Easy Stories in English is turning 100! On the first of December, we will have the 100th episode of the podcast. Wow, it’s hard to believe!
To celebrate 100 episodes, I want to put YOUR voices on the podcast. Record a message and say how Easy Stories in English has helped you to learn English. Maybe it has made you more confident, maybe it has made you read more, maybe you like listening in the car. Whatever the case, I want to hear from you!
I also want to have a special introduction with all of your voices. So make sure to record yourself saying, ‘Welcome to Easy Stories in English, the podcast that will take your English from OK to Good, and from Good to Great.’
The introduction to the episode will be made from all YOUR voices, and I will play your messages about learning English on the show!
If you want to be part of the 100th episode, email your recording to Ariel@EasyStoriesInEnglish.com. Make sure it’s less than a minute, so that there’s time for everyone’s recording!
Thank you all so much for listening, and I look forward to hearing your voices!
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 Stalking is For Girls, Too. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Girls. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Girls. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
Let me just start by explaining what stalking is.
Stalk means to follow someone without them knowing it. For example, when a hunter wants to catch an animal, they usually stalk it through the forest. But humans can also stalk each other. Unfortunately, people usually want to do bad things or hurt someone when they stalk them. In particular, many people stalk celebrities because they are in love with them. They try to find their address, follow them in public, take pictures, send them letters and so on. In most countries, stalking people is illegal, but it often still happens.
So, based on the title of the story, you can probably tell that this story isn’t so kid-friendly. It’s maybe not a great story for children. But don’t worry, there’s nothing too bad in this story. There’s not actual dangerous stalking in the story, because this is a comedy story, it’s a funny story. So don’t worry, there’s no danger and there’s no sex or anything. There’s just talk of dating and maybe unhealthy relationships, but hopefully you’ll find it funny.
I wrote this story as part of a challenge with one of my students. I challenged my student to write a piece of flash fiction, and I would write a piece of flash fiction as well, and then we discussed our flash fiction.
So, what is flash fiction? Flash fiction is very, very short fiction. So fiction is stories, novels and so on. Usually, flash fiction means a story that is 1000 words or less. In this case, I challenged my student to write a story in 500 words or less. So today’s story was originally 500 words or less, but now it’s more like 700 words, because I had to change the story for the podcast. I made it a bit longer so that I could make things clearer and easier to understand.
So why write flash fiction? Well, one, it’s always fun to have a challenge, and when you’re a writer, it’s really good to try and challenge yourself every now and then. Sometimes you need to do something a bit different and see what happens.
Usually, when I sit down to write a short story, I don’t know how long it’s going to be, and sometimes it ends up really long. So it can be really useful to sit down and say, ‘OK, I’m going to write a story that is 500 words or less.’ Or, ‘1000 words or less.’ It’s difficult to fit a story into 500 words, but it means that you don’t add too many details. You already know that it has to be a simple story.
So I think, in future, when I write a new short story, I will tell myself, ‘OK, Ariel, this story is going to be 1000 words.’ Or 2000 words, or however long it is. Probably, it will be longer, but it’s always good to start with an intention, an idea of what you’re going to do.
So, as I said, today’s story is a comedy story. It’s also kind of a romance story, a love story. Although, technically, for a story to be a romance story, it has to have a happy ending and, well, this story doesn’t have so much of a happy ending! But it does have a twist.
So a twist is when something unexpected happens in a story. For example, in the film Star Wars, or—I don’t know which Star Wars film. In the Star Wars series, there is a famous scene where Darth Vader—the guy in the black outfit with the red lightsaber—says, ‘Luke, I am your father.’ And that’s a big twist, because before then, you don’t know that Darth Vader is Luke’s father! It’s a big surprise. So that’s an example of a twist, and today’s story has a twist in it. But I won’t spoil the twist, I won’t tell you what the twist is!
In this story, a book called Watership Down is mentioned. Watership Down is a novel about rabbits, but it’s not a happy fun story for children! Actually, it’s a very serious novel and it’s really more for adults. But it was also popular with children, but it has a lot of death and fighting and violence in it.
