Short Story – Lemons

A short story for learners of English.

two lemon fruits

Photo by Diana on Pexels.com

Rowan is cooking dinner. It is a very special dinner because her new boyfriend is coming to her house. She has oysters for the first course and steak for the second course. She bought an expensive chocolate cake from the bakery on the way home.

She is making salad to eat with the steak. When she finishes the salad, she cleans up the kitchen and goes to her bedroom to change.

She wants to look good, so she chooses a very short dress from her closet. She puts on silver sandals and does her hair and makeup very carefully.

She goes back to the kitchen. The table looks beautiful. She has candles and flowers.  The wine glasses are ready.

He will be here in twenty minutes, she thinks. All I have to do is put the oysters out on their plates. Oh no! Lemons. I forgot to buy lemons! I have to serve lemons with the oysters. Do I have enough time to go to the store and buy some? No, I don’t! Those oysters were very expensive, but they won’t be any good without lemons.

Rowan is very upset. Her new boyfriend is older than her. He is a successful businessman. He eats out in good restaurants all the time. He takes her to very nice places. She looks out the window. Her next-door neighbour has a big lemon tree.

All those lemons! she thinks. I only need one or two! I could go and ask Mrs Atkins for some lemons, but she is in hospital. There is no one there.

Then Rowan has an idea. I could go into Mrs Atkins garden and take some lemons. No one will know. The gate to her garden is locked but I could climb over the fence.

Rowan takes a chair from the kitchen and runs out into her garden. She puts the chair next to the fence. She climbs onto the chair. She can reach the top of the fence. She climbs over. It is very difficult in her short tight dress and high-heeled sandals, but she can do it. She jumps from the top of the fence onto the grass. She goes to the lemon tree and takes two lemons. Then she goes back to the fence.

Rowan looks at the fence. Oh no! I don’t have anything to stand on! What can I do? The fence is too high!

Rowan puts the lemons on the ground. She looks around her neighbour’s garden. She sees a small garbage can near the back of the house. She runs over and carries the garbage can back to the fence. She climbs onto the garbage can and reaches for the top of the fence. Suddenly a light comes on in her neighbour’s house.

Rowan looks towards the house and sees a man standing at a window. Oh! No!

Rowan throws herself over the fence. She lands hard. Her legs are bleeding, her dress is torn. One of her shoes is broken.

She walks back towards the house carrying the chair. When she enters the kitchen she realizes she doesn’t have the lemons. She put them on the ground when she went to get the garbage can. This is terrible! she thinks.

Her smartphone is on the kitchen counter. It makes a ringing sound. She has a new message. She picks it up and reads the message. It is from her new boyfriend

— Sorry I can’t come to your house tonight. I didn’t tell you, but I’m married. My wife just came back from her cruise. I had fun with you, but now it has finished. —

Rowan feels very angry. I was such an idiot! She kicks off her sandals and walks towards her bedroom. Just then, her doorbell rings.

She goes to the door and looks through the hole in the door. There is a very attractive man standing there.

“Who is it?” she asks.

“I’m Phil Atkins. Your neighbour’s nephew.”

Oh, no. He was in the house! He saw me! Has he called the police? she thinks.

Rowan opens the door. The man sees she is wearing no shoes, her legs have blood on them and her dress is dirty and torn.

He smiles. “You forgot your lemons,” he says.

He has a wonderful smile. He is very handsome and he is holding out two lemons.

“Do you like oysters?” asks Rowan.

 

[Fast 500] Where are my shoes?

A 500-word story for learners of English.

Ann loves shoes. Today she is wearing a pair of beautiful red high-heels that she bought in Paris. It is the first time she has worn them. At lunchtime Ann is walking to a café when she sees a sign outside the shoe shop.

 

MOVING SALE.

We are moving to a new shop in the Mall.

We are selling all our old stock at low prices.

Come in and look!

 

Of course Ann goes into the shoe shop. The shop is full of people. There is big box in the middle of the shop. There is a sign on the box.

 

OLD STOCK

MIXED STYLES AND SIZES

$25 a pair

 

Ann hurries to the box. Many people are taking pairs of shoes out of the box and trying them on. She sees a pair of green sandals.

They would be great for the beach, she thinks.

She takes the sandals and checks the size. They will fit. I’ll just try them on.

Ann finds an empty seat and sits down. She takes of her red high heels and tries on the sandals. They fit well. She walks over to a mirror to see how they look. They are perfect. She looks at the shoes on the shelves but there is nothing else she likes.

