Totally Made Up Tales is improvised storytelling for the Internet.
We record completely new stories without any advance planning, assembled into episodes of sinister, touching and whimsical tales for the discerning listener.
Lockdown tales 4
Lockdown may be over, but our store of lockdown tales is not.
Music: Creepy — Bensound.com.
Here are some Totally Made Up Tales brought to you by the magic of the internet.
Try placing your hands on my thighs and then rub.
Language makes it easy to understand other people and animals.
Friends don’t listen to moaning. Friends tell each other to shut up.
One day, Maisie got out of bed, stretched, and thought, I wonder what I should do today. She arched her back and flicked her tail and stretched her claws. Perhaps she would go and chase birds. That will be a wonderful thing to pass the time, particularly if she could catch that fat blue tit that had been taunting her for days. She jumped up onto the window sill and out, climbing up onto the roof.
From her high up vantage point, she looked over the gardens of the neighbourhood that she regarded quite rightly as her own.
There, three gardens down, sat a bird. Perched on an old fashioned flat surfaced bird table covered in bacon rinds, pecking away at them with an arrogant swagger in its manner. Maisie extended her claws and licked them carefully, making sure that they were sharp and ready for action. Stealthily putting one paw in front of the other, she crept across the tiles of the roof, with the smoothness of a monorail.
First, from her own house to the next door. And then the one beyond that, and finally to the one in whose garden the bird perched. She crouched low against the roof tiles, peering intently down at the bird, still unaware of her presence. And then, letting out a yodelling screech, she leapt for the bird table.
Midway through her jump, the bird, alerted by her yodel, turned, looked at her, and took flight.
Maisie landed on the bird table, which wobbled precariously. As it wobbled slightly, it fell onto its side and an ungainly heap of cat, bacon rind, and table were left on the lawn.
From inside the house, Maisie heard the owner yelling. He was fumbling for the key for the back door and looked like the sort of angry red-faced man that might teach geography. Maisie took off like a shot. And crouched in the branches of a nearby tree where she wouldn't be able to be reached, she licked the bacon fat off her paws and was surprisingly pleased by the taste.
Perhaps, she thought, I should hunt bacon next.
Timothy sat down on a rock, at the side of the road. He was weary, having walked from the village all the way out to where he was now. The flat, marshy fields of the fens stretched out in a featureless expanse, as far as the horizon in all directions. He was beginning to worry that the pub that he was heading for, maybe didn't actually exist.
It had sounded so attractive when his Airbnb host had recommended it to him as a pleasant Sunday afternoon outing. But now, the wind whistling between the rocks and the heather, he was having second thoughts. As he sat on his stone, a cold feeling started to creep from the rocks into his bones. He thought he should get moving again, but somehow couldn't quite pick up the energy to stand up.
It seemed that he was getting heavier by the moment, and that his thoughts were slowing. His heart rate seemed to be slowing too. His pulse, almost impossible to discern.
Eventually the sculpture park in Lowestoft became Britain's top tourist attraction for 2020.
Walking home one afternoon, Melissa stopped by a bank by the side of the road to pick some wild flowers. They were a wonderful selection of colours, bright yellow, dark purple, and pale cornflower blue. She wrapped them carefully in a scarf that she had with her, and took them home and arranged them in a vase.
The smell of the flowers filled her living room. It was rich and intoxicating, with that edge of the night that comes from wild flowers. Even by the time she was getting ready to go to bed, she could still feel permeated through the house, the magic and feeling of dusk.
As she slept, the land of dreams washed itself
Lockdown tales 3
Another set of tales improvised during lockdown.
Music: Creepy — Bensound.com.
Here are some Totally Made Up Tales, brought to you by the magic of the internet.
Put your faith away. It will hold you later.
Try rubbing me. I'll pop out of my clogs.
Hardly anyone from Germany likes thinking hard about warfare.
