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Linguapress ›    Intermediate English  ›     Short story: the Wimp, part 1

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THE WIMP  - A short story in two parts   Part 2 

by Andrew Rossiter
Continued from Part 1.
wimp(Words in italics are the subject of questions below)

James thought for a minute; then the penny dropped. Snoo and his mates were up to something, and James had a good idea what it was.

In the locker room at school, his coat peg was just two along from Snoo's, so nobody noticed when, as he hung up his own jacket, he quickly slipped the mobile phone back into Snoo's pocket.

Naturally, no one usually left mobile phones in their coat pockets in the locker room... that was asking for trouble; but once Snoo noticed his phone was missing, he'd go straight to the locker room, James reckoned, just to check he hadn't left it in his coat pocket.

James just hoped that Snoo hadn't already discovered the loss. Judging by the way Snoo was laughing with his mates, he didn't seem to be worried by anything. James felt relieved; but he was anxious. Snoo's crowd were not the type of people you wanted to get on the wrong side of.

After school, Salima was waiting for him again. "Snoo given you any more homework today?" she asked, taking his arm.

"No, not this time. But there's another problem."

"Oh yes? what?"

James told her about the mobile phone and the message, and how he'd put the phone back in Snoo's coat pocket. "I'm pretty sure he doesn't realise he left it behind," he said.

"Well what are we going to do about it?" Salima asked.

At that moment, Snoo walked past with his mates.

"There's Wimp," said a fat lad with greasy hair; the friends laughed, and one made a rude gesture in James's direction.

"Look," said Salima. "You stay out of this. Leave it to me. I know what to do."

"No Sally," said James. "You don't realise how dangerous those guys are. If we do anything, they'll find out, sure as hell. They may be pretty stupid, but they've got connections. And they go the whole hog."

 "What d'you mean?"

"D'you remember when the Taj Mahal restaurant burned down?"

"Yeah.... No! You're not saying ?"

"I am."

"And why didn't you tell anyone?"

"'Cos I've been waiting for the right moment, when we can get them without any risk. I mean, I don't want to end up face down in the canal! And I don't want you to either! Sally! these are dangerous guys! Don't you do anything...."

"Look Jamie, this is the right moment, isn't it? I know how to handle this. You just leave it to me."

James went home.

 At just after eight o'clock, his mum called up the stairs. "Jamie, phone call for you!"

He took the phone and answered. It was Snoo on the other end of the line. James's heart beat faster.

"That you, Wimp? Yeah? Right, you do my French homework for tomorrow mornin'. Exercises 7 and 8 on page 62. O.K.; and handwritten. Understand!"

The phone went dead. James got out a copy of Snoo's French text-book, and turned to page 62. Slowly he began writing the answers, imitating Snoo's large handwriting....

Next morning, he reached the bus stop on time, but Snoo was not there. He let the first bus go by, just in case Snoo was late, but Snoo failed to appear, so he took the second bus to school.

Just to be on the safe side, James dropped Snoo's French homework into Mr. Marecage's pigeon hole. The bell was already ringing, and he just had time to get into class.

 Then, during break, all students were told to go to the hall, for a special assembly. As James stood near the back of the hall, waiting for Mrs. Arbuthnot, Salima came over and stood next to him. "You know what's happened, don't you?" she whispered.

"No," said James.

As Mrs. Arbuthnot entered, dressed formally in her long black gown, a silence fell over the hall.

"Good morning, everyone," she began. "I believe that some of you already know why I've called you all together this morning; but others do not. Now as I don't want rumours flying round, I've decided to tell you all exactly what happened last night. And that is as follows: last night, police in town arrested two students from this school, along with three other young men. The men were on the point of setting light to a grocery store on the other side of town. The police say this was a hate crime. "

James looked at Salima, and they both smiled.

 

WORDS A-Z : be up to something: do something suspicious - go the whole hog: go to the end - gown: cloak. toga - handle: deal with, manage - lad: boy - locker: small cupboard where pupils put their property - mates: friends - pigeon hole: open letter box - reckon: think - rude: unfriendly, impolite - rumours: untrue stories - slipped: put - sure as hell: it is certain - .



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The Wimp - part 2.   Student worksheet  

A  Answer the following questions:
1. Select the correct meaning:
The penny dropped means: a) James remembered something, b) James forgot what had happened, c) James understood
Get on the wrong side of means : a) to follow    b) to become an enemy of   c) to misunderstand
To be on the safe side means:  a) to not take any risks  b)  to take a big risk   c)  to run away from something
2. Rephrase the underlined words in these expressions using different words:
No one usually left phones in their coat pockets. ...................................... .....................................
James felt relieved ....................................... ............................................... ...................................
I don’t want to end up face down in the canal .................................... ...........................................
3 Find expressions in the story that mean
Snoo did not arrive ................................. .................................... ...................................... ..............
All the students stopped talking ......................... ..................................... ............................... ........
4. What is the noun from the verb to lose? ................................
5. What is a “coat peg”? ....

B Creative writing
Based on what the Principal Mrs. Arbuthnot said in the school assembly that morning, write an article for the local newspaper starting. "Yesterday evening, police arrested five young men...... ". You should write between 150 and 300 words


   


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