Just a puff

Just a puff.

mutiny                                      to rebel, to refuse to follow an order

 Long John Silver                  a famous person in a pirate story

 musket                                     an old kind of gun

on the hop                                caught doing something wrong

 radiated                                  to spread from a central point, like heat from a fire

 clenched                                 to make your fist into a tight ball

ricochet                                   to bounce from one surface to another, like a ball bouncing from one wall to another

stomped                                  walked angrily and noisily

 emerald                                   a rare type of green jewel

 flopped                                    to carelessly fall into a chair

 erupt                                         blow up like a volcano

 blatantly, revulsion, contempt, defiance, insolence.

These are emotions that show a person is rude, cheeky, defying an order


Just a puff.

Mutiny was in the air. Not just common garden mutiny, but Long John Silver with a musket stuff. The air fairly crackled with emotional vibes. Oh yes, there was smoke in the kitchen today, real smoke, from a cigarette exhaled from a fourteen year old caught on the hop.

Alison had got half way to work and realized she had forgotten her mobile phone. She drove home to get it and walked in on Laura in mid puff.

‘What the hell!’ Alison exploded. ‘What are you doing?’

‘Nothing,’ pouted Laura.

‘What do you mean nothing? You’re smoking!’

‘It’s just a puff!’

‘A puff? Rubbish! You’ve smoked almost a whole cigarette!’ Alison’s grey eyes popped as she screeched.

‘Fair go Mum! Everyone smokes!’

‘No they don’t. I don’t. Dad doesn’t. No one in our family does!’

‘Well, anyway, anyone that counts does. All my friends do.’

‘Then you can change your friends!’ Alison snarled. ‘Get rid of that darned thing. Now!’

Laura realizing she was on the back foot for now, stubbed out the cigarette and threw it in the bin. A look of revulsion mixed with contempt, defiance, and just a hint of fear radiated from Laura as she stomped into the lounge and flopped into a chair out of sight of her mother.

Alison rolled her eyes heavenward, clenched her fists and followed Laura. The joys of parenthood seemed a distant memory shrouded in the mists and fog of long lost happiness. It had been replaced by the daily torture of dealing with a teenage daughter. Alison stood over Laura, her hands on her hips, ready to erupt like Mount Etna. Her thoughts ricocheted all over the room.

‘Oh, she’s a beautiful child. Long thick auburn hair, wavy, down past her shoulders with little ringlet curls bobbing round her face. How can I hate her so much? How can she be so darned hard to control? She used to be such a good girl. And those eyes. Huge. Green as emeralds. Clear, bright and beautiful.’

Alison stood tall, ready to talk to Laura again.

‘And those eyelashes! Long, thick, black lashes that fan her cheeks like the finest silken fan. Not like my stubby mousey old lashes!’

Laura’s look changed to a combination of fear and guilt, but still mixed with defiance. She stared blatantly at her mother, her lips set in a stubborn line.

‘And those lips! Perfectly shaped, a Miss World smile, beautiful even white teeth except for one eye tooth a little crooked. Fabulous skin, two cheeky dimples and the budding body of a world class model! Why can’t her behaviour be like that?’ her thoughts raced.

‘Right my girl,’ Alison said. ‘I’ve had enough. If I find another cigarette in this house you are grounded for life. And if I have any more of your bad manners I will cut up all your clothes and you will only have your school uniform to wear! Do you hear me? I mean this. I’ve had enough of you!’

‘You wouldn’t dare!’ screamed back Laura, shrinking back into the chair. ‘I hate you. Why do you want to make my life so hard? You used to be a nice mother, now you’re the worst mother in the world. I’m fourteen years old now. I’m an adult. I should be able to do what I want,’ she spat out.

‘An adult! You behave like a naughty two year old. Now you get organized and get off to school. I thought I could trust you, but obviously not. I’ve got to get to work, but there will be more about this tonight with your father. He’ll have something to say, I am sure of that!’

Alison ran into her bedroom, picked up her mobile phone, picked up the keys off the kitchen table and ran to the car. She flopped into the driver’s seat, held her head in her hands as slow tears ran down her cheeks.

‘She’s only fourteen! How will I survive till she’s old enough to have some sense? Being a mother is much harder than I thought it would be. But I’m darned if she will beat me!

A small smile spread over her face. ‘She’s just like I was at that age. A rebellious, contemptuous, nasty, high minded know-it-all. But I’m not going to tell her that! And I turned out okay in the end,’ she grinned to herself.

‘Take a deep breath, go to work and calm down. It will all be okay in the end,’ she said to herself. ‘I’ve only got about another six years of this and it will be just fine!’



Questions for review:


  1. What was Laura doing when her mother came home?
  2. How did her mother feel about it?
  3. Was Laura an obedient girl?
  4. What is an emerald?
  5. How old was Laura?
  6. Why did Alison have to go back home?
  7. What are some of the words in the story that talk about emotions
  8. Do Chinese teenagers act like this with their parents?
  9. Talk about the descriptions in this story.
  10. Do you think fourteen year olds should smoke cigarettes?




©Lana Kerr                                                   www.englishstoriesforfun.com


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *