[Short Story]The New Neighbours

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Molly lives in a small house in a quiet street.  She bought her house 20 years when it was new. Jim and Iris Waterson bought the house next to Molly’s at the same time. They were good friends and good neighbours for 20 years, but now the Waterson’s townhouse was empty. Jim and Iris have moved to Florida to live near their daughter and grandchildren.

I hope my new neighbours are as nice as Jim and Iris, thought Molly. I will be very upset if some young people buy the house. They will be noisy. They might have children. They might have pets.

A few days later a moving truck parked outside the house next door. Molly stood at the window of her living room and watched.

She saw sofas, armchairs, tables, chairs and beds go into the house. She saw the moving men carry many boxes into the house.  Then she saw a little bicycle. It was pink. A man carried it to the garden behind the house.

Oh no! she thought. A child!

Next the man carried a red bicycle into the garden. It was bigger than the pink bicycle, but it was too small for an adult. Another child! Shouting! Screaming! I don’t want to live next door to children.

Molly looked at her watch. It was time to go to the community centre. Every Friday, there was a concert at the community centre. Gustav Baer played the piano. He played beautiful classical music. He was a very good pianist. When he was younger, he was very famous. He gave concerts all over the world. Now he was retired, but he still liked to play the piano. So he gave free concerts at hospitals and retirement homes and community centres.

Molly put on her coat. She took her bag and went out of her house. She locked the door and hurried down the street. The men were still taking boxes and furniture out of the truck.

I don’t know if I will enjoy the concert today, thought Molly. I am so unhappy. I love my house. I love my quiet street. But now there will be noisy children. Everything will change.

Molly was very surprised when she arrived at the community centre. Gustav Baer was not there. “Mr Baer cannot come today,” the manager of the community centre said to everyone. “He is too busy. He will come next week. Mr Baer’s friend has come. He plays the guitar and he sings. Please enjoy the concert.”

The concert was very nice but Molly thought Mr Baer’s piano playing was better. After the concert she went home. The trucks had gone and it was very quiet.

Before Molly went to bed, she went outside to put some garbage in the garbage bin. It was very dark. There were lights on in the house next door. Molly could hear a piano. The music sounded beautiful. She walked over the fence and looked at the house next door. The lights were on in the house and she could see inside. I guess they have not had time to hang curtains yet, she thought.

She could see many boxes on the floor of the living room. She could see a grand piano, but she could not see who was playing it.

The next day, someone rang the doorbell Molly went to answer it. She was very surprised. Gustav Baer was there.

“Good morning,” he said. “I am your new neighbour.”

“You!” said Molly. “I thought it was a family with children! I saw the bicycles. A pink one and a red one!”

“Oh,” said Mr Baer. “They are my grandchildren’s bicycles. Sometimes they come to visit on Sundays. It is nice for them to have something to do at my house. If they have nothing to do, they get bored and very noisy. Most of the time, there will only be me living there. I’m sorry. It will be very quiet. I think maybe you like to have children and pets next door.”

“Oh, no. No,” said Molly. “Please come in and have a cup of tea! I saw you have no curtains yet. Maybe I can help you. I want you to be happy in your new home.”

[Short Story] Grandparent’s Day

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After Walter Bergen’s wife died, he was very sad. He was lonely. He didn’t care about anything. He didn’t clean his house. He didn’t cook meals. He ate TV dinners and toast. He didn’t wash his clothes. He didn’t shave, or go to the hairdresser. His daughter, Melanie, was very worried about him. She drove to his house and said, “Dad! This is no good! You can’t stay here. Come and live in our house.”

“I don’t want to live in your house,” said Walter. “I am OK. Go away!”

Melanie was worried, but her father was very angry, so she went away.

One day, a few weeks later, Walter walked to the supermarket. He bought TV dinners and bread. He walked out of the supermarket. He walked across the road. He didn’t look to the left or the right. A car hit him. The ambulance came and took him to the hospital.  Melanie came to the hospital. “Dad!” she shouted. “You will not live alone. You will come to our house.”

