The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 6

May 20, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 6 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. 

 

Bratislava – 5704/1944

 

The representatives of the occupying government who arrived at the orphanage turned out not to be soldiers. There were two members of the city council, one Russian policeman, and another person in uniform who introduced himself as “Anatoly Stachov, a member of the Communist Party,” but didn’t provide much detail about his exact position or rank. In any case, it didn’t interest the director much; he just kept scurrying around his guests like a starving mouse, trying to curry their favor, to the point where the older children exchanged small smiles at the sight. They had never seen the director grovel like this to anyone.

Gustav did not smile. He wasn’t old enough to understand the comical scene, and besides, the only thing he could think about was which of the guests he could ask questions to without being embarrassed.

He finally decided that the fat man from the city council, the guy who hardly spoke, would have time for him. The man was standing near the wall with a lit cigarette, and Gustav sidled up to him.

The man took the cigarette out of his mouth. “Go play, kid,” he said in a gruff voice.

“Did you see my mother?”

“Who?”

“My mother. Theodore said that maybe you saw her on your way here.”

The man narrowed his eyes, his eyebrows almost covering them completely. “Me?”

“Yes.”

“Why? Do you not know where she is?”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 5

May 13, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 5 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. 

 

Tzippy walked up the stairs as Sari Goodman from the third floor came down in the opposite direction, jangling the keys to her salon.

“Oh, Tzippy!” She smiled broadly. “How are you?”

Baruch Hashem, great.”

“Mazel tov on your new nephew and on the bris. How’s the shul’s new hall? Is it nice?”

“Yes, it’s really very pretty.”

“And what’s the baby’s name?”

“Shmuel, after my father’s father.”

“Very nice. Are they still by you?”

“No. My sister’s mother-in-law gave her a gift of three days at the kimpeturin home in Telzstone, so she’s there now.”

“Nice! So, you’re going from one simchah to the next, aren’t you… When’s the wedding? Do you have a date already?”

“In Shevat, b’ezras Hashem.”

“Wonderful!” Mrs. Goodman leaned her head forward as if she wanted to share a secret with a five-year-old, and said, “Tell your mother that it’s not smart to wait with the sheitels until the middle of the winter. After Chanukah, prices are going up. I’m having a small sale now on all my precut wigs, and if you come now you’ll get really great prices.”

Tzippy nodded solemnly. “I’ll tell my mother,” she said.

“And I have a few styles that are just right for you—very modest and refined. Do you want to come over this evening?”

“I’ll speak to my mother and we’ll see what our plans are for this week. Thanks.”

“Our plans for this week include starting to get you outfitted and ready for the wedding, b’ezras Hashem,” a voice said from the first floor. Tzippy’s mother came up the stairs, carrying her small pocketbook. “Oh, Sari, how are you? Do you think you have anything good for Tzippy in your salon?”

“Yes, I was just telling her that I’m clearing my shelves and if you come in this evening, I think Tzippy will find some styles that she likes.”

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