no secret anymore, thanks to that snitching magpie.
You see, my feathered friend, it didn’t end there. It was embarrassing enough when Carla heard about it, but then that husband of hers managed to find out. Stan, his name is. Big bloke. Not too bright.
He cornered me on this very bench and demanded to know why that magpie was going around telling everyone I’m in love with his missus. Most mortifying conversation I’ve ever had. It’s not as if I was going to run off with her, was it? I hadn’t even told her. It was my secret until that magpie told everyone about it.
You understand that, don’t you Cock Robin? I’m not some homebreaker. I’m just a man who fell for the wrong woman. Not that Birdbrain Stan could grasp that.
No, don’t go, I apologise. Calling Stan a birdbrain would insult the dullest bird, let alone your fine self. My deepest apologies. Please stay…thank you, you’re very gracious.
Stan had got it into his thick head that a talking bird must be some sort of divine warning. He said he might not have thought much of it if he’d heard it in the pub, but when he heard it from a bird…let’s just say it was all I could do to talk him out of punching me. He’s a nasty sort. Nowhere near good enough for Carla. Not that anyone is, least of all me.
Stan said his piece and lumbered off, dragging his knuckles on the ground. He thought he’d made his point, but then he doesn’t know me very well. I might not be able to persuade Carla she’s wasting herself on a Neanderthal, but I know Stan’s weakness and all I needed to take my revenge was a basket full of Tesco chicken.
You may have seen Stan wandering around looking like he’s lost his shadow and shouting, ‘Fluffy!’ Serves him right for giving her such a stupid name. His cat is perfectly comfortable, sleeping off all that chicken on my sofa…
Whither flutter thee, Sir Redbreast? Did I say something you didn’t like the sound of?