Home Taping Is Killing Taping

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Notes:

1. Made on 13th October, 2022

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Tales From The Town #74: Surveillance Tapes (27-30)

27: Playground (break time)

“Who are you?” Tina asked the new girl.

“Who are you?” the new girl asked Tina.

“Tina,” said Tina.

“I’m called Tina too,” said Tina. “I can’t believe we’re both called Tina.”

“Everyone’s called Tina,” said Tina. She pointed round the playground. “Tina, Tina, Tina. And she’s Tina, and she’s Tina, too.”

“What about her?” the new Tina said, pointing to the only other girl hanging around outside.

“Oh she used to be called Tina but she changed it,” said Tina, rolling her eyes. “She’s called Teena now.”

Tina looked at Tina in confusion.

“With two E’s,” Tina clarified.

“Oh right,” said Tina. “How pretentious!”

28: The Beach (lunch time)

Antoine: How’s everything back at the house?
Agnes: Fine, fine. (pause) Actually, it’s pretty awful. Well, not awful, but, you know, there’s lots of weird things going on back home.
Antoine: New rooms again?
Agnes: No. Well, yes, but it’s not that. It’s the unsettling sort of weird. Strange phone calls, things going missing. Sometimes I keep getting the feeling we’re all being watched. And now today all the dolls disappeared. That was pretty weird.
Antoine: I thought you hated those dolls.
Agnes: Of course I don’t hate the dolls. They’re just… You have to admit they’re a bit creepy, right?
Antoine: I always thought they were sweet.
Agnes: Yeah, you would, I suppose.
Antoine: How are the kids?
Agnes: Oh they’re fine. Last week someone gave Claire some Wotsits. She went bright orange and started babbling about the future apparently. Then she threw up everywhere.
Antoine: Oh no. Is she okay?
Agnes: Yeah, she’s fine now. Worse than ever. But still… At least they’re back to school now, I suppose. Man, the summer holidays are so long…
Antoine: At least it looks like it might rain later. Finally wash all that summer away.

21: Detention

“What did you do?” Claire said.

“Nothing,” said Carolina. Carolina was a whole year older than Claire. “What did you do?”

“Nothing,” said Claire. She sat down on the piano at the front of the class room with a big discordant clang. “I never do anything wrong at all. Ever. I don’t know why I’m here at all.”

“Me neither,” said Carolina. She came over and sat down next to Claire with a smaller, higher pitched, discordant clang. “I’m the best behaved girl in the whole school and they’re all jealous.”

“I’m the best behaved girl in the whole town,” said Claire, proudly. She swung her feet back and forth and kicked the stool over.

“I’m the best behaved girl in the whole world,” said Carolina, as she swung her arms round and smacked the little pots of sunflowers off the window ledge and onto the floor.

“I’m the best behaved girl in the whole universe,” said Claire, as she jumped off the piano and stamped in all the mud they’d just spilt.

“What are you two doing in here?” the head mistress asked from the doorway.

“Nothing!”

22: Kitchen (after school)

Agnes: Look, I’m sorry everyone, I know it’s Friday, but I can’t find my purse. I think I might have left it in the cafe at the beach. Well, I hope I did, cause otherwise I don’t know where it is. So all I’ve got is… a pound. You’re going to have to share.
Claire: I don’t want to share. I got home from school first, so I should have it all to myself!
Ethel: You didn’t get home first.
Claire: I did!
Tina: We all got home together.
Claire: I rang the doorbell. That means I was first.
Ethel: We even waited for you while you were getting told off.
Claire: I wasn’t getting told off. I was getting told on!
Ethel: That’s not even a thing.
Claire: It is!
Ethel: It isn’t.
Tina: Anyway you weren’t first. Ringing the doorbell doesn’t mean anything.
Claire: If I hadn’t rung the doorbell no one would have answered the door and we’d all still be outside in the rain. We might all be DEAD!
Ethel: No we wouldn’t be.
Tina: It’s not even raining.
Claire: Not now. But it was. And I WAS first and that means I definitely should have all the money and you should all have nothing!
Agnes: None of you are having nothing. Or all of you are having nothing. It’s your choice.
Ethel: And she wasn’t first, Mum!
Tina: We were all first.
Claire: We can’t all be first. You might as well say we were all last when we all know Daniel was last because we ran ahead and left him.
Agnes: You shouldn’t run ahead and leave anyone. You’re supposed to come home together.
Claire: Well he shouldn’t have been spinning round and round on the spot and refusing to move then!
Daniel: I wasn’t spinning. I was rotating. Like the earth. Or the moon.
Claire: The moon doesn’t rotate. It just stares at us like a great big gruesome eye!
Daniel: You’re a great big gruesome eye!
Agnes: Daniel!
Claire: I am not! And even if I was a great big gruesome eye I still got home first.
Ethel: You didn’t!
Claire: You didn’t! I did.
Ethel: She didn’t, Mum!
Claire: I did. I definitely did.
Agnes: Actually, I think I’m going to have to agree with the others here Claire. Sorry.
Claire: But Mum! I really did. No one else rings the doorbell as loudly as me. Or as long.
Agnes: I know that, Claire. It’s not that, though. It’s more the, er, philosophical nature of the debate.
Claire: The what? I was first and that’s that.
Agnes: Look, how shall I put this. Okay, as we were just talking about the moon. Who was the first person on the moon, Claire?
Claire: I don’t know. Selene?
Agnes: What?
Claire: You know, Selene. She was born on the moon.
Agnes: I see. Well, I’m not sure she could have been the first person on the moon if she was born there.
Claire: Selene’s Mum then.
Daniel: The first person on the moon was Noel Wrongson and the second person on the moon was Fuzz Buzz Buzz.
Claire: Fuzz Buzz Buzz? You’ve made that up, Daniel. Mum, Daniel made that up!
Agnes: Well it doesn’t matter what their names were, Claire. The point is that actually they were both the first person on the moon. Who the first person to step outside doesn’t matter. Because they were in the spaceship together and they’d already landed on the moon by then.
Claire: So who was the first person to step outside?
Agnes: Neil Armstrong. But that’s not the —
Claire: See! Someone’s always first and someone’s always last. And I was first and Fuzz Buzz Buzz was last and that’s that. Now where’s my pound, Mum?

