[Short Story with Video] Salt and Sugar

This is a short story for learners of English.

Wanda graduated from cooking school and got a job in the kitchen of a new café in her town. She was very happy. She has been working in the café for 6 weeks. She likes her job. The café is new and very small. The café belongs to Gregor. He makes coffee and looks after the customers. Wanda does all the cooking.

Wanda thinks Gregor is very nice, but he is also a tough boss. He wants everything to be perfect.

Today Wanda is having a very bad day. She has been in the kitchen since 6am. Last night, she broke up with her boyfriend. She was very sad so she went to visit her friend Janet. They drank a lot of wine.

Today she feels very ill. Why did I drink so much? I feel terrible, my head hurts and I went to bed so late! I am so tired!

Today Gregor is very excited. “Wanda, we must try very hard today. Look at the man sitting by the window. Do you know who that is?”

Wanda looks at the man. “No. I don’t know him. Who is he?”

“His name is Anton Wesley-Brown. He writes about food and restaurants for the newspaper! If he likes the food here, he will write a good report about this café!”

Wanda understands. Gregor wants the café to be a success.

But why today? Why did this restaurant critic come today?

Gregor goes out of the kitchen to talk to the customers. It is only 11:15 so there are not many people in the café. Most people are drinking coffee and eating muffins and cakes.

Wanda is busy making salads. Today’s special is very simple – a grilled pork chop, with cream and mustard sauce and salad.

I could have cooked something wonderful if I had known that man was coming. No, maybe not. Not today. I am too ill to cook.

Gregor comes back into the kitchen. “Mr Wesley-Brown wants the pork chop!”

“OK,” says Wanda. She takes a pork chop from the refrigerator. She reaches up to the shelf and takes down the seasonings. She sprinkles salt and pepper on the chop and puts it under the grill. She makes the sauce and puts salad on the plate.

When the meal is ready she puts it out near the door of the kitchen. Gregor hurries over and takes the meal to Mr Wesley-Brown.

Wanda turns back to the kitchen. She stares at the counter. Why is there brown sugar on the counter? I used salt, pepper, mustard. I didn’t use brown sugar. There is the pepper and the mustard. Where is the salt? Oh, no! I put brown sugar on the pork chop! Mr Wesley-Brown will hate it! Gregor will be very angry! I will lose my job!

Wanda doesn’t know what to do, so she keeps on working. She finishes all the food preparation. It is almost noon and many customers are coming in for lunch. It will be a busy day.

Gregor comes into the kitchen. “Wanda! Mr Wesley-Brown wants to talk to you.”

The restaurant critic comes into the kitchen. “This is Wanda. She does all the cooking,” says Gregor.

“I know you are very busy,” says Mr Wesley-Brown. “But I just have one question. Did you put brown sugar on my chop?”

Wanda looks at the floor. This is it, she thinks. I am going to lose my job. Gregor will fire me.

“Ur, yes,” she says.

I will have to explain, she thinks. But Mr Wesley-Brown is speaking.

It is a very good idea. The chop was very tasty. I like the way the sugar turned to caramel under the grill. Keep up the good cooking.”

He smiles and goes out. Gregor looks very happy.

Wanda smiles too and goes back to work.

I will have to have a hangover more often, she thinks.

By I Talk You Talk Press – Easy English Reading

[Short Story with Video] Saori Makes Her Own Luck

This is a short story for learners of English.

It’s Monday morning. Saori has no classes today, so she decides to clean her apartment. It takes a long time and it is almost 11:30am when she is finished. Next to the door are bags of bottles and jars and a pile of old magazines.

I take those to the recycling station, she thinks.

Saori ties some string around the magazines.

She puts on her jacket, and puts her keys and smartphone in her pocket.

She picks up the bags and the bundle of magazines and leaves her apartment.

The recycling station is at the local community centre.

It is a cold windy day, and Saori hurries along the road to keep warm.

Even thought the weather is not good, there is a group of older people outside the community centre. They are practising Tai Chi.

Saori puts the magazines in the paper recycling crate, and walks along to the bins of different coloured glass. There is a cage for clear glass, a cage for green glass and a cage for brown glass.

She is careful to put the glass bottles into the correct cage, but she makes a mistake.

Oh no! I have put a wine bottle into the clear glass cage. I must take it out.

Saori is not very tall, and it is difficult to reach the wine bottle. She leans over the edge of the cage. I’ve got it! Now I’ll just put it in the green bottle cage and I can go home, she thinks.

