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0069 Missing Person, Part 9: “At the Beach.”

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 69 – Missing Person, Part 9: “At the Beach.”

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 69. 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 ninth in our 12-part special series: Missing Person, a murder mystery. In our previous episode, we learned that Anne, the sister of the kidnapped woman, was in a car accident. Fortunately, she was able to get the license plate number of the car that hit her, and she gave the information to Dr. Reeves. He called his friend Officer Cho, of the Los Angeles Police Department, and asked him to find out whom the car belongs to.

Dr. Reeves then went to see one of the suspects in the crime – an ex-employee of Prado Computers named Lenny MacKay – to find out where he had been at the time of the kidnapping. Lenny didn’t really want to speak with him, but finally told him that he had been in Las Vegas with his girlfriend. Dr. Reeves talked to the girlfriend, who said the same thing – that they had been in Las Vegas. Dr. Reeves then went back to his apartment, where he found a message on his voice mail that said, “Darren Reeves, stop trying to find Sarah Salas! If you don’t stop looking for her now, you will die!”

Now, we continue with part 9 of Missing Person: “At the Beach.”

[start of the story]

So now someone wanted to kill me. But how did anyone know I was working on this case? Was Lenny part of this kidnapping in some way? I still had more questions than I had answers about this case.

I called my friend Officer Cho back at the police station. He had the car registration information I requested earlier. The mysterious red car that hit Anne last night on the freeway belonged to John Costello, age 37, living in Santa Monica. Tomorrow I would visit Costello. Tonight, I just needed to get some sleep.

The next morning I got up early and went to visit Anne in the hospital. Luckily, she was doing just fine. I told her I would pick her up later in the afternoon and give her a ride home.

First, I went to visit June Brown, the other ex-employee of Prado Computers that Anne and Bill thought might be involved in the kidnapping. She now worked at a clothing store on the beach, Stern’s Fashions. I love going to the beach in L.A. The sun is always shining, the surfers are riding the waves, and the people all look so beautiful, just like movie stars.

I walked into the clothing store and looked around. The customers were mostly college students. “Excuse me, miss?” I said to the young sales clerk. “I’m looking for one of the employees here, a June Brown?”

“Who’s looking for her?” she asked, a little suspicious.

“My name is Darren Reeves. I just wanted to ask her a few questions.”

“What kind of questions do you want to ask her?” she replied.

“Just some questions. Look, is June Brown here today or not?” I was getting impatient with this girl.

“I’m June Brown, and I don’t know if I want to answer your questions, mister.” She crossed her arms and looked at me with a very unfriendly face. “Who do you work for? The police?”

“No, I don’t work for the police. I’m a, eh . . . private detective,” I answered. “I just want to know where you were three days ago, in the morning. Can you just tell me that?”

“I don’t remember. I think I was with my boyfriend,” she said with a smile. “Yeah, that’s right, I was with my boyfriend.”

“Can I talk to your boyfriend?”

“No, you can’t,” she said, suddenly getting very angry.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because he doesn’t want to talk to you!” June said. “Look, buddy, I don’t have to answer your questions. Now why don’t you just get out of my store?” She turned around and walked away.

I couldn’t force her to talk to me, so I didn’t try. I left the store and got back in my car. Maybe this girl was involved in the kidnapping. Maybe she and her boyfriend were trying to get even with Prado Computers. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

[end of story]

Our story begins with Dr. Reeves wondering who might have called and left him that threatening message. He asks, “Was Lenny part of this kidnapping in some way?” meaning “Was Lenny somehow connected with this kidnapping?” He says that he has “more questions than answers about this case.” This is a common construction in English: “more” something “than” something else. He calls Officer Cho and finds out that the red car that hit Anne – that is, that crashed into Anne’s car – belongs to someone named “John Costello.” “To belong to” means to be owned by.

Dr. Reeves then visits Anne in the hospital, and he tells her that he will “pick her up later in the afternoon and give her a ride home.” “To pick someone up,” means to go meet someone at their house or wherever they are – in this case, the hospital – and to drive them somewhere. Dr. Reeves is going to “give her a ride home.” “To give someone a ride home” means to drive the person back to his or her home.

After visiting Anne, Dr. Reeves goes to find the other ex-employee of Prado Computers. Remember, in the last episode he visited Lenny MacKay, an ex-employee of Prado Computers, the company that Anne and Sarah’s parents had owned. The other ex-employee’s name is June Brown, and she works at the beach in Los Angeles, probably Venice Beach.

