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ESL Lesson: Phrasal verb fall

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Phrasal verb fall

It was one o''clock in the morning, I had no money and I had just missed the last through train to where I was living at the time. The people I was with fell about laughing at my predicament as they had only lived a few minutes'' walk away. I phoned home to see if there would be any chance of a lift from the station where the train would stop but that little plan fell through as the car had broken down and was in the garage for repair.

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I had no alternative but to fall back on my own initiative. whatever that meant. I even thought of persuading the train driver to fall in with what I thought was an original idea namely just this once to go the extra twenty miles to where I lived. Then I dismissed the idea and thought that if I put it to him I might fall out with him and then I wouldn''t even be able to go the forty miles already scheduled.

The train left punctually, stopping at all the minor stations on the way. By the time we were approaching the end of the journey the number of passengers had fallen off considerably. Finally there seemed to be about six passengers left in my carriage, two of whom I casually fell into conversation with, desperately hoping that one of them had a car waiting to take them and possibly me on to my desired destination. I fell on one of them who mentioned he had a car but it turned out that it was falling apart. He wasn''t too happy about this as he had only just bought it and admitted that he had been stupid enough to fall for the salesman''s glib talk that it was in good condition. My own initiative did not prove very resourceful as things had fallen out and there I stood on a deserted platform twenty miles from home without a penny in my pocket.

To make matters worse it was really falling down. Rather then risk contracting double pneumonia I rushed into the town centre in the hope of finding inspiration. Two things caught my eye.. One was a poster advertising a new film with a picture of an actress with whom I and the whole nation had fallen in love and the other much more practical: a sign announcing the existence of a police station. I remembered hearing a long time ago that if you were really stranded, you could always fall back on the local police station which could give you shelter for the night. As I walked in, the officers were just falling out after a period of duty and a new squad were taking over. My reason for being there did not elicit much sympathy. The officer at the main desk did not exactly fall over himself to offer help. There was no food available, the cells were all full and the only possibility was a chair in the waiting room or rather several wooden chairs arranged alternately in a line so that the backs prevented me from falling off. There was little chance of that happening since each time I was on the point of falling off to sleep, I was brought back to consciousness by the sound of the messages coming in from police officers in the area. I had certainly fallen among some very unfriendly people.

At six o''clock in the morning I caught the scent of bacon and eggs coming under the door. At the sound of the door opening I rolled off my chairs ready to fall to in the expectation of a full English breakfast but the officer was empty-handed. The new shift had just fallen in and it was made absolutely clear to me that I was to fall out. As I emerged blinking into the bright sunlight I felt like a prisoner being let out after a long sentence and as I did so bumped straight into my next-door neighbour about to start his early shift. I was so embarrassed I just wanted the ground to fall in and hide me from the shame of it all. From that day I fell down in her estimation as she was convinced I had been locked up for the night for criminal behaviour. I''ve tried to explain what happened but she merely falls about laughing and refuses to believe me. It''s her little joke now if anybody falls under suspicion and their guilt is reported in the local newspaper to take me to one side and say: ''I see so and so missed the last train.''

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Author: Alan Townend

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