It was a bright Tuesday morning and Linda was making herself some eggs for breakfast. She broke the eggs into a ramekin before pouring them into the bowl which, she'd read, is something that you should do. Having poured them into the bowl, she whisked them because she was making eggs of the scrambled variety.
As she whisked them, the eggs became frothier and frothier and frothier and threatened to over spill the edge of her whisking bowl. Not knowing quite what to do, she, nonetheless, didn't stop whisking and gradually a tendril of frothy egg spilled over the side of the bowl. This she felt was a disaster. Linda was a very tidy person and any threat of a spillage she was going to treat with the utmost seriousness. She brandished her whisk at the spillage on the floor and she whisked it.
Unfortunately by so doing, she made it even more frothy and it started to spread across the kitchen floor. As it spread, it starts to gain consciousness.
It eventually towered over her a frothy monster with an opening where its mouth would be. It breathed heavily on her, ruffling her hair back around her face. An eggy smell enveloped her kitchen, and she backed away, trapped between the fridge and the washing machine.
"It's time for breakfast," said the monster, as it gobbled her up.
Lights cast shadows. Shadows hide evil. Don't use lights.
Use your noggin wisely. It will let you down.
Screw you, Mr Blair! I want to eat you up!
One morning, Erica woke up to discover that her boyfriend Jonathan was missing. Normally this would not cause her concern, but Jonathan had been suffering from a very severe case of measles and certainly wouldn't have been well enough to go out for his own thing.
She went downstairs to the living room where he'd been sleeping on the sofa in order to be able to toss and turn in his feverish state. But he was nowhere to be found. She called for him, but there was no answer. She searched every room without finding him.
Being a sensible girl, she decided straight away to report the matter to the police, not to bother them, but just so that it was on record at the earliest opportunity. She picked up the landline phone in order to dial them, but mysteriously, there was no dialing tone. She went back into the bedroom and picked up her mobile phone, but despite being plugged in overnight, it had no battery.
She decided that the best thing to do would be to walk to the police station and report it that way, but when she opened the front door, something shocking greeted her. The whole house had been enclosed in a clear plastic dome, which appeared to be hermetically sealed from the outside world.
Some two meters in front of her front door, the dome curved down into the ground and she could see that there was a sign plastered on it on the other side.
It said, "Beware: Plague."
Is that the end? I mean, that could be the end.
It could be the end.
That can be the end. Why can it not just be the end?
It could be, "Next to the sign on the other side of the dome, Jonathan was waving at her."
One day, a scientist called Peter found the solution to everything. It was to dissolve it all in alcohol. He started with himself.
Michael had always loved riding his bicycle. He would get up early in the morning so that he could get a bike ride in before his day started properly. And once he day started properly, he would do as much as possible of it on his bike.
One year, he decided that he was going to push himself further and enter a really difficult race. He researched all of the poss
Lockdown tales 2
Another set of tales improvised during lockdown. Content warning: bit sweary!
Music: Creepy — Bensound.com.
Here are some Totally Made Up Tales, brought to you by the magic of the internet.
Grass never grows twice. It always leaves a stain.
Refresh your browser often. It will speed everything up.
Marry wisely, lest you fall badly into debt.
Eliminate waste from your life using spoons and forks.
Caring for people is hard. So care slightly left.
Put your feet on somebody. It'll stool them slightly.
It shouldn't be this hard, Freddy thought, to pick the right shade of red for your accent wall. He tried pillar box red, but it was too showy. He tried wine red, but it was too dull and gloomy. What I cannot cope with, he thought to himself, is the sheer range of options in the red catalog. He looked at the paint colour charts spread out on the ground before him. There must be more than 200 shades of red alone, and this was only from one range. He quivered to think what would happen if he went into B&Q to look at theirs. This was simply unacceptable and he would have to do something about it. I shall simply have to eliminate some of the colours of red from the spectrum, he thought.
