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0067 Missing Person, Part 7: “An Accident?”

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 67 – Missing Person, Part 7: “An Accident?”

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 67. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

This episode is the seventh in our 12-part special series: Missing Person, a murder mystery. In our previous episode, Dr. Reeves took Anne and Bill back to Bill and Sarah’s apartment building and then went to see his old friend, Kathy. He was late, and Kathy was not very happy, but she let him into her apartment where she had made dinner for them.

We also found out that Kathy and Dr. Reeves – or “Darren,” as Kathy calls him – used to date each other, and that Dr. Reeves thinks that Kathy is still in love with him. Kathy works as a reporter for a television station. At the end of the episode, Kathy and Dr. Reeves were just about to sit down and eat their dinner.

Now, we continue with part 7 of Missing Person: “An Accident?”

[start of story]

Kathy came back in the room with tonight’s dinner: Italian pasta with chicken. As we ate, I told Kathy about Anne and her missing sister.

“A strange man came to Sarah and Bill Salas’s apartment building two days ago, forced them both into a car, and took them away,” I explained. “Today, the man let Bill go and told him to get a half a million dollars or he would kill Sarah.”

“And how did you get mixed up in all this?” Kathy asked.

“Sarah’s sister Anne is my student at USC. She asked me to lend her a hand, and I said yes.”

“So, who do you think the kidnappers could be?” she asked.

“Well, Bill and Anne gave me the names of two ex-employees of Prado Computers. I’m going to see one of them tonight.”

“Where does this person work?” Kathy asked.

“He now works at a bar near the airport.”

“He’s not the person who took Sarah,” Kathy said confidently.

“Why do you say that? I haven’t even talked to him yet,” I said, surprised.

“Trust me. The man you want is smart – very smart. Smart men don’t work at bars.”

Kathy was probably right. I thanked her for the wonderful dinner and told her I would call her tomorrow if I found out anything. Even though I trust Kathy’s judgment, I decided to go visit this former employee anyway, just to be sure he wasn’t the one who took Sarah.

I drove my car down La Brea. Suddenly I heard an emergency announcement on the police scanner in my car. The radio picks up all of the police communication in the city. I had it put into my car so I could hear any important police action related to my cases. I immediately pulled over and cranked up the volume.

There was an accident on the freeway involving a black Mercedes. The woman in the car was hurt. I listened closely to the name as the radio operator gave the details: young Latina female, age 22, name – Anne Prado.

[end of story]

Our episode begins with Dr. Reeves – or “Darren,” as Kathy calls him – telling Kathy the story of what happened to Sarah and Bill Salas. He says a strange man “forced them both into a car and took them away.” “To force” (force) someone means to make someone do something that they wouldn’t normally do, perhaps by using some sort of violence against them. “The man took them away,” meaning he transported them somewhere else, and then he “let Bill go” – meaning he let Bill leave – “and told him to get a half a million dollars.”

Kathy asks how Dr. Reeves got “mixed up in all this.” When we say “I’m mixed up in” something, it means there is some sort of complication or problem and I have somehow gotten myself involved in it. So, Kathy is asking “How did you get involved in this?” meaning involved in this problem. And Dr. Reeves explains that Sarah’s sister, Anne, is his student and she had asked him “to lend her a hand.” “To lend someone a hand” means to help someone, to give someone some assistance. “Here, let me lend you a hand,” means “Let me help you.”

Dr. Reeves explains that he is “going to see” two ex-employees of Prado Computers who are possible suspects – people who may have kidnapped Sarah. When we say we’re “going to see” someone, we mean that we’re going to visit or meet with them. Kathy asks where one of these ex-employees works, and Dr. Reeves says, “He works at a bar.” A bar is where someone can go and get an alcoholic drink.

Kathy says that this person isn’t the one who took Sarah. Dr. Reeves asks, “Why?” and she says, “Trust me.” The expression “Trust (trust) me” means “Believe me; I know the truth.” Kathy says that the man who took Sarah “is smart – very smart,” and “smart men don’t work at bars.” Dr. Reeves says that he has to go, but that he will call Kathy tomorrow if he finds out anything. “To find out anything” means to discover or learn something. He says, “I trust Kathy’s judgment.” When someone says “I trust your judgment (judgment),” it means that he believes your opinion is correct; he believes you. “Judgment” here means an opinion about something.

Dr. Reeves says that he “drove his car down La Brea.” “To drive your car down the street” means to drive your car on the street, but we don’t say we drove “on the street” – we say we drove “down the street.” In this case, Dr. Reeves drove his car down one of the big streets here in Los Angeles, called “La Brea.”

Suddenly, he hears “an announcement on the police scanner.” “A scanner” (scanner) is a radio that can receive or “pick up” signals from police or fire or emergency vehicles. Dr. Reeves has this police scanner in his car, which is illegal in many cities in the United States. But if you have a police scanner, you can hear all of the communication between the police officers. He says that he “immediately pulled over.” To “pull over” means to park your car on the side of the road.

Dr. Reeves “cranked up the volume.” “To crank” (crank) or “to crank up” means to increase or to turn up the volume. It’s an informal expression. Somebody might say, “Crank it up!” meaning “Turn the volume up!” On his police scanner, Dr. Reeves hears about “an accident on the freeway involving a black Mercedes.” An accident “involving (involving) a black Mercedes” means an accident in which one of the vehicles, one of the cars in the accident, is a black Mercedes.

