level English short story:
original short story by Walda Cameron
Lucky Jim Conley had
millions at the gaming tables,
quadrupled his winnings in
the stock market
won a fortune in the state
lottery. Jason, the only child of Lucky Jim and his beloved Myrna, was
used to having his own way
During the two years since
Mom's death, Jason had waited patiently for Lucky Jim to follow
control of the family wealth. Jason was eager to
be a high roller
in his own right.
Jason's patience. After his last medical exam, Lucky Jim's doc had
the old man to be fit
as a forty-year-old.
"Lucky Jim'll outlive us all, Jason."
I have my
, Jason thought. No
the fog that hung like ghostly
around the Lucky Too
, as they made their way out to
grounds. Jim claimed
that that was
where the biggest and best
fish hung out
She was a
boat. Twelve black numbers shone against her white hull
Jason and Lucky Jim sat in chairs on the bridge. Lucky Jim leaned
his son and yelled
over the engine's
noise: "Fog hanging light makes hungry fish bite."
every time," Jason thought. "But, hey, that's what gave me my plan.
in the fog....". Jason smiled at his father and nodded. He wouldn't
a reply since the old man's hearing was his only
lobster pots," the old man hollered
again. He knew exactly where
the trap buoys
were located. He'd
come here every day for the past two weeks, drawn diagrams, memorized bobbing
floats and channel markers. He'd disabled
the maritime radio, concealed
left nothing to chance.
were almost there. The buoy's fog horn
its rude warning every fifteen seconds.
the buoy," Jason called
to Lucky Jim. "You get the lines over."
and moved to the stern,
carrying two fishing poles.
Jason put in ear
plugs before tieing a heavy rope over the
buoy's flashing light.
He pulled it tight under a square metal box half-way between light and
water. A wave gauge?
Battery casing? The current swung the stern around. Jason turned toward
stood at the side of the deck,
profile toward Jason, head bent, intent
preparing his lines. Jason reached behind him and lifted a three-foot
knew what hit him. Jason
dropped the bloodied weapon overboard,
grasped Jim from behind, tossed him over the side. The satisfying
Jason. He untied the vessel from the buoy and headed home, full-throttle.
Damn the fog! Lucky Jim's good fortune had reverted
to him. At least the fortune itself had. He smiled.
The perfect crime. No witnesses
to contradict his story that Lucky Jim had slipped on the deck, bumped
his head, fallen overboard, been swept away before his valiant son
save him. Poor Jim was lost.
"Dad and I always fished in the fog. Lucky Jim thought the fishing was
better when clouds met water, but everyone knew it was Jim's luck that
made the fishing good."
As Jason eased,
bow-first, into his docking berth,
saw two uniformed figures on the dock. He cut the engine and climbed
the boat, his eyes wide with alarm.
leave, give - berth:
place where a boat ties up - blast:
make a loud noise - bob:
go up and down on the surface of the water - bow
front end of a ship or
boat - buoy: large floating
marker - conceal:
hide - cradle: took hold of - crap:
shit - cuff: handcuff, tie - disable:
- eager: keen, wanting - ear
plug: an ear plug
stops you hearing noises - ease:
maneuver, move - fit:
in good form, healthy - follow suit:
same - frisk: check that someone
is not hiding weapons -
throttle: full speed
- gauge (rhymes
meter, measurer - have
one's own way: get exactly what one wants - holler:
shout - hull: the main part of a
boat - in the stock
market: on Wall Street - intent
on - jaw: bottom half of the
mouth - lobster:
a large and expensive crustacean, like a long crab - no
certainly not - outlast: last
longer than - rake in:
win - rehearse: prepare a speech
- revert to:
come to - sails: a sail catches
the wind, and makes a sailing
ship move forwards - soak: wet -
end of a boat - sturdy: tough,
resistant - was used
to having: was in the habit of having
not confuse with used to have)
person who sees a crime - yell:
shout - yup:
you're here, Officers! There's
been a tragic accident."
taller cop said.
