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Be Careful What You Ask For!
by Peter L Oughton

Overall, Robin, aged twelve, was a very nice young man.
He was polite and considerate, and did help his mother around the house. However, the one thing that concerned him was the quality of his mother’s cooking!
Robin was a bright boy who, star-struck by celebrity chefs, loved to read cookbooks and recipes.
So, when his mother served up grey beef and sloppy vegetables, or roast pork with India rubber crackling, he offered tips for improvement. She always refused to react because, whilst she accepted a need to feed the family, she really did not enjoy cooking. She just took the view that, as long as bellies were full, she had discharged her culinary responsibilities.
Unlike Robin, the other members of the family simply kept quiet and ate whatever she set before them.
When, once again, Robin was criticising his mother one evening for the lumps in the custard, she finally snapped.
“Why don’t you just leave me alone?” she screamed. “Nag, nag, nag, nag – that’s all you do! You’ve never gone hungry, and the ingredients that I use are always wholesome.”
“If severely mistreated,” muttered Robin under his breath but, unfortunately, just loudly enough for his mother to hear.
“Okay, clever dick,” challenged his mother. “What would your ideal solution be?”
“Well,” replied Robin, “I would just prefer to eat something that I actually enjoy. I would rather eat a plate of chocolate biscuits. At least they would have been made by people who knew what they were doing.”
His mother worked hard to keep tears at bay, and replied simply, “OK.”
The next evening, Robin’s mother served up one of the very few things at which she was reasonably competent – fish and chips!
Robin had smelt it cooking and approved. His mother served him last and, whilst fish and chips appeared on all other plates, his contained just chocolate biscuits!
“Is this some kind of joke?” asked Robin.
“Not at all, my darling,” responded his mother sweetly. “Just demonstrating that I did listen to your request.”
Robin realised that the only way out of this was to put on a brave face and eat the biscuits.
However, the next day, and the next, and the next, and the next – the same again. There are only so many chocolate biscuits that one can eat!
At dinner time on the sixth day, Robin sidled up to his mother.
“Mum,” he crooned.
“Yes, darling,” replied his mother, pretty certain she knew what was coming.
“How would you feel if I withdrew the request for chocolate biscuits and went back to eating your delicious food?” cajoled Robin.
“It would be a pleasure,” replied his mother, trying desperately to keep a straight face. “So pleased to hear that you have decided it’s not that bad after all. And how about putting your cook books and recipes in a box in the attic?”
“It’s a deal, mum,” replied Robin with a wry smile.