Saori doesn’t notice, but her smartphone has fallen out of her pocket. It is in the cage full of clear glass.

When Saori gets back to her apartment she thinks, I’ll call Michiko. She doesn’t have classes today. Maybe we can meet for coffee.

She puts her hand in her pocket. Where is my phone! It’s not here. I have lost it! Where did I lose it?

Saori remembers leaning over the recycle cage. Did it fall out of my pocket?

She runs out of her apartment. She runs to the recycling station. Oh no! The bins are empty! Someone has come and taken all the bottles and glass away!

Saori wants to cry. My phone! It has all my contacts! No one can call me. No one can text me! And it was so pretty!

“Excuse me.”

Saori is surprised. There is an old woman standing next to her. “Are you looking for something?”

“Yes,” says Saori. “I have lost my smartphone. I think I dropped it in the recycling cage. And now they are empty! My phone has gone!”

The old woman smiles. “Today is your lucky day,” she says.  “When I finished my Tai Chi class, I walked past the recycling station. I saw something pink in the cage for clear glass. I thought ‘that’s not good. I must take it out’. It was too difficult for me. So I called our Tai Chi instructor. He is taller and fitter than me. He rescued your smartphone.”

The old woman puts her hand in the pocket of her track suit. She takes out Saori’s smartphone and gives it to her.

“Oh, thank you!” says Saori. “I am so lucky.”

“You’re welcome,” says the old woman. “But maybe you made your own luck. Your phone is pink. That’s why I saw it. Maybe if it was silver or black I could not see it. I think pink is a good colour for a smartphone. Maybe I will get a new one.”

By I Talk You Talk Press – Easy English Reading

[Short Story with Video] Where is My Suitcase?

This is a short story for learners of English. We hope you enjoy it!

Terry lives alone. His parents are dead. He does not have many friends. He does not have a girlfriend.

Terry is going on holiday. He saved money all year. He wants to have a wonderful vacation in Bali. He dreams of sun, adventure and romance.

He goes to a big discount store. He buys a suitcase with wheels and a handle. The suitcase is cheap, so the only choice of colour is black.

On Friday, Terry comes home from work. He packs his bag and suitcase. On Saturday, a taxi will come at 5am to take Terry to the airport.

Terry is very excited. He enjoys the flight very much, but when he arrives in Denpasar it is very late, and he is tired.

It is almost midnight, but it is still so hot! he thinks. He goes to the baggage claim area. Where is my bag?

He sees a black suitcase with wheels and a handle. That’s my bag. I can’t wait to get to my hotel. I can have a shower, and a long sleep.

Terry goes through customs and immigration, and finds the bus for his hotel. He checks into his hotel and goes to his room. It is very nice.

He puts his bag on the bed and opens it. Oh no! Terry is looking at a bag full of bikinis and sundresses and sandals! It’s not my bag! He looks at the luggage label. —M. Stanford I took the wrong bag! What can I do?

He closes the bag and hurries to the elevator. I must go downstairs. I must ask the man on the front desk what to do!

The elevator arrives. Terry hurries into the elevator carrying the black bag. There is a woman in the elevator. She looks very worried.

When the elevator stops on the ground floor, Terry and the woman walk to the front desk. Terry sees that the woman has a black suitcase. There are many bags that look like mine, he thinks. I was not careful at the airport. I didn’t check the luggage label.

At the front desk, Terry and the woman from the elevator start talking at the same time.

“I have the wrong bag,” they say.

“I took the wrong bag from the airport,” says Terry. “I am very sorry. What can I do?”

“I must go back to the airport to find my bag!” says the woman. “This is a man’s bag!”

The man on the front desk laughs.

“Two people with the same problem! What is your name, madam?”

“Mandy Stanford,” answers the woman.

Terry is excited. “I can solve your problem,” he says. “Here is your bag.”

“And your name, Sir?” asks the man at the front desk.

“Terry Wiggin.”

The woman starts to laugh. “I don’t believe it! You have my bag, and I have yours!”

Terry looks at the woman. She is about the same age as Terry. She is very attractive.

Suddenly Terry doesn’t feel tired or hot any more.

“It is a strange way to meet. But would you like to have a drink with me to celebrate,” he says to Mandy.

“I think you should!” says the man on the front desk. “I have to work. Otherwise I would join you.”