Jason pulled out the ear plugs.
"What did you say?"
Jason's hands behind his back and frisked
him. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and
be used against you..."
What's going on here?"
breath, buddy." said the shorter cop, a woman
with hard eyes.
father's just fallen overboard,
I gotta get help....."
know all about it......?"
fell. His eyes glazed with disbelief. He never even noticed when the
his head and shoved
him into the back seat of the car.
honestly he fell in, I didn't
push him," said Jason feebly.
said. "That might of made a
convincing story last week, but I guess you didn't
notice the infra red camera they just set up on
the buoy out
there to catch the lobster thieves....
It can see through the mist and the night like it's broad
daylight.... The moment you reached those
lobster grounds, they
had you under surveillance. They thought you were the guys who've been
taking their lobsters...."
lucky guy," the male cop continued
as he climbed behind the wheel. "Coast Guard just picked him up."
his partner said as she took
her place beside him.
croaked from the back seat.
said the driver. "Unconscious, he was, but, last I heard, his heart was
still pumping. Good luck for you. You'll be charged with attempted
rather than murder. You'd better pray some of your
luck rubs off
on the old man and keeps him kickin'."
for the Firefox
© Linguapress. Do not copy this document to any other website
Copying permitted for personal study, or by teachers for use with their students
print out these exercises for your students.
Words and meaning:
logically, the nearest
equivalent to each of the words or phrases indicated, from among those
1. high roller: a) a pilot, b)
a big player, c)
a top sportsman
2. if I have my way: a) if
things happen as I want,
b) if I go away and live my own life, c) if I take charge of this boat.
3. Jim claimed: a) Jim
pretended, b) Jim shouted,
c) Jim believed.
4. The best fish hung out: a)
the best fish lived,
b) the best fish disappeared, c) the best fish could be dried
5. his only failing faculty:
a) almost the only
thing he could do easily b) the only function of his body that was not
still as good as ever c) the only thing he had never done well.
6. two-by-four: a) two feet by
four feet b) eight
feet long c) two inches by four inches.
7. overboard: a) into the
boat, b) as fast as possible,
c) into the water.
waste your breath. a) Stop talking b)
Don't breathe too hard c) Speak louder!
a) guided, b) pushed, c) helped
didn't notice. a) you didn't see, b) you
didn't pay attention to c) you didn't think about
a) people who take things that are
not theirs b) fishermen c) guards
daylight: a) just daylight b) full daylight
Jason's arrest, the local
coast guard chief had to write a report explaining the events that took
place. Here is the report he wrote, complete it as appropriately as
On Thursday morning, I was in my office as usual.
I looked at the closed-circuit TV monitor, that we had recently
in order ........
I noticed ...........
At 9.21 the boat, which I recognised as .....
I knew that Jim Conley and ......
I did not think that ......
Nevertheless, I continued watching, as .........
At 9.23, I saw Jason Conley take .....
The old man ....
I could see ......
So immediately I ordered one of our boats to
Thanks to the camera, I was able to .......
The victim was ........
My officers applied first aid, and brought .....
I also phoned the police, who immediately sent a
car to ....
Mr. Jason Conley .....
Jim worksheet 2. Student's name:
Why did Jason
commit this crime?
2. Why was he caught?
3. Why did Lucky Jim
go out in the fog?
4. Why do you think
that Jason had "disabled the maritime
5. Can you explain
the difference between Lucky Jim's
"fortune" and his "good fortune"?
was interrogated by the
police, once he reached the police station. Here are some of his
What were the policeman's questions?
It was his idea. He always liked fishin' in the
2. Q Didn't ...
No, he didn't like going out by himself.
3. Q Why ...
'Cos he still treats me like a little child.
4. Q Did ...
No, I'd planned it all before.
Well he has all this money, and he won't let me
6. Q Did ....
Yes, because I didn't realize there was a camera.