Passport in the car(continued from At the Mechanic)

Late or early


Mechanic:        Hello

Customer:        Oh, did I wake you?

Mechanic:        Did you wake me? Who is this?

Customer:        You’re fixing my car.

Mechanic:        Do you know what time it is?

Customer:        It’s late

Mechanic:        Or early – depending on how you look at it.

Customer:        I’m sorry. I didn’t know …

Mechanic:        Okay. What do you want?

Customer:        I’m at the airport and I don’t have a passport.

Mechanic:        What?

Customer:        It’s in my car.

Mechanic:        What?

Customer:        My passport. I left it in my car.

Mechanic:        And …

Customer:        I need it. Can you bring it to me?

Mechanic:        Are you insane? I’m a mechanic, not a courier.

Customer:        Could you have it sent here?

Mechanic:        What time does your flight leave?

Customer:        At 5:30.

Mechanic:        It’s – it’s 4:40. I don’t have enough time to get to the garage and get your passport to the airport.

Customer:        But I’ll miss my flight.

Mechanic:        Why don’t you take a later flight?

Customer:        I don’t know? …

Mechanic:        You’re not going to make it. It’s too far.

Customer:        Why is it too far?

Mechanic:        First I have to get to the garage; then I have to open up, and then I have to find your passport in your car. Next, I have to call a courier and wait for him to arrive. Finally, the courier has to get to the airport. The fastest that’s going to happen is two hours.

Customer:        Two hours?

Mechanic:        I think we’re really looking at three or four hours …even if I can find a 24-hour courier.

Customer:        What should I do?

Mechanic:        I think you should reschedule your flight.

Customer:        Reschedule? … for when?

Mechanic:        If I were you I’d reschedule for later in the afternoon.


This is a good chance to try an activity on intent and inflection. Call a student aside and tell them to be happy when they read, tell the other to be angry. Next time try one sad and one happy. Try energetic and really tired. Ask the audience to judge how effectively the speakers communicated. Don’t let the audience in on what the subtext is all about. With time, they can identify things for themselves.

An unfinished tale #1

A short unfinished story using the numbered words.
It’s a class assignment for grade five.
See what you can do with it.
Continue the story.
Use the words and create a new story.
Use the words and write sentences.

1) Polite
2) Knife
3) Pleasant
4) Tablecloth
5) Unhappily
6) Business
7) Thick
8) Hurried
9) Scrambling
10) Chiefly
11) Kindness
12) Sympathize
13) Handkerchief
14) Streaming
15) Odd
16) Cooking
17) Eating
18) Smiling
19) Stopping
20) Trying
21) Counting
22) Lying
23) Hitting
24) Working
25) Preparing
26) Driving
27) Using
28) Reading
29) Swimming
30) Raining
31) … could cut the tension with a knife
32) … in concert with

Café Collision

Raining outside and stormy inside. Linda and Marcus had been making polite conversation for about twenty minutes, but you could cut the tension with a knife. Linda seemed outwardly pleasant even as she folded the edges of the tablecloth in an attempt to control her anger. Their relationship had ended unhappily, and this lunch had been a hurried attempt to finish any outstanding business between them. Her temper was something he never understood. It was also the thing he seemed to provoke most often.

She was trying to control herself. He could almost hear her counting to ten. They needed to focus on getting everything sorted and divided.

Marcus couldn’t really care what she did with house, but was here chiefly because he was trying to sympathize with a woman he still cared for, but couldn’t bear being in the same room with.

Kindness was proving costly. Linda had arrived with a thick bundle of bills that Marcus was thumbing through. He felt like grabbing his coat and scrambling for the door, but instead was working though this latest batch of paperwork from a marriage that had produced little else.

An invoice for cooking classes they had taken on their honeymoon. A memory of driving up the coast that clear spring day skittered in and sat on it’s haunches, unannounced, unwanted, and unashamedly mocked his attempts to remain detached. As he sat reading tears began rolling down his cheeks.

Seven years. Seven years had been reduced to photocopies, faxes and emails. The tears were streaming down his face in concert with the rain coursing down the misted windows.

Linda reached over and dabbed his cheeks with a handkerchief. He touched her hand without thinking. She smiled and drew her hand away.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“Perhaps it’s too late to say I had something in my eye?” he managed a smile.
“You could, but you’d be lying. That would be new for you.” She smiled.
Of all the things he hadn’t done in the marriage, at least this one he could be proud of.

An unfinished story #2

A short unfinished story using the numbered words.
It’s a class assignment for grade four.
See what you can do with it.
Continue the story.
Use the words and create a new story.
Use the words and write sentences.

1) Courageous
2) Fearless
3) Fierce
4) Dream
5) Pirate
6) Octopus
7) Triplets
8) Groan
9) Whine
10) Scream
11) Interrupt
12) Problem
13) Complain
14) Narrative
15) Rhythm
16) Introduction
17) Giggle
18) Order
19) Island
20) Angrily
21) a bit past her prime
22) relative safety

Red sails and wooden teeth

“Heave ho,” the mate shouted. The crew began lifting the heavy ropes that had just been untied from the harbour moorings. People on the dock waved. Some faces were sad and some were smiling. The crew was too busy to notice.

A wooden vessel, proudly flying the Union Jack, Excelsior was a bit past her prime and the deck groaned as if in protest to the many feet that crossed it.

Captain Nathan Fletcher stood quietly, resting his large hands on the ship’s railing. His face was serious and his eyes stared past the crowd at something only he could see. He was used to problems both on and off the ship. He didn’t like them, but he was prepared to deal with them. This was certainly not his first trip, but the news of pirate attacks made the potential for danger that much greater.

Fletcher was as fearless as any man who’d faced storms, sharks, at least one octopus, and more than his share of difficulties. This ship was under his command and he’d see her and her crew safely home, as he had countless times.

Excelsior had a new crew on this voyage and a few of the old crew were not on board. Ship’s crew was always a varied group of seasoned sailors, raw recruits and men with few other options. This trip featured a ship’s doctor – whose glass eye spent as much time in a glass as it did in it’s scarred socket, triplets-identical down to their footwear -when they wore any, and a giant who whistled. His cheerful whistle almost made people forget his size.

Excelsior’s captain had heard them complain about the food, and the work they had to do. Later he’d listened, taking care not to interrupt, as his first mate delivered a chilling narrative of a typical voyage. He watched the men ‘s faces as they struggled to appear courageous in front of their friends and shipmates.

Fletcher took his morning walk, as he did everyday in good weather.. Moving quietly around the ship he observed, and was observed by, the crew. A few weeks into the voyage a rhythm could be seen in the crew’s routine. Tasks were done carefully and efficiently, and there wasn’t too much time wasted.

Late that night a mournful sound could be heard. Men edged uneasily to the side of the ship. Sounds of Sorrow became shrieks of stark terror. The crew fell back from the rail as if scalded. Some falling, stumbling over their friends as they scrambled for the relative safety of the deck’s center.