The woman in the car is hurt, and Dr. Reeves listens to the description of the woman. She’s a “young Latina female.” “Latina” (Latina) or “Latino” describes a person who is from Mexico or one of the many Spanish-speaking countries in Central America and South America. It could also describe someone from other areas where Spanish is spoken, like Puerto Rico. It is an expression or term that we use to describe someone of that ethnic background.

The other word we also use sometimes is “Hispanic.” “Hispanic” and “Latino” (for a man or a boy, “Latina” for a woman or a girl) mean the same thing. The woman involved in the accident is Anne Prado. And Anne is, you’ll remember, Sarah’s sister – the one who went to Dr. Reeves and asked him for his help.

On the next episode of Missing Person, we’ll learn more details of Anne Prado’s car accident.

Now let’s listen to the story, this time at a normal speed.

[start of story]

Kathy came back in the room with tonight’s dinner: Italian pasta with chicken. As we ate, I told Kathy about Anne and her missing sister.

“A strange man came to Sarah and Bill Salas’s apartment building two days ago, forced them both into a car, and took them away,” I explained. “Today, the man let Bill go and told him to get a half a million dollars or he would kill Sarah.”

“And how did you get mixed up in all this?” Kathy asked.

“Sarah’s sister Anne is my student at USC. She asked me to lend her a hand, and I said yes.”

“So, who do you think the kidnappers could be?” she asked.

“Well, Bill and Anne gave me the names of two ex-employees of Prado Computers. I’m going to see one of them tonight.”

“Where does this person work?” Kathy asked.

“He now works at a bar near the airport.”

“He’s not the person who took Sarah,” Kathy said confidently.

“Why do you say that? I haven’t even talked to him yet,” I said, surprised.

“Trust me. The man you want is smart – very smart. Smart men don’t work at bars.”

Kathy was probably right. I thanked her for the wonderful dinner and told her I would call her tomorrow if I found out anything. Even though I trust Kathy’s judgment, I decided to go visit this former employee anyway, just to be sure he wasn’t the one who took Sarah.

I drove my car down La Brea. Suddenly I heard an emergency announcement on the police scanner in my car. The radio picks up all of the police communication in the city. I had it put into my car so I could hear any important police action related to my cases. I immediately pulled over and cranked up the volume.

There was an accident on the freeway involving a black Mercedes. The woman in the car was hurt. I listened closely to the name as the radio operator gave the details: young Latina female, age 22, name – Anne Prado.

[end of story]

On the next episode of Missing Person, we’ll learn more about the car accident that Anne Prado was involved in. Be sure to come back for part 8: “Tracing the Plates.”

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2006.

Glossary
to be forced – to be made to do something against one’s will; to have to do something one does not want to do

* If we don’t pay our rent, we’ll be forced to move out of this apartment.

to be mixed up in – to become involved in something dishonest or doubtful in value

* Joshua got mixed up in his coworker’s plan to get their boss fired, but he really didn’t want to get involved.

to lend (someone) a hand – to help someone; to give someone assistance

* Can you lend your little sister a hand with understanding her school assignment while I make dinner?

bar – a place of business where alcohol and other drinks are served, and people go to socialize

* Karim went to the bar with his friends to drink beer and watch the basketball game.

to trust (one) – to believe in what one says or one’s ability to successfully do something

* Trust me. If I say I can get you a really big TV for 50% off the normal price, I’ll do it.

to find out anything – to get some information; to become better informed

* If we find out anything about the party next Saturday, we’ll call you to let you know.

judgment – one’s opinion or conclusion about something; one’s decision about something after giving it some thought

* Abe has always had good judgment about women and stays away from those who would not make good girlfriends.

scanner – an electronic device that detects or looks for an electronic signal that provides some type of information

* This medical scanner checks your heart rate to make sure it is normal.

to pull over – to move one’s car to the side of the road so that one is no longer in the path of other drivers

* Noriko got an important call on her cell phone while she was driving on the freeway, so she pulled over to answer it.

to crank up (something) – to increase the amount of something, usually quickly and greatly

* When we arrived to our winter cabin up in the mountains, we cranked up the setting on the heater to quickly warm up.

to involve – to include as an important or necessary part; to cause someone to become part of an experience or situation

* Our plan is to put on an entertaining show involving all of the students who want to perform.

Latina – a girl or women from Latin America or whose ancestors (family members from the past) were from Latin America living in the United States

* This play is about three Latinas who grew up in different parts of the United States.

Culture Note
American Inventor: Les Paul

In 2009, Les Paul, the inventor of the modern electric guitar “passed away” (died). “Inventors” are people who create or make things that didn’t exist before, and Les Paul is “credited with” (recognized as) inventing some of the “devices” (electronic items) and “techniques” (ways of doing something or performing) that gave rock music its sound.

In 1939, Paul invented the first solid-body electric guitar, similar to modern electric guitars. His “prototype” (the first model) was called “The Log.” It was called “The Log” – with “log” meaning a short piece of round wood – because it was actually a piece of wood with a neck and strings attached to it.

Les Paul later “partnered with” (worked closely with) Gibson, the large American guitar-maker, to “mass produce” (make a large number for sale) the electric guitar. The Gibson Les Paul guitar has been and continues to be played by some of the best and most well known guitarists, including Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Slash.

Les Paul was also the inventor of overdubbing and multitrack recording, both techniques used by musicians and recording artists today. “Overdubbing” is the putting of sound over sound, such as adding music or “sound effects” (noises that make a recording sound more realistic or interesting) to something that has already been recorded. “Multitrack recording” is when voices, music, noises, and other sounds are recorded on different “tracks” (single recordings) and are later put together to create the final recording.

Les Paul was an incredible inventor and his inventions continue to help modern musicians create music. He died at the age of 94.