Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt

A Tall Tale about Big Sisters... and Alternate Realities

February 10, 2021 R.A. Spratt Season 1 Episode 51
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
A Tall Tale about Big Sisters... and Alternate Realities
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
A Tall Tale about Big Sisters... and Alternate Realities
Feb 10, 2021 Season 1 Episode 51
R.A. Spratt

It's the last day of the school holidays and Tammy is worried about meeting her new teacher, so Mum tries to put her mind at ease by suggesting things she could say on her first day. 

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Show Notes Transcript

It's the last day of the school holidays and Tammy is worried about meeting her new teacher, so Mum tries to put her mind at ease by suggesting things she could say on her first day. 

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


Well it’s been an exciting week for me with my new book, Friday Barnes 9, No Escape coming out and the audiobook of Friday Barnes 1, Girl Detective also being release. 

But it has also been a big week for school children across Australia because they have been going back to school. Here in the Southern Hemisphere we have our Summer holidays at Christmas time, so the new school year starts at the end of January. Anyway, I wrote a story about going back to school. 


Here we go…



A Tall Tale about big sisters… and dark pasts.


It was the last day of the Summer holidays. Which meant it was a day of worry. Tammy did not always  have the smoothest time of things at school. And she did have a tendancy to worry, and bmy worry I mean agonize over every excruciating nightmare possibility. So Mum tried to make sure that the last day of the school holidays was super busy, preferably with some sort of life threatening activity, like zip lining or roller coaster riding. The reasoning was - there was no time to worry about what teacher you were getting if you were too busy worrying about whether you were going to die.

Over all the plan had worked well. Mum had taken Tammy and Venessa to the water park, which was both exhausting and terrifying so the perfect back to school distraction. There’s nothing like shooting backwards down the throat of a giant fibre glass Taipan snake while being splashed in your screaming face with chlorinated water to take your mind off you troubles. So they had all had a good day.

It wasn’t until bedtime, when the adrenalin started to wear off that Tammy started to get that look on her face. The look of someone who was thinking and worrying.

‘Something on your mind?’ asked Mum.

‘No,’ said Tammy. This was her way of saying, ‘Yes, but I’m not going to tell you right away.’

Mum knew this. She had been through the ritual many times before. So she persevered.

‘Your cranium is completely vacuously empty like the vast emptiness of space?’ asked Mum. 

‘Yes,’ said Tammy.

‘That’s impressive,’ said Mum. ‘It shows you must have plenty of calcium in your diet. If you skull doesn’t crumple in on it’s self under the pressure of a vacuum.

‘Urgh,’ said Tammy. She hated it when Mum started talking about scientific concepts. Mum loved science she could weave it into a conversation on just about any topic. It was one of her most annoying features.

‘So everything is tickety boo?’ asked Mum.

Tammy paused for a moment, ‘Tomorrow is going to suck,’ she mumbled.

‘Ah,’ said Mum, nodding knowingly. ‘Because you are going back to school and you are going to miss me. Because you love me sooooo much.’

‘Eugh,’ said Tammy pretending to choke on her own vomit.’

‘I understand,’ said Mum. ‘Because being home for six weeks made you realise how wonderful I am?’

Tammy didn’t even bother responding. She just glowered and started using a pencil to drill a hole in the sole of her sneaker.

Mum smiled and sat waiting, like she had all the time in the world and wasn’t going anywhere. 

Tammy kept drilling. But finally she spoke again. 

‘I hate first day, because on first day you get a new teacher,’ said Tammy. 

‘Yes, that’s how it works,’ agreed Mum. ‘Well, it’s the way it will work until they find one perfect teacher and clone them, so they can get rid of all the others.’

‘And new teachers,’ said Tammy, still drilling to avoid eye contact. ‘always love Vanessa.’

‘Ah,’ said Mum. 

Vanessa was three years older than Tammy. She was at High School now. But she had been captain of Tammy’s school, and debating champion, and library monitor and SRC representative and academically gifted award recipient.

‘She’s been gone for two years now,’ said Mum. ‘Perhaps everyone has forgotten her.’

‘Her name is still on the stupid board,’ said Tammy. ‘Where they list all the captains. I have to see it every time I go up to the office. Do you know what I say when I see it. I say ‘Yuck not her’. The ladies in the office think I’m weird.’



‘They always get to my name on the roll and say oh are you Vanessa’s sister?’ said Tammy. 

Mum sat down to Tammy. She was a second child too. She understood. It is hard being the younger sister of someone everyone liked.

‘You know,’ said Mum. ‘When the teacher asks are you Vanessa’s sister, you could always say – no.’

Tammy rolled her eyes.

‘You could say you’ve never heard of anyone called Vanessa,’ continued Mum. ‘Except for one girl. And she was so horrible, they couldn’t possibility be thinking of her.’

‘They’d know I was lying,’ said Tammy.

‘No,’ said Mum. ‘They’d assume you were lying. But then you could say. Ask my Mum, go on ring her. Then they’d ring me and I’d back you up.’

Tammy just looked at Mum. It was her ‘Yeah right’ look.

