Rusty bird

by Jenne Gray

Jenne Gray is a writer, poet and playwright, whose work has appeared in Postbox Magazine, PENning Scotland online magazine, and various other print and online anthologies. She blogs at Tales from Glasgow – …and the rest of the world ( This piece comes from the weekly Unicorn Challenge she publishes in association with CE Ayr. While the subject is grim, her creative satirical approach to it gives it a life beyond the heavy-handed.

Rusty Bird

Here is today’s news:
The country is in uproar.
After yesterday’s grim revelation of the government decision to paint over a cartoon of Mickey Mouse which, they claimed, made the children’s immigration detention centre too welcoming, parents are today seeing first hand the repercussions of such state-sponsored vandalism.
Overnight hundreds of millions of cartoon characters have disappeared from children’s bedrooms.

Mickey Mouse, Tom and Jerry, Charlie Brown, Bart Simpson – they have all vanished to be replaced by grotesque caricatures of politicians straight from some dark fairy tale.
Children are traumatised and parents are demanding immediate action.
The Prime Minister is expected to address the nation shortly.

And now, some breaking news.
Immigration detention centres are reporting that cartoon characters are gathering outside, chanting repeatedly, ‘We want in!’
Also, swings and roundabouts, skipping ropes, footballs and all sorts of toys are clogging the nation’s motorways as they too head for the detention centres.
The army has been summoned to keep order.

I shake my head in disbelief.
It must be April 1st.
I glance out the window at Rusty Bird, my daughter’s confidante all through her childhood.
He has lived in the garden ever since I gave up riding my motor cycle in favour of welding ‘sculptures’ from it, and I smile as I remember her climbing onto him and stretching up to whisper in his ear.
Then I gawp as he clanks into motion, giving me a cheery wave as he takes to the road again…

(A story based on a true government decision)

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