The Robinson family didn’t sit down together for a meal very often. Occasionally, Elizabeth Robinson would insist her husband and their four sons come together and share a meal “like proper people”.
There was Bill. He was the Dad. Dad was in charge. Someone has to be in charge when you have four sons all in their teens.
Fritz was the oldest boy. He was nineteen, and rarely home. He was either working at the factory or out with his girlfriend. Occasionally he would doss down at home. Today he was gulping down his food because he was in a hurry. “Don’t be in such a hurry,” said his father. “It’s not often we get to sit down as a family.”
Ernest was the second son. He was seventeen. He was an apprentice mechanic. He didn’t have a steady girlfriend but was usually either dog-tired after a day’s work or doing the party thing. Today he was gulping down his food because he was in a hurry. “Don’t be in such a hurry,” said his father. “Chew your food properly.”
Then there was Jack. Jack was fifteen and still at school. He was very studious. He was hoping to be an industrial chemist of some sort when he grew up; or maybe some kind of forensic scientist. Today he was eating his food slowly, chewing each mouthful like he was deep in thought. “Hurry up with your food,” said his father. “We don’t want to be here all day.”
The youngest was Franz. He was a bit of a mummy’s-boy. He liked staying home, and was addicted to his computer. Today he was gulping down his food because he was in a hurry to get back to a computer game. “Slow down!” said his father.
“Why?” asked Franz.
“If you’re going to masticate,” said his father, “masticate properly.”
Franz went a deep purple. His three brothers hooted with laughter.