It was made into a cartoon film in the ’80s, I think, and it was really popular in the UK. But it was a bit dangerous, because many parents thought it was OK to show to young children, but like I said, Watership Down has lots of death and fighting in it. So lots of children saw this film and found it really, really scary! I think I saw it when I was quite young and I have horrible memories of a rabbit with red eyes. Ugh!
[If you’re feeling brave, you can watch this video will all the deaths in the film, but it is VERY bloody!]
So, I haven’t seen the film for a long time. I think I would still find it scary today!
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
When you are trapped, you are in a trap, you are stuck somewhere and can’t leave. For example, if you go into a room and the door is locked from the inside, and you don’t have the key, then you’re trapped. We also use ‘trapped’ to refer to being trapped emotionally. For example, if your parents are fighting and they ask who you love more, you could feel trapped. You love them both, and you don’t want to choose one of them.
When you don’t want someone to hear or see you, you sneak, and the past tense is snuck or sneaked. For example, if you want to steal something from your brother’s room, you might wait until he is sleeping and sneak inside. You walk very slowly and quietly, and you try to stay in the dark so that people don’t see you. Thieves are usually very good at sneaking. I am very bad at sneaking—I don’t know how to move quietly.
When you have an idea to do something, but you’re not very enthusiastic about it, but still, there’s no reason not to do it, you can say ‘I might as well do it’. For example, if someone asks you if you want to go see a film, and there aren’t any good films at the moment, but you’re feeling bored, you could say, ‘Might as well. There’s nothing better to do.’ We also say this when we’re in the right place to do something, so it makes sense to do it while we have the chance. For example, if you are in Paris on holiday, and someone asks you if you want a French crêpe, you could say, ‘Might as well—we are in Paris, after all.’
Lean, and the past tense is leant or leaned, means to move in a direction but without moving your feet. For example, if you want to see something better you will lean towards it. You won’t walk, but the rest of your body will move towards it. If you like someone, you often lean towards them while they are speaking, and if you don’t like someone, or they smell, you would lean away. If you can’t find a chair to sit down, you could lean against the wall or lean on a table.
When you have a really bad situation in life and you want to complain about it, you vent. You complain and talk a lot about the bad situation to make yourself feel better. Many people have bad situations at work, for example they argue with their boss, and they vent to their friends to feel better. Or you might have a loud neighbour and you vent to your housemate about it. You pour out all your feelings because then you won’t be keeping them all inside you, which isn’t very healthy. Personally, I LOVE venting! I always tell my friends that they can come vent to me whenever they need to.
When you invent or create a story or a plan, you make it up. For example, maybe someone asks you what you’re doing this weekend. Actually, you have no plans, but you don’t want to tell them that, so you make something up: you say you’re going to a restaurant with your husband. Maybe you don’t have a husband—you also made that up. Making things up can be a form of lying.
When you hold your breath, you go [holds breath]. You take a breath in, you take air into your mouth, then you close your mouth and nose and hold the air inside. Usually, you hold your breath without thinking about it. Swimmers hold their breath underwater. If you are really scared or surprised, you might hold your breath. If you don’t want someone to hear you breathing, you can also hold your breath.
Impatient means not patient, that you don’t like waiting. Children are often impatient. They want to do everything now, and they don’t like boring, slow things like going to church, long films or boring classes at school. Personally, I can be very impatient, especially with people who talk very slowly. I’m always patient with students, of course!
When you get down on one knee, you fold one leg and go down, so that you are standing on your foot and your knee. When people propose, when they ask someone ‘Will you marry me?’, they traditionally get down on one knee in many parts of the world. So now, when someone gets down on one knee, you usually know they are going to take out a box with a ring in it and propose.
Fate is the idea that everything in the world has been planned to happen. Usually, when people believe in fate it is because they believe there is a god, or many gods, who know everything that will happen in the future. However, many people nowadays don’t believe in fate. They think that we have control over what happens. People still often believe in fate with love, though. If they meet someone they completely love, they might think it’s fate, they are supposed to be together. Personally, I don’t really believe in fate, but I like the idea.
