Welcome to Easy Stories in English, the podcast that will take your English from OK to Good, and from Good to Great.
I am Ariel Goodbody, your host for this show. Today’s story is for pre-intermediate learners. The name of the story is The Beetle and the Boy. This is chapter two of three. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Beetle2. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Beetle2. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
So this is chapter two of the story we started last week. If you haven’t listened to chapter one, do go back and listen to it first. It will be much more enjoyable if you listen to it in order.
I will just do a recap of last week’s episode, so I will remind you what happened in chapter one.
So the story is about Cecil. Cecil is a boy at school and he has a special power. His power is not being noticed. So he always sits in the corner and nobody can see him. Nobody realises he’s there.
Not only this, he may have another strange power. He is bullied in school and he wishes awful things on his bully. He wishes that his bully’s skin dries up and then the next day he finds out the bully has gone to hospital with a mysterious skin problem.
Even though Cecil is great at not being noticed, someone does notice him: a boy at school called Mike. And Cecil has been noticing Mike for a very long time. Mike gives Cecil a present for his birthday. It’s a stag beetle, and Cecil decides to name the stag beetle Little Mike. Cecil asks Mike when his birthday is, and he tells him it’s February the 13th. And that’s where chapter one ends.
I hope you’re enjoying listening to this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. It really is a pleasure to be able to share my work with you all and I would love to hear what you think about it. You can email me at Ariel@EasyStoriesInEnglish.com, or leave a comment at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Beetle2. Tell me what you like about the show and tell me if you have anything you want to hear of, any suggestions.
OK, so listen and enjoy!
The Beetle and the Boy Chapter 2
Little Mike was my first ever pet. My parents had always said I was too careless for one, but I looked after my stag beetle like he was the most important thing in the world. Once a week, Big Mike came round to visit Little Mike.
‘I think he’s growing bigger,’ he would say. ‘Soon he’ll be as big as you.’
‘But I’m just small.’
At school, Mike was in a different class to me, and at breaktime he hung out with his own friends. I didn’t mind. We walked home together after school, and I never knew what to say, so I usually ended up talking about Little Mike.
Christmas came and went. Mike ended up going to visit his grandparents in Edinburgh, so I didn’t see him for a few weeks. Those weeks were awful. I made him a photo album with pictures of Little Mike, so that on Christmas day he could feel close to me. He gave me a tiny little woollen scarf that he had knitted, for Little Mike, and an adult-sized scarf for me. I wrapped myself up in it and smelled it, and pretended it was him.
But after Christmas, something was different with Mike. One day, on the way home from school, he turned to me and said, ‘Have you ever looked at a girl?’
‘Well, duh, I see girls every day.’
‘No, I mean looked at one. Like, you can’t take your eyes off her.’
I thought about it for a moment. The only person I’d looked at like that was Mike. Big Mike, of course.
‘You’re going red—you have!’
‘Have not! My face is just warm.’
We were at the corner of the road we lived on, so I ran home and didn’t look back.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking through all the girls in school, trying to decide which one Mike was looking at. The worst thing was, I didn’t know why I cared so much. I didn’t care about his other friends, so why did I care that he might have a girlfriend?
The next day at school, I sat inside my tree, but instead of reading I watched. I watched him go up to a girl with long, brown hair and give her a flower.
I didn’t even know her name. I walked home alone that day, quickly so that Mike wouldn’t see me. I spent all weekend feeling sick and thinking bad things about her. I wished all her hair would fall out.
On Monday, something was happening in the playground. The girl, Mike’s girl, was stood in a circle of kids. She was wearing a big, woollen hat, and she had pulled it down right over her ears. The kids were teasing her. One tried to take her hat. She pushed him away, tears in her eyes. Then Darren, who was behind her, pulled it right off her head. As soon as her head was revealed, the kids all started laughing. It was as smooth and shiny as Little Mike’s shell. Not a hair was left on it.
I had done it again.
At lunch, I hid in my tree and thought about what I’d done. Then there was a knock from outside that made me jump and hit my head.
‘What do you want?’
‘How is Little Mike doing?’ he said, ignoring my anger.
‘He’s fine. He’s started to learn how to draw.’
This was only half true. I had given him a pen and he had drawn a few lines, but it wasn’t really art.
‘Oh, that’s great. Listen, I have to tell you something.’
‘What, about your girlfriend?’
Suddenly I was glad I’d made her bald.
‘No, it’s—can you please look at me?’
I turned to face him. He looked very worried.
‘She’s not my girlfriend,’ he said quietly.
‘Then why did you give her a flower?’
‘I… Look, that’s not important now. I came to tell you that I’m leaving.’
‘On February the thirteenth. We’re moving back to Scotland.’
‘But that’s your birthday!’
It was a stupid thing to say, but I couldn’t help it. It was the day before Valentine’s Day, and I had been thinking of all kinds of things to give him. I was going to get him the best birthday-Valentine’s present ever.
‘I know it’s my birthday. We’ll have to celebrate some other time.’
‘Why are you moving?’
‘We just have to. I’m sorry, I can’t explain it.’
‘Scotland is so far away!’
‘It’s not that far. We can write.’
But from the way his voice drooped, I could tell that wasn’t going to happen. Ever since Christmas we had been moving apart, and this was going to be the end of us.
On February the thirteenth I didn’t even say goodbye. I picked up Little Mike’s box and took it up to the attic, and closed all the curtains so that I was in the dark. I heard the doorbell, and my parents opening the door. It was Big Mike. My parents called and called, ran through the house to look for me, but they couldn’t find me. Nobody could ever find me.
Then I heard the front door close, and a few minutes later, the sound of their car going down the road and disappearing into the distance.
I took Mike Jr. out of his box and held him.
‘You’re all I have now.’
END OF CHAPTER 2
I hope you enjoyed the story. You can support the podcast by leaving a review on iTunes. Search for Easy Stories in English, give us a star rating, and say what you like about the show. It would really help us grow. Thank you for listening, and until next week.