Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt

Cat's Brilliant Idea

September 09, 2020 R.A. Spratt Season 1 Episode 29
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
Cat's Brilliant Idea
Chapters
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
Cat's Brilliant Idea
Sep 09, 2020 Season 1 Episode 29
R.A. Spratt

Dirk only had one friend. And that friend was Cat. Cat was the highest maintenance person at Banksia Grove Public School. And that included Mr Jenner the maintenance man who Cat insisted was on prison release having murdered a substitute teacher. Dirk was trying to live an ordinary life but it was never going to happen, not once Cat had her brilliant idea.

Support the show (https://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=5478&awinaffid=714853&clickref=podcast+link1&ued=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bookdepository.com%2Fauthor%2FR-A-Spratt)

Show Notes Transcript

Dirk only had one friend. And that friend was Cat. Cat was the highest maintenance person at Banksia Grove Public School. And that included Mr Jenner the maintenance man who Cat insisted was on prison release having murdered a substitute teacher. Dirk was trying to live an ordinary life but it was never going to happen, not once Cat had her brilliant idea.

Support the show (https://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=5478&awinaffid=714853&clickref=podcast+link1&ued=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bookdepository.com%2Fauthor%2FR-A-Spratt)

Hello and welcome to Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt

Today's story is...

Cat’s Brilliant Idea

Here we go.

Dirk was a really ordinary 10-year-old boy. There was absolutely nothing physical about him that would make him stand out in any way. He didn’t do anything out of the ordinary either. Dirk should have fitted in anywhere. But for some reason he didn’t. He was so ordinary people always forgot he existed. Teachers forgot to set him work. The bus driver forgot to pull over at his bus stop. Even his Mum forgot to put lunch in his lunchbox sometimes. But this suited Dirk. Because he was comfortable with being boring. It made everything easier. 

That’s why it was so odd that Dirk only had one friend. And that friend was Cat. Cat was the highest maintenance person at Banksia Grove Public School. And that included Mr Jenner the maintenance man who Cat insisted was on prison release having murdered a substitute teacher.

It should have been odd to wake up and find a girl standing over you in your own bedroom, but when Dirk opened his eyes at 7 o’clock in the morning to see Cat staring down at him he wasn’t really surprised. He couldn’t imagine how she got into the house, but she had and now he was just accepting of his fate.

“I’ve had a brilliant idea,” said Cat. ‘We are going to start a band!’

‘A band of what?’ asked Dirk.  He was thinking of outlaws. He’d been watching a lot of old western lately.

‘The music kind, dummy,’ said Cat, giving him a shove.

‘My therapist says I shouldn’t let you push me around,’ said Dirk. Rubbing his shoulder where she’d shoved him. It wasn’t sore. Not physically.

Cat rolled her eyes. ‘He doesn’t mean I shouldn’t literally shove you around, with my hands.’ She shoved him again to demonstrate what she meant. ‘He means I shouldn’t shove you around in the sense that you shouldn’t let me manipulate you and control your life.’

‘I’d rather you didn’t do either,’ said Dirk. 

‘I know you think that,’ said Cat. ‘But you don’t mean it. Some people need to be shoved around. You’re one of them. You like it.’

‘No I don’t,’ said Dirk.

‘Okay, you don’t,’ said Cat. ‘But I’m telling you, you really do. You just don’t know what it’s like not to have me shoving you around. So you don’t know how unhappy you’d be if I stopped doing it.’

‘I would if you stopped doing it,’ said Dirk.

‘Well that’s not going to happen,’ said Cat. ‘Now stop changing the subject. We’re going to be a band.’

‘You mean, like rock and roll?’ asked Dirk.

‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ said Cat. ‘Rock n roll is so retro. We’re going to be a post punk, deconstructionist grunge performance artists. But with awesome crushing beats so we totally sell more than that hack, Taylor Swift.’

‘But we don’t know how to form a band,’ said Dirk.

‘Puh-lease,’ said Cat. ‘I’ve been taking violin lessons since I was three years old. And you’ve been learning the piano accordian.’

