Just as the title suggested, today’s post is brought to you by guest-blogger, Bree-Elizabeth. To keep things interesting, we’re changing up (doing things differently) the posts that Bree-Elizabeth does, with this week being a 2-part short story to practice reading comprehension and vocabulary. Later this week, we’ll review the phrasal verbs (and verb + preposition combinations) used in the story as part of Phrasal VerbFriday, and stay tuned for Part 2 to hear the end of this story and check your own predictions.
Following the story, you’ll find some vocabulary defined, comprehension questions, and if you keep on scrolling you’ll come across (find) the answers.
Finally, before we begin, here are a few ways you can use this post to practice/review/improve English skills:
- reading comprehension: Do you understand what you read? Completing the comprehension questions (and checking your answers) will help you identify whether or not you understood the story details and main ideas. Don’t get discouraged if you got some answers incorrect, practice makes perfect!
- reading speed: Before you begin reading, grab a stopwatch and time how long it takes you to read this article. When you’re finished, you can calculate your “words per minute” and keep track of your progress as time goes on. (Note: the story has a total of 911 words)
- vocabulary: Reading the definitions of the words and seeing how they are used in context in a great way to learn (and remember) new words. Go one step further, and try and create your own sentence examples.
Got that? So, without further ado, here we go!
Hello there, English learners. After some serious writer’s block (not being able to come up with any ideas I liked), I finally wrote this fun, little story. It’s nothing fancy, but it shows you that sometimes unlikely things happen, but there just might be a reason behind it. After all, the world works in mysterious ways.
I woke up to the sound of the alarm clock on the small table next to my bed. I sat up quickly and looked around my studio apartment to gain my bearings*. When I was fully awake, I looked over to my clock and sighed*. I didn’t like mornings, but this particular morning was much too important to have a sour attitude*.
Today was for the job interview of a lifetime.
I hurried to the bathroom for a quick shower then rushed to my closet to find an outfit. For twenty minutes, I mixed and matched different shirts, skirts, pants, dresses with shoes, earrings, and necklaces. I felt like I needed a cheesy* theme song playing in the background as I judged my different outfits. After settling on a tan dress with flowers and black heels, I rushed back to the bathroom. Another twenty minutes passed. I came out of my bathroom with my hair pulled back into a braid and my make-up done. As I left the house and walked towards the elevator, I put on the pair of my lucky sapphire earrings.
From the front door of the apartment building to the side of the road, it was crowded with people hustling* in both directions. I carefully dodged* the business men and exercising mothers and made it to the side of the road. Having carefully practiced the art of hailing* a cab, I was quickly in the back seat of the taxi, telling the driver where to go.
“You got it!” the young man wearing the baseball cap said. His morning seemed to be going very well so far. He talked on and on over the noise of the radio as he drove. He spoke of his four brothers, two sisters, and the family’s new pizzeria. But in my head, all I could think about was my interview. Would I get the job? Would I get nervous and blow it? I looked out the window at the passing people as the driver continued to talk with enthusiasm.
Suddenly, the back of the car shook and the car began to slow down. “Oh no!” the up-beat driver looked into the rear view mirror and pulled over to the side of the street. “I think it’s a flat tire… there’s a gas station right over here… I change their tires all the time; it will just take me a minute.”
I only responded with a nod*, but on the inside, I was worried. How late would this make me to my interview? Being late was never a good first impression. It would have been impossible to hail a cab in this area, so I just sat in the back seat of the taxi and waited impatiently. After a couple minutes, my nerves got the best of me, and I got out of the car to check on the driver’s progress.9:00am
It was time for my interview; the meeting that might change my life forever. But I was at a gas station, watching the cab driver struggle* with the spare tire. But in the parking lot behind us, car wash employees were working hard on their first customers of the day. I crossed my arms and watched them finish drying off a perfectly clean, white convertible car. The young men tossed the keys into the front seat and walked away to tell the owner they were done. The car sat unattended for a moment. Just as I was about to look away, though, I noticed a man moving towards it.
The man seemed to be in a hurry and was getting closer to the driver’s side door. It didn’t take me long to realize he was about to try and steal the car. Out of the blue*, new instincts kicked in. I rushed forward. As I ran, I pulled the small can of mace from my purse and aimed it at the man’s face.
“Hey!” another man yelled from the other side of the parking lot. In his stylish suit, he ran towards the car, waving one hand in the air and using his other hand to hold his cell phone to his ear. “Stop!” he cried out.
I continued to spray the mace* until the can suddenly went out. The man jumped out of the car quickly, groaning about the pain in his eyes. I was definitely not stronger than this man, so I jumped back. Not being able to see all the way, the thief turned and tripped, falling back into the car. He quickly got back to his feet, leaving a head-sized dent near the front tire. He started running then, hoping to make a quick getaway. He staggered* towards an alley, but was intercepted by a car wash employee.
The business man on the phone started to chase after the man, but stopped and turned around. He walked up to me, thanking me. But at the same time, he was chatting wildly into the phone with someone else. He spoke so quickly that sometimes I couldn’t tell which of us he was talking to.
I just nodded – too shy and embarrassed to do anything else – and turned back towards the taxi cab. The driver threw the flat tire into the trunk and smiled. “All done!” he grinned, brushing his dirty hands on his pants. We got back into the car and got back into the line of heavy traffic.
I looked at my watch.
*gain my bearings: taking into account the things around you (in the character’s case – fully waking up)
*cheesy: goofy, cliché, out-dated
*out of the blue: suddenly, abruptly, without warning
Extra Practice: Discussion Questions
1. Do you have a special outfit that you wear for important work-related situations?
2. Do you usually get nervous for job interviews? What are your best interview strategies?
3. Would you get involved with an incident like the one at the car wash? Do you have a similar experience?
4. How would you have reacted when the taxi got a flat tire?
5. Do you think the man in the business suit should have responded differently to the main character after she helped him?