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Close Encounters of the Tubby Kind

Nathaniel

SportsAlcohol.com cofounder Nathaniel moved to Brooklyn, as you do. His hobbies include cutting up rhubarb and laying down. His favorite things are the band Moon Hooch and custard from Shake Shack. Old ladies love his hair.
Nathaniel

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This story was originally written for a 10th grade English class.

Roy Bellows winced as the scalding soup spilled over the edges of the green plastic bowl onto his hands, and he flung the bowl onto the tile below him. As he nursed his blistered fingers, he looked down at the mess he had caused and cursed himself. Suddenly, he cocked his head and looked at the overturned bowl again. Something about the half a sphere protruding from the floor fascinated him. Instead of mopping up the soup that covered the floor he went to the cupboard and got another green bowl. He set it down right next to the first one and studied what he saw. Acting on a sudden impulse, he used a modeling knife to cut the outer edges of the bowl off and slid them together to connect them. He felt an absurd wave of pleasure course through him, but immediately it left him in favor of puzzlement. Why had this image suddenly come to him?

Over the next few weeks, Roy found himself continually being drawn to this shape, this image. He doodled it on the comic section of the newspaper every morning, he sculpted the connected hemispheres in ice cream sundaes and even mashed potatoes, and he even went as far to erect a diorama of this structure on a grassy field on the floor of his usually well kept apartment.

Now in addition to being a compulsive idiot, Roy was also portly, middle aged, near-sighted, single, and lazy. It was because of his inherent indolence that he would take frequent breaks while constructing his diorama to peruse the fine public programming to be found on PBS during the daytime. One of his viewing choices was eventually a children’s program called “Teletubbies.” Now if you’ve ever seen this show you most likely can attest to the strange call the vibrant colors and cutesy-poo situations exert on the unsuspecting viewer.

Roy sat entranced as Tinky Winky (the largest, purple Teletubby), Dipsy (the green, and next largest of the Teletubbies), Laa Laa (the yellow Teletubby), and Po (the smallest, red Teletubby) frolicked and had a merry old time in Teletubbyland with the rabbits and the flowers. Roy could not tear his attention away from the program until it had concluded.

Whether he became aware of it or not, Roy soon began to make it a daily ritual of staying home from his job as a patent attorney, working on his double-domed diorama, and turning the television on for a break just in time for the Teletubbies (which he watched, regardless of the endless repetition, all the way through every day). After 16 days of sitting in a darkened room with the blinds pulled close, and his rapt attention focused on the antics of Tinky Winky and the gang, he almost fell out of his chair from a sudden and ominous realization. As the Teletubbies continued to gallivant across his television set, he looked back at his diorama. He glanced back at the television to get a look at the building the Teletubbies called home and, his suspicions confirmed, he turned back to his sculpture. All this time he had been obsessing over the Tubbytronic Superdome, the house of the Teletubbies!

Shocked he turned back to the show and felt his troubles melt away as Dipsy scrubbed his feet with his Tubbysponge. In spite of the deep surprise he had just felt and the turmoil it had caused in his life, he felt perfectly content to continued watching until Tubby Bye-Bye. He didn’t seem to find it odd at all that as the baby in the sun squealed and set on the television show he became extremely drowsy and drifted off into a deep sleep.

He became aware that he was lying face down on an odd metal operating table without any clothes on. He could hear a soothing voice somewhere out of sight, in the inky darkness surrounding him on all sides say, “Okay, Tinky Winky, time to insert the Tubbyprobe.”

Roy awoke with a start and shook the bizarre dream out of his mind. He drifted back to sleep.

He became aware that he was lying face down on an odd metal operating table without any clothes on. He could hear a soothing voice somewhere out of sight, in the inky darkness surrounding him on all sides say, “Okay, Dipsy, time to insert the Tubbyprobe.”

Roy’s eyes again burst open as he tried to think of something else. As he attempted to keep his mind on a different subject, he fell back asleep.

He became aware that he was lying face down on an odd metal operating table without any clothes on. He could hear a soothing voice somewhere out of sight, in the inky darkness surrounding him on all sides say, “Okay, Laa Laa, time to insert the Tubbyprobe.”

Roy fell off the couch and muttered to himself wondering what on earth was going on. Before he could even pick himself up off of the ground, he had fallen asleep again.

Roy became aware that he was lying face down on an odd metal operating table without any clothes on. He could hear a soothing voice somewhere out of sight, in the inky darkness surrounding him on all sides say, “Okay, Po, time to insert the Tubbyprobe.”

Roy awoke and stood up, confused and shuddering at the memory of the dream. He ran to the bathroom and splashed cold water on his face.