‘Shhhh,’ said Dirk. ‘Someone might hear you.’

‘So what,’ said Cat.

‘Playing the piano accordian is not cool,’ said Dirk.

‘Nothing about you is cool,’ said Cat. ‘Unless you join a post punk deconstructionst grunge band, in which case everything you do will be ironic and therefore uber cool.’

‘Are you sure?’ asked Dirk.

‘Totally,’ said Cat.

Dirk liked the idea of being uber cool. He was not sure what uber meant. He thought it had something to do with a ride share service. But being cool in some sort of taxi was an improvement on not being cool anywhere at all. ‘Okay,’ said Dirk.

And Cat took this one simple two syllable word as complete capitulation that she could now run his entire life.

‘Excellent,’ said Cat. ‘Our school is having a talent show next Friday. We are going to enter, and win.’

‘What’s the prize?’ asked Dirk. 

‘A book voucher,’ said Cat.

Oh,’ said Dirk.

‘And there will be talent scouts for a reality TV show that’s looking for the musical stars of tomorrow,’ said Cat. ‘We will be those stars.’

‘You know that stars are actually ongoing prolonged nuclear explosions,’ said Dirk.

‘That’ll be us,’ said Cat. ‘Nuclear explosions. But the good kind.’


 Dirk had supposed that the first thing they would need to do would be to practise playing their instruments together. He had never heard any violin/piano accordion contemporary music, so he was interested to discover what she would want him to play. But Cat had a totally different idea about how to become a rock star. She said the first and most important thing they needed to sort out what their clothes.

 

Dirk hated clothes. Well he didn’t really hate them. He just was totally un interested in them. And he hated going to the shops and buying them and picking them out. Luckily, Cat had no interest in obtaining clothes this way. She said she wanted his costume to be authentic and confronting. Dirk said, ‘he’d be more comfortable in his trackie dacks.’ Cat said, ‘She didn’t want him to be comfortable. If he was comfortable, then the audience would be confortable and that was the last thing she wanted. She wanted them to be afraid and more than a little bit confused. Dirk certainly was, so he thought this effect wouldn’t be too hard to achieve.

 

The problem with all the modern boy bands is they you can tell that their clothes have been styled by stylists,’ said Cat.

‘But isn’t that what stylists do?’ said Dirk.

‘They look totally fake,’ said Cat. ‘Even their messy hair is so messy it’s clearly fake messy. The tears in their jeans are fake tears. The fade is fake fade. I’m not going to let you be fake.’

‘Then how are we going to get my clothes?’ asked Dirk.

‘We’re going to steal them off someone’s washing line,’ said Cat.

‘But stealing is wrong,’ said Dirk. 

‘Well yes,’ agreed Cat. ‘But we’ll return them after the performance. It will be fine.’

‘Can’t we just buy some clothes?’ asked Dirk.

‘No that wouldn’t be authentic,’ said Cat. ‘We’ve got to steal them. And we’re going to do it in the dark. So you can’t pick and choose. Fate will decide your costume.’

 

‘Later than night,’ Dirk found himself sitting in the bushes outside Old Mr Barnes house waiting for him to turn off the lights and go to bed. ‘This is a terrible idea.’

‘Terrible or terribly brilliant?’ asked Cat.

‘Terrible,’ said Dirk.

The lights in the house switched off.

‘There you go,’ said Cat. ‘Let’s roll.’ She crawled out from under the bush and scurried over to the hills hoist. Now the lights were out it was impossible to see what was what on the line.

‘Grab something,’ urged Cat.

‘But I can’t see what I’m grabbing,’ said Dirk.

‘That’ll just make it more authentic,’ said Cat.

Dirk grabbed the first three garments that came to hand and then ran. He didn’t even bother crawling under the bush, he sprinted straight out the yard and up the street towards his house. He could hear Cat running behind him. She was freakishly good at running. It was like she had anger instead of blood pumping through her veins.

Then ran straight around the back of Dirks house to the patio. ‘What did you get?’ asked Cat.

