[+:+] “Phoebe, weren’t we lucky winning the bikes in grandpa’s last story”
: “We sure were Alicia. I love us going on bike rides together”
“The key objectives of my stories
are to promote positive personal
qualities in children and to
provide humor and a little
It was a very warm afternoon and The Two Friendly Witches, Alicia and Phoebe decided that the best place for them was to stay inside their cool home.
Alicia was reading one of the stories that grandpa had written about them. This time she was re reading the story about the time that Angry and Fatlips escaped from jail. Alicia loved all grandpa’s stories, but this story was one of her favourites.
Phoebe was laying on the couch with a mirror in her hand and was admiring her beautiful face. As she was doing this she kept looking over at Alicia to compare her beauty, and although she did not say anything, she felt sorry for Alicia. ‘Alicia is nowhere as beautiful as me’ Phoebe thought.
Unexpectedly Phoebe then said, “don’t feel bad, Alicia.”
“What did you say Phoebe?” Alicia asked.
“There is no need for you to feel bad, Alicia,”. Phoebe repeated as she continued to look at herself in the mirror and swinging her head from side to side.
“What are you talking about, Phoebe?” Alicia replied. “I don’t feel bad!” I am reading grandpa’s book and I am enjoying it very much. I am definitely not feeling bad, and I have no idea what you are talking about,” Alicia continued.
“Well, there is no need for you to take it out on me,” Phoebe replied.
“Phoebe, I have no idea what you are talking about,” Alicia replied as she put her head down to continue reading grandpa’s book.
“Alicia, there is no need for you to take it out on me. It’s not my fault that you are not as beautiful as me,” Phoebe commented.
At that moment the telephone,which was on a stand next to Alicia, rang. Alicia stretched her arm to answer the call, but was roughly pushed aside, as Phoebe dived from the other side of the room to take the call. During the process, the phone was knocked on the floor, but Alicia did not say anything. She just rolled her eyes.
“What do you want?” Phoebe shouted down the mouth piece.
Alicia was shocked at the way Phoebe answered the phone, but decided that this was not the time to get into a discussion with her.
With a disappointed look, Phoebe turned to Alicia and said, “It can’t be important, the call is for you.”
“Hello, Alicia speaking, how can I help?” Alicia said calmly and politely.
Alicia listened carefully and only interrupted the caller with an occasional “yes” and “of course”.
Phoebe was dying to know what was being said, but pretended not to be interested.
“Thank you for getting back to me with that information,” Alicia said and then gently hung up.
At that moment, Phoebe turned away. That was her way of conveying to Alicia that her phone discussion was of no interest to her. Alicia knew differently. The fact was that Phoebe couldn’t wait for Alicia to tell her what the call was about.
However, instead of discussing anything with Phoebe, Alicia went back to reading her book. Phoebe had her back to Alicia and did not see that she had done this. She waited for Alicia to talk to her and when this did not happen, she picked up the mirror to get a view of what Alicia was doing without having to turn towards her.
When Phoebe saw that Alicia had gone back to her book she turned towards her and shouted “Well?”
“Well, what?” Alicia asked.
At that moment the phone rang again. Alicia reached out to answer the call, but Phoebe dived for it, as she had done previously.
“Who is it?” Phoebe shouted.
A moment later, Phoebe said to Alicia, “it’s not important, it’s for you……..again!”
“Hello Alicia speaking, how can I help you?” Alicia said with a pleasant voice.
Alicia listened carefully to the caller and during the discussion only commented briefly, as she had done with the previous call. She finished the call by saying “I look forward to seeing you then……….thank you for calling.”
As before, Phoebe had her back to Alicia pretending that she was not interested in her call. During the call, from the corner of her eye, Alicia could see that Phoebe was using her mirror to try and see if she could interpret what the discussion was about from Alicia’s facial expressions. Alicia made sure that she did not give anything away and as soon as the call ended went back to her book.
“Well?” Phoebe shouted.
“Well, what?” Alicia asked.
As unbelievable as it sounds, at that very moment the phone rang again.
This time Alicia did not reach for the phone and waited for Phoebe to answer it as she had done previously. To Alicia’s surprise, Phoebe decided not to answer it.
