Choc-egg Surprise: A Short Story

To Whom It May Concern,

It gives me no pleasure to complain once more about your Choc-Egg ‘Surprises’. Since writing last, I have purchased another 43 Choc-Eggs, mostly from our local country store. 

I have been a fan of your product since boyhood. I aim to collect all the parts required to assemble Robo-Bird, as advertised on TV.

Please find attached a spreadsheet of ‘Surprises’ found personally by myself since the campaign began last December.

I would like someone to explain why I have received such a disproportionate number of feet. 

I have no use for 36 left feet. What I really need is a head. I have discussed this matter with fellow Choc-Egg enthusiasts in my exclusive online chatroom and, frankly, we are all wondering if your company has released a single head to the public. Not one of us has found a head. 

Yours sincerely,

Professor Cornelius Stoppelbeim 

To Whom It Absolutely Does Concern,

Thank you for the free samples. My barber’s grandson appreciated the bubblegum and jubes. 

Thank you also for your condolences. 

Update: Since our last correspondence I have been fortunate to find one right thigh and both wings of the elusive Robo-Bird within locally sourced Choc-Eggs. I continue to buy Choc-Egg Surprises at the same generous rate. But still no head. 

Please check your distribution. 

Also, I have zero interest in your newer lines. If you feel the urge to send another box of free goodies, please make them Choc-Egg Surprises ONLY. I do not eat the chocolate. I do not chew gum. As a collector, my interest is purely professional. I only wish to assemble the Robo-Bird, whose parts are ostensibly found within your Choc-Egg Surprise line.

Yours faithfully,

Professor Cornelius Stoppelbeim

Dearest Ms Minty McNudd,

I extend heartfelt thanks for the box of heads. I have only just opened the package. My eyes filled with tears at the sight. As a natural pessimist, I expected another useless gift of chocolate raisins and Turkish non-Delight, but you’ve really come through. My faith in your corporation has been fully restored.

I formally retract every word uttered over the phone. I will never be so rude again.

I shall keep this short, as I am very much looking forward to assembling several fully-functional Robo-Birds. 

I bid you farewell,

Very truly yours,

Professor Cornelius Stoppelbeim

To Ms Minty McNudd,

I am disappointed to put pen to paper once more. 

When you urged ‘great care’ in your last note, included with the gift of 50 Robo-Bird heads, I assumed you referred sarcastically to my abusive tone on the phone. Now I see what you really meant.

After that generous gift of rare heads, I found myself in excellent trading position. I was able to accumulate enough parts to construct all 13 Robo-Birds in the set. 

Once assembled, they seemed bigger than on TV. I took a tape measure and applied it to my TV screen, adjusting for screen-ness. I then applied the tape measure to the Robo-Birds in my living room. Once constructed, the figurines were definitely larger than advertised. (Refer to spreadsheet, attached.)

I had also assumed that the squawk emitted from the birds on TV was part of your advertising  jingle, and would not actually spew forth from the assembled products themselves. 

I now see I was wrong to assume, but your corporation must shoulder its own share of the blame. This is false advertising.

I may leave one star reviews online if you cannot help with the following.

Tell me how to stop them from squawking. I have tried removing the heads but, once assembled, the parts are stuck like superglue. Several neighbours have tried pliers, after breaking into my abode in the small hours. The break-ins are under investigation with local police, and don’t ask for further details. I am too distressed.

Needless to say, this is now a community matter.

A very disgruntled FORMER fan of Choc-Eggs,

Professor Cornelius Stoppelbeim

Ms Minty McNudd,

The Robo-Birds have laid their own eggs. At first I was delighted. Extra merchandise stands me in good stead, in this high pressure world of rare collectibles. 

However, the hatchlings have proven untameable. 

Each new generation of Robo-Birds is bigger and more evil than the last. 

First they ate every skerrick of muesli.

They made nests in my drawers and p**ed all over the floor. They peck constantly against reflective surfaces. They create great gusts of wind by flapping from room to room. This does cut down on cooling costs, but winter is nigh. 

(For a complete list of birdy indiscretions, refer to Appendix A.)

The birds and I are now well-acquainted with our local police, who have thrown their own hands in the air over this matter. Several officers have developed a phobia of winged creatures. House prices have dropped. Children are afraid to attend school. Our village is famous for custard squares and attracts visitors from the highway, but no one has stopped here in weeks, terrified of the dark skies. This has a trickle-down effect on our local economy.

I have searched online for instructions on The Taming and Training of Choc-Egg Robo-Birds. Alas, no hits. Please send that document through via email, as a print friendly PDF.

Very politely,

Professor Cornelius Stoppelbeim

Ms McNudd, Ms McNudd, I beseech you!

I holler to you from a dank cupboard! Forgive the hoarse voice, but no one is near to attend my cries!

I humbly request you withdraw all Robo-Birds from the market forthwith!

Your Robo-Birds stole my glasses. Next they took my purse and my phone. The latest hatchlings have learned to ‘parrot’, and if you hear from me on the phone, THAT IS NOT ME!

I swear, I would never use such language. (Not since apologising for it that other time.)

Please come rescue me from this darkened recess. The birds won’t so much as bring me a glass of water. 

Otherwise, I’m afraid to exclaim, you may be hearing from my lawyers!

Extremely politely!

Professor Cornelius Stoppelbeim!


On paper, things look fine. Sam Dennon recently inherited significant wealth from his uncle. As a respected architect, Sam spends his days thinking about the family needs and rich lives of his clients. But privately? Even his enduring love of amateur astronomy is on the wane. Sam has built a sustainable-architecture display home for himself but hasn’t yet moved into it, preferring to sleep in his cocoon of a campervan. Although they never announced it publicly, Sam’s wife and business partner ended their marriage years ago due to lack of intimacy, leaving Sam with the sense he is irreparably broken.

Now his beloved uncle has died. An intensifying fear manifests as health anxiety, with night terrors from a half-remembered early childhood event. To assuage the loneliness, Sam embarks on a Personal Happiness Project:

1. Get a pet dog

2. Find a friend. Just one. Not too intense.




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