Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt

A Tall Tale About War... and Chocolate

October 21, 2020 R.A. Spratt Season 1 Episode 35
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
A Tall Tale About War... and Chocolate
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
A Tall Tale About War... and Chocolate
Oct 21, 2020 Season 1 Episode 35
R.A. Spratt

When Mum takes Vanessa to the city to see the orthodontist, they get side tracked by gourmet chocolate shops and wondering about the violent tendencies of the staff.

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Show Notes Transcript

When Mum takes Vanessa to the city to see the orthodontist, they get side tracked by gourmet chocolate shops and wondering about the violent tendencies of the staff.

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Hello and welcome to bedtime stories with me, R.A. Spratt. Today's story is... A Tall Tale about War and Chocolate.

Here we go...

Mum was taking Vanessa to the orthodontist. Never a happy expedition. True, one day Vanessa would be incredibly beautiful with super straight teeth. But in the meantime her teeth hurt, and the orthodontist got on her nerves. He was a total nong, in the way you can only get away with if you charge thousands of dollars to hold someone’s teeth captive in a wire cage for two years. If anyone else behaved like that you’d walk away and have nothing to do with them. But once an orthodontist has encaged your teeth, you’ve got to put up with their weird personality until they deem it time to release your teeth again. 

Mum and Vanessa were thinking these bleak thoughts as they wandered the shops waiting for their appointment. They’d had to drive into the city from their country town, and since traffic could be bad, they’d left early to make sure they weren’t late. Now they were whiling away the extra time wandering around all the exotic big city shops. 


They were making their way to one of their favourite shops in particular. The big book shop. It was so big the books were on three levels. The whole bottom floor was devoted to kids books. There was so much choice. It was like a wonder land. It could almost make you forget you were about to have your mouth tortured by a professional sadist.


To get to the bookshop they turned into an old fashioned arcade that ran between the two city blocks. It was a beautiful old building with steel iron work and intricate tiles from over a hundred years ago. It was actually relaxing to step out of the neon lights and flashy displays of the new shops, into the old fashioned simplicity of the small quait shops in the arcade. The very first one they walked past caught their eye. It was a chocolate shop. Not the type of chocolate shop a child would ever go to. The chocolate was too expensive for that. It was a super gourmet luxury chocolate shop where everything cost 50 times more that it should and didn’t taste terribly nice when you put it your mouth, because it was so gourmet it tasted ‘interesting’ instead of good.

‘Can we buy something?’ asked Vanessa.

‘We’re about to go to the orthodontist,’ said Mum. ‘How would it look if he had to spend the first ten minutes cleaning chocolate off your teeth.’

‘I don’t care,’ said Vanessa. ‘It would be worth it.’

‘Fine,’ said Mum. ‘You can buy a chocolate.’

Vanessa took a step towards the shop’s entrance.

But Mum played her trump card, ‘If you pay for it yourself.’

Vanessa froze.

‘Are you prepared to take out a mortgage to buy one bar of chocolate?’ asked Mum. ‘Do you think the bank will give you a line of credit? Because that is what it would take. All the chocolate in that shop is frighteningly expensive.’

Vanessa’s instincts warred against each other.

‘Fine,’ she eventually relented, stepping back.

‘You can go to the supermarket later and buy a much bigger chocolate bar for a fraction of the cost,’ said Mum.

‘But it won’t be so pretty,’ grumbled Vanessa.

‘No,’ agreed Mum. ‘And you won’t be so poor after you’ve bought it. It’s a swings and round abouts situation.’

They kept walking through the arcade, past a jewellery store, and a café and a shop that sold cigar accessories when they came to another chocolate shop. This one was different. It was old fashioned. Even the chocolate was old fashioned.

Vanessa and Mum both stopped and stared in through the doorway.

‘Should we go in?’ asked Vanessa. Her feet were telling her they should.

‘Too many nuts,’ said Mum. ‘I’m allergic to nuts.’

‘The nuts aren’t going to leap of the shelves and jump into your mouth,’ said Vanessa.

‘But they’re all covered in chocolate,’ said Mum. ‘Once I step inside the smell of chocolate might drive me mad. I’ll start grabbing it all and shoving it in to my mouth in a frenzy.’

‘Really?’ asked Vanessa.

‘It’s not worth the risk,’ said Mum.

‘Some things are worth dying for,’ said Vanessa.

‘Hmm,’ said Mum. She had taken a small step closer and was peering inside.

‘What?’ asked Vanessa.

‘Do you think the staff feel the same way?’ asked Mum. ‘Do you think the staff in the two shops fight? Perhaps, if they bump into each other, somewhere other than this arcade they get into terrible street fights.’

‘They’re chocolate workers,’ said Vanessa reasonably.