Alicia gently picked up the phone and in a pleasant voice said, “Alicia speaking.”
A moment later Alicia said. “Certainly, I will get her for you.”
“Phoebe, the call is for you…………the lady’s name is Mary Berry,” Alicia said.
Phoebe excitedly snatched the phone from Alicia’s hand and in an abrupt voice said, “Phoebe here”.
A moment later she said, “no it’s not,” and with a disappointed look hung up the phone.
“What happened?” Alicia asked.
“The silly lady rang the wrong number.” Phoebe replied. “She wanted to speak to a Phoebe Smith, not me.” She added.
“I wish that people would not waste my time. I am far too busy to have interruptions like that”, Phoebe said angrily.
Alicia was quite concerned with Phoebe’s phone manners. She was far too abrupt and sometimes quite rude. Alicia was sure that Phoebe did not do this intentionally, but she felt that she needed to broach the matter with her. Now was a good time as any, Alicia thought.
What do you think? Yes, this is grandpa speaking and I am talking to you, the reader of my story. Do you think that Phoebe needs to improve her phone manners? I am sure that you do. The way Phoebe talks on the phone is terrible. Alicia is quite nervous about talking to Phoebe about the problem, and I don’t blame her. How do you think Phoebe will take it? Well, I can tell you that she definitely will not take it very well. Not only does Phoebe think that she is the most beautiful in the world, but she also thinks that she is perfect in every way. What Alicia is planning to do is not going to be easy, but as her friend she feels that she has to do it, no matter what! Alicia is very brave. I don’t think that I would have the courage to do it. Would you?
“Phoebe, I would like to discuss something very important with you. Do you have time now?” Alicia asked. “If you don’t have the time now, another time will do,” Alicia added nervously.
Phoebe looked at her watch and although she knew that she had nothing else to do she agreed to give Alicia a bit of her valuable time.
“Phoebe, you sound as if you are quite busy, let’s leave it for another time”. Alicia said, hoping that Phoebe would agree to leaving it until another time.
“Alicia, as you have already interrupted me, let’s get it over with now, otherwise it will be weeks before I can fit you in.” Phoebe responded.
“That’s OK Phoebe, I can wait.” Alicia replied.
“For heavens sake, talk to me now!” Phoebe said angrily.
“OK Phoebe, can you please come and sit next to me?” Alicia asked.
Phoebe did as Alicia asked, but with a little drama as she went about doing it. She sat at one side of the sofa with her legs crossed and examining her fingernails in an attempt to convey that she really had no interest in what Alicia was about to say. The truth was that she couldn’t wait to hear what she wanted to discuss.
“Phoebe, I have something to discuss with you which has been concerning me a little.” Alicia said. “You are my best friend and I feel that I would be letting you down if I ignored the issue. I am sure that you would do the same, if you noticed something that you felt you needed to point out to me.” She added.
Phoebe had no idea what Alicia was talking about, but as she did not want to appear stupid she just nodded and waited for Alicia to say more.
“Do you agree, Phoebe?” Alicia asked.
“Agree with what?” Phoebe asked.
Alicia rolled her eyes.
“Phoebe, were you listening to anything that I was saying?” Alicia asked, a little annoyed.
“Alicia, I was doing my best, but as you know some people don’t find it easy to express themselves.” Phoebe responded. “As you very well know, you are one of those people Alicia.” Phoebe added.
Alicia felt a little hurt at what her best friend had just revealed, but she decided not to argue and instead thanked her for pointing this out to her.
“Thanks Phoebe, I am so pleased that you decided to alert me about my problem.” Alicia said.
This was followed by an awkward period of silence.
“Alicia didn’t you have something to tell me?” Phoebe asked.
“Yes, I have Phoebe, but it can wait.” Alicia responded.
“Alicia, you have already interrupted what I was doing so please get it out of the way now.” Phoebe remarked in a tone that conveyed superiority.
“Phoebe, I hope that you won’t get upset after you hear what I have to say.” Alicia said a little nervously.
“Alicia, I don’t think that you have anything to worry about in that regard. I don’t let anything upset me – unlike some other people we know.” Phoebe responded as she explored the ceiling with the occasional deliberate, but quick look towards Alicia. Alicia rolled her eyes.