The easiest way to do this would be using some kind of reverse prism. Happily, Freddy was an esoteric sort of individual and had a whole cabinet full of prisms and various refractory implements, and he began to take them out, line them up, and judge which would be best. It took him three and a half years to determine the exact right combination of different-shaped and sized prisms to eliminate red from any colour light passing into the contraption. But he succeeded, and was dismayed to discover that, with some of the shades of reds now missing from the spectrum, everything was a little bit too blue. In fact, it seemed that there were now more blues than there had ever been before. And this truly offended his sense of balance and symmetry and all that is fair and equitable in the world, and he thought, well, I'm just going to have to get rid of some of this blue.
And so, he returned to his cabinet of prisms and added more subtlety and different colours and shades of crystal to use in the prism contraption, and finally, after five years, was able to sit down and have to reduce the number of blues to a palatable number. The greenish tints that settled over everything was, to his eyes, even worse than the blue. And so, back and forth, this went on for several years, tinkering and adjusting each time. Until eventually, the only colour that was left was brown. And Freddy looked at it and it was a nice shade of brown. He liked the brown, and he put the brown on his wall, and he stepped back and thought, what this could do with is just a little bit of colour.
One morning, when Margaret got up, Jeffrey wasn't there. What was there, on the pillow next to her was a short note, which simply said, "Had enough. Good luck. Bye." But first, Margaret felt puzzled and somewhat thrown off balance by this. It seemed to come out of nowhere. She checked the wardrobes and the chest of drawers, just to be sure it wasn't a joke, but sure enough, everything that was Jeffrey's was gone. She went to work that day as usual, and got home again in the evening as usual and made dinner. And throughout the day, she wondered what exactly it was that she'd done wrong. She reflected as she went through her day, that nothing very much had changed. Apart from the fact that she was cooking for one, everything else was pretty much as usual. And yet, it felt so very, very empty.
But, could she pin it down more specifically? What exactly was this emptiness, and how was she feeling it? She thought back to the beginning of the day. Where did the feeling of empty start? She realised that it had just started as soon as she woke, in a bed that was now only half full. "Aha," she said. It had continued as she had eaten her breakfast on her o
During the Covid-19 lockdown, we started getting together on Zoom to improvise. Here are some stories we told.
Music: Creepy — Bensound.com.
Walking home, Phillip observed children playing on the swing. He pushed them off.
Mark put a wimple on and started singing like he was Sister Act.
Morning had broken in South Sussex. The animals were awake and violent.
Opening his present, Timothy discovered something surprising. It was his own head inside.
Heating my house takes many slaves. They burn coal and sometimes, burn themselves.
Susie put gin in everything, including her mother's tea. Rest in peace.
And now some slightly longer stories.
David rode his bicycle to work. It had a bright, shiny bell and a light that he could use when it was dark. One day it developed a puncture and stopping by the side of the road to fix the puncture, he was run over by a car. The ambulance came quickly and whisked him off to the emergency department of the local hospital. The doctors patched him up as best they could and although he was to walk with a limp for the rest of his life, he was more or less all right. The only problem was he needed to top up his pressure every day.
Mabel had always wanted to keep chickens. One day, she went to a garden center and got some. Unfortunately her husband had other ideas of the best thing to do with them. One by one her chickens started to go missing. When she questioned him about it, he looked at her with flashing eyes. "Don't worry about the chickens," he would say. The satanic rituals he performed each night made him more and more powerful until one day he became Prime Minister. Unfortunately by then he had run out of chickens, so he only stayed Prime Minister for about 15 days.
Waking one morning, Jeremy opened his eyes. In front of him was a gorgeous sight. The woman he loved had climbed through his window in the night. Climbing the rough exterior walls of the tower had given her cuts and scrapes on her body. However, he didn't care. She looked amazing to him. She however was shocked and appalled when she woke up to discover herself in his bedroom, covered in bruises and scratches that she had no memory of getting. "What the f**k did you do to me?" She reached for her mobile phone, which fortunately she had thought to bring with her. Jeremy now languishes in prison. His beloved does not want to have anything to do with him. But she still sleep walks every night.
