BOX - A short story in two parts Part 1
by Andrew Rossiter
When Mick got a
job delivering a box to
a reception at the Hill Park Hotel, he got more than the
fifty pounds that were promised to him .....
to be a big surprise, you see," said the man.
"I want you to deliver
the box to the Hill Park Hotel just when everyone's finishing
thirty on the dot!
O.K? Ask for Mr. Ansell."
"That's all right," answered Mick. "I'll
"Right then! You've got all the details.
24 at 8.50 on Friday. Just say you've come
for Mr. Charnwood. They'll give it to you. And don't be late! They shut
"And when do I get paid?" asked Mick.
"You'll get fifty quid
at the hotel."
Mick shut down the phone; he was glad
that someone had noticed the small advert
he had put in the shop
window, offering to do odd jobs
He needed the pocket money.
Sophie was not terribly excited when he
told her about it.
"But you said we'd go out to the pictures
"There's nothing on this week," he
replied. "And anyway, I could do with fifty quid. You can come too,
it'll be a sort of night out!"
A trip to Tesco's? You call
that a night out? "
"And fifty quid too! It's money for
"Are you sure it's legal? Why didn't he
get Tesco's to deliver it?"
"'Cos they shut at nine, I s'pose.
That's fairly obvious
"Oh well, if you've said you'll do it,
you'll have to, won't you?"
"Of course. And anyway, if we get
quid, we can go for a pizza at Gigi's afterwards."
"Oh yes, let's!"
It was dark when they got to the
superstore; inside, the day's last few shoppers were pushing laden
trolleys towards the exits. Checkout 24 was closed.
"Ask someone where it is!" said Sophie.
" Mick replied in an
irritated tone. "What do I ask?"
"Ask where the box is!"
The girl on checkout 12 had no idea what
he was talking about.
"I guess we just wait here," said Mick.
"Hello," said a voice.
Mick and Sophie, who had been looking
into the middle of the shop, turned round. A young man in a white shirt
was there, carrying a large box, wrapped up in couloured paper.
"Are you looking for something?"
"Yeah!" said Mick. "Is that the box for
"Yes. You'll be careful with it, won't
you. It's rather fragile. Don't drop it !"
"Thanks!" said Mick.
"My pleasure," said the man. "It's all
yours!" And he turned and walked away down the shop.
"Maybe it's champagne!" said Sophie, as
the walked across the almost empty car park. "Shall we have a look
You can't undo all that
wrapping paper! "
As they walked towards the bus stop, the
rain began to fall. A bus was approaching. "Come on," said Mick. "That
may 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 got
half an hour to wait."
But at that moment, the lights of
another bus came into view, moving slowly towards them.
"It's a 34!" said Mick. "That'll do!"
The top deck of the bus was empty. They
sat down in the seats at the front, and looked out onto the wet street
ahead of them.
The pavements, so busy with life during
the day time, were more or less empty. Outside a kebab shop
of teenagers stood in the shelter
of the building, their backs
illuminated by the bright lights shining through the window; but the
brightly lit windows of most other shops were showing their
contents to no-one
a few passengers in passing vehicles.
After the bus turned left into London
St., the pavements got darker as shops gave way to
curtained windows hiding private worlds from the inquisitive
looks of passers-by
There was less traffic too.
On Parton Hill, the bus got stuck
a heavy lorry. Then, at Opie's Corner, the traffic came to a stop.
"What's going on there, I wonder?" said
In front of them at least three police
cars were stopped at the roadside, and another was in the middle of the
road. Their flashing blue and red lights lit up a group of people
standing in the wet, and apparently looking at something on the
pavement in front of a shop.
"Look! It's a man!" said Sophie.
"I expect he's drunk
"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 a
End of part 1..
supermarket - checkout:
you pay in a supermarket - quid
pounds - advert
advertisement, notice - odd
small jobs -
brilliant - obvious
clear - laden
full - shelter
protection - no-one but:
nobody except - gave
replaced by - inquisitive
curious, searching - passer-by:
person going past - is
has drunk too much alcohol
Continue to part 2
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The Box - part 1. Student worksheet
and adverbs in this extract from the
story. You will need to use:
(10 times) in
(2) and into
, down, out, onto, ahead, during,
off, from and
The top deck ________ the bus was empty.
They sat ________ ________ the seats ________ the front, and looked
________ the wet street ________ ________ them.
The pavements, so busy with life
________ the day time, were more or less deserted. ________ a kebab
shop, a group ________ teenagers stood ________ the shelter ________
the building, their backs illuminated ________ the bright lights
shining ________ the window; but the brightly lit windows ________ most
other shops were showing ________ their contents ________ no-one but a
few 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 inquisitive
looks ________ passers-**. There was less traffic
________ Parton Hill, the bus got stuck
________ a heavy lorry. Then, ________ Opie's Corner, the traffic came
________ a stop.
"What's going ________ there, I wonder?"
________ front ________ them ________
least three police cars were stopped ________ the roadside, and another
was ________ the middle ________ the road. Their flashing blue and red
lights lit up a group ________ people standing ________ the wet, and
apparently looking ________ something ________ the pavement ________
front ________ a shop.
reading the story, students should complete the following sentences in
asked Mick to .....
Since he needed
pocket money, Mick ......
have preferred ......
There were not
many people in the supermarket because
The man in the
white shirt .....
the supermarket .....
As it was
evening time, there were .......
At Opie's Corner
there were .....
using this story in class :
Have students listen carefully to this story, then, collectively, tell
the story orally in their own words. To encourage oral replies, you
could ask the following leading questions.
How did Mick get the job? / Why
was Sophie not very pleased? / What did Mick have to do? / Where did he
pick up the box? / Why did they take a bus? / What did they see while
they were on the bus?
What is in the box?" And what is going to happen to Mick and Sophie?
What has happened outside the shop?
these questions, you should help students to continue the story in
their own words.
Writing activity: completing the story:
The first part of
this story sets the scene; there are plenty of ideas that can be
followed up, and lots of potential endings to this story. Encourage
students to be imaginative as they write their ending.
There are a number of
interesting language points to look at in this story. Note in
particular further use of get/got a number of prepositional verbs, and
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 the
meanings of these words and expressions. This exercise can be
well done with stuents working in pairs.
EFL teachers: Help develop this resource by contributing extra teaching
materials or exercises.
copyright Linguapress 1996-2016.
Revised 2015 . Originally published in Freeway, the Intermediate level
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