Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt

A Tall Tale about Seashells and Zombies

December 30, 2020 R.A. Spratt Season 1 Episode 45
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
A Tall Tale about Seashells and Zombies
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
A Tall Tale about Seashells and Zombies
Dec 30, 2020 Season 1 Episode 45
R.A. Spratt

When Mum takes Tammy and Vanessa to the beach to escape the pre-Christmas stress, she ends up telling them an alarming story about the consequences of taking seashells from beaches and how it can lead to zombies in sushi restaurants.

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Show Notes Transcript

When Mum takes Tammy and Vanessa to the beach to escape the pre-Christmas stress, she ends up telling them an alarming story about the consequences of taking seashells from beaches and how it can lead to zombies in sushi restaurants.

Support the show (

Hello and Welcome to Bedtime Stories with me, R.A. Spratt. Today’s story is ‘A Tall Tale about seashells and zombies’.


Here we go.


It was just before Christmas and it was kind of stressful in town. There were lots of daytrippers up from the city and they were bringing their city energy with them. There was a lot to do, but Mum decided they need a break so she announced that they would be going to the beach.

‘First thing?’ asked Tammy.

‘Yes, first thing,’ said Mum. ‘After I’ve been the gym.’

Tammy rolled her eyes. ‘Heaven forbid you miss going to the gym.’

‘You know I can’t miss going to the gym,’ said mum. ‘If I didn’t burn off all my anger at the gym. I wouldn’t be able to stay so sweet tempered with you.’

‘You weren’t very sweet tempered when you were putting up the Christmas tree,’ said Tammy.

‘Putting up a Christmas tree is one the most stressful things any adult has to endure,’ said Mum. ‘The fact that I put it up without resorting to violence shows what a calm and peaceful person I am.’

‘You threatened to strangle us with tinsel if we didn’t get out of your way and leave you alone,’ Tammy reminded her.

‘You see,’ said Mum. ‘I warned you because I care so much for you best interests. It was an act of love.’

‘Hmph,’ said Tammy.

They enjoyed the drive down the beach. There were minimal fights in the car. Obviously, there was a fight about who was going to sit in the front seat. This involved some wrestling as Tammy tried to cling to the side of the car suctioning on with her finger tips. 

And then there was the prolonged sulking by everyone, because no one was ever happy with the results of that fight. Mum had overruled Vanessa, and let Tammy sit in the front, even though it wasn’t her turn. Because Tammy got car sick, and Mum argued that no one wanted to drive for an hour with that smell in the car.

But after 20 minutes of Christmas carols it was hard to stay mad about seating arrangements and they moved on to fighting about who was going to choose the next song, so they took turns choosing songs, which really meant taking turns ridiculing each other’s choice of songs. And so the journey flew by and they were soon at the beach.

It wasn’t really the weather for it. It was overcast and cool. But the beach is always beautiful. Particularly when there’s barely anyone there. 

There was one other family there. A group of adults sitting by the water’s edge, watching their kids swim. But that family misjudged where to lay their towels. All five of them were suddenly swamped by a wave. It drenched the lot of them.

Mum and the girls valiantly fought to not to laugh out loud. They were so used to laughing at each other, it was hard to remember other people didn’t like it. But on the inside they were laughing uproariously. 

Once that family, dignity shattered, left the beach to find somewhere less wet to sit, it was just Mum, Tammy, Vanessa and two lifeguards, who sat at a distance cowering in their observation shelter.

Tammy of course went in for a swim. Mum thought she must be part Eskimo, or part lunatic. Tammy didn’t seem to feel the cold. Vanessa waded in a bit. And Mum just paddled at the edge. Then they built sandcastles. Then there wasn’t much else to do. But they didn’t want to go home yet. So when Mum suggested that they all go for a walk along the beach they didn’t wine and complain like they normally would. Both Vanessa and Tammy said okay.

