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That summer an army of crickets started a war with my father. They picked a fight the minute they invaded our cellar. Dad didn’t care for bugs much more than Mamma, but he could tolerate a few spiders and assorted creepy crawlers living in the basement. Every farm house had them. A part of rustic living, and something you needed to put up with if you wanted the simple life.
He told Mamma: ‘Now that we’re living out here, you can’t be jerking your head and swallowing your gum over what’s plain natural, Ellen.’ But she was a city girl through and through and had no ears when it came to defending vermin. She said a cricket was just a noisy cockroach, just a dumb horny bug that wouldn’t shut up. No way could she sleep with all that chirping going on! Then to prove her point she wouldn’t go to bed. She drank coffee and smoked my father’s cigarettes and she paced between the couch and the TV. Next morning she threatened to pack up and leave, so Dad drove to the hardware store and hurried back. He squirted poison from a jug with a spray nozzle. He sprayed the basement and all around the foundation of the house. When he had finished, he told us that was the end of it.
But what he should have said was: ‘This is the beginning’. For the next fourteen days Mamma kept finding dead crickets in the clean laundry. Shed shake out a towel or a sheet and a dead black cricket would roll across the linoleum. Sometimes the cat would corner one, and swat it around like he was playing hockey, then carry it away in his mouth. Dad said swallowing a few dead crickets wouldn’t hurt as long as the cat didn’t eat too many.
Soon live crickets started showing up in the kitchen and bathroom. Mamma freaked because she thought they were the dead crickets come back to haunt, but Dad said they were definitely a new batch, probably coming up on the pipes. He fetched his jug of poison and sprayed beneath the sink and behind the toilet and all along the baseboard until the whole house smelled of poison, and then he sprayed the cellar again, and then he went outside and sprayed all around the foundation leaving a foot-wide moat of poison.
For a couple of weeks we went back to finding dead crickets in the laundry. Dad told us to keep a sharp look out. He suggested that we’d all be better off to hide as many as we could from Mamma. I fed a few dozen to the cat who I didn’t like because he scratched and bit for no reason. I hoped the poison might kill him so we could get a puppy. Once in a while we found a dead cricket in the bathroom or beneath the kitchen sink. A couple of weeks later, when both live and dead crickets kept turning up, Dad emptied the cellar of junk. He borrowed Uncle Burt’s pickup and hauled a load to the dump. Then he burned a lot of bundled newspapers and magazines which he said the crickets had turned into nests.
ВОПРОС 1 A cricket is
1) a small animal.
2) a spider.
3) an insect.
4) a game.
ВОПРОС 2 Mamma threatened to pack up and leave because
1) she had smoked all cigarettes.
2) she had not got used to rustic living.
3) she could not put up with crickets.
4) she was a city girl through and through.
ВОПРОС 3 After Dad had sprayed the basement and all around the foundation of the house,
1) the family were constantly coming across dead crickets.
2) the family kept seeing live crickets everywhere.
3) the dead crickets came back to haunt.
4) all crickets disappeared.
ВОПРОС 4 The narrator fed the cat with crickets because
1) the cat was hungry.
2) he would like to have another pet.
3) he wanted to hide crickets from Mamma.
4) Dad told him to do it.
ВОПРОС 5 Dad borrowed Uncle Burt’s pickup
1) to fight with crickets.
2) to bring new furniture to the cellar.
3) to throw away newspapers and magazines.
4) to get rid of rubbish.
ВОПРОС 6 The house caught fire because
1) Dad left a garden hose near the fire.
2) the wind lifted some papers onto the wood pile.
3) the fuel tank had gone off.
4) there wasn’t much anyone could do.
ВОПРОС 7 The narrator was surprised
1) that Dad didn’t offer any plan.
2) when the bottle came to him.
3) that crickets were all around.
4) that there was not much to save from the fire.
ВОПРОС 1: – 3
ВОПРОС 2: – 3
ВОПРОС 3: – 1
ВОПРОС 4: – 2
ВОПРОС 5: – 4
ВОПРОС 6: – 3
ВОПРОС 7: – 4