‘Exactly,’ said Mum. ‘So they have access to large industrial sized quantities of chocolate. They could take one of those great big chunks and bop each other on the head or stab someone with a shard.’

Vanessa looked at the huge pieces of chocolate in the window. ‘I don’t think it’s very likely.’

‘They could hold each others heads under the chocolate fountain and demand to be told the other’s chocolatey secrets,’ said Mum.

‘They work with chocolate all day,’ said Vanessa. ‘They would be too happy to be so violent.’

‘But think of all the sugar in their diet,’ said Mum. ‘You know how anybody can behave strangely when they have a sugar rush.’

‘I know you behave strangely when you have a sugar rush,’ said Vanessa.

‘Well they’d be like that all day long,’ said Mum. ‘And they’d eat so much chocolate they’d inevitably develop type 2 diabetes. That can give you mood swings.’

‘Is that an actual fact?’ asked Vanessa.

Mum was not a medical doctor, so she didn’t know for sure. ‘I assume it’s the case,’ said Mum. ‘I know I’d have mood swings if I had type 2 diabetes. Because the doctors would be telling me off all the time and telling me I had to eat healthy food and that would get on anyone’s nerves.’

‘You have mood swings regardless of what you eat,’ Vanessa pointed out. 

‘I know,’ agreed Mum. ‘So imagine how much worse they’d be if I was full of energy from eating all that chocolate.

Vanessa and Mum stared at the chocolate a little longer, lost in thought. ‘And then imagine how difficult it would be if two of the employees, one from each shop fell in love with each other. When their shops were sworn enemies.’

‘Really?’ said Vanessa. She was finding it hard to keep up with Mum’s descent into disbelief.

‘It would be just like Romeo and Juliet,’ said Mum. ‘Only it would make more sense because it would be about chocolate, instead of some idiotic family vendetta that is never explained properly.’

‘Juliet was my age,’ said Vanessa. Which wasn’t strictly speaking true. Vanessa was 12 whereas Juliet was 13. But close enough.

‘Which would be more likely to bring you to a fit of murderous passion?’ asked Mum. ‘Your love of a teenage boy, or a block of chocolate?’

Vanessa thought about this for a moment. She did really like reading romance novels where this sort of issue came up all the time. But when she thought about all the teenage boys she actually knew, the real non-fiction ones – her answer was clear. ‘Chocolate,’ she said, honestly.

‘Precisely,’ said Mum. ‘I bet it happens all the time. The staff get into rumbles on the street. The police probably hush it up in exchange for hush chocolate.’

‘Hush chocolate?’ asked Vanessa.

‘Bribes paid in the form of chocolate,’ said Mum. ‘Delivered in brown paper bags. So that people think they’re being paid off with cash and never discover the dark chocolately truth.’

‘You’re getting carried away,’ said Vanessa.

‘It’s the smell,’ said Mum, taking a deep breath and inhaling the scent of chocolate. 

Vanessa couldn’t help herself she did the same.

It was heavenly.

‘That smell could drive a person to an act of passion,’ said Mum wisely.

‘So can I buy something or not?’ asked Vanessa.

‘Better not,’ said Mum. ‘You don’t want to have your blood filled with all that violent passion, right before you see the orthodontist. He’s such a nong. Who knows what you’ll do.’

‘You just don’t want to lend me the money,’ said Vanessa.

‘I don’t,’ agreed Mum. ‘I’m a dreadful mother that way. I promise, I’ll buy you a chocolate bar after the orthodontist. A reasonably priced one from the supermarket.’

‘Won’t that send me into a violent frenzy?’ asked Vanessa. 

‘Probably,’ agreed Mum. ‘But I’ll take you straight home, so the only person you can take it out on will be your sister.’

Vanessa smiled at this thought. Her sister was younger, and therefore extremely annoying.

‘She is trained in jiu jitsu, and has a permanent irrepressible violent energy,’ observed Mum. ‘So it would be a fairer fight.’

Vanessa’s face fell. This was also true. Fighting with Tammy was never as fun in practise as fighting with younger sisters should be. She was too good at it.

‘Fine,’ said Vanessa.

‘And by ‘fine’ you mean thank you wonderous Mumm,’ said Mum.

‘By fine I mean fine,’ said Vanessa.

‘I know what you mean,’ said Mum. I can see your true meaning in your eyes.

Since Vanessa was glaring at Mum and considering wrestling with her right there in the shopping arcade, she wondered if this was true. But Mum would probably enjoy wrestling in a busy shopping arcade. She was strange that way. So it probably was.

‘Let’s just go to the orthodontist,’ said Vanessa reverting to typical sullen pre teen demeanor. She decided on the whole, that the orthodontist appointment would be less painful than this conversation.


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 Nanny Piggins, Friday Barnes and Peski Kids series. You can order them through your local bookstore or go to my website and click on the Book Depository banner. They have all my titles and free international shipping.