Author: David P. Steel CEFR Level: B1
Synopsis: Chrissie takes on a dubious assignment: she is to travel to Hong Kong with a mysterious suitcase for which she will be richly rewarded in cash. Her nervousness and some strange occurrences during her journey keep the suspense high until the final showdown, high on a peak overlooking the cloud-shrouded skyscrapers of the Asian metropolis.
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The Mystery Suitcase
The car turned up at 6 pm as planned. The suitcase was already in the trunk. All Chrissie needed to do was fly with it to Hong Kong. She would receive the money in cash upon delivery. The driver said nothing to her on the way to the airport. Her mother called. She had to make up an excuse for not being able to make it to her 80th birthday.
Chrissie was relieved when the flight took off on time. She tried not to think about the contents of the suitcase. She didn’t want to know. It was just a crazy assignment she took on to help pay off her debts. She must have looked rather nervous. The flight attendant kept offering her drinks. Or was she misinterpreting his intentions? Perhaps he was coming on to her.
It was unbearably hot and humid in Hong Kong. Chrissie was intent on carrying out her mission as quickly as possible and then checking into an air-conditioned hotel. This time she was picked up by a taxi. The driver looked into the rear-view mirror and scowled at her: “We’re being followed!” Chrissie gulped. What was going to happen now?
The driver drove slowly but deliberately into ever narrower streets. Suddenly, he cut a turn into an alleyway. Within seconds they had parked on a ferry and were crossing over to Hong Kong Island. The skyline sparkled fantastically in the evening waters. “Did we shake them off?” Chrissie asked hopefully. “We’ll both lose our lives if we haven’t,” the driver pointed out solemnly.
They drove higher and higher up toward Victoria Peak. Chrissie gazed out the window onto the top floors of skyscrapers that seemed to be within arm’s reach. They stopped outside a hospital. A grey-haired nurse came out to take the suitcase, handing each of them an envelope stuffed with cash. Just then, out of nowhere, a helicopter appeared. Lights flashed from all sides and everyone was put under arrest for the illegal smuggling of a body organ.
Use “The Mystery Suitcase” in your classroom
What can legally be transported in an airplane? Why would someone pay for the delivery of a human organ? Is there a legal way to get an organ? Explore these topics with your students using our free Teacher’s Package. The package includes suggestions for in-class activities, vocabulary lists and handouts.