Ann goes back to the seat and takes the sandals off. I’ll buy these, she thinks.

She looks for her red high heels. They are not on the floor where she left them.

Where are my shoes? My beautiful red shoes!

She hurries to the counter carrying the green sandals.

“Excuse me”, she says to the salesperson. “My shoes have disappeared.”

“What shoes?” asks the salesperson.

“I came into this shop wearing a pair of high-heeled shoes. I took them off to try on these sandals. They have disappeared.”

“Oh,” said the salesperson. “Are they red?”

“Yes, they are red. I just bought them in Paris.”

“Oh, no!” said the salesperson. “I thought they came out of that box of $25 shoes. I just sold them. I am so sorry.”

“Who did you sell them to?” Ann is very unhappy.

“A young woman in a black business suit. She is not in the shop now. I guess she has gone.”

Ann and the salesperson run out of the shop and onto the street.

“There she is!” shouts the salesperson. She points to a woman in a black suit, carrying a shoe shop bag. Ann and the salesperson run after the young woman. They get close to her. Ann is shouting “Stop! Stop!”

The young woman stops and turns around.

“Are you shouting at me?”

“Yes, I’m sorry. I made a bad mistake.” The salesperson explains that the shoes belong to Ann.

The three women walk back to the shoe shop. The salesperson gives the woman in the suit her money back. She takes the red shoes out of the bag and Ann puts them on. Ann is still holding the green sandals.

“You can keep them,” says the salesperson. “I caused you trouble. So those sandals are a gift.”

Then she turns to the woman in the business suit. “If you can find something you like in the $25 box, you can have them for free.”

Everyone is happy, but Ann thinks she will be more careful in the future. She thinks, Always carry the shoes you wore into the shop when you are walking around. Especially if there is a sale.

 

Another Halloween Story from Old Jack

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

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Hello everyone! I’m Old Jack. I travel around the world searching for interesting ghost stories. It is almost Halloween, so I have decided to share a special story with you. I hope you enjoy it.

Around fifty years ago, when I was about twenty years old, I visited London. I stayed with my friend, Richard, for a weekend. We had a great time. I lived in the north of England, so I couldn’t go to London often. I was very excited. We went sightseeing, and drank beer every night.

On my last night in London, Richard said, “I’ll take you to an interesting pub. It has a ghost. You like ghosts, don’t you?”

“Oh yes!” I said. “I have been interested in ghosts since  I was a young boy. Let’s go!”

falcon-pub-london-uk

 

We walked to the pub from Richard’s house. It was a cold night in late October, just before Halloween. We were very glad when we arrived at the pub and saw a nice warm fire, and a friendly landlord waiting to serve us beer.

We sat at the bar and talked to the landlord, the owner of the pub.

“Richard tells me you have a ghost,” I said.

“Oh, yes. We do,” said the landlord. “I’ll tell you about it.”

“Please do! I said.

“Well, we have to go back a hundred years,” said the landlord. “This pub was a very popular pub then. It had many customers. But one day, something terrible happened. It was late at night, and the pub was closing. The last customers left the pub. They were drunk and happy. The landlord locked the door and started to count the money.

“Then he heard a noise. Knock knock. Someone was knocking on the door.

“‘We are closed!’ he shouted. But the knocking sound did not stop. Knock knock. Knock knock.

“‘Who is it?’ shouted the landlord.

“‘It’s John! I think I left my coat!’ said a voice.

“The landlord went to the door and unlocked it. But it wasn’t John. It was a different man. The man pushed the landlord into the pub and closed the door. ‘The money!’ he shouted. ‘Give me the money!’

“The landlord tried to fight him, but the man was very strong. He pulled the mirror from the wall above the fire, and smashed it over the landlord’s head. The broken glass from the mirror cut the landlord’s face and neck, and he died. The robber took the landlord’s body to the cellar under the pub, and locked the cellar door. Then, he took all the money and some bottles of whisky, and ran away.

“The next day, many people came to the pub, but they couldn’t find the landlord. The police came, and finally they found the landlord’s body in the cellar.”

“Did they catch the robber?” I asked.

“Yes, they did,” said the landlord. “He was a man from the other side of London. He had robbed many other pubs and shops. The police had been looking for him for a long time. When the police caught him, he cried and said, ‘I didn’t want to kill him! I just wanted the money! I’m sorry!’ A few weeks later, he was hanged.”

“So who is the ghost in here? Is it the landlord, or the robber? Or both?” I asked.

