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"Eddie Izzard and Snakes on the Plane" - Short Story

Study the vocabulary before reading and listening:
 
miserable – несчастный, печальный
He felt miserable, because his vacations were a disaster.
bored – скучающий
I am bored. Let’s watch TV or play a video game.
boring  - скучный
The concert was so boring that I fell asleep.
to decide – решать, принимать решение
He decided to go to Scotland in autumn.
decision – решение (в значении “выбор”), решимость
That was a bad decision.
Screw it! – Наплевать! Пофиг!
Screw it! Let’s do it!
to book a room/ a table – забронировать номер или столик
I booked a table in this restaurant for 8pm tomorrow.
hand-luggage – ручная кладь
You are allowed to have only one piece of hand luggage with you on the plane.
it rains/ it snows – идет дождь, идет снег
It rains very often in November. – Present Simple.
It is raining now. – Present Continuous.
It snowed yesterday. – Part Simple.
It was snowing when I got to work yesterday. – Past Continuous.
awful – ужасный, отвратительный
The weather was awful yesterday, so we decided to stay at home.
check-in desk – стойка регистрации пассажиров
boarding pass – посадочный талон
to disappear – исчезать
The boy disappeared, I couldn’t find him anywhere.
exciting – волнительный, увлекательный
The trip to London was exciting: we went sightseeing, rode red buses and saw a lot of new people!
to delay – задерживать
The plane was delayed. The baggage was delayed.
to mind – возражать
Do you mind if I smoke?
Help yourself – пожалуйста! угощайся!
Can I take your piece of cake? – Please, help yourself!
fault – вина
It is my fault – I broke the vase, I was not careful.
to occupy – занимать
These people have occupied our seats! Bastards!
lifetime ambition – мечта жизни
It's one of my lifetime ambitions to visit the USA.
to pretend – притворяться
He pretended he didn’t hear me.
to permit – разрешать
It is not permitted to smoke here!
to allow – разрешать
It is not allowed to speak loudly here.
to solve – разрешать (задачу, проблему)
They thought a lot about that problem but couldn’t solve it.
 
Eddie Izzard and Snakes on a Plane
by Landysh

Listen to the audio: 