Delia Smith wanted to boil an egg.
First of course, she had to find the perfect pan. Fortunately, Delia's kitchen is huge and it has every type of pan conceivable, extremely well-filed. Her first thought was that she wanted a very small pan, almost exactly the size of the egg. So she went to the very small pans section, that is first organised by diameter and then by depth. And she found herself one, which she believed would be about exactly the size of a regular farm egg. Well, when she put the egg into it and filled the pan with water, she became bothered by a particular detail that she hadn't thought of. Because the pan was such a similar shape to the egg, it wasn't able to sit on its side properly once the water was in.
Next, she thought, maybe what she needed was an enormous pan, and then some kind of gantry to hold the egg in the exact centre. She took a golf buggy to the other end of her kitchen and went to the large pans and picked out more or less a cauldron. Placing it on the back of the buggy, she then went off to her bits and bobs cupboard and found something that she could use as a gantry that had originally been intended for cubing beetroots. Returning to the the main cooking area, she assembled the contraption and placed an egg within it. And then she went to fill up the cauldron with water.
But, quelle dommage! she had failed to take something very important into account. The time that it takes to boil water increases exponentially with the volume. When sh
Episode 15: The Sailor's Wife, The Ship Awakes, and other stories
Our third and final episode of maritime tales. Among some lighthearted shorts, we meet a sailor's wife, and then witness the birth of the ship that's we've heard so much about.
Music: Creepy — Bensound.com.
James: Here are some Totally Made Up Tales, brought to you by the magic of the internet.
Alternating: Jump over small hoops. It's better than going through them.
Sweeten your deal with honey. It will help you get sales.
Mixing your metaphors will lead you to water.
Walk a long way. You'll clear your mind and stretch your legs.
James: And now: The Sailor's Wife.
Alternating: Heather was the wife of a sailor who spent many months away at sea at a time. She survived on hope and her only consolation was her child, Phillip. He was the apple of her eye. Three years old and running around like a maniac. Just the spit of his father.
One day, Heather and Phillip were playing in the sand when Phillip saw a ship entering the harbour.
"That is my Daddy's ship," he cried.
"No," said Heather. "Your daddy is away for another six months."
"No," said Phillip. "That is my Daddy's ship," and he stamped his foot petulantly.
Heather caught him up in an embrace. "We'll go and look at it."
They walked to the harbour wall, Phillip squirming in anticipation.
"There he is!", he said, pointing to a man walking away from the ship.
"No," said Heather. "That man is too tall."
"There!" said Phillip, pointing at a different man.
"No," said Heather. "That man is too short."
"There!", said Phillip, pointing at a third man.
"Well," said Heather, "it is very similar to Roger. I wonder what he's doing back so soon."
They walked quickly to where the man was standing.
"Are you my husband?", asked Heather.
"Are you my Daddy?", asked Phillip.
"Are you my family?", asked the man, and they embraced.
"Why are you back so soon?" asked Heather.
"That is a long story," said Roger, "and one day, I will tell it to you."
"We met a disaster just as we were passing the Rock of Gibraltar. The Captain saw three figures floating above the deck and one pointed at him and let a fearsome cry. The second pointed at him and spoke words of dread. The third pointed at him and spoke nothing. The Captain locked himself in his cabin and refused to come out, insisting that we return home at once. The First Mate brought us around and navigated us safely home. I do not know when we shall sail again, but this is a terrible portent."
Heather held his hand and hoped that he would never go away again.
Phillip also held his father's hand.
Alternating: Attention to detail is a devil's errand, so allow yourself to be sloppy.
Muster Mister Custer, pester Lester. Faster, Pastor Caster! and foster Coster Gloucester.
"Splice the main brace," said Jeffrey, and proceeded to get drunk.
James: And now: The Ship Awakes.
Andrew: Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang went the hammers against the wood and the sound reverberated around the mighty shed of the shipyard.
James: They were putting the finishing touches on the latest ship to roll through the George & Brothers Shipyards, at Chatham.