“I think both the men are here. I haven’t seen them, but I hear strange things,” said the landlord. “When I go to the cellar to get more beer, I sometimes hear a strange sound. It sounds like someone is pulling something heavy across the floor. But there is no one there! I live upstairs. Sometimes, late at night when I am in bed, I hear men’s voices. They are fighting. And I hear the sound of breaking glass. But when I come down here, no one is there.”

“That sounds scary,” I said.

“That sounds stupid!”

I turned around and saw a man with a glass of whisky in his hand. His face was very red. He looked quite drunk.

“I don’t believe any of that!” he said. “I don’t believe in ghosts! What a stupid story!”

 

 

Just then, the lights went out! The pub became very dark! We couldn’t see anything!

Everyone started talking. “What is it?” “Is it a power cut?” “It’s dark! I can’t see anything!”

Then, we heard a very loud CRASH!!!

Some people started shouting. Some were screaming.

Then, suddenly, the lights came on. The mirror from the wall was now on the floor. It was broken into many small pieces around the man with the red face. Everyone was quiet. We all looked at the man. We couldn’t believe it.

Then the landlord asked the man, “Are you OK? Are you cut?”

The man shook his head. “No, but my neck hurts.”

We looked at his neck. There were rope marks around his neck. He was too shocked to talk. He picked up his coat and walked out of the pub.

 

 

We all helped to clean up the glass on the floor. The landlord gave us all free whisky.

We all talked about the mirror and the lights, but no one could understand it. In that pub, there were people who believed in ghosts and people who didn’t believe in ghosts. But by the end of the night, I think everyone believed.

 

——

Old Jack has written five books of ghost stories. You can find more information about his books here. Old Jack’s Ghost Stories

Happy Halloween!

 

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A Surprise Birthday Party

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A Surprise Birthday Party

 

Ted had a new girlfriend. His friends were pleased. Ted had dated Samantha for two years. When Samantha told Ted it was over, he was very upset. He was sad all the time. A few months later, he met Angela.

“I am arranging a surprise birthday party for Angela!” Ted told the people in his office. “It will be great!”

“Who’s Angela?” asked Tony. Tony had just come back to the office after six months working in America. “I thought your girlfriend’s name was Samantha.”

“Samantha was my girlfriend last year,” said Ted. “We broke up at New Year. I met Angela three weeks ago. Angela’s my new girlfriend.”

“Where did you meet her?” asked Anne.

“I met her at my kick boxing club. She has been a member for a long time.”

“When’s Angela’s birthday. Are we invited?” asked Anne. She likes parties.

“It’s on Saturday. It’s in the back bar at the Highlander Pub. Of course you and Tony are invited. It will be great!”

“Are you sure a surprise birthday party is a good idea?” asked Tony. “She might have other plans for her birthday.”

“No, no. I asked her out on a date on Saturday and she said ‘yes’, so she doesn’t have other plans.”

“Are you sure it’s her birthday?” asked Tony.

“What do you mean, Tony?” Ted was angry. “Of course it’s her birthday! When I changed the page on the calendar in my kitchen I saw ‘birthday’ written in pink pen in the space for Saturday. And there’s a big heart drawn around it. Angela must have written it there when she was in my apartment.”

 

Unfortunately, neither Tony nor Anne could go to the surprise birthday party. Anne caught a cold and Tony’s parents came to visit him so he couldn’t go out. When Ted came into work on Monday morning, Angela said. “How was the party? I was so sorry I couldn’t go!”

“Me too,” added Tony. “Did you have a good time?”

“No,” said Ted. “It was terrible!”

“What happened?” asked Anne.

“Well, I told Angela I would meet her at the pub. I don’t know Angela’s friends, so I asked my friends. I thought it would be a good chance for them to meet her. I put up a big poster that said Happy birthday to my best girlfriend. I put the cake with Happy Birthday Darling on it on the table. Then Angela arrived, and at the same time, Samantha came in with her new boyfriend. We all shouted ‘surprise!’ and sang happy birthday. Angela was very surprised. And then she was very angry.”

“Why?” Tony and Anne asked together.

“It wasn’t Angela’s birthday at all! It was Samantha’s! I forgot. But Samantha had given me the calendar just before we broke up. She must have written the message on the calendar.”

Tony and Ann could not stop laughing. “I’m sorry, Ted,” said Anne. “It’s terrible. But it is funny too.”

 

Ted started laughing too. “I can’t believe I made such a terrible mistake. And of course now I have no girlfriend again. But the cake was very nice.”