“Phoebe, I will get straight to the point.” Alicia said. “Phoebe, you need to pay attention to the way you answer and talk on the phone. You come across like someone that you are not.”
“How do I come across?” Phoebe asked.
“Well, Phoebe you come across as someone who is rude and abrupt.” Alicia responded and quickly added, “it is not you, Phoebe!”
“I knew it!” Phoebe explained.
“You knew it?” Alicia queried.
“Yes, I knew it!” Phoebe repeated and then added. “Alicia, you can’t accept that I am much more beautiful than you and you will do anything to get even.”
“Phoebe, I know that you are very beautiful, but do you really believe that I would do what you just said? Alicia asked.
What do think? Yes, this is grandpa talking to you the reader of my book. Do you think that Alicia would really do what Phoebe accused her of? I agree with you, there is no way that Alicia would act that way. I probably know Alicia better than anyone else in the world and I can honestly say that she is one of the nicest people that I know. She is sincere, kind, and very careful not to do anything that would upset anyone.
“Phoebe, I asked you a question. Do you really believe what you just said about me?” Alicia repeated.
Phoebe turned her back on Alicia and muttered something which could not be understood. “I didn’t hear what you said Phoebe. Would you please repeat what you just said?” Alicia asked.
Phoebe did not respond. Instead she continued to stand with her back to Alicia and with her arms folded tightly. Alicia walked around and stood in front of Phoebe and once again asked her the same question. Phoebe closed her eyes, spun around and faced the other way, arms still folded . Alicia smiled and walked around to again face Phoebe. Phoebe still had her eyes closed, but on hearing Alicia walk and stand in front of her, she slowly opened her left eye. On seeing Alicia’s smiling face, Phoebe gave in and burst into uncontrollable laughter. Seconds later Alicia did the same. They laughed and laughed until it hurt.
Eventually the laughter stopped. Phoebe did not have to answer the question that Alicia had previously asked. They both knew the answer.
Phoebe was the first to speak. “Alicia, for quite sometime I have been wanting to ask you if you could help me with a problem that I have.”
“Anything, Phoebe. I will help you with anything that you want me to. What is it that you want me to help you with?” Alicia asked.
“Well Alicia, I am not sure whether you have noticed, because I have been fairly good at covering it up. I think that I could benefit a little if you were to give me a few tips on how to communicate over the phone.” Phoebe revealed.
Alicia could not believe what she had just heard Phoebe say, but decided to help the discussion along the direction that it was heading. “Sure Phoebe, if you think I can help, I am more than happy to do so.” Alicia said.
“Well, I think that we can help each other.” Phoebe said. “As you know, I also have much to offer.” Phoebe added.
“You are so right, Phoebe. Would you like to go first?” Alicia asked.
An awkward silence descended in the room. Phoebe eventually replied. “No Alicia…….age before beauty. You can go first.”
Thirty minutes later Alicia finished what she had to say about answering and talking over the phone. Phoebe had listened carefully and asked the right questions along the way. She even made some notes which pleased Alicia. She could see that Phoebe was determined to learn as much as possible.
“Your turn now, Phoebe.” Alicia stated.
Phoebe also took about thirty minutes during which Alicia listened politely and asked questions. Alicia did not say anything to Phoebe, but what Phoebe had just given was a complete copy of what Alicia had given Phoebe. When Phoebe finished Alicia praised her for her very valuable contribution.
“Well Alicia, that is what friends do. Good friends help each other.” Phoebe said.
At that moment, the phone rang.
“Alicia, would you like me to answer it?” Phoebe asked.
“Yes Phoebe, please do!” Alicia replied.
“Good morning, this is Phoebe speaking.” Phoebe said as she spoke in the mouth piece.
The person at the other end was Constable Bob. He was very familiar with Phoebe’s atrocious phone manners and to hear Phoebe answer the phone as she had just done took him by surprise, so much so that it caused him to momentarily lose his voice.
“Good morning. This is Phoebe speaking.” Phoebe repeated.
Finally Constable Bob spoke. “Phoebe, this is Constable Bob. Are you alright?”
