Winking, Blinking and Rodney

Once there was a young wombat named Benson who lived in a safe, dry wombat hole with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.

Benson was digging a hole in the backyard one day, humming a little song to himself about a bear that he had read about in a book, when he heard a voice say, “Psst! Hey, kid!”

He looked up and saw two galahs perched in a tree. One of them said, “Do you know a big wombat called Fenn?”

“Mr Fenn?” Benson said.

“That’s the one,” the galah said. “You see, we want to give him a nice surprise. Do you think you could give us a hand?”

“Sure,” Benson said. “What do you want me to do?”

“Well, here’s the thing,” the galah said. “My mate Rosie and I have got a nice custard tart that we want to give him, but the problem is, all you wombats look the same to us.”

Rosie, the other galah, said, “Rosco and I will hide in the bushes, and when Mr Fenn comes along, you give us a wink to let us know that it’s him, and then we can give him the surprise.”

“Okay,” Benson said. It sounded like a very nice idea. Anyone would love to be surprised with a custard tart.

Actually, the two galahs were planning to play a trick on Mr Fenn because he had chased them out of his loquat tree the day before, and yelled at them for biting holes in the fruit.

“Make sure you don’t say anything to him,” Rosco said. “We don’t want you to spoil the surprise.”

“I won’t say anything,” Benson said.

The galahs hid in the bushes and Benson kept a lookout. Before long, he heard someone coming down the track. It was his new friend, Rodney. He was just about to call out, “Hi Rodney,” when something tickled his nose. He shut his eyes and sneezed.

Rosco and Rosie yelled, “Now!” They flew up and dropped a custard tart right on top of Rodney.

The custard smooshed down Rodney’s face and bits of pastry dropped all over him. Rosco and Rosie fell over each other laughing.

“What did you do that for?” Benson shouted. “That’s not even Mr Fenn!”

“But you winked!” Rosco said.

“That wasn’t a wink, it was a blink!” Benson said. “I sneezed.”

Rodney was still standing in the middle of the track, covered in custard tart. “What happened?” he said to Benson. “Is it raining custard tarts?”

“No, not exactly,” Benson said. “Sorry, Rodney.”

Rodney licked the custard off his nose and scraped it off his face and ate it. He picked the pastry out of his hair and ate that too. “Mmm, yum,” he said. “Maybe I’ll wait here in case it starts to rain again.” He looked up at the sky, to see if there were any custard tart clouds up there.

Benson said to Rosco, “You didn’t say you were going to drop the tart on top of Mr Fenn.”

“That was Rosie’s fault,” Rosco said. “She let go of her side and it slipped out of my hand. Don’t worry, we’ve got a whole bag full of tarts.”

Benson didn’t believe him. “You’re not going to give him a surprise, you’re trying to play a trick on him, aren’t you?”

“We think he’ll be pretty surprised,” Rosie answered.

Rosco said, “You just concentrate on winking. Otherwise you might get a sharp nip on the ear.”

Just then they heard another wombat coming down the track. This time it was Mr Fenn!

Benson decided he wasn’t going to wink, no matter what. But a crumb of pastry got into his eye and scratched and tickled. He tried really hard, but his eye scrunched up and blinked, all by itself.

“This is him, Rosie!” Rosco yelled. “Come on!” They flew up into the air with another custard tart, and dropped it right over Mr Fenn’s head.

Benson shouted, “Mr Fenn! Look out!”

Mr Fenn looked up and saw the custard tart falling out of the sky. He stepped back smartly and bumped into Rodney. The custard tart landed right on Rodney’s head. The two galahs laughed so much they could hardly fly. They swung upside from a branch and laughed until they cried.

“Yippee! Another one!” Rodney said happily. He scooped the custard out of his ears and ate it, and picked up all the pieces of pastry he could find. “This is a great place,” he said. “It never rained custard tarts where I used to live.”

Mr Fenn said sternly, “That’s enough, you galahs! No more tricks! Now hand over those tarts!”

“Chill, chill!” Rosco said, but he handed over the rest of the tarts. He and Rosie flew off to tell the other galahs about their clever trick.

Mr Fenn gave all the rest of the tarts to Rodney. “I think you deserve these,” he said. Rodney was so pleased, he skipped all the way home.

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