“OK,” says Mandy. “It seems that we were meant to meet.”

Terry’s holiday of adventure and romance has just begun!

By I Talk You Talk Press – Easy English Reading

[Short Story with Video] The Elephant

A short story for learners of English. We hope you enjoy it!

It was Friday afternoon and Mrs Watkins was tired. It was a hot day and her feet hurt. I like teaching children, she thought. But maybe I am too old for this. I don’t have so much energy.

The children in Mrs Watkin’s class were six years old. There were thirty children in the class. Mostly they were very good students. But that Friday, Mrs Watkins had problems. On Fridays the children had an art class.

There was no green paint in the store cupboard. Mrs Watkins did not know why. Maybe another teacher borrowed it. All the children asked for green paint. They wanted to paint pictures of trees and frogs and crocodiles.

Melanie spilt paint over Andrew’s painting. Andrew shouted and Melanie cried.

Micky painted his friend Pete’s face red. The two boys thought it was very funny. Mrs Watkins did not think it was funny because it took her a long time to clean Pete’s face.

After a while, Mrs Watkins decided to end the art class. “We are stopping now,” she said. “We will clean the classroom and then we will have quiet reading time.”

The children sat down with their reading books. Peace at last, thought Mrs Watkins.

Then Sandra started crying and shouting. “I feel sick! I have a pain.”

“I’ll take you to the school nurse,” said Mrs Watkins. “Everyone be quiet and read while I am gone.”

Mrs Watkins took Sandra to the school nurse and hurried back to her classroom. She could hear the children shouting. She was very angry. She opened the door. All the children were standing at the windows laughing and shouting.

“Sit down!” she said loudly. “Sit down now. I told you to read quietly.”

“But Mrs Watkins! Mrs Watkins!” The children were very excited.

“No! I am not going to listen to you. Sit down now!”

The children went back to their seats. Then Micky raised his hand. “What do you want Micky?” asked Mrs Watkins.

“There’s an elephant in the playground.”

“Don’t be so silly” said Mrs Watkins. “There is not an elephant in the playground.”

“Yes there is! There is!” shouted the children.

“Stop this now!” Mrs Watkins went across to the windows. I’ll close the curtains, she thought. That will calm the children down.

She stopped and stared. There was a very large elephant eating leaves from a tree in the playground.

Am I going mad? she thought. No, I’m not. The children can see it too.

Mrs Watkins felt bad. “Children. Come to the windows,” she said. “We can look at the elephant.”

As the children and Mrs Watkins watched the elephant, a large truck came into the playground. It was painted red and yellow. On the side of the truck, was written ‘Marvelo’s Circus.’

Men jumped out of the truck and ran towards the elephant. Very soon the elephant was walking towards the truck.

Mrs Watkins turned to the children. “Well that was exciting, wasn’t it? Now go back to your seats, please.”

She stopped. “Where is Micky?”

She found Micky in the store cupboard. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“I am looking for grey paint. Next art class we will all want to paint a picture of the elephant.”

By I Talk You Talk Press – Easy English Reading

[Short Story with Video] The Sunhat

This is a short story for learners of English. We hope you enjoy it!

Fiona is going to a wedding. Her friend Carol is getting married. Carol’s boyfriend’s family is rich. They live in a big house with a beautiful garden. The wedding will be in the garden.

Fiona doesn’t have a job so she doesn’t have a lot of money. She loves fashion and wants to wear something beautiful to the wedding. Fiona’s mother gives her one of her old dresses. Fiona cuts it up and makes a new dress for herself. It is pink. It is very short and has thin straps over the shoulders. Fiona thinks she will look good in it.

Then she thinks, the wedding will be outside. It will be hot and sunny. I don’t want to get sun burnt. I need a hat. She goes to the $2 shop and buys a sun hat. Then she uses the material left over from her dress to make flowers.

She puts the flowers on the hat. Oh, it doesn’t look good. I need some flowers in different colours, she thinks. She finds some blue, and some white material in her mother’s sewing basket. She makes some more flowers. She adds them to the pink flowers on the hat. The hat looks wonderful!

Fiona is very excited on the day of the wedding. She knows she looks good.

It is a very beautiful day. It is hot and sunny, but it is also very windy.

After the ceremony, everyone is standing in the garden drinking champagne and eating snacks. Fiona has a glass of champagne in one hand and a sandwich in the other. She cannot hold on to her hat.