Andrew: She was a truly beautiful vessel, destined for the merchant marine. Large, imposing, grandiose, sleek, missing only the final pieces of decking and the mast to be fixed and raised.
James: Spencer, the ship's architect was watching from one side, from the office, as the men swarmed over her.
Andrew: He turned, from watching the finishing touches being made, to the ship that he had been imagining for so long. Rolled up the plans on his desk, locked the office door, and headed off to meet the ship's new owner.
James: Over a pint in the Rope and Anchor, they toasted the successful completion of the ship's hull, and looked forward to her launch next week, to join the merchant fleet owned by this particular businessman.
Andrew: The end of the day came, the foreman blew his whistle, the workmen downed their tools and set out for their homes, and the shipyard shed was
Episode 14: The Stowaway
Another episode of tales at sea. Following on from the mysterious tales of the Dark Gentleman, we find another curious passenger on board…although will they turn out to be any less disturbing to the crew?
Music: Creepy — Bensound.com.
Andrew: Here are some Totally Made Up Tales, brought to you by the magic of the internet. This week: The Stowaway.
James: Martin, the First Mate, thought he knew everything about this ship, as First Mates really ought to.
Andrew: It was not the largest ship the world had ever seen, but nevertheless it contained many nooks and crannies and corners that men who had served on it across journeys of several months had still not managed to explore.
James: Martin, however, knew them all. But something was not quite right.
Andrew: There was a strange energy on board the ship, that was quite different to the masculine peace that settled aboard the boat once the shore was safely left behind.
James: It reminded him of the one or two times when they'd transported families from Southampton across to the New World looking for a new life.
Andrew: It was not as strange as the time when the famous occultist traveled with them and disappeared halfway across the ocean, but it was still something not quite right.
James: Martin didn't like it when things weren't quite right, it upset the smooth running of the ship and it made the men grumble, and that was one of the worst things to contend with.
Andrew: He decided that he would determine for himself whether there was anything untoward going on, on the ship, but he would do it in a subtle and determined manner.
James: He drew up a schedule where he could regularly walk every turn and every corner of every deck, both above and below.
Andrew: He began his exploration and very soon began to have an even more acute sense that there was something either just ahead of him or just behind him, but it was as if, whenever he turned his head, the thing it was that was following him or that he was following — and he could not be sure which it was — had disappeared, and he was left once more alone.
James: He had first had the sense a day or two out of port, and it continued for a full week, gradually making him more and more frustrated, until one day, Timothy, the old cook, came to him.
Andrew: Timothy was a grumpy man, perpetually red in the face with irritation, and missing his right leg. He had adapted his kitchen galley successfully so that he could navigate his way around, but in all other areas of the deck he moved on traditional sailor's wooden crutches.
James: He came to Martin with a complaint about theft.
Andrew: An entire barrel of biscuits, which he had been intending to use later that week, had disappeared from the kitchen, lock, stock, and barrel.
James: Martin knew that none of the men would have tried to secrete an entire barrel anywhere else about the ship, it was a ridiculous and foolhardy notion that you could even get away with it, and so he continued his pacing about the decks until he discovered the barrel, now empty, in one of the smaller holds.
Andrew: Scattered on the floor around the barrel here and there were biscuity crumbs.
James: Martin spent some time checking the rest of the hold, looking behind the crates and boxes, and underneath the tarpaulins, but he could not find any indication, other than the barrel and the crumbs, that anything was amiss.
Andrew: Later that day, in the evening, he sat down with the Captain for dinner, and the Captain turned to him with his customary question and said, "Well then, First Mate, what are the news?"
James: He recounted how Timothy had come to him and his investigation and what he'd discovered, and the Captain looked at him with suspicion crossing his face, "Have you felt a presence onboard ship?" he asked.
Andrew: "Well sir, as it happens," Martin replied, "I have felt a rather different atmosphere on the ship than usual… it has seemed that there has been something here."