Intermediate English Short story - The Box, part 1 (2022)

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Short stories›The Box1

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A short story intwo parts Part 1

by Andrew Rossiter

WITHAUDIO.:Clickto open/close audio player

When Mick got ajob delivering a box toa reception at the Hill Park Hotel, he got more than thefifty pounds that were promised to him .....

"It'sgotto be a big surprise, you see," said the man."I want you to bring it to the Hill Park Hotel just when everyone'sfinishingdinner. Tenthirty on the dot!O.K? Ask for Mr. Ansell."

Intermediate English Short story - The Box, part 1 (1)"That's all right," answered Mick. "I'llbe there."
"Right then! You've got all the details.Tesco superstore,checkout24 at 8.50 on Friday. Just say you've comefor Mr. Charnwood. They'll give it to you. And don't be late! They shutat nine!"
"And when do I get paid?" asked Mick.
"You'll get fifty quidat the hotel."
Mick put down the phone; he was gladthat someone had noticed the small adverthe had put in the shopwindow, offering to do odd jobs.He needed the pocket money.

Sophie was not terribly excited when hetold her about it.
"But you said we'd go out to the pictures on Fridaynight!"
"There's nothing on this week," hereplied. "And anyway, I could do with fifty quid. You can come too,it'll be a sort of night out!"
"Oh brill!A trip to Tesco's? You callthat a night out? "
"And fifty quid too! It's money forjam!."
"Are you sure it's legal? Why didn't heget Tesco's to deliver it?"
"'Cos they shut at nine, I s'pose.That's fairly obvious,isn't it?"
"Oh well, if you've said you'll do it,you'll have to, won't you?"
"Of course. And anyway, if we getfiftyquid, we can go for a pizza at Gigi's afterwards."
"Oh yes, let's!"

It was dark when they got to thesuperstore; inside, the day's last few shoppers were pushing ladentrolleys towards the exits. Checkout 24 was closed.
"Ask someone where it is!" said Sophie.
"Keep cool!" Mick replied in anirritated tone. "What do I ask?"
"Ask where the box is!"
The girl on checkout 12 had no idea whathe was talking about.
"I guess we just wait here," said Mick.
They waited.
"Hello," said a voice.
Mick and Sophie, who had been lookinginto the middle of the shop, turned round. A young man in a white shirtwas there, carrying a large box, wrapped up in coloured paper.
"Are you looking for something?"
"Yeah!" said Mick. "Is that the box forMr. Charnwood?"
"Yes. You'll be careful with it, won'tyou. It's rather fragile. Don't drop it !"
"Thanks!" said Mick.
"My pleasure," said the man. "It's allyours!" And he turned and walked away down the shop.
"Maybe it's champagne!" said Sophie, asthey walked across the almost empty car park. "Shall we have a look?"
"Comeoff it! You can't undo all thatwrapping paper! "

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As they walked towards the bus stop, therain began to fall. A bus was approaching. "Come on," said Mick. "Thatmay be ours! Let's run!"
It was not.
"What a waste of effort!" said Sophie,pushing the damp hair out of her eyes. "If we've missed it, we've gothalf an hour to wait."
But at that moment, the lights ofanother bus came into view, moving slowly towards them.
"Come on it's a 34!" said Mick. "That'lldo!"
The top deck of the bus was empty. Theysat down in the seats at the front, and looked out onto the wet streetahead of them.
The pavements, so busy with life duringthe day time, were more or less empty. Outside a kebab shop,a groupof teenagers stood in the shelterof the building, their backsilluminated by the bright lights shining through the window; but thebrightly lit windows of most other shops were showing theircontents to no-onebut a few passengers in passing vehicles.
After the bus turned left into LondonSt., the pavements got darker as shops gaveway tohouses, theircurtained windows hiding private worlds from the inquisitivelooks of passers-by.There was less traffic too.
On Parton Hill, the bus got stuck behinda heavy lorry. Then, at Opie's Corner, the traffic came to a stop.
"Hey! What's going on there, I wonder?"saidMick.
In front of them at least three policecars were stopped at the roadside, and another was in the middle of theroad. Their flashing blue and red lights lit up a group of peoplestanding in the wet, and apparently looking at something on thepavement in front of a shop.
"Look! It's a man!" said Sophie.
"I expect he's drunk!"said Mick."That's the shop where I had my ad!"
"Get away!" answered Sophie:"They don't call out four police cars with flashing lights just for adrunk."