Dirk looked at the clothes in his hands. It was one sports sock, a high vis yellow workman’s shirt and red pleat kilt. ‘Awesome!’ said Cat. ‘Good choice.’

‘What did you get?’ asked Dirk. 

Cat looked at her booty. It was a soft pink cocktail dress. ‘Oh my goodness!’ said Cat. ‘I can’t wear this!’

‘It’s ironic,’ said Dirk.

‘It’s so pink,’ said Cat. ‘But it would be so umprincipalled not to wear it when I’m going to force you to wear a kilt.’

‘You are?’ said Dirk. He had assumed that Cat would want to abandon the plan now.

‘Anyway,’ said Cat. ‘I think I can make it work with the right accessories.’

 

Having sorted out their costumes. Cat finally consented to spending some time practising. They met in Dirk’s garage the following day after school. Dirk brought his piano accordion and the little stool he sat on when he played the piano accordion. Cat produced her violin. 

‘What are we going to play?’ asked Dirk.

‘Our own original composition,’ said Cat.

‘Huh,’ said Dirk.

‘We need to write our own song, otherwise when we become super successful we’ll have to pay royalties to the songwriter and I don’t want to do that,’ said Cat. ‘I want to be really really rich and keep all the money for myself.’

Dirk nodded. This sounded like a good idea to him too.

‘What are we going to write about?’ asked Dirk.

‘Well most songs are about love,’ said Cat. ‘So I thought we should write one about hate. To be confronting and non conformist.’

‘Okay,’ said Dirk. ‘So what do we hate.’

‘So many things,’ said Cat. ‘Where do we start.’

All of a sudden Dirk could not think of anything he hated. He could only think of unicorns and butterflies.

‘I can only think of unicorns and butterflies,’ confessed Dirk.

‘Perfect!’ exclaimed Cat. ‘I hate them too! This song is just going to write itself!’

 

Three hours later after much yelling and consulting of their battered copy of a rhyming dictionary Cat and Dirk had written this song.

 

I hate unicorns and butterflies

Oh how my hate multiplies

Everytime I see you oo ooo

Every time I hear you oooooo

I hate spelling tests and wearing vests

But most of all I hate youoooo oooo

I hate you, yes you, not the guy standing next to you.

 

I hate high fat food

And grown-ups who are rude

I hate splinters in my thumb

And when I say something dumb

But most of all 

I hate you oo oo

I really really hate you

 ooo, yes you 

I’m looking at you 

Though I don’t want to 

Cause I hate you.

 

Cat had wanted to dedicate the song to her maths teacher but decided not to because sometimes marking maths could be subjective and she couldn’t afford for her mark to get any lower.

 

The day of the actual show came frighteningly fast. Cat was consistently adamant that they didn’t need to practise, in fact that they shouldn’t practise because she wanted their performance to be ‘fresh’.

The lack of practise frightened Dirk. But the day before the concert he became so frightened he sort of went completely emotionally numb and stopped worrying about it. It was like that horrible moment between realising you’re going to fall off your bicycle and actually hitting the ground. There is nothing you can do, you just know what comes next is going to be really bad.\

Before he knew it, Dirk was back stage at the concert listening to Isabella Chang play Rachmaninov’s 5th piano concerto on a glockenspiel.

‘We’re up next,’ said Cat.

‘You know, we don’t have to do this,’ said Dirk. ‘It’s not too late. We can walk away.’

‘What are you talking about?’ said Cat. ‘We are going to be totally awesome! We are going to blow their minds.’

‘No literally?’ asked Dirk. He didn’t think that Cat would attach explosives to people but he wasn’t entirely sure.

Isabella struck her final discordant chord. There was enthusiastic applause from the crowd. But Dirk suspected they were clapping enthusiastically just in relief that it was finally over.

‘Move it,’ ordered Cat. 

Dirk picked up his piano accordian and his little stool and walked out into the bright lights of the stage.

It was hard to see with the spot light glaring down on him but Dirk could sense the presence of the crowd. There was a hum of mumoring and shuffling, probably parents of children who had already performed wondering if they could get away with leaving yet.

