Tales From The Town #68: Surveillance Tapes (1-4)

1. Kitchen (breakfast time)

Ethel: Someone’s eaten my yoghurt!
Tina: Someone’s drunk my milkshake!
Daniel: A milkshake is a yoghurt in a bottle.
Ethel: Mum! Someone’s been eating our food?
Agnes (from the garden): Was it Claire?
Claire: NO!
Daniel: A yoghurt is a milkshake in a pot.

2. The Hall (lunchtime)

(phone ringing)

Agnes: …Yes? Hello?….Oh, hi Mum. How are you?… Well, if you want me to answer faster why don’t you ring my mobile instead of this old thing in the hall? I was upstairs… We have a lot of stairs, remember? Actually I think we’ve got even more now since the last tme you stayed… Yes I know how far away you live, Mum… and I know how much it costs!…. I wasn’t complaining at all…No, everything’s fine here, Mum. I don’t know what the children have been telling you but really he’s just this totally unremarkable man. I barely even know he’s here. I see that boy in the mirror more often than I see him… He is not a ghost, Mum. We’ve been over this before… He’s just a delayed reflection… Well, you believe what you want and I’ll believe the truth, okay?… Fine… Yes, okay, I’ll tell the children you called…. No I won’t tell the children WHY you called…. Goodbye….Bye…. Yes, bye Mum….You’re always welcome here, Mum, you know that…. Of course I mean it!… Okay, bye…. Speak to you soon….Bye… [click]…Urgh…

3. By the swing (after school)

Claire: I’m the oldest. I should go first.
Ethel: You’re not the oldest.
Claire: Well I’m the biggest. And the loudest.
Tina: That’s not the same thing.
Ethel: At all.
Claire: It is.
Ethel: It isn’t.
Claire: It should be.
Ethel: It still isn’t.
Claire: Well someone has to be the oldest and it might as well be me.
Tina: None of us are the oldest.
Daniel: We’re twins.
Claire: But there’s four of us.
Daniel: Twin twins.
Ethel: We’re all the same age.
Claire: That’s stupid. One of us must have come out first. And I bet it was me!
Tina: None of us came out first.
Ethel: We all came out together.
Claire: How could that work? We wouldn’t fit! It’s not like they sliced Mum open and pulled us out all at once.
Tina: I think that actually is what happened.
Ethel: That’s why Mum’s got that big scar.
Claire: That’s disgusting! (pause) How awful. Poor Mum. (pause) I’m still the oldest I just know it.

4. Dining Room (dinner time)

Agnes: Now I spoke to Christopher and he said it might have been him who ate all your yoghurts and drank all your milkshakes.
Claire: See?! I knew it! I hate him!
Agnes: Might have been him, Claire. And if it was he apologises.
Claire: He hasn’t apologised to me!
Agnes: Claire! He didn’t even eat anything of yours so I’m not sure why you’re so angry about it all..
Claire: Only because he forgot to look in the freezer.
Tina: What?
Ethel: What are you putting things in the freezer for?
Claire: I’m allowed to put things in the freezer if I want.
Daniel: A freezer’s a fridge that freezes food.
Tina: Not if it’s bread.
Ethel: Or cornflakes.
Claire: I didn’t put bread in the freezer. Or cornflakes! What sort of idiot would put cornflakes in the freezer?
Daniel: A fridge is a freezer that foodens the fridge.
Ethel: Well what are you putting in the freezer then?
Claire: I’m not telling.
Tina: We can just look you know?
Agnes: Yeah, what exactly are you putting in the freezer, Claire?
Claire: It’s a secret.
Ethel: I’m taking a look.
Tina: So am I.
Agnes: Be careful you two! I don’t want one of you falling in there again.
Claire: Ha! I’ve never fallen in the freezer at all!
Tina: It’s okay Mum we’ve got a stool.
Ethel: See!
Tina: My milkshakes!
Ethel: My yoghurts!
Claire: They’re not yours. They’re mine. I put them there.
Agnes: Well, they’re everyone’s now. You’ll have to share.
Claire: I don’t want to share.
Agnes: Claire…
Claire: Fine!
Agnes: And you know Claire, you really shouldn’t put cornflakes in the freezer.
Claire: I didn’t put cornflakes in the freezer. I already told you that!
Agnes: Well someone did. And so much bread!



1. Written in May (2, 3) and July (1,4) 2022
2. There’s a chapter in An Escape that has the same name, very similar illustration as this.
3. Although I think the tapes there are probably nicer looking.


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