Walter went to Melanie’s house. Melanie’s husband’s name was Roger. He was not happy. “Your father is dirty.  He is always angry. Why is he living in our house?”

“He is my father,” said Melanie. “He is old. He is unhappy. He must stay here.”

“I understand,” said Roger.

Melanie and Roger’s daughter was called Rosa. She was nine years old. One night while they are eating dinner, Melanie said, “Tomorrow, Rosa’s school has Grandparent’s Day.”

“What is Grandparent’s Day?” asked Walter.

“The children’s grandparents go to the school. They see what the children do at school. The children sing, and the grandparents play games with them. It is very nice,” said Melanie.

“I am Rosa’s grandfather,” said Walter. “I will go to Grandparent’s Day.

Rosa jumped up. She ran away from the table. She went to her bedroom.

Later, Walter was going to bed. He walked past Rosa’s bedroom. She was crying. Walter heard Roger’s voice. “Rosa,” he said. “Stop crying.”

“No!” shouted Rosa. “My grandfather is dirty. He smells bad. He doesn’t clean his clothes. He is always angry. I don’t want him to come to my school. The other children will laugh at me!”

“Rosa!” said Roger. “Many children have no grandparents. You are lucky. You have a grandfather. If Walter wants to come to your school, it is a good thing.”

Walter went to his bedroom.

The next morning, Rosa did not want to go to school. “My grandfather is not nice. I don’t want him to come to my school.”

“You will go to school,” said Melanie.

The grandparents came to Rosa’s school at 1:00 pm.

The students went to the school hall. All the children ran to find their grandparents. Rosa waited by the door. She looked all around the school hall, but she couldn’t see her grandfather. Where is he? she thought.  Maybe he didn’t come.

There was one man who was alone. He was wearing a suit and tie. His shoes were very shiny. He looked very smart. I wish that man was my grandfather, thought Rosa. He looks like a nice man.

The man turned towards Rosa. “Rosa!” he shouted.

Rosa could not believe it. It was her grandfather, but he looked like a new man. Rosa ran to Walter and hugged him.

I’m pleased I heard Rosa talking to her father last night, thought Walter. It made me feel bad when I heard what Rosa said. But I understand. I will be a better person in the future.

[Short Story] The Dinner Party

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Maggie and Dion got married a few months ago. They moved to a new town because Dion got a good job with a software company. Maggie and Dion live in a small apartment on the top floor of an apartment

Maggie hasn’t finished her degree yet. She is studying by distance learning. She doesn’t know anyone in the town. Dion is out at work every day, so Maggie often feels lonely.

One Friday morning, Dion is late for work. He eats some toast quickly and drinks half a cup of coffee. He kisses Maggie goodbye. He picks up his bag and hurries to the door. Then he stops.

“I forgot to tell you. I will be home at 6:30. Pam and Brian are coming with me. They are coming for dinner. Have a good day!”

Maggie runs to the open door. Dion is still talking as he runs down the stairs, but Maggie can’t hear what he is saying.

She closes the door and goes back inside.

A dinner party! This is exciting. Pam and Brian will be our first visitors. But I am a terrible cook! What can I make for dinner? I must think of a menu.

Dion is a very good cook. He makes the evening meal every night. Maggie usually buys something from the convenience store for her lunch, or makes herself a sandwich. But Dion will have no time tonight to cook for their visitors.

I will have to make something, thinks Maggie. I will text my mother and ask for advice.

She soon gets an answer from her mother. ‘Maggie! You can’t cook, so please make something simple. How about a roast chicken? You can cook some potatoes in the oven with the chicken and make a salad. Make an apple pie. Sorry I can’t help you any more. I am going to an all-day yoga retreat. Good luck.’