eddie and snakes002Eddie Izzard, the famous British comedian, felt depressed sitting in his London apartment one gloomy afternoon. He was miserable because his concert tour was finished and he was bored. His whole life became incredibly boring. So he decided to fly to Mexico. This decision seemed only logical for several reasons: Mexicans are always happy no matter what, they wear cool hats, and drink tequila all day long. Mexico seemed like fun! “Ah, screw it!” said Eddie to himself. “I am going.” So Eddie bought a plane ticket and booked a hotel room for two weeks.
He arrived at the airport with a suitcase and a hand luggage. Eddie took some summer clothes, flip-flops and sun tan cream. If in London it rained, it snowed and the weather was generally awful in November, in Mexico it was sunny and hot.  He came to the check-in desk, checked his baggage and received his boarding pass. At the security gate Eddie noticed something unusual. There was a man with a huge bag. But the bag itself wasn’t strange. It was something that was in it, which made it strange. The bag was moving. There was no sound. Just a slow movement. And instead of going through the security gates the man suddenly disappeared.
Duty free was very exciting. Eddie enjoyed shopping. He bought new shoes and make-up. Flight was delayed and he decided to spend his time in a caf?. And again the man with the weird bag in his hands was sitting in that caf? too. The bag was still moving! “I hope he is not going to Mexico with me,” thought Eddie and asked the waiter: “Do you mind if I take some more croissants from the buffet?” “Help yourself!” replied the waiter. Eddie was pleased. Who cares about extra kilograms when you have delicious croissants and latte? Eddie had time to watch a documentary about Richard Nixon. “Well, it was his own fault,” Eddie thought. “You shouldn’t have done, Nixon. If you hadn’t done it, you wouldn’t be fired from the White House!” And meanwhile the man with the weird bag was sitting right in front of him. More than that! When Eddie was boarding the plane, he saw the man with the bag in the queue to the same departure gate. “Oh, no, he’s flying to Mexico with me!” he though to himself. But when in the plane the man with the bag occupied the seat near Eddie he wanted to run away. The man with the bag looked at him and said “I have never been to Mexico. It’s always been one of my lifetime ambitions – sombreros, tacos, jalapenos and what now. Are you scared of flying?” Eddie said nothing and pretended he did hear what the man had said. He was never frightened of flying, but he was surely scared of flying on this plane. And he was right to do so. Ten minutes after the departure the man with the bag stood up. “I am sorry, sir,” said the stewardess, “But passengers are not permitted to stand up now.” But the man pushed her away, took out an AK-47 and shouted: “Everyone, don’t move! Or I’ll kill everybody on this plane. I have a bag full of snakes,” he continued. “If any of you moved or screamed, I would let them loose. They are poisonous and very dangerous.”
The man told the pilot to turn the plane towards Moscow. “I want to talk to Kremlin,” the man said. “Hello, Kremlin? My name is Dmitry, I am an ex-KGB agent. You sent me to London to spy on Margaret Thatcher but she’s dead now. I want back, but you took away my Moscow registration. I will kill all people on this plane with my snakes if you don’t give me my propiska back, you bastards!”
Eddie thought about it for a second: “Can’t you just rent an apartment and live in Moscow?”
Dmitry answered, “I was born in Cheboksary, but my family is in Moscow. And apparently I am not allowed to stay in Moscow for more than three months without registration.”
“You’re kidding me,” said Eddie.
“Yep, it’s true,” said the man.
“Why forbid people to live where they want to live within their own country?” wondered Eddie.
“I have no idea,” said Dmitry.
So the plane was flying to Moscow, the snakes were moving in the bag, passengers were eating their lunch, and Dmitry was speaking to Eddie.
“Listen, mate,” began Eddie. “I think we can solve this problem. And the solution is the following: I can hire you and your snakes, you will do some tricks on stage. That will be a great show! Snakes are always fantastic: remember Britney Speaks with the snake or Alice Cooper? You will make some money and buy a nice apartment in Moscow.”
“That would be fantastic! Thank you, Eddie,” answered the man. “Hang on. Where are my snakes?...”
The snakes had escaped from the bag and started attacking people. Soon over twelve passengers were found dead.
“How can we stop them, Dmitry?” cried Eddie.
“You have to…,” started Dmitry but at that same moment one of his own snakes bit his leg.
“Noooo!” Eddie ran to the dying ex-KGB agent. “Don’t die! You don’t deserve to die!”
“Listen, Eddie, listen to me carefully,” whispered Dmitry. “Take this flute and blow it,” he gave the comedian an old golden flute with his trembling hand.
“Is there a particular melody I am supposed to make with it? I don’t understand,” said Eddie.
“There is only one song that can make them stop. It’s “Snake Eye” by AC/DC,” and after saying these words, the man died.
“My God, man,” said Eddie. “Rest in peace, comrade.”
But the moment Eddie started playing the melody the plane suddenly started heading downwards. People were screaming! There was panic! Food and life jackets flying in the air! Stewardesses falling on the floor. People’s computers and phones breaking!
“What’s happened?” demanded Eddie from the running stewardess.
“The pilot got bitten by a snake,” she shouted. “There is no one else who could operate the plane! We’re all gonna die!”
“No, we are not!” said the comedian. “I had some training as a pilot and I used to fly a small biplane, or as my friend Dmitry would have called it – a kukuruznik.” So Eddie took over the pilot seat, while one of the stewardesses played “Snake Eye” on the flute. And passengers were singing along. And so to the tune of the immortal AC/DC Eddie Izzard was taking the plane safely to Domodedovo, when suddenly the passengers started to wake up. After seeing that Dmitry was alive and kicking, Eddie immediately turned the plane 180 degrees. His Russian friend ran to him and demanded: “Where are you taking us?” “Mexico,” answered Eddie. Dmitry screamed, “Are you mad? No!” “Yes,” said Eddie firmly. “If we go to Moscow, they will not only refuse to give you back your so-called porpiska, but also send you to Syberia.”
And so two men arrived in Mexico, the city of great fun and great poverty. The ex-KGB agent took a stage name and began performing as “Carlos - Rey de Serpientes”. Soon he grew famous and as he couldn’t come back to Russia he brought his family from there to Mexico. But Mexico is in some ways very much similar to Russia. So although he missed his homeland, they lived there happily ever after.
As for Eddie, he spent wonderful vacations on a Mexican beach and went back to London where new adventures were awaiting him.
 