Of course they had to argue about who stood on which side of Mum. But there were lots of things to look at so they didn’t fight much. There were cuttlefish shells, pieces of coal, bluebottles, and weirdly partially dismembered black cicadas. Presumably a bird had taken a bite out of them and then dropped the less delicious half. And of course being a beach there were lots of seashells. Beautiful big ones with cream and wine colours.

Tammy stopped to pick one up. ‘Look at this it’s huge.’

‘Very pretty,’ agreed Mum.

‘But we can’t take one home, can we?’ asked Tammy.

‘No,’ agreed Mum.

‘We could if we were in another country,’ said Vanessa.

‘Probably,’ agreed Mum. 

‘But not here in Australia,’ said Tammy.

‘No,’ said Mum. ‘People used to do it. But now we all understand it’s not a good idea. Because shells are homes for animals. And if everyone came to the beach and took home a pocket full of shells, think of all the animals that would leave homeless.’

‘That would be sad,’ said Veronica.

‘They’d die,’ said Tammy.

‘Oh no,’ said Mum. ‘Much worse than that. Then they’d have to find other houses.’

Tammy looked at her blankly.

‘If there were no houses for them on the beach, the sea creatures would have to crawl up the beach, over the dune and into the nearby houses,’ said Mum.

‘Mum,’ said Tammy rolling her eyes and making a noise of disgust.

‘When they got to the houses,’ continued Mum, ‘being teeny tiny sea creatures they’d easily slide and crawl their way in through the crack under a door or a cranny near a plumbing pipe.’

Tammy didn’t like the thought of tiny creepy creatures getting into her house while she was sleeping. 

‘Then once they were inside the lovely warm house with the nice soft carpeting, and all the crumbs and scraps human accidentally drop on the floor,’ said Mum. ‘The next thing they’d have to do is find a home.’

‘The shells the people took from the beach?’ asked Vanessa.

‘Oh no,’ said Mum. ‘People who live close to the beach have more sense than to take shells from the beach. They know the dire consequences it can lead to. They always leave shells at the beach where they belong. It’s the big city tourists who don’t know better. They come here take all the shells, go home and don’t have to live with the consequences.’

‘What consequences?’ asked Tammy. She didn’t want to be curious, but she couldn’t help it.

‘Well if a sea creature gets into a house looking for a seashell to use as a home, but they can’t find a seashell then they look for the next best thing,’ said Mum.

‘So?’ said Tammy.

‘Think about it,’ said Mum. ‘In a house, what is the thing that is closest to the shape of a seashell?’

Tammy thought about it. She didn’t know.

Mum leaned in close and whispered the answer, ‘A human ear!’

Tammy’s eyes gaped. Mum turned to show Tammy her own ear. Tammy realised Mum was right, ears were the same shape as se shells. Mum’s ear looked a lot like the shell she had in her hand. Tammy dropped the shell.

Ears make lovely homes for sea creatures,’ continued Mum. ‘They’re lovely and warm and cosy. The creatures love it so much that once they get in, they burrow in deep.’

‘I don’t believe you,’ said Tammy. But she must have believed her a bit, because she clapped her hands over her ears, just in case there were some creatures nearby thinking about it.

‘You know how, when you pick up a shell at the beach and creature is still living in it,’ said Mum. ‘It scooches down as far as it can go into the deepest part of the shell.’

Tammy nodded. She’d seen creatures do that.

‘Well sea creatures do the exact same thing when they get into an ear,’ said Mum. ‘They scooch down as deep as they can, so they feel safe.’

‘Gross,’ said Vanessa.

‘Remember when you stuck that marble up your nose?’ asked Mum.

Tammy clapped her hand over her nose now as she remembered that deeply unpleasant experience.

‘Remember what that felt like,’ said Mum. ‘All blocked and uncomfortable. Well imagine that feeling, but in your ear. And instead of a marble, a living breathing creeping creature.’

‘A doctor could get it out in two seconds with a pair of tweezers,’ said Veronica.