Maggie looks on the Internet. She finds many recipes for roasting a chicken. It doesn’t seem difficult. She reads how hot the oven must be and how long to cook the chicken. I can do this, she thinks. And maybe I can buy an apple pie from the bakery.

Maggie makes a list and goes to the supermarket. She makes a timetable, so she knows what time to start cooking the chicken.

She cleans the apartment. She prepares everything for the salad. She puts flowers from the supermarket in vases. She sets the table. I can use all the beautiful gifts we were as wedding presents. The table will look beautiful.

Maggie feels very pleased. The dinner party will be a great success. This is not so difficult.

It is late in the afternoon when Maggie reads her timetable. 4:30. Time to put the chicken in the oven. Then I will prepare the potatoes and put them in the oven with the chicken.

Maggie follows the recipe from the Internet carefully. She does everything the recipe says. She sets the temperature for the oven and puts the chicken in. She prepares the potatoes and puts them in the oven too.

Everything is done and Maggie can relax. I have an assignment due on Monday. I haven’t done any work all day. I must do some work now.

She sets the alarm on her phone for 6:00 pm and starts working.

When the alarm goes off, she goes to the kitchen. That’s strange, she thinks. I can’t smell anything. When Dion cooks chicken, there is always a delicious smell. It makes me feel hungry. Maybe I should check.

Maggie takes the chicken and potatoes out of the oven. The chicken is white and cold. The potatoes are raw. Oh, no! The oven is broken! I only have snacks, salad and apple pie!

Dion comes home. He is very cheerful. “We left work early. Pam and Brian are parking their cars. They’ll be here in a few minutes.”

He looks at Maggie. She has tears running down her face.

“Oh, Dion! The oven is broken. We have no food to give them!”

“You cooked dinner? But……”

He looks at the chicken and potatoes on the counter. He goes to the oven and opens the door. He puts his hand inside. The oven is cold. He looks at the oven controls.

He hugs Maggie. “Did you look at a recipe?”

“Yes. I wrote everything down. The time. The temperature, everything!”

Dion laughs. “Quickly. Put the chicken and potatoes in the refrigerator. We’ll eat them tomorrow. I told you this morning that we would buy pizzas on the way home. Brian is bringing them now.”

“Oh,” said Maggie. “I know you said something, but I didn’t hear.”

Brian and Pam are at the door. They have the pizzas. They have wine.

It is a great dinner party. Maggie’s salad is good. Everyone likes the apple pie.

When Pam and Brian leave, Maggie says to Dion. “We must call the repairman tomorrow. The oven is broken.”

Dion laughs and hugs Maggie. “Mmm. The oven is not broken. You set the temperature. You did everything right, but you didn’t turn the oven on!”

“Oh,” said Maggie. “The recipe didn’t say anything about turning the oven on!”

[Short Story] The Ghost Chair

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Matt and Paul are engineering students. They do not have a lot of money, but they need somewhere to live. They find an old house that is very cheap, but it has no furniture. They look in charity shops and secondhand shops for furniture. They buy beds, desk, a sofa, a table and chairs and other things but the house still looks very empty.

One day, Paul is riding home from university when he sees a chair outside a charity shop. It is a big, old armchair. He gets off his bike and goes to look at it. It looks very comfortable and it is free! He tells the man in the shop he wants the chair. The man says, “It’s strange. Many people have looked at that chair. They say they want to buy it.

They sit in it, and then they change their minds. They go away. It has been in this shop for a long time, so I thought I would put it outside and give it to anyone who will take it away.”

Paul calls Matt. Matt has an old van. He comes to the shop. They put the armchair in the van and take it back to the house.

The chair looks very good in their living room. Paul and Matt are very pleased but they don’t sit in it because they are busy. Their girlfriends are coming for a small party. After dinner, they sit in the living room. Matt’s girlfriend Cindy, sits in the new chair. After a while she moves to the sofa. “Don’t you like our new chair, Cindy?” asks Paul.

“No,” says Cindy. “It makes strange noises.”

