Nigel sat on a bench, not his usual bench in a pub, but a bench in a pleasant and leafy park. The bench was brown, wooden and made in the UK by local tradesmen. He felt out of place despite this knowledge and was beginning to stand up and look for a pub. It was almost 10am after all.
Where are you going? a voice said.
Nigel looked around, failing to see anyone close enough to speak to him. He stood up.
I said, where are you going?
Nigel started looking around to see if someone had left a phone or walkie-talkie near the bench. As he moved around, a robin hopped along the back as though it were watching him.
I must be hearing things, Nigel said to the robin, probably not enough alcohol in my bloodstream. Would you like to join me for a pint?
At the Flag & Crown? said the robin, nah, I’m barred for shitting in people’s drinks.
Nigel stood, half bent towards the robin, motionless. His lower jaw flapping in the breeze, no sounds emitting.
Why are you looking at me like that? asked the robin.
You’re a … robin, stammered Nigel.
Well, duh, said the robin. I’m hardly an ostrich. Bloody foreign birds, coming over here and stealing our worms.
Nigel began to feel more at home, despite the talking robin.
The robin cocked its head up at Nigel. We should have better border security in the skies, said the robin, any bird that wants to can just fly over here. I tell you it’s not right.
Well yes, said Nigel to the robin, once we leave the EU we can set our own laws and decide which birds get to come here.
I didn’t realise the EU had laws about migration patterns, said the robin.
That’s the problem with freedom of movement, said Nigel, forty million Bulgarian robins could fly over here tomorrow and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Wow, that’s bad, said the robin, I mean, there aren’t even forty million robins in Bulgaria and why should we have to put up with an influx of non-existent robins!
Nigel felt the robin was mocking him.
But it’s the fact that forty million robins could come over from Bulgaria that’s the problem.
Yeah, said the robin, pausing briefly to shit on Nigel’s leg, we may need to start having more robin sex and kill a few cats first.
But once we’re out the EU we can protect the Great British Robin from all these foreigners who may come here even if they don’t actually exist, said Nigel, glancing at a pub he’d just spotted.
Nah mate, said the robin, I’m from Norway. Only come here for the winter.
And with that the robin bobbed his tail and flew off to talk to a young couple at another bench.
I really need a drink, said Nigel.