Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt

A Tall Tale about Faces... and Green Tights

March 31, 2021 R.A. Spratt Season 1 Episode 58
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
A Tall Tale about Faces... and Green Tights
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
A Tall Tale about Faces... and Green Tights
Mar 31, 2021 Season 1 Episode 58
R.A. Spratt

While walking home from school, Tammy and Mum discuss the possible things Mr Stuart could be doing on his day off from classroom teaching.

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Show Notes Transcript

While walking home from school, Tammy and Mum discuss the possible things Mr Stuart could be doing on his day off from classroom teaching.

Support the show (

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


This weeks story is a….



Tall Tale about Faces… and Green Tights


 Here goes…


Mum and Tammy were walking home from school. It was a warm day. And warm days always felt extra hot for Tammy because she enjoyed running around like an idiot at lunch time. By the time Mum met her at the school gate she was always red in the face and sweaty. So as they walked away from the school gate, Tammy didn’t have much to say for herself at first. She was too busy sucking dry the cold milo milk box Mum had brought for her. 

Mum understood there was no point striking up a conversation straight away. Especially not while they were still in earshot of someone who might over hear them. Tammy found Mum intensely embarrassing. To be fair, Mum was intensely embarrassing. Mum knew this and didn’t object. Tammy would only grunt in reply if any of her friends were nearby.

So she waited until they were a hundred metres from the school before she started talking.

‘Did you have a good day at school?’ asked Mum.

‘Eugh,’ grunted Tammy, not even taking the straw out of her mouth while she squeezed the box in her fist to get every last drop out.

Mum knew that Tammy did not like being questioned. Any direct question would always be met with a monosyllabic answer or sometimes just a noise of disgust. Tammy knew lots of noises of disgust. There was grunt, groan, blagh and many more. So she could actually express quite a complex range of responses in this way. Mum knew if she wanted to have a three dimensional conversation she would have to take a lateral tangent.

‘Did you learn anything?’ asked Mum.

‘No,’ said Tammy still sucking on the box, even though there was definitely nothing in there anymore.

‘Good good,’ said Mum. ‘It’s such a hot day. I’d hate for the teachers to try to cram into anything into your head when you skull was so elastic.’

‘Skulls aren’t elastic,’ said Tammy.

‘At normal temperature no,’ agreed Mum. ‘But as soon as they go above 37 degrees, they become rubbery, and you can jam more into the brain cavity. Which is good for learning but terrible for practical purposes because your head expands and you have to buy all knew hats.’

‘Baseball caps are adjustable,’ said Tammy.

‘I know,’ said Mum. ‘The adjustable baseball cap was specifically invented because of over enthusiastic teachers excessively educating children in hot regions.’

‘That’s not true,’ said Tammy.

‘You believe whatever you chose to believe,’ encouraged Mum. ‘It’s a warm afternoon and I would hate to shove an extra piece of knowledge into your brain while your skull is so malleable.’

Tammy just ignored Mum, although it took some willpower not to poke herself in the head and see if her skull felt soft.

‘Did Mr Stuart behave himself today?’ asked Mum. Mr Stuart was Tammy’s teacher. 

‘He wasn’t there,’ said Tammy.

‘Really?’ said Mum. ‘Where was he?’

‘Away,’ said Tammy.

‘Afghanistan?’ asked Mum.

‘What?’ said Mum.

‘Was he in Afghanistan?’ asked Mum. ‘Perhaps fighting separatists. Or perhaps, fighting for the separatists. We shouldn’t judge. Obviously, he’s entitled to his own political beliefs.’

‘No, he was at school,’ said Tammy. ‘Just not with us.’

‘But you’re his class,’ said Mum. ‘Was he seeing other classes behind your back?’

‘No, it’s Thursday,’ said Tammy. ‘He always has RFF on Thursdays.’

‘He always has radioactive fire fights on Thursday?’ asked Mum.

‘No, RFF stands for Relief from Face-to-Face,’ said Tammy.

‘He gets relieved from Face to Face once a week for a whole day?’ asked Mum.

‘Ahuh,’ said Tammy. 

‘Why?’ asked Mum. ‘What is it about your faces that is so arduous that he needs to be relieved from them.’

‘All the teachers do it,’ said Tammy. ‘Most of them get half a day. But Mr Stuart gets a whole one.’

‘In my day teachers didn’t have that,’ said Mum. ‘They had to endure our faces 6 hours a day 5 days a week. We were all just locked in a room together with no escape. Of course teachers were allowed to behave worse back then so they could let their emotions out. So they got relief that way.’

‘Back in the olden days,’ said Tammy. ‘When you wrote with feathers and ink.’

‘Yes,’ said Mum. ‘It was very different then. We didn’t have whiteboards. We had to carve the answers to our questions on the wall of the cave.’

‘Because you’re so old,’ said Tammy.

‘Positively ancient,’ agreed Mum. ‘So what does Mr Stuart do on these days of facial relief? Lie on a couch with a damp flannel over his eyes while listening to recordings of whale song.’

‘No,’ said Tammy. ‘He’s busy.’

‘Doing what?’ asked Mum.

‘Things about the school,’ said Tammy. ‘He’s the only teacher who knows about computers.’

‘Ahh,’ said Mum. ‘So he’s on the internet doing online grocery shopping for all the other teachers.’

‘No, busy fixing things and stuff like that,’ said Tammy.

‘But how do you know that’s really what he’s doing?’ asked Mum. ‘If he’s the only one who understands about computers, he could be fixing them in five minutes then doing anything with the remaining 5 hours and 55 minutes of his day.’

‘Like what?’ asked Tammy.

‘Robbing banks,’ said Mum.