Everyone laughs at Cindy.

A storm blows up and the weather is very bad so their girlfriends go home early. Just after they leave, there is a lot of thunder and lightning and the power goes off. Paul and Matt clean up the kitchen and go to the living room. It is very dark and quiet because they have no TV and no electric lights.

Paul sits in the new chair “Aah,” he says. “This is so comfortable! And it was free!”

Matt is sitting on the sofa. “What’s that?” he asks.

“What’s what?” asks Paul.

“That noise.”

“What noise?”


There are strange sounds coming from the chair. There is a rattling noise, like something knocking. Paul stands up. The sound stops. He sits down hard and this time there is a different noise. It sounds like a child crying.

He jumps up, and the sound stops. “Someone, or something, doesn’t want you to sit in that chair!” laughs Matt.

Paul’s face is white. “Don’t joke. It’s not funny. There is something wrong with that chair!”

Paul and Matt go to bed. When they leave the living room, they shut the door very carefully.

The next morning the sun is shining. Matt is cheerful but Paul is worried. “I think we should take that chair back to the shop,” he says. “It is a very scary chair.”

“No!” laughs Matt. We were tired last night and it was dark, and cold. We imagined those noises. Let’s go and sit in it again.”

The living room is bright. The chair does not look scary, but Paul won’t sit in it. He stands by the door. “No way!” he says.

“OK. I will,” says Matt. He sits in the chair, and they both listen. They can hear the knocking sound.  Then Matt stands up and pushes the seat of the chair, very hard. ‘Mama!’ the sound comes from inside the chair!

He pulls the cushion of the chair seat. “Come and look!” he says. “I have found the ghost!”

Paul comes and looks. The chair is old and the material over the springs has holes in it. Matt puts his hand through one of the holes and pulls out a money box! He shakes it. It makes a rattling noise. Then he puts his hand in again and pulls out a doll. He pushes the doll’s stomach. ‘Mama’.

Paul is happy. “Mystery solved. No ghosts. Just a small child’s hiding place for her toys.

“But I wonder what happened to her?”

“Don’t think about. We have a very good chair and it was free!” answers Matt.

[Short Story]547 Westerfield Road

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Samuel drives a courier van. Every day he goes to the courier depot and picks up all the boxes to be delivered to houses in the area. He checks all the addresses and plans his route.

Most of the boxes are deliveries for online shopping. People buy many different things online – clothes, books, furniture, toys, wine and food.

Samuel likes his job. He likes driving his van and he thinks it is interesting to go to so many different houses. He often goes to the same houses, so he becomes friendly with the people who live there.

The week before Christmas is always very busy. Samuel starts work and 7:00am and sometimes doesn’t finish until 7:30pm. The 21st of December is a normal day. Samuel goes to the depot. The boxes for his area are waiting for him. There are different instructions for different boxes. Samuel must get someone at the house to sign for most boxes but there are a few small ones where the instructions say ‘leave in letter box’. Finally there are some that say ‘leave on the porch’, ‘leave outside the front door’, or ‘leave behind the house’. Samuel knows that usually these are boxes for people who work. They are not home to sign for their delivery.

There are five boxes for the same house. They have a label, ‘Leave on the front porch’. The address is a new one. Samuel has never delivered to this house before.

 Mmm, thinks Samuel. Violet Danford, 547 Westerfield Road. I often go to Westerfield Road. It is a long street. But where is house number 547? He has trouble finding the house. It is at the end of the road. The driveway is very narrow and there are many trees. He drives his van down the driveway and sees a little old house. He jumps out his van and opens the back door. He takes the boxes and walks towards the house. He leaves the boxes on the front porch, gets back into his van and drives away.

The next day is December 22nd. There are more boxes to deliver to 547 Westerfield Road. Someone has been doing a lot of shopping, thinks Samuel. The boxes have the same label, ‘Leave on the front porch’. When Samuel carries his deliveries up to the front of the little old house he is very surprised. Yesterday’s boxes are still there. That’s very strange, he thinks. But it is a very busy day and he has many deliveries to make. He jumps back in his van and drives away.