Suddenly the wind blows hard. It picks up Fiona’s hat and takes it high into the air.

“Oh no! My hat” shouts Fiona. Everyone laughs as they see her hat fly away.

Fiona is sad because she has lost her hat, but she cannot do anything about it.

The next weekend, Fiona and her mother go on a garden tour. They visit many gardens. Garden tours are popular and there are many people. Suddenly Fiona’s mother says, “Fiona! Is that your hat?”

There is a very smart woman looking at some rose bushes. She is wearing Fiona’s hat. Fiona runs up to her. “Excuse me, but that is my hat!”

The woman looks surprised. “Are you sure?” she says.

“Yes. I don’t know how you found it. I went to a wedding in Grampstead Road. The wind was strong and my hat flew away.”

“Oh,” says the woman. “I live in Grampstead Road. I found it in my garden. I will give it back to you.”

She takes the hat off and gives it to Fiona.

“Thank you,” says Fiona.

Then the woman says, “I really like it. Where did you buy it?”

“I made it,” says Fiona. She explains about the $2 shop sunhat, and making flowers to put on the hat.

“Really?” says the woman. “You are very clever.”

Fiona gives the hat back to the woman. “Please keep this one. I can easily make another one for myself.”

The woman smiles. “I have an idea. My name is Valerie Osten. I have some fashion shops. I sell clothes for weddings and other special occasions. Will you make some hats for me? I think they will sell very well. Here is my business card. Please call me.”

“Oh, yes!” says Fiona. “I will do that.”

As Fiona runs back to her mother she thinks, I was so lucky that I lost my hat. Now I have a job!

By I Talk You Talk Press – Easy English Reading

[Short Story with Video] The New Neighbours

This is a short story for learners of English!

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.”

By I Talk You Talk Press – Easy English Reading

[Short Story with Video] The Waiting Dog

This is a short story for learners of English. We hope you enjoy it!

Romero has a café in the park. It is called The Park Café. Romero thinks the name is boring, but he can’t think of a better name. The Park Café is very popular in summer. Many people come to the park to walk their dogs.

Romero likes dogs and he is a smart businessman. Dogs cannot come into the café, but Romero has a special area for dogs outside. Dog walkers can tie their dogs up there. They can see their dogs through the window. Romero has bowls of water and treats for dogs. It is good for business.

One Saturday, the café was very busy. The dog area was full. The café was full. Romero did not notice that one dog had been there for a very long time. The café closes at 4pm. All the customers left. Romero was surprised to see that there was still one dog tied up outside. He looked around his café. It was empty. He went outside to talk to the dog.

“Where is your owner? Did your owner forget you and go home without you?”

The dog wagged its tail and barked.

Romero looked at the dog. It was a nice dog. It was clean and well fed. He looked at the dog’s collar. There was a tag on the collar with the name Lucien, and a telephone number.

He went inside and called the telephone number. There was no answer. Romero did not know what to do.

He went into the kitchen and found some leftover hamburger. He put it in the bowl and took it out to the dog.

I will have to call the people who take dogs that are on the streets, he thought. But first I will clean up. While Romero was cleaning his café and kitchen he watched the dog out the windows. It was a very nice dog.

Finally Romero finished his work. His last job was to take the bags of garbage out. When he went out to the back of the café he got a big shock. There was a man lying on the grass. Romero thought he was dead, but he ran inside and called an ambulance.

The ambulance came. Romero was right. The man was dead. “It looks like a heart attack,” said the ambulance men. “He’s been dead for hours.”

The police came. It was dark and Romero went outside and brought the dog into the café. It’s against the rules, he thought. But I don’t care. That poor dog has been alone for hours waiting for his owner.

Romero sat in the café with the dog. The dog put his head against Romero’s knee and Romero patted him.

Finally the police said. “The dog belonged to the dead man. The man’s name was Raoul Findeas. It seems he had no family. We will take the dog now.”

“No,” said Romero. “I will keep the dog.”

“OK,” said the police and went away.

“Well,” said Romero to the dog. “It has been a hard day for you, but I will take you home. And I think I will change the name of my café. I think I will call it Lucien’s Café. What do you think?”

The dog barked.

By I Talk You Talk Press – Easy English Reading

[Short Story Video] The Dinner Party

This is a short story for learners of English. We hope you enjoy it!

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 building.

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 given 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,” says 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!”

By I Talk You Talk Press – Easy English Reading