Category Archives: Mr Mint

Mr Mint (Chapter 3)


Tommy jumped out of the way – just in time: the taxi missed him by a metre.

‘Hey, you stupid kid!’ shouted the driver, his red face sticking out of its window. ‘I nearly hit you!’

‘Sorry,’ said Tommy. ‘I was…’

‘If you aren’t careful, you’ll wake up in hospital!’

‘I didn’t see you,’ Tommy said.

‘You didn’t look!’ said the taxi driver. ‘What’s the matter with you anyway?’

Tommy said nothing. There were lots of things were worrying him – running away from a crime and the police chasing him were just two! He stood there silently.

The taxi driver shook his head. ‘Next time, just be careful. Okay?’

‘Okay,’ said Tommy and the taxi began to move away. ‘Kids! What do their parents teach them, eh?’ he heard the driver say to someone. The taxi went past and Tommy’s mouth fell open: the passenger in the back seat of the taxi was the old lady!

‘Hey!’ called Tommy, ‘Come back.’ But it was too late. The lights were at green and the taxi was already half way up the street.

What’s going on? Why was she in the taxi? Why wasn’t she in the police station? Tommy kept his eyes on the taxi, following it as it went through the traffic. A few minutes later, it stopped at the King’s Hotel – the best and most expensive in town.

Immediately, Tommy began running. He was in the town’s busiest street and there were crowds of people enjoying their shopping in the summer sun. As fast as he could, he went through the people and past the shops, but then began to slow down. The third last shop on the other side of the road was his father’s gallery. As he came nearer, he looked across at its large windows and the name ‘WINTERBURN’S’ in gold letters above them. Perhaps his father was watching! Tommy hid behind a group of tourists. Following them all the way to the hotel, he stopped when he was outside it and looked in.

Inside the hotel, a man at a desk was smiling and giving the old lady a key. Tommy couldn’t see the suitcase. Where were the police? Why did no one call them? He didn’t understand. ‘Now what do I do?’ he asked himself. ‘Wait and see’ was his only answer.

Next to the hotel, on the same side of the road as his father’s gallery, there was a coffee shop. Tommy was hungry and he needed somewhere to wait. Soon, he was sitting outside in the sun with a sandwich in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other and his iPod in his ears, waiting and watching.

Over an hour went past. Taxis arrived and left every minute from the hotel and twice Tommy thought he saw the old lady, but twice it was someone different. ‘How long is this going to take?’ he thought. He looked at the money he had: not enough for another coffee. He was about to stand up when an old man came out of the hotel and began walking along the street. He wore a dark green suit, and a green shirt and tie. Tommy sat down, but he didn’t take his eyes off the man. There was something strange about him. Something…Just then, the old man stopped and looked hard at Tommy before walking quickly away.

Tommy jumped to his feet. The old man’s eyes – one green eye, one brown – and that green suit! Was it true? There was no other way to explain it: the old woman was now an old man –and that old man was now opening the door to WINTERBURN’S Gallery.


Glossary words

A gallery (n) – a shop that sells paintings

Tourists (n) – people on holiday

Mr Mint (Ch2)

The old lady found her other bag and looked out the train window. What was happening? Why was there a big crowd? Where was that tall boy with the brown hair? Quickly, she got off the train.

As soon as she put her foot on the platform, a policeman moved towards her.

‘Excuse me. Did you leave a suitcase on the platform?’ he asked.

She looked for her suitcase and saw it behind some people’s legs.

‘Yes, I left it with…’

‘Is that it over there?’ asked the policeman.

‘Yes,’ answered the old lady, ‘It is. But I don’t understand. Why…?’

‘I’m sorry, but I must ask you to open it.’

The old lady looked at the faces of the people who were looking at her. Some of them looked excited, some of them afraid.

‘But what is all this about?’

‘Would you please open your suitcase. Now!’ said the policeman. He looked angry.

‘Yes, of course,’ said the old lady. The people in the crowd moved to the side and made a road for her through them. That was when she saw it: red all over the platform. And the it was coming from her suitcase.

‘Oh!’ she said in a small voice.

‘Who was the boy that was watching your suitcase?’ asked the policeman, standing close to her. She could hear the words ‘train station’ and ‘blood’ coming out of his radio.

‘…Sorry, what?’ she asked.

‘The boy that ran away,’ said the policeman. ‘Who was he?’

‘His name was Tommy. I asked him to look after my suitcase while I got my other bag. You see, I left my small bag on the train.’ She held up a small, brown bag. ‘I didn’t want to carry my heavy suitcase into the train again, and I didn’t want to leave it on the platform.’

‘This boy – Tommy – ran away when he saw me coming,’ said the policeman.

‘He helped me with my suitcase – that’s all I know about him. Perhaps he ran away because he was afraid of you.’