The next day, he went back to work and was quite exhausted after having to catch up with all of his work and after spending the morning being berated by his boss. He felt a twinge of disappointment when he realized that he had missed the Teletubbies. He ate dinner, took a shower, and settled down to bed. No sooner had his eyes closed than he was being pulled out of his bed and carried above the heads of his abductors as they ran to the window and jumped out.

Roy gasped and sat up in bed as he ran over the events of the dream in his mind again. He rubbed his eyes and laid down again as he drifted back into unconsciousness.

He hurtled out his window, held aloft by his kidnappers, but the glass didn’t shatter as they passed through it, and as they entered the outside air, they rose up into the night sky. His abductors let go of him and as they fell upwards faster and faster he could see them and realized that they were Teletubbies! He looked up, and saw a gaping hole in the sky that he was being sucked into. Some kind of tractor beam seemed to be pulling him into the giant Tubbycruiser overhead, and as he entered the hole, it hissed shut behind him, and he felt the sensation of extreme speed as he was grabbed by strong, but fuzzy arms and thrown into a cell that was lined with what appeared to be unbreakable glass. Now the images in Roy’s dream started to flash by in rapid succession, and he was surprised to find he could understand, with surreal clarity, everything he saw.

He seemed to have been taken to the actual Teletubbyland. He was herded into a metal dungeon in the bowels of the real Tubbytronic Superdome along with a group of about ten other men and women. Every now and then they were let out into the field to stretch and exercise, but a Teletubby that they didn’t ever seem to show on the television program was in charge of them. He was named Jumbly Jombly and was colored black. He had a pentagram-shaped protuberance coming out of the top of his head, and a nasty green whip that he used to keep the abductees in line.

Roy remembered watching as the Teletubbies feasted on Tubbycustard and Tubbytoast, while the humans were given warm water and Tubbygruel. Periodically, groups of people were led out of the dungeon, while other groups were led in. Soon, it was Roy’s turn to go, and he followed as Dipsy led the prisoners with Po taking up the rear with Jumbly Jombly’s whip. A variety of experiments were performed, utilizing various Tubby instruments, but the most horrific of all came last. All the experimental patients were laid on medical tables and fastened down as a strange shuffling creation made its way out of the shadows. This mechanical monster had a hose coming from its face that moved of its own accord. Horribly bulging eyes were to be found atop this robotic terror, roving around crazily. The patient at the end of the row of tables began to struggle in abject horror as the monstrous vacuum machine scuttled toward him. Tinky Winky and Laa Laa set about removing the skull of the patient above their ears, exposing the brain. The vacuum, which the Teletubbies called Noo Noo, extended its hose towards the brain and sucked it right out of the skull. Roy felt the contents of his stomach heave, and watched in a kind of perverse fascination as an unintelligible analysis tumbled from Noo Noo as he moved to his next victim. Roy began to fear for his own brain, and trembled in his bonds awaiting his turn, which never came…never came…never came.

Roy was returned to his home and the Tubbycruiser hovered off to collect a new sampling of the human race. As he settled back into his bed in his dream, he sat bolt upright in bed quivering in abhorrence of the images in his dream. He wondered what on earth was wrong with him.

Suddenly, a deafening pounding shook his door in its frame, and made the hinges creak. He rushed to the door and unfastened the bolts and the door swung wide. Strange men wearing trenchcoats and snap-brimmed hats walked inside and Roy gaped at them in amazement.

“Are you from the government?” Roy asked, his voice faltering and the strange men giggled with high-pitched voices. The tallest one stepped forward and removed his hat and coat to reveal…Tinky Winky! Roy gasped in horror.

“My dreams…,” he whispered. “They were real?”

“Yes,” Tinky Winky growled as he stepped forward menacingly. “We abducted you, but you survived. Your brain tissue was left intact.”

“Why?”

“The great windmill declared that we had enough data. You weren’t needed.”

“What do you want?”

“We want good ratings!” Tinky Winky said, and all four Teletubbies erupted into a fit of giggling.

“The youth of this world is being indoctrinated into accepting our eventual colonization of your planet, and the subjugation of your inferior race.”

“That’s horrible!” Roy exclaimed. Suddenly, the shortest figure stepped forward and revealed himself as Po. He angrily bobbed up and down, waving his arms and shouted, “Dammit, Tinky Winky, why don’t you just kill the poor bastard?!?”

Roy’s eyes glanced terrified from side to side, “What are you talking about?” Then, Tinky Winky reached into his coat and pulled out his magical bag. He reached inside it, whipped out his Tubbyblaster, and leveled it squarely between Roy’s eyes.

“Time for Tubby Bye-Bye,” he said as the rest of the Teletubbies took a step backwards.

“Uh-oh,” they said together. Giggling madly, Tinky Winky pulled the Tubbytrigger.

Noo Noo