Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 46 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters.
Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications.
The next morning, just as Elisheva was about to leave for the new house, there was a knock at the door.
“Someone’s here to see the clock!” Chani announced loudly.
Eliyahu, who was home from Shacharis already, escorted the man into the empty dining room.
It was silent for a few moments; the potential buyer was probably appraising the value of the clock.
“Nice piece,” Elisheva heard him say after a few minutes. “I understand it’s not working properly, is that right?”
“Yes,” Eliyahu replied. “A clockmaker once told us that there’s a problem in the delicate balance of the mechanism.”
Meir was probably making desperate hinting gestures, because Eliyahu suddenly added, with a smile in his tone, “My son sometimes gets the bird to pop out. If his ball strikes a specific spot that apparently jogs the balance of the cogs or the springs back into place, the cuckoo bird works once. Meir, you threw your ball a few minutes ago, right?”
“Yes,” the boy replied.
“So maybe we’ll see the bird in action,” the man’s voice said. “What time does it announce?”
“Something else each time,” Meir answered bashfully. “Once it cuckooed three times; sometimes it’s five times. I don’t know how it decides.”
“May I take a closer look at the clock?”
“Sure,” Eliyahu said.
There was a long silence, which was suddenly broken by the cuckoo bird; it cuckooed eight times.
“If it’s able to work,” the man said, his voice muffled; his face was probably buried in the clock’s innards, “that means there is definitely hope.”
Eliyahu smiled. “We always knew there was hope. The thing is that the repair costs money, and it wasn’t worth it for us.”