Dr. Reeves says he loves going to the beach in L.A. because “the sun is always shining” and “the surfers are riding the waves.” A “surfer” (surfer) is someone who stands on top of a long board – a “surfboard” – and literally tries to ride on the waves. The waves are the water moving toward the beach, and the surfers can actually stand on top of the waves with their boards. That’s what “to surf” means, and there are a lot of surfers here in Los Angeles.

When Dr. Reeves goes into the clothing store to find June Brown, he asked the sales clerk – the woman who works there – “Excuse me, miss?” If you are an adult and you’re talking to a younger woman, you might refer to her as “miss,” although you can actually say “miss” for a woman of any age. If you’re trying to get a woman’s attention in a store or in a restaurant, you might say, “Excuse me, miss.”

Then Dr. Reeves says he’s “looking for one of the employees here, a June Brown.” Notice the use of the indefinite article “a” – “a June Brown.” He could just say, “I’m looking for one of the employees here, June Brown,” but you’ll often hear people put an “a” in front of the name when they’re asking about someone, particularly if they are looking for someone whom they haven’t met before. So, you could go into a restaurant and say, “I’m looking for a Mr. Smith,” meaning “I’m looking for Mr. Smith.”

The woman doesn’t want to answer his question, so, Dr. Reeves says, “Look, is June Brown here today or not?” The word “look” is used in this way when you’re getting angry or impatient and you want the person to listen to you very carefully, to pay attention to what you are saying. He asks if Julie Brown is “here today or not,” meaning “Is she or isn’t she – yes or no?” Sometimes, informally, we might say, “Is she here or what?” “Or what” means the same as “or not,” but it’s much more informal.

The woman says, “I’m June Brown, and I don’t know if I want to answer your questions, mister.” The word “mister” (mister) refers to an adult male, but in this particular usage, it sort of has a negative meaning. It expresses a certain impatience or dislike. For example, “Now look here mister, I don’t want you here.” It’s not a positive use of the word. The woman then “crossed her arms,” meaning she linked her two arms together in front of her chest. She then asks, “Who do you work for? The police?” Dr. Reeves says he’s a “private detective,” which is someone who helps people solve crimes and does other things that the police would normally do.

June Brown says that she was with her boyfriend on the morning of the kidnapping, and Dr. Reeves says, “Can I talk to your boyfriend?” She becomes angry and says, “He doesn’t want to talk to you!” Then she says, “Look, buddy, I don’t have to answer your questions.” “Buddy” (buddy) or simply “bud” (bud) is another word for “guy,” and here again, it has a negative meaning to it. It’s something you would probably say to someone you’re angry with or don’t like. She tells Dr. Reeves, “Now why don’t you just get out of my store,” which is the same thing as telling him to leave her store.

Dr. Reeves leaves the store. He is still puzzled. He doesn’t know if the girl was involved or not. He thinks, “Maybe she and her boyfriend were trying to get even with Prado Computers.” “To get even (even) with” someone means that when someone does something wrong to you, you do something wrong to them in return. It’s like a type of revenge, when you try to get back at or hurt someone who has hurt you. But, of course, Dr. Reeves doesn’t really know the truth. He ends by saying, “Maybe, maybe, maybe.”

On the next episode of Missing Person, Dr. Reeves tries to find the man who hit Anne Prado.

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

[start of the story]

So now someone wanted to kill me. But how did anyone know I was working on this case? Was Lenny part of this kidnapping in some way? I still had more questions than I had answers about this case.

I called my friend Officer Cho back at the police station. He had the car registration information I requested earlier. The mysterious red car that hit Anne last night on the freeway belonged to John Costello, age 37, living in Santa Monica. Tomorrow I would visit Costello. Tonight, I just needed to get some sleep.

The next morning I got up early and went to visit Anne in the hospital. Luckily, she was doing just fine. I told her I would pick her up later in the afternoon and give her a ride home.

First, I went to visit June Brown, the other ex-employee of Prado Computers that Anne and Bill thought might be involved in the kidnapping. She now worked at a clothing store on the beach, Stern’s Fashions. I love going to the beach in L.A. The sun is always shining, the surfers are riding the waves, and the people all look so beautiful, just like movie stars.

I walked into the clothing store and looked around. The customers were mostly college students. “Excuse me, miss?” I said to the young sales clerk. “I’m looking for one of the employees here, a June Brown?”

“Who’s looking for her?” she asked, a little suspicious.