‘Oh sure,’ agreed Mum. ‘So long as you don’t have a ruptured ear drum. But of course, so many people who live near the beach do have ruptured ear drums. Because they can’t resist swimming and they’re constantly getting ear infections.’ Mum looked meaningfully at Tammy. She got ear infections all the time because she couldn’t resist swimming.

‘What happens if you’ve got a ruptured ear drum?’ asked Tammy. She didn’t want to know, but she couldn’t resist asking.

‘The sea creature climbs straight through the tear in the ear drum,’ said Mum. ‘Down the eustacian canal from the ear, and into the brain!’

‘Your ear does not lead to your brain,’ protested Tammy.

‘Of course it does,’ said Mum. ‘How else do you think about what you hear?’

This question stumped Tammy. She wasn’t an expert of the physiology of the human ear so while she was pretty sure ears didn’t lead directly to brains, she couldn’t be sure how sounds did get to brains.

‘And once they get to the brain,’ said Mum. ‘The power goes to their heads.’

‘What?’ said Tammy.

‘They forget about their humble life of the sea,’ said Mum. ‘Once they’re in the brain. They realise that the brain is the control centre for that person, so they can control the whole human. Then then of course, they get power crazed with  all the possibilities.’

‘You’re telling me that humans are taken over by sea creatures who crawl into their ears?’ said Tammy.

‘Oh yes,’ said Mum. ‘It’s very common. But the government try to hush it up because they don’t want to put people off taking beach holidays. It’s too important for tourism.’

‘So right now, there are lots of people walking around in the control of sea creatures?’ asked Tammy.

‘They don’t just wander around,’ said Mum.

‘No?’ said Tammy.

‘They head straight for sushi restaurants,’ said Mum.

What?’ said Tammy.

‘Well sushi train restaurants specifically,’ said Mum. ‘Because they haven’t got the patience to order off a menu.’

‘Why do they go there?’ asked Vanessa. ‘To liberate their fellow seafood?’

‘Don’t be silly,’ said Mum. ‘You can’t liberate sashimi. It’s dead already.’

‘Silly me,’ said Vanessa.

‘No they go to sushi restaurants,’ said Mum. ‘Because they’re hungry. And sea creatures like to eat seaweed.’

‘What?’ said Tammy.

‘And around the outside of every California roll is a sheet of dark green dry seafood,’ said Mum. ‘So they take their human house to the sushi train, they make the human take a plate of sushi rolls, then unpeel the seaweed from the outside.’

‘Then they make the human eat it?’ asked Tammy.

‘No,’ said Mum. ‘They let the human eat the inside of the California roll. Then they get the human to shove the seaweed in their ears. And that is how the sea creatures get their food.’

‘That is the most ridiculous story I have ever heard,’ said Tammy. Which was saying quite something, because Mum told outrageous stories all the time. 

‘You don’t have to believe me,’ said Mum.

‘Good,’ said Tammy. ‘Because I don’t. I have never seen someone in a sushi restaurant shoving seaweed in their ears.’

‘So long as you always leave seashells on the beach where you find them,’ said Mum. ‘You never will.’

‘Eurgh,’ said Tammy. ‘You’re ridiculous.’

‘I know,’ said Mum. ‘And by ridiculous. You mean wise.’

‘I mean ridiculous,’ said Tammy.

‘You don’t have to keep saying it,’ said Mum, hugging Tammy as she desperately tried to get away. ‘I know how much you deeply respect me.’

‘Eurgh,’ said Tammy, wiggling out of Mum’s hug. ‘I don’t believe a word of it.’ Tammy ran away so Mum couldn’t hug her again. But as she ran along the beach playing in the waves, she did not make any attempt to put a seashell in her pocket.


The end


Thank you for listening. To support this podcast just buy a book by me, R.A. Spratt. There’s lots to choose from, from across the Friday Barnes, Nanny Piggins and Peski Kids series. And now there is the audiobook of The Adventures of Nanny Piggins as well. 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. Until next time, goodbye.