If you enjoy the podcast and want more, you can support us on Patreon. For just $2 a month you can get exercises with each episode, and for $5, you get an extra story every month, as well as Elevenses with Ariel, a daily conversational podcast for intermediate learners. Last week I talked about being tired, a whale that saved a train, camping in France, my first boyfriend and my first Esperanto event. You can support the show and get all the extra content at Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish. That’s Patreon.com/EasyStoriesInEnglish.
A big thank-you to our new patron: Fredy Hofmann. Thank you so much, Fredy. Your support really means a lot to me.
OK, so listen and enjoy!
Stalking is For Girls, Too
CLANG! The gate to the car park closed behind Bella. She was trapped.
She had gone past the apartment building on her day off work. She had had one date with the man, but she was impatient. She just wanted to look at him through the window, because she couldn’t stop thinking about him. But his curtains had been closed, so she decided to sneak into the car park so she could do… something? Break into his car and leave him a love letter? She didn’t know what she was doing.
And now the gate had closed and she was trapped. And she didn’t even have paper and a pen to write a love letter.
But she had made it here, so she might as well try and get inside. The back door to the building was locked, so she took a packet of chewing gum from her purse and threw it at one of the windows.
A minute later, a heavy Polish man leaned out of the window.
‘What do you want?’
‘Come smoke with me? I ran out of cigarettes and I need to vent before work. I’m from Flat 14.’ She smiled sweetly at him.
The man said, ‘Sure,’ and came to meet her. She thought he probably didn’t have a job, just like her, if he had such free time.
While they smoked, she vented about her made-up job. This time, she made up a big company, and said she worked there as a secretary. Usually, she told people she worked in a sex shop, because that always interested people, but she didn’t want this man to be too interested in her. She already had her man. As she smoked, this guy leaned towards her and told her she was pretty, and she leaned away from him and laughed.
‘Oh, I just need something from inside,’ she said, after they finished.
He opened the back door and she followed behind him, and then said, ‘See you, Bartek!’
She waited for him to leave, and then snuck up to Flat 3.
His flat. The flat of the man she was in love with.
Her heart beat fast. What now? She always got herself into these situations but was too scared to do something.
But not this time. She had seen the hunger in his eyes when they went to the restaurant, as his teeth bit into the chicken leg.
She imagined it was her leg.
Feeling very excited, she knocked on the door. She held her breath and listened out, but she heard nothing.
She tried opening the door. To her surprise, it was unlocked.
She listened again. Still, she heard nothing.
So she stopped holding her breath and walked into her future husband’s apartment.
It was clean. Everything was tidied away onto shelves and into cupboards. Now that she was here, she decided she might as well look around. She went straight to the bed.
‘He has a single bed,’ she said. ‘That will have to change.’
She found an old book in his drawer. It was Watership Down. Her heart sang. What a lovely book! She imagined him lying there, when he was sad, and reading this book again and again. She had never read it herself, but she knew it was about soft rabbits. What a perfect man!
Then she saw a black diary and threw the book on the floor.
His diary. Oh, what deep, personal thoughts would she find inside?
She turned the pages with great excitement. She looked for the date when they first met, but she was impatient, so she turned to the newest diary entry.
It was from that morning.
I cannot wait any longer. I must see her. I found her address on Google. I’m going to drive there, knock on her door. I’m going to get down on one knee and ask her to marry me. Oh, I must marry her! This is fate!
Bella shrieked and dropped the diary. He wanted to get down on one knee and ask her to marry him?! They had had just one date! And he thought it was fate.
Feeling sick, she put the book and the diary back in the drawer, closed the door to his apartment and snuck out of the building.
She simply couldn’t handle men. They were terrible.
Well, what did you think of the twist? I would love to know what you thought of this story, because I wrote it and I love hearing what you think of my stories. Go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Girls and leave a comment.
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