‘I would,’ said Mum. ‘You know me. I like inventing alternate realities. Of course the office ladies at the school know that too.’

Mum was quite well known in their home town. When you’re an eccentric writer in a small town and you wear bright coloured long socks everywhere you’re going to get noticed. ‘So then they’d ask me to put Vanessa on the phone.’

‘Because she’s more sensible than you,’ said Tammy.

‘She is,’ agreed Mum.

‘But then I’d say – she can’t come to the phone because she’s in prison,’ said Mum.

This got Tammy’s attention, ‘What for?’

Mum paused to think of something dreadful. ‘Kicking ducks,’ said Mum.

Tammy gasped. Everyone loved ducks in their town. ‘They’d never believe that.’

‘No,’ agreed Mum. ‘And then I’d say. That was the problem. The magistrate didn’t believe it, the first time she went to court for kicking ducks. And she was such a model citizen. School captain, debating champion – lovely smiler. So he let her off.’

‘That would be right,’ grumbled Tammy.

‘But then the next week,’ said Mum. ‘She was spotted doing it again. The police saw her kick a duck in the park.’

‘But when she went to trial she looked so sorry, and she apologised so articulately, and she gave a 15 minute power point presentation on all the pressures she had to endure being a super talented super gifted student that the magistrate started to weep and let her off again.’

‘Fool,’ said Tammy.

‘Yes,’ agreed Mum. ‘But the third time. There was no denying it. There was video evidence.’

‘Video?’ asked Tammy.

‘Yes,’ said Mum. ‘Despite Vanessa’s excellence in observation, she failed to notice the CCTV camera outside the senior citizens tea rooms. They caught her on tape kicking a duck.’

‘She couldn’t get out of it,’ said Tammy.

‘Actually she could,’ said Mum. ‘She argued that she hadn’t kicked the duck. She was just swinging her legs, for exercise, when the duck attacked her foot. The video didn’t’ reallys suppor this because the duck would have had to have flown backwards bottom first at her foot for this to make sense. But you know Vanessa, she is so pretty especially when the tears well in her eyes and the magistrate wanted to believe her. He decided to let her off. But the police prosecutoer had wised up. After the two previous acquittals he decided to play hard ball.’

‘He threw a cricket ball at her head?’ asked Tammy.

‘No,’ said Mum.

‘shame,’ said Tammy.

‘No, he snuck a duck into the courthouse,’ said Mum. ‘Just as the magistrate was about to bring down his gavel and acquit her, the police prosecutor released the duck from it’s cage and it waddled across the courthouse floor.’

‘Did it poo?’ asked Tammy.

‘Of course it pooed, it was a duck,’ said Mum. They lived in a country town so they both knew it was a fact that a duck responded to any change in its circumstances by going to the bathroom.’

‘Of course everyone’s first reaction was to go Oooh a duck,’ said Mum.

‘Of course,’ agreed Tammy.

‘Except Vanessa,’ said Mum. ‘Before anyone had a chance to respond She leapt to her feet, dived over the table and tried to give the duck a hard kick.’

‘Fortunately the police prosecutor had anticipated this and he leapt forward to protect the duck,’ said Mum. ‘The duck was saved, because the kick hit his head instead.’

Tammy nodded at the rightness of this.’

And so that Vanessa has been serving hard time for duck cruelty in a youth detention facility ever since. We can’t see her unless she is behind three inches of bullet proof glass.

Tammy smiled at that thought.

‘And wearing a muzzle,’ said Mum. ‘Like the ones they have for dogs that bite people. And of course, foot restraints because of her kicking problem. And since she’s been in jail she’s changed her name to Throat Crusher, so technically it is 100% true that you do not have a sister called Vanessa anymore.’

Tammy smiled. She liked this story. ‘Do you think my teacher will believe that?’ asked Tammy.

Mum paused to consider this question. ‘You know, I never spend much time worrying about whether people believe what I tell them. It spoils the fun.’

‘Hmpf,’ said Tammy.

‘You know if you want to tell your teacher you’re not related to Vanessa, I would seriously back you up,’ said Mum.

‘I know,’ said Tammy. ‘Because you’re an idiot.’

‘Yes. And that’s what you love about me,’ said Mum.

‘Urgh,’ said Tammy.

‘I love you when you’re an idiot too,’ said Mum. 

‘Blah,’ said Tammy.

‘Which is why I love you so much,’ said Mum.

Tammy didn’t respond verbally to this. She just hit Mum over the head with a pillow.

‘I love you too,’ said Mum. Throwing a pillow at Tammy as she went off to load the dishwasher.


The End.


Thank you for listening. To support this podcast just buy a book by me, R.A. Spratt. There’s plenty to choose from, across the Friday Barnes, Nanny Piggins and Peski Kids series. And now there are the audiobooks of The Adventures of Nanny Piggins and Friday Barnes Girl Detective as well. You can order them through your local bookstore, or go to my website and click on the Book Depository banner. They’ve got all my titles and free international shipping.  That’s it for now, until next time. Goodbye.