Exercises
 
ex. 1 Match the definitions
  • miserable
  • boring
  • bored
  • hand-luggage
  • it rains
  • exciting
  • to occupy
  • fault
  • to permit
  • solution
  • decision
 
  1. to take up (a certain amount of time or space)
  2. the act of making up one's mind, determination
  3. unhappy or depressed
  4. weary, uninterested, sick and tired
  5. a mistake or error
  6. inspiring, stimulating
  7. it is rainy
  8. to allow
  9. cabin baggage
  10. a specific answer to or way of answering a problem
  11. dull; repetitious; uninteresting
 
ex. 2 Finish the sentences
  1. Help yourself to the cake, please. I have just...
  2. This trip is so exciting! I have never thought that...
  3. Screw it! We must...!
  4. I know what I am going to do. I've decided to...
  5. Oh, no, it is raining. We will have to...
  6. You occupy too much space. Please...
  7. It was your own fault. You shouldn't have...
  8. Do you mind if...?
  9. It was my lifetime ambition to...
 
ex. 3 Make sentences with the verbs "to rain" and "to snow" using appropriate tenses
  1. (snow/in Russia in winter).
  2. (ever/snow/in November)?
  3. (snow/never/in June).
  4. (rain/rarely/in Sahara).
  5. (rain/now)?
  6. (snow/yesterday)?
  7. (rain/when I got to work).
  8. Take an umbrella. (rain/when you go out tonight).
  9. I think (rain/in the evening).
  10. We shouldn't go anywhere. (rain/heavily).
  11. The weather was bad! (rain/snow).
 
ex. 4 Use Present Simple or Future Simple
  1. When I (get) to work, I (finish) these documents.
  2. We (visit) you and your parents, once we (be) in Barcelona.
  3. The weather is bad! We (stay) at home, if it (start) to rain.
  4. It's already dark. If they (not serve) us another piece of cake, we (leave).
  5. you (know), if they (come) tomorrow at 7 or 7:30?
  6. I am not sure, he (understand), if you (try) to explain it.
  7. I know when she (realize) that I like her, she (look) at me with different eyes!
  8. I wonder if it (snow) tomorrow morning.
  9. Can you tell me when you (arrive) in Moscow?
  10. Inform me when you (decide).
 
ex. 5 Explain what the following sentences mean
  1. “Ah, screw it!” said Eddie to himself. “I am going.”
  2. "Do you mind if I take some more croissants from the buffet?” “Help yourself!” replied the waiter.
  3. “Well, it was his own fault,” Eddie thought. “You shouldn’t have done it, Nixon."
  4. Eddie said nothing and pretended he did not hear what the man had said.
  5. I think we can solve this problem.
  6. Dmitry was alive and kicking.
 
ex. 6 Answer the questions
  1. Why did Eddie decide to go to Mexico?
  2. What did he do before going to the airport?
  3. What did Eddie do in the airport?
  4. What surprised Eddie in the airport?
  5. Who was the man with the snake? What was his problem?
  6. What was in the bag? What happened to it?
  7. Who landed the plane? Where and why?
  8. What happened to Dmitry?