‘He’s not robbing banks every Thursday,’ said Tammy.

‘How do you know?’ asked Mum. ‘You don’t see him on that day.’

‘Sometimes we see him hurrying about,’ said Tammy.

‘Well it doesn’t take long to rob a bank,’ said Mum. ‘You just walk in, yell ‘give me all your money’, take the money and leave. He’d have plenty of time to pop back to school and walk around looking busy to establish his alibi.’

‘Why would Mr Stuart want to rob a bank?’ asked Tammy.

‘To be like Robin Hood,’ said Mum.

‘What?’ said Tammy.

‘He’d rob from the rich and give to the poor,’ said Mum. 

‘But why?’ asked Tammy.

‘Perhaps because he likes wearing green tights and leaping out of trees while shooting arrows at near do wells,’ said Mum. ‘Robin Hood always wears green tights and leaps out of trees.’

‘Why?’ asked Tammy. ‘Why does Robin Hood wear tights?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Mum. ‘Perhaps for the compression. Perhaps he has varicose veins. Or perhaps he just likes tights. We shouldn’t judge.’

‘I’ve never seen Mr Stuart wear green tights,’ said Tammy.

‘Of course not,’ said Mum. ‘He hides them. That’s his secret disguise.’

‘That doesn’t make any sense. If he wanted money,’ said Tammy. ‘He wouldn’t have become a teacher in the first place.’

‘True,’ agreed Mum. ‘Very true. So what is it that teachers do really want? Aside from relief from face to face.’

Tammy and Mum thought about this ask they walked for a moment.

‘I know!’ said Tammy. ‘Whiteboard markers.’

‘That’s so true!’ exclaimed Mum. ‘I’ve never been to a school that had working white board markers.’

‘Mrs Babbage hides her whiteboard markers from Mr Trent,’ said Tammy. ‘Because he never returns them.’

‘This is serious stuff,’ said Mum. ‘So much  animosity and anger amongst colleagues.’

‘Teachers are always angry about something,’ said Tammy.

‘And the whiteboard marker shortage is putting a strain on their already frayed nerves,’ said Mum. ‘They already have to have relief from the faces of their students. The whiteboard markers are a bridge too far. They can’t take it anymore. It’s a powder keg of tension waiting to explode.’

‘Pretty much,’ agreed Tammy.

‘Ah-hah!’ said Mum. ‘So that must be what Mr Stuart is doing on Thursdays. He’s stealing whiteboard markers.’

‘What?’ said Tammy.

‘And the whole school is in on it,’ said Mum. ‘The principal probably asked him to take on this vitally important role. The whole RFF day thing is just an elaborate cover story while he goes out and gets whiteboard markers for the entire teaching staff.’

‘That’s ridiculous,’ said Tammy.

‘No, it’s just like Robin Hood,’ said Mum. ‘He’s stealing from the whiteboard marker rich and giving to the whiteboard marker poor.’

‘Who is whiteboard marker rich?’ asked Tammy.

‘Officeworks,’ said Mum.

Tammy nodded begrudgingly. They did have an excellent selection of whiteboard markers at Officeworks. ‘But if he did that - he’d get arrested.’

‘Not - if he was dressed up as Robin Hood,’ said Mum.

‘Why would he dress up as Robin Hood?’ asked Tammy.

‘Imagine it,’ said Mum. ‘It’s Officeworks on a Thursday afternoon. The staff are going about their business stocking shelves, pretending to work at the register. When the automatic door opens – whoosh. And Mr Stuart leaps into the store – perhaps swinging out of a tree on a rope he tied there early. He’s carrying a bow and arrow, he has a jaunty feathered little cap on his head. And he’s wearing bright green tights.’

‘Ha,’ said Tammy. She was imagining what this would look like and it was very silly indeed.

‘Exactly,’ said Mum. ‘The staff at Officeworks aren’t going to notice his face. They’ll be too busy laughing at his legs.’

‘Mr Stuart’s legs would not look good in tights,’ Tammy agreed.

‘And the staff in Officeworks have all got those ear pieces, so they can have those creepy conversations with each other like they’re members of the secret service or something. So as Mr Stuart strides through the store dressed as Robin Hood, they’re all going to go straight on their ear pieces saying ‘get a load of the ninny in aisle three, he’s wearing bright green tights and giggling. No one would notice his face. He’d be in and out, with two dozen markers stuffed in his quiver no questions asked.’

‘He doesn’t do that,’ said Tammy.

‘There’s one way to find out for sure,’ said Mum.

‘What?’ asked Tammy.

‘You know how if you’re wearing trousers when you walk up a staircase, the leg of the trousers rides up as your knee bends,’ said Mum.

‘Yeah,’ said Tammy.

‘Next time you see Mr Stuart walking up steps,’ said Mum. ‘Check to see if he’s got green tights on underneath.’

‘You’re an idiot,’ said Tammy.

‘You say idiot, I say brilliant deductive mind,’ said Mum.

‘Idiot is the truth,’ said Tammy.

‘But what is the truth?’ said Mum.

‘Anything you don’t say,’ said Tammy.

‘Fair enough,’ conceded Mum. ‘But truth and reality are tremendously over-rated.’

Tammy when back to crushing her drink box with her fist. Talking about what hadn’t happened at school was better than talking about what had happened at school, there was always lots more to talk about.


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 across the Friday Barnes, Nanny Piggins and Peski Kids series. And now there are the audiobooks of ‘Friday Barnes, Girl Detective’ and ‘The Adventures of Nanny Piggins’ as well. You can order them all through your local bookstore. Or you can go to my website, and click on the Book Depository banner. They have all my titles and free international shipping. That’s it for now. Until next time. Goodbye.