“I couldn’t be better and it’s so wonderful to hear your voice, Constable Bob.” Phoebe replied
“Phoebe, are you sure that you are alright………..can I please speak to Alicia?” Constable Bob asked.
“Sure, Constable Bob – I will get her for you.” Phoebe replied.
When Alicia came on the phone she detected that Constable Bob was distressed and realised that Phoebe’s sudden change in her phone mannerism was the cause for the distress. Alicia did not want to discuss the matter in front of Phoebe so she told Constable Bob not to worry and that she would explain later.
Moments later the phone rang again. This time Alicia answered the phone. Although he did not say a word Alicia knew that it was Constable Bob again. He was sobbing uncontrollably over the phone. Alicia tried to get him to speak, but he just continued sobbing.
“Constable Bob, please tell me what is wrong.” Alicia asked,
Constable Bob managed to convey that there was nothing wrong, but immediately broke into another burst of uncontrollable sobbing. Alicia tried to intervene, but the sobbing continued for at least 30 minutes before Constable Bob could string a small sentence together.
“I am so happy!” Constable Bob explained and then again burst into another burst of loud sobbing. Thirty minutes later, he managed to once again repeat that he was so happy, before bursting into what Alicia already knew would be another 30 minutes of uncontrollable sobbing. Alicia decided to go and make herself a hot drink and come back to the phone in 20 or so minutes.
When she returned to the phone Constable Bob’s sobbing had not stopped. The sobbing continued, now only interrupted by single words which when strung together Alicia knew were repeating over and over that he was so happy.
Alicia decided that the only way that she would succeed in stopping Constable Bob’s sobbing was for her to go down to his office and do it face to face. Alicia told Phoebe that she wouldn’t be long, jumped on her broom and headed towards the town.
Constable Bob’s office door was open and Alicia was able to fly straight in. Constable Bob was still holding the phone to his ear and was sobbing uncontrollably into the mouth piece. His table was flooded with his tears and the papers on his desk were soaked.
Alicia shouted at him to stop crying. Constable Bob was surprised to see Alicia, but the sight of her only caused him to sob louder and repeat over and over that he was so happy. Alicia decided that enough was enough and decided that she had to do something to bring Constable Bob’s sobbing to an end. The challenge was how? From past experience she knew that when Constable Bob was happy it was very difficult to stop him crying.
Without any warning Alicia started swaying from side to side, shaking her head and shouting that she was about to faint. By doing this, Alicia hoped that Constable Bob would rush towards her and grab her before she fell on the floor. He didn’t, he just continued sobbing.
Alicia was quite desperate not knowing what she could do to stop Constable Bob from sobbing. She was a little annoyed with herself at not being able to help her very good friend to stop sobbing.
“Anyway, what is it that has made you so happy?” Alicia asked.
Constable Bob’s sobbing suddenly stopped. It was so sudden that it surprised them both and they looked at each other for several minutes without saying a word. This caused Alicia’s draw to drop. Constable Bob could only copy what Alicia was doing and his jaw dropped also.
After an awkward silence Alicia decided to repeat her question.
“What has made you so happy, Constable Bob?” Alicia asked again.
With a vague look Constable Bob responded, “Alicia, I can’t remember!”
Well, what a shock this must be to you! Yes I am talking to you. This is grandpa and I am talking to you, the reader of my book. All that sobbing and Constable Bob can’t remember why he is so happy. I, of course, know and I can tell you if you want me to, but you must promise me not to tell Constable Bob. The last thing that Alicia would want at this point is for him to start sobbing again.
You will never guess! What made Constable Bob so happy was something that Phoebe said to him. It was something that Phoebe had never told him before. What did Phoebe say to Constable Bob that made him so happy? See if you can remember!
You will find the reason on the next page.
“…………….. it’s so wonderful to hear your voice, Constable Bob.”
That is what caused Constable Bob to be so happy. We all now know that when Constable Bob is happy he can’t stop sobbing.
A simple phone call, resulted in unexpected changes to Alicia’s and Phoebe’s day. This book is suitable to be read to children not quite of reading age. It is also suitable to be read by young children, including the older children aged up to 99 years and beyond. If you like it, please provide a review, good or not so good. Although grandpa is in his seventies, he is still young enough to learn