They’d had no choice, really.
Ever since Goldilocks had broken Baby Bear’s bed they’d all had to sleep together.
They had, of course, had three beds, with Daddy Bear’s and Mummy Bear’s being the other two. But since news of Goldilock’s arrest (yes, arrest, she’d basically been breaking and entering) had broken on the BBC, on Sky and, rather bizarrely, on Al Jazeera, the Bears had had to reconsider their bedroom furniture arrangements.
Reporters were at their door, asking could they not afford a matching set of chairs, asking what sort of mother serves porridge at three different temperatures, and asking questions about the state of their marriage.
Some of the tabloids were asking how Baby Bear had been conceived in the first place.
So the Bears had gone to Ikea and bought a double bed. They had also bought a 22-shelf bookcase, a lamp in the shape of Sherlock Holmes’s hat and a fondue set, because it’s impossible to go to Ikea and just buy one thing.
They had issued a statement that the separate beds had been a temporary arrangement while Daddy Bear had recovered from whooping cough (“No sex please, we’re feverish”, one tabloid headline had read), and that the Bears would now once again be sleeping together. Furthermore, Baby Bear would be sleeping with them, since he was still traumatised after finding a human in his bed. Picture finding a bear in yours and you will understand how he felt.
They hoped that would settle the matter, but it didn’t. “Bears in Three-in-a-Bed romp!” the tabloids had crowed. Fame has a price.
But if it has a price it also has a salary. The Bears appeared in an TV ad campaign for Odearest mattresses (“so comfy, you’ll sleep all winter”). They sold their now famous single beds on Ebay for thirty thousand euro. And they were paid a huge sum of money to give Hello! an exclusive photo-shoot (“Mr and Mrs Bear show us their fabulous new double-bed and, er, fondue set”).
They moved from their isolated cottage to a luxury suburban bungalow with a snooker-room (they’d seen that print of dogs playing pool, so reckoned it couldn’t be that hard), an outdoor Jacuzzi and a very, very good security system.
The whole experience brought them closer as a family, and a shared indignation at the intrusion into their private lives had brought Mr and Mrs Bear closer as a couple. The real reason for the separate beds, Mummy Bear’s four-year affair with Paddington Bear, had not been forgotten, but as time passed it came to matter less and less.
(PS. The title is not an attempt to attract more readers, but was the prompt at our Writers’ Group yesterday).