‘Hmm’ said the policeman. ‘Open your suitcase.’

The old lady brought out a key from her small bag and put it into the suitcase’s lock.

She turned the key and the suitcase fell open. Inside, there were lots and lots of paints – and paper too.

‘You see,’ said the old lady, ‘I’m an artist and I use all of these colours to make pictures. But look at the red. It’s everywhere! Oh dear!’

Suddenly, someone in the crowd began to laugh, then another person and another. Soon everyone was laughing, the policeman too. In fact, he was laughing the loudest.

‘What’s happening?’ asked the old lady. ‘Why is everyone laughing?’

‘I’m so sorry,’ said the policeman, ‘this is all just a big mistake. We thought that the red paint was blood!’

‘Blood? My goodness! Did you all think I was a murderer?

‘I’m very sorry,’ said the policeman.

The old lady smiled, but then she remembered Tommy. ‘But what about Tommy? He must think the police want him!’

The policeman turned to the crowd. ‘Has anyone seen that boy? The one who ran away.’

But no one was interested. People turned away and began leaving the platform or getting on trains. There was nothing exciting to see: there was no blood; there was no murder; there was no dead body. The old lady was just an old lady with a suitcase full of red paint.

‘Sorry,’ said the policeman to the old lady. ‘But don’t worry – he’ll be fine.’

The old lady looked sad.

‘Let me carry your suitcase’ said the policeman, picking it up. ‘Do you live here?’

‘Thank you,’ said the old lady. ‘And no, I don’t live here. I’m just visiting. I am staying at the Kings Hotel in the centre of town.’

‘Well,’ said the policeman, ‘let’s find you a taxi.’


Glossary words

Paint (n) – We use this to make pictures. You can buy it in many colours.

An artist (n) – Someone who makes pictures/paintings.

Mr Mint (Chapter 1)

‘Oh, this suitcase is heavy!’

Tommy stopped walking and turned around. An old woman was still on the Tayworth to Dilling train, trying to push a suitcase out of the train’s door. She was wearing a green hat, a green dress and heavy green shoes. All around her, train doors were closing and people were walking along the platform, busy on their phones or talking to their friends, not looking at her.

But Tommy’s mother always told him to be kind to others. He walked back.

‘Excuse me. Can I help you?’ he asked the woman.

The old lady looked him through her thick glasses. Tommy saw that she had one green eye and one brown.

‘That is so kind of you…’ the old lady said.

‘I’ll pull and you push,’ said Tommy, climbing onto the train. He took hold of the suitcase and together they pushed and pulled it. ‘It’s heavy,’ thought Tommy. ‘What has she got in here?’ But soon they got it onto the platform.

‘Thank you so much. Er…What’s your name?’ asked the old lady.

‘Thomas, but just call me Tommy.’

‘Oh no!’ said the old lady, putting a hand to her mouth. ‘I think I left my other bag on the train. Can you watch my suitcase, Tommy?’

Tommy wasn’t in a hurry. ‘Sure,’ he said. ‘No problem.’

‘Oh, thank you so much,’ the old lady said. ‘I don’t want someone to steal it – there are so many thieves around these days!’

Tommy smiled. ‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘I’ll take care of it.’

Tommy watched her go inside the train again. He stuck his hands in his pockets. It was a sunny Saturday morning and he was just back from staying overnight at his uncle’s house in Tayworth.

‘THE NEXT TRAIN TO TAYWORTH WILL LEAVE FROM PLATFORM 4,’ said a oud voice and a crowd of people began pushing their way past Tommy. It was always the same: adults were always walking into him or telling him to watch out or get out of the way. He was fourteen years old – nearly an adult. He took out his iPod and chose one of his favourite songs. ‘I need some music while I…’


Tommy jumped in surprise, nearly dropping his iPod. A woman with a white face was looking at him. Others were too. ‘What’s the matter? What’s happening?’ he asked.

‘BLOOD!’ screamed the woman. ‘There’s blood coming from that suitcase!’

Tommy looked down: big red fingers of blood were moving slowly across the ground next to him.

‘It’s coming from his suitcase. It’s blood. It’s blood,’ the woman was shouting.

‘But…’ began Tommy.

‘OUT OF THE WAY!’ A policeman with a radio to his mouth shouted, pushing his way through the crowd that was now around Tommy.

‘But…’ continued Tommy.

‘CATCH HIM!’ called the policeman and two tall men tried to catch Tommy – but he was too fast.

Under their arms, then through some legs and down the platform Tommy went, running as fast as he could. No one could catch him and he didn’t look back.


Glossary words

A platform (n) = A place in a rail way station. Trains stop next to it.

An uncle (n) – your mother’s (or father’s) brother.