“My name is Darren Reeves. I just wanted to ask her a few questions.”

“What kind of questions do you want to ask her?” she replied.

“Just some questions. Look, is June Brown here today or not?” I was getting impatient with this girl.

“I’m June Brown, and I don’t know if I want to answer your questions, mister.” She crossed her arms and looked at me with a very unfriendly face. “Who do you work for? The police?”

“No, I don’t work for the police. I’m a, eh . . . private detective,” I answered. “I just want to know where you were three days ago, in the morning. Can you just tell me that?”

“I don’t remember. I think I was with my boyfriend,” she said with a smile. “Yeah, that’s right, I was with my boyfriend.”

“Can I talk to your boyfriend?”

“No, you can’t,” she said, suddenly getting very angry.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because he doesn’t want to talk to you!” June said. “Look, buddy, I don’t have to answer your questions. Now why don’t you just get out of my store?” She turned around and walked away.

I couldn’t force her to talk to me, so I didn’t try. I left the store and got back in my car. Maybe this girl was involved in the kidnapping. Maybe she and her boyfriend were trying to get even with Prado Computers. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

[end of story]

On the next episode of Missing Person, Dr. Reeves tries to find John Costello, the man who hit Anne Prado. Be sure to come back for part 10: “The Bartender Shows Up.”

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 call (someone) back – to return someone’s phone call; to call someone after they first called you; to call someone again, as promised

* My friend called me on my cell phone while I was still at work, so I told her I would call her back when I got home.

to belong to – to be the property of: to be owned by

* That blue car is blocking the entrance to the parking lot. Does it belong to anyone here?

to pick (someone) up – to go to an agreed upon place to allow someone to get into one’s car or other vehicle, with the purpose of giving that person a ride to a place they want to go

* Grandma wants to know if anyone can pick her up to take her to her doctor’s appointment on Thursday.

to give (someone) a ride home – to take someone in one’s car or other vehicle back to that person’s home

* Mrs. Gutierrez agreed to give Bianca a ride home after school and to watch her until we get home from work.

fashion – relating to clothing and ways of dressing popular with many people at a given time

* Marla’s brother follows fashion very closely and always wears the latest trendy clothes.

surfer – a person who participates in the sport where one stands on a long, flat board while traveling over ocean waves

* Jun dreams of living near the beach and spending time with other surfers who share his love of surfing.

riding the waves – surfing; the sport where one stands on a long, flat board while traveling over ocean waves

* There’s nothing like spending time under the sun riding the waves.

look – an exclamation to get other people’s attention for what one is going to say

* Look, if you don’t start going to your college classes regularly and completing the assignments on time, you won’t get passing grades.

mister – a term used for a man whom one doesn’t know or doesn’t know well, sometimes used in an unfriendly or rude way

* Hey, mister, you need to move these boxes out of the way or someone will move them for you into the garbage can!

private detective – an investigator who works for people and organizations (not the government) to get information or to find out the truth

* Benoit hired a private detective to find his mother’s missing brother.

to get even with (someone) – to do something harmful to someone after that person has done something harmful to one; to get revenge

* To get even with his sister for playing with his new toy without asking him, Jack took her dolls and hid them in his closet.

Culture Note
Cleaner Stand-Up Comics

Stand-up comedy is a popular form of entertainment in the U.S. In a comedy club, you pay a “cover charge” (fee to enter) to hear one or more comics tell jokes.

If you’ve ever been to a “live” (performed in front of you, not recorded) comedy show or have seen one on television, you know that many comics like to use “profanity” (offensive language). Some of the most famous comics of all time are known for their “foul-mouthed” (using bad language) performances.

However, as one owner of a comedy school in New York City points out, having a foul mouth can lose comics jobs. That’s because, in addition to working in comedy clubs, a large number of comics are hired for “corporate gigs” (live performance at a company event).

For these gigs, “bookers” (people who find entertainment for an event) are looking for entertainers who will not offend most people and have performances that are appropriate for families. Having a foul mouth may get quick laughs, but he or she may get “passed over” (overlooked; not get the opportunity) for these “lucrative” (paying a lot of money) jobs.

Having “clean” (not offensive) sets or performances may be difficult for some comics, since part of the nature of stand-up comedy is to “push the envelop” (do things that go beyond what is socially acceptable) and to challenge “conventional” (traditional; normal) thinking or behavior. But it may be “worth their while” (worth it; worth doing) to develop clean “routines” (performances) if they want to work more and to earn more money.