All day, Samuel thinks about 547 Westerfield Road. He thinks maybe something is wrong. When he had finished his work, he is very tired and hungry. He wants to go home. There is a big football match on the TV tonight, but he can’t. I don’t know why, but I am sure something is wrong. I have to go back to that house.

When Samuel gets to the house he goes up to the porch. All the boxes from today and yesterday are still there. He knocks on the door and waits. No one comes to the door. I’m crazy. The people who live here are probably away. Why do I feel worried?

He knocks again. There is no answer. He puts his head against the door and listens. He can hear a TV playing. It is very loud! He can hear a cat meowing. Then he hears a very soft voice, “Help. Help me!”

What shall I do? I can call the police but maybe they will take a long time to come here.

He tries the door handle. The door is not locked. He opens the door and shouts, “Hello! Are you OK?”

Again he hears the voice. “I’m in the bathroom. Help me!”

Samuel runs through the house looking for the bathroom. He finds it. The door is open. An old lady is lying on the floor. She looks very ill.

“Thank you!” she says. “I came to have a bath and I fell over. I have been here for two days. I can’t get up.”

Samuel pulls out his smart phone. He calls the ambulance. “Come to 547 Westerfield Road,” he says. “There is a very old lady here. She had a fall. She has been on the floor for two days. She is very ill.”

Samuel thinks it takes a long time for the ambulance to come. He goes to the kitchen and brings back some water. He tries to give it to the old lady. It is very difficult. She is very weak and Samuel is too frightened to lift her. Finally she drinks a little. She closes her eyes. Samuel is very worried.

Then Samuel hears the siren. The ambulance is coming!

Samuel goes into the living room and turns the TV off.

The paramedics come in. They are professionals. They know what to do. Very soon, they put the old lady on a stretcher and carry her out. Samuel stands and watches.

“My cat!” she says suddenly. “Who will look after my cat?”

“I will look after your cat,” says Samuel.

“Oh, thank you. My son will come from Australia on the 24th. He can look after the cat then.”

The ambulance men go away. Samuel takes the boxes from the porch and puts them in the living room. He finds some cat food and gives it to the cat. The cat is very hungry. He leaves more food and some water for the cat. He finds some keys and goes out. He locks the door and drives home. It is 9:00 pm and he is very, very tired.

For the next two days, Samuel goes to 547 Westerfield Road before he starts work and when he finishes work. On the morning of the 24th he feeds the cat, locks the house and leaves the house keys in the letterbox.

I hope the old lady is OK, he thinks. I hope her son comes today.

Samuel only has three days vacation for Christmas. When he goes back to work, the boss comes out of his office.

“You have a visitor,” he says. “Come into my office.” Samuel follows his boss into the office. There is a man waiting there. The man jumps up. “I am Oscar Danford,” he says. “Thank you for saving my mother’s life!”

Samuel says. “Oh. I didn’t do anything. I just called the ambulance.”

Oscar shakes his head. “No. You did more than that! If you hadn’t gone into the house, my mother would have died. But I have a question. Why did you go into the house?”

Samuel explains about the boxes. “I thought it was strange. I don’t know why I was worried, but I was. That’s why I went back after work. I listened at the door and I heard your mother crying out. But I have a question too.”

“What is your question?” asks Oscar.

“People often ask me to leave their boxes somewhere. But that is because they are out at work when I come. I guess your mother is usually at home. Why does she ask for her online shopping to be left on the porch? “

Oscar laughs. My mother loves TV. That is why she shops online. She likes watching TV more than shopping! She has the sound up very loud. Often she doesn’t hear when people knock. And even when she does hear someone knocking, she doesn’t want to miss any of her favourite programmes!”

Samuel laughs too. “Now I understand.”