Cat plugged her violin into an unnervingly huge electric amplified. Then strode over to the microphone. ‘Hello, our band is called ‘Cat Sick,’ said Cat.

‘It is?’ said Dirk.

‘And our song is ‘We hate everything!’ announced Cat, before turning to Dirk, ‘Let’s rock!’

Adrenalin surged through Dirk.

Cat counted them in, ‘One two, one two three FOUR!’

And they were off. Dirk forgot about the crowd. He just closed his eyes and played his piano accordian with all his heart and soul. He was focusing so hard on hitting the right notes, he could barely hear Cat singing. He just caught the occasional word. He’d catch the occanasson snatch of her bellowed lyrics, hate’ ‘ooo-oo-ooo’ ‘unicorns’. He tried to thump away at the notes as rhymically as possible. He wasn’t sure Cat was playing in tune or in time with him. He’d never occampanied a violin before and he wasn’t sure if it was meant to sound like a ferret being tortured. Dirk just kept his eyes closed and kept on playing. Soon it would be over and he could run away.

Finally they were approaching the final bars. Cat was obviously wrapping it up she was yelling and sawing away at her violin louder than ever. They hit the last chord and it was over. Dirk breathed a sigh of relief. He waited for the applause of the audience. Then noticed that there wasn’t any. He opened his eyes, the glare from the spot light was still blinding him. He held up a hand to shade them, he could see the faces in the audience now. They looked shocked, as if they’d just seen a horrific traffic accident.

The head judge leaned in to his microphone, ‘What was that?’ he asked.

‘I hate everything by Cat Sick,’ said Cat, ‘I told you that at the beginning’.

‘What on earth made you think could play your instruments?’ asked the judge.

‘What do you mean?’ demanded Cat. ‘I’ve had violin lessons for 7 years.’

‘You have?’ asked the incredulous judge. ‘Then your mum and dad should ask for their money back.’

‘My Mum and Dad say I play like an angel,’ said Cat.

‘They do?’ said the judge. ‘Then they are lying to you. You are terrible.’

Dirk stood up. ‘Can I go now?’ he asked.

‘No, this Nong had just insulted us,’ said Cat.

Dirk shrugged. ‘He didn’t insult me.’

‘Did you like his playing any better?’ asked Cat.

‘No,’ said the judge. ‘But he was playing the piano accordian, no one likes that no matter how well it’s played.’

‘Are we being pranked?’ asked Cat. ‘Is this some sort of prank TV show and this is all just a big practical joke.’

‘No,’ said the TV judge. ‘You are awful. All the performers we’ve seen tonight have been utterly, in some cases horrifically terrible.’ The judge got up and turned to face the audience. ‘I don’t blame the children. Actually, that’s wrong. I do blame the children. But I blame you even more. You, the parents, for encouraging them. If your child is dreadful at something you need to let them know for the good of society. So that we never have to endure an evening like this again.’

‘Are you saying,’ said Cat. ‘That you are not going to put me on TV?’

‘Of course not,’ said the Judge. ‘The network would lose it’s license for breeching quality broadcasting standards.’

‘Right that’s it,’ said Cat. She threw down her electric violin and launched herself off the stage, straight at the judge’s throat. 

Dirk considered leaving her to it and going home, but Cat was the only friend he had and while everything she said and did made her seem like a bad friend, Dirk knew deep down that she was a good friend to him. So, with a sigh, he set down his piano accordian and leapt off the stage after her to try and grapple her away from the judge before she could do too much harm.

And ask it turns out. The judge was wrong. He was right about their song sounding just dreadful. But he was wrong about Cat and Dirk. They did end up on TV for what she did that night. Cat’s attempts to throttle the judge and Dirk’s attempts to retrain her were so athletic and innovative. They were recruited by a professional wrestling network, and immediately became the stars of the show.

 

The end

Thank you for listening. To support this podcast just buy a book by me, R.A. Spratt. There are lots to choose from across the Peski Kids, Friday Barnes and Nanny Piggins series. You can order them through your local bookstore or go to my website raspratt.com and click on the Book Depository banner. They've got all my titles and free international shipping.