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Notes:

1. Written in May, July and September 2022

__________

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Tales From The Town #73: Surveillance Tapes (21-23)

21: Loft/Basement (simultaneous recording)

(unidentified voices rising then falling, occasional jubilant(?!) screams)

“…the witch?”
“The witch!”
“There’s no one else!”
“Only her!”
“Not the little ones!”
“But the witch!”
“The witch!”
“We have to ask her!”
“Ask the witch?”
“Ask the witch to help!”
“To help!”
“We have to make her promise!”
“Make her promise to help!”
“Tell her we can pay!”
“Tell her we know the price!”
“The price of a promise!”
“A promise to help!”
“It’s the only way!”
“The only way we can help!”
“Help the little ones!”
“And the big ones!”
“Help the house!”
“And the tree!”
“And the cat!”
“And her evil claws!”
“There’s no one else!”
“Just the witch!”
“…the witch?”
“The witch!”

22: Hall

(phone rings)

Agnes: Hello?… No, I’m sorry, I think you must have the wrong number… No, there’s no Mr. Terafina here, I can assure you….It doesn’t matter how you spell it…. Yes, I am quite sure… That’s none of your business, Madam!… I am being polite… You’re the one accusing me of all sorts… Well, you do that, then. I’ll tell them exactly what I’ve told you.,,, For the third time, there’s no Mr. Terafina here… Well, I don’t know why he gave you my number, but he doesn’t live here… This number’s as old as the house and as old as the exchange. It hasn’t changed since forever… And good day to you, too!…(click)… Urgh!

(the phone is placed back in its cradle with an audible bang)

23: By The Swing (Saturday afternoon)

Tina: What’s wrong Claire?
Claire:
Ethel: You look all funny.
Claire: ….
Ethel: Have you been eating Wotsits again, Claire?
Claire: …..
Tina: You look like you’ve been eating Wotsits again.
Claire: ……
Ethel: You know you’re not allowed to eat Wotsits, Claire.
Claire: …….
Claire: ……..
Ethel: Mum! Claire’s been eating Wotsits again!
Claire: ………

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Notes:

1. Written in May and also August, 2022

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Thank you!


Tales From The Town #68: Surveillance Tapes (5-7)

5. Anna and Oya’s room (evening)

Oya: Sometimes I wonder if we already know everything there is to know about each other. Everything we’ve said. Everything we’ve done. Everything we’ve felt.
Anna: There’s always more to learn than we currently know.
Oya: That sounds like the sort of thing you’d find painted on a piece of driftwood in a coffee shop by the sea.
Anna: I actually used to own a coffee shop by the sea.
Oya: Really?
Anna: Well, not exactly own. I sort of inherited it one summer.
Oya: How do you sort of inherit a coffee shop?
Anna: One of my aunts was ill and everyone else had jobs and I was 18 and considered by almost everyone in the family to be both responsible enough and boring enough to run it instead. Which basically meant nobody else wanted to look after it for my aunt while my aunt was ill so I had to instead.
Oya: I see. How come you’ve never mentioned this before?
Anna: Well, it’s not exactly interesting, is it?
Oya: It sounds quite interesting to me. I want to hear all about it now. So where was it?
Anna: By the sea. I already told you that. Sometimes the waves would come rushing through the door and you had to sit on the tables instead of the chairs. I’d send the cups of coffee across the room on little paper boats.
Oya: Is any of this actually true?
Anna: It might be. It could be. You’ll never know for sure.
Oya: (sigh) I really need to find my phone.

6. Bathroom (bedtime)

Claire: Who’s been using my toothbrush?!
Tina: No one’s been using your brush, Claire.
Ethel: Your brush is the worst.
Claire: It’s not.
Ethel: It is. You bite it all the time and now the bristles go everywhere!
Claire: They do not!
Daniel: It’s like brushing your teeth with a hedgehog.
Claire: It’s nothing like that at all!
Daniel: Or a porcupine.
Claire: So you have been using my toothbrush?
Daniel: Or a pinecone.
Claire: I told you someone had been using my toothbrush!
Daniel: A pincushion pinecone porcupine porpoisecone.
Claire: Shut up and brush your teeth, Daniel! No talking!

7. Corridor (night)

(unidentified voices rising then falling)

“… watching!”
“He’s listening!”
“He’s stealing!”
“He’s nasty!”
“He’s creepy!”
“He’s evil!”
“He’s in our rooms!”
“He’s in our heads!”
“He’s in our dreams!”
“We have to tell someone!”
“We have to get help!”
“From the little ones!”
“The little ones!”
“The little ones!”
“They have to stop him!”
“Before it’s too late!”
“It’s too late!”
“Too late!”
“Late!”
“…..”

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Notes:

1. Written on May 20th-21st, 2022

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Thank you!


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!
(pause)
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!
(pause)
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!
(pause)
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!

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Notes:

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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