“And thank you for looking after the cat.” Oscar puts his hand in his pocket. He gives Samuel and envelope. “Please take this. It is a small thank you from my mother and me.”

“On, no!” says Samuel. His face is red. “I don’t want anything!”

“Please take it,” says Oscar. Samuel doesn’t know what to do. He looks at his boss.

“I think you should take it,” says the boss. “You are my best courier driver, and you are a man who cares about people. It’s Christmas and Oscar is giving you an extra present.”

Oscar looks at his watch. “I must go back to the hospital. My mother is getting better and now she wants me to arrange a television in her hospital room!”

He hurries out. The boss is smiling at Samuel.

“You did a good thing,” he says. “Do you know who that was?”

“Uh. Oscar Danford,” says Samuel.

“Yes! And he has a big mail order company in Australia. He thinks our courier service must be good, so he is going to use us for all the companies deliveries! I want to do something for you too. I am going to buy you a bigger van, so you can make more deliveries!”

Oh, no! thinks Samuel. But he is not very unhappy. He has opened the envelope. Inside is a cheque for $3,000!

I can buy a big flatscreen TV to watch football on!

[Short Story] Nine Times

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Kevin is a very nice young boy, but he hates to study. His mother is often very angry. “You must study,” she says.

Kevin’s father has a PlayStation. Sometimes he lets Kevin use it. But Kevin doesn’t like his father’s games. He wants his own games. He wants a Lego game. It is Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2.

He asks his mother, “Can I have Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 for the PlayStation?”

His mother is not happy. “If you have games for the PlayStation, you will not study.”

“I will, I will,” says Kevin. He wants the Lego game very much.

He asks his mother many times, but she always says, “No.”

Finally, Kevin’s mother has an idea. “You have a math test at school soon. You must know all the multiplication tables from 1 to 12. If you can get 80% in your math test, I will buy you the Lego Game.”

Kevin is not happy but he wants the Lego Game so he tries to study. He works very hard. Soon he knows many of the answers but the nine times table is very difficult. Kevin cannot remember the answers.

The day before the math test, Kevin is coming home from school on the bus. There is no school bus in Kevin’s town, so he takes the regular city bus to school and home again.

Kevin is tired. He has tried to study. Today at school they had a practice test. Kevin could remember most of the answers but the nine times table was too difficult.

I tried hard but I won’t get 80%, he thinks. If I don’t get 80% my mother will be angry and she will not buy me Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2.

He kicks the seat. The man sitting next to him on the bus looks at him. “Are you OK?” he asks. “Are you having trouble at school?”

Kevin’s mother always says “Do not talk to strangers!” But Kevin thinks this man has a kind face.

He tells the man about Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. He tells the man his mother will buy it for him, but first, he must get more than 80% on the maths test.

“Well, that’s no problem,” says the man. “You can do it!”

“No, I can’t!” says Kevin. “I can remember 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10,11,12 times table answers. But I can’t remember 9 times!”

The man looks surprised. “But the nine times table is an easy one!,” he says.

“No, it’s not!”

The man smiles. “What is nine times one?”

“Nine! Everyone knows that!”

“And what is nine times two?”


“Good! And eighteen is one and eight, yes?”

Is this guy crazy? thought Kevin.

“Yes, so?” he answered.

“What is one plus eight?” asked the man.

“Nine,” said Kevin slowly.

“Good!” said the man. “And nine times three is twenty-seven, and two plus seven is nine!

“Nine times four is thirty-six, and three plus six is nine.”

Kevin got the idea. He sat quietly and thought about it.

“But nine times eleven is ninety-nine! Nine plus nine is eighteen! It doesn’t work!”

The man smiled at Kevin. “Nothing in life is perfect,” he said. “But can you remember the eleven times table?”

“Yes I can,” said Kevin proudly.

“So,” said the man. “Nine times eleven is the same as eleven times nine! And the maybe you can’t remember, but nine times twelve is one hundred and eight. One plus zero plus eight is nine! You know it all!”