End of part 1..

Continue to part2


superstore: bigsupermarket - checkout: whereyou pay in a supermarket - quid:pounds - advert:advertisement, notice - oddjobs: small jobs -brill:brilliant - obvious:clear - laden:full - shelter:protection - no-one but:nobody except - gaveway to: werereplaced by - inquisitive:curious, searching - passer-by:person going past - isdrunk: has drunk too much alcohol

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The Box - part 1. Student worksheet


Interactiveexercise - fill in on screen or on paper.
Replace themissing prepositionsand adverbs in this extract from thestory. You will need to use:

of(10 times) in (7)at(5) to (3) on(3) by (2) and into , down, out, onto, ahead, during,outside, through,off, from andbehindonce each.

The top deck the bus was empty.They sat theseats the front, and looked the wetstreet them.
The pavements, so busy with lifetheday time, were more or less deserted. a kebabshop, a group teenagers stood the shelter the building, their backs illuminated the bright lightsshining the window; but the brightly lit windows mostother shops were showing their contents no-one but afew passengers passing vehicles.
After the bus turned left London St., the pavements got darker as shops gave way houses,their curtained windows hiding private worlds the inquisitivelooks passers-**. There was less traffictoo.
Parton Hill, the bus gotstuckaheavy lorry. Then, Opie's Corner, the traffic cameastop.
"What's going there, I wonder?"said Mick.
front them least three police cars were stopped the roadside, and anotherwas the middle the road. Their flashing blue and redlights lit up a group people standing the wet, andapparently looking something the pavement front a shop.

Retellingthe story...

Afterreading the story or listening to it with the aduio file, studentsshould complete the following sentences intheir ownwords.

1.Mr Charnwoodasked Mick to .....
2.Since he neededpocket money, Mick ......
3.Sophie wouldhave preferred ......
4.There were notmany people in the supermarket because.......
5.The man in thewhite shirt .....
6.After leavingthe supermarket .....
7.As it wasevening time, there were .......
8.At Opie's Cornerthere were .....

For teachers:using this story in class :

Listeningcomprehension/ oralexpression :

Note:there are a few small differences between the written and the audioversion of this text. In particular, the money paid to Mick has beenchanged from £20 to £50, to take into account inflation since the storywas first published. Have students listen out for and note down anyother changes, which are variations in wording, such as money for jam / money for oldrope. These two idioms have the same meaning.
Have students listen carefully to this story,then, collectively, tellthe story orally in their own words. To encourage oral replies, youcould ask the following leading questions.

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Prediction:What is in the box?" And what is going to happen to Mick and Sophie?What has happened outside theshop? By askingthese questions, you should help students to continue the story intheir own words.

Writing activity: completing the story:

The first part ofthis story sets the scene; there are plenty of ideas that can befollowed up, and lots of potential endings to this story. Encouragestudents to be imaginative as they write their ending.

Grammarand language:

There are a number ofinteresting language points to look at in this story. Note inparticular further use of get/gota number of prepositionalverbs, andseveral interestingexpressions (initalics) that may need explaining:on the dot (precisely) / I could do with (I would like to have) /That'll do (that is adequate)., etc . Try getting students to guess themeanings of these words and expressions. This exercise can bewell done with stuents working in pairs.
For more on grammar points, see ADescriptive Grammar of English:ModernEnglish grammar by example -.
Moredetails ISBN 979 - 8645611750. Ebook andpaperback versions from Amazon.

Other ideas?
EFL teachers: Help develop this resource by contributing extra teachingmaterials or exercises.
To contribute click herefor furtherdetails

Or visit the Linguapress guideto working with written documents:
Readingcomprehension in the English class
(Version française : Petiteméthodologie de la compréhension écrite)

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Thisteachingresourceis ©copyright Linguapress 1996-2021.
Revised 2021 . Originally published in Freeway, the Intermediate levelEnglishnewsmagazine.
Republication on other websites or in print is not authorised

Originally published in Freeway, the Intermediate levelEnglishnewsmagazine.


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