The bus stopped. The man stood up. “Good luck,” he said.

The nest day Kevin went to school and took the math test. He took his results home to his mother.

“Hi, Kevin,” she said. “How was your math test?”

“It was OK,” he said.

What’s OK?” asked his mother. “Did you get 80%?”

“No,” said Kevin.

His mother looked angry. “OK,” she said. “You did not study well. I will not buy Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 for you. What was your score?”

Kevin could not stop smiling. “100%!” he said.

[Short Story] The Job Interview

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Simon Gatsby is waiting for a job interview. He is wearing his suit. He is very nervous. There is another man in the waiting room. The other man is also wearing a suit. He looks very relaxed. He is playing games on his smartphone.

Simon will finish university soon. He must find a job. He saw an advertisement in the paper. It said —- We are looking for a recent graduate. Exciting position for the right person.—

There was no more information. Simon sent his CV to the address in the advertisement. He got a letter saying he was on the shortlist, and he could have an interview.

It’s very strange, thought Simon. I don’t know anything about this job. I don’t know what this company wants. I don’t know what they would want me to do. How can I give the right answers to their questions?

 A woman comes into the waiting room. “Mr Mellow,” she says. The other man in the waiting room stands up. He follows the woman into another room.

That guy’s name is Mellow, thinks Simon. He looks very confident. If we both want the same job, I am sure he will get it.

Simon waits. After about 10 minutes, the other man comes back to the waiting room. He smiles at Simon and walks out.

The woman comes back into the room and says, “Mr Gatsby?”

Simon follows her to an office. The woman opens the door and says, “Mr Malbeau, this is Mr Gatsby.”

She walks away, and Simon goes into the office. There is only one person in the room.

A very large man is sitting behind a desk. “Sit down,” he says to Simon. He points to a chair in front of the desk.

Simon feels very nervous. “Thank you for giving me this interview…….”

The man starts talking before Simon has finished.  “Now. Do you want this job?”

“I don’t know what it is,” says Simon.

“Why do you want to know what the job is?” asks Mr Malbeau. “You will finish university very soon. You need a job. I will give you a job. What is the problem?”

Simon is very puzzled. “But what do you want me to do? What are the working hours? What about medical insurance? Vacation time?”

Mr Malbeau looks angry. “Medical insurance? Vacations? Do you think I’m crazy? I want someone who will work for me seven days a week. You will do everything I tell you to do. I want someone who will be available 24 hours a day.”

Simon thinks about it. If he wants me to be available to work all the time, he will pay a lot of money. I could pay back my student loans.

 “How much will you pay me?” he asks.

Mr Malbeau tells Simon the salary. It is very, very low. It is less than Simon would get for working in a fast food restaurant for only twenty hours a week. And Mr Malbeau wants him to work seven days a week!

“So, do you want the job or not?” asks Mr Malbeau.

Simon stands up. “No. Thank you, Mr Malbeau. You want a slave. I don’t want to be a slave. Good bye.”

Simon walks out of the office. He walks through the waiting room, and out onto the street.

The man named Mellow is standing in the street. He sees Simon, and walks towards him. “Did you take the job?” he asks Simon.

“No! Of course not. Did you?”

Mellow laughs. “No way. There must be better jobs we can find. I waited to talk to you. I thought you looked like a nice guy. I wanted to tell you to say ‘no’. The man must be mad.”

“Maybe he thinks new graduates will take any job,” said Simon.

“It’s very difficult to find a job, but it would be better to work in a restaurant or a gas station.” Mellow is laughing. “I am sure Mr Malbeau has interviewed many people. I am sure they all said ‘no’. Let’s buy a newspaper and go and get a cup of coffee. We can look for real jobs and help each other.”

Simon feels happy. He doesn’t have a job but he has met a very friendly guy called Mellow. Simon thinks he has made a friend. It was a successful job interview.