The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 63

July 27, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 63 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. 

“Senile?” Eliyahu checked the sign on the Ramat Gan building he was standing next to. Yes, this was the address the nursing home director had given him. “Four years? Are you sure?”

“Absolutely, unfortunately. That’s what they told Blumi.”

“This doesn’t sound good…” Eliyahu bit his lower lip. “If it wouldn’t be so late, I would pop into Rosenblit’s office. I think it’s right in this area.” He walked into the stairwell. Interesting. He had expected to find that Emmanuel lived in an old, neglected building with peeling paint. Instead, he found a neat, relatively new, well-kept place. There was nice lighting, a landscaped garden, and a metal plate on the mailbox bearing the name “Emmanuel Ben-Tal.”

He wondered if this Emmanuel had also won an apartment in an obscure raffle.

“Maybe it isn’t too late. Try,” Elisheva suggested. “It’s only 8:30. We once had a meeting with him in the evening. Lawyers work all kinds of hours. They don’t always finish work at five o’clock on the dot, like in lots of other offices.”

“Alright, maybe.”

“Try. I just feel like I can’t stand this subterfuge anymore.”

“Really? Why? Do you think someone had bad intentions here?”

“I don’t know, good, bad, but I do know that someone has been mixing into our lives on a regular basis for more than half a year now, and it needs to be checked out.”

“Okay,” he agreed. “Let’s see when I finish here with Emmanuel. Maybe I’ll have time to stop in at Rosenblit’s place.”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 62

July 20, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 62 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. 

“After kollel? You went to the nursing home to find him?”

“Yes.” Eliyahu patted the head of the child closest to him. Meir was standing there, taking a drink before returning to cheder for the afternoon.

“But why?”

“I think he’s our key figure here. He is the one who sold the raffle tickets to your father, and Jalib blurted out his name to me on the phone when I tried to question him further about his delusional dream.”

“He said that because you asked him about the renovation work he did at the nursing home. I know that Emmanuel was very involved then; I saw him talking to the workers and the foremen.”

“Could be, but in any case, when I pressed Jalib to try and remember why he dreamed specifically about us, and how he was so sure that it was us, he mentioned the nursing home and Emmanuel.”

“Maybe,” Elisheva froze for a second, “maybe my father is doing it all?”

Eliyahu smiled. “If you know that your father has this kind of money hidden away in some secret bank accounts, then it really is possible that it is him. Now we only need to figure out why he is choosing such a convoluted way to give his daughter these gifts.”

“And himself.”


“This renovation is actually for him.”

“That’s true.”

They were both quiet.

“Well, of course this is just a wild guess, because it really doesn’t make sense that it is my father.”

“And my strongest suspicion of Emmanuel is based on the fact that he disappeared the minute he caught sight of me.” Eliyahu was pacing up and down the large kitchen.

Elisheva took two sandwich bags out of the drawer, and put some cookies in one and a fistful of cereal in the other, for Meir and Yitzy’s afternoon snacks. “It really is strange,” she mused.

“I don’t intend to run after him all day and all night, Elisheva, okay? I tried, I called, I asked about him at the office, and I asked your father to tell him we’re looking for him, whenever he sees him next. But that’s it. For now, I’m leaving him alone…”

Elisheva nodded slowly. “You know, I asked my father a few weeks ago to try and find out what Emmanuel’s connection with U’shemartem is, but my father couldn’t really engage him in conversation.”

“Maybe you should talk to your friend, and see if she spoke to the director of U’shemartem again. Find out what happened with that.”

“I spoke to her briefly this morning. You saw how the day started here… I’ll call her again this evening.”

“Did you tell her about the Arab contractor’s proposal?”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 61

July 13, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 61 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. 

In the old house, Elisheva could hear every time someone turned over in his sleep. In this huge apartment, the children had to shout, “Ima!” for her to wake up. But perhaps she had been especially tired today, and that’s why she didn’t hear the first few cries. Whoever it was, though, seemed quite hysterical.

Six steps separated her bed from the hallway, and in that time, thoughts of fire, a gas leak, a robbery, appendicitis flashed through her mind. Perhaps the phone had rang, and one of the children who had woken up had been asked to tell one of her parents to get to the nursing home pronto?

Her fingers trembled as she rushed into the living room, to find a bleary-eyed figure leaning against the wall. “Devorah!” she cried to her high-school-age daughter. “What happened?”

“The Arab!” the girl gasped, looking very unfocused. “He came to me in a dream, Ima, and he said that if we don’t do what he asked, it will be…” She paused. “It will be bad.”

“Sit,” Elisheva instructed. When was the last time she had dealt with Devorah’s nightmares? Something like nine or ten years ago? Devorah was already fifteen years old! She gently steered her daughter to the couch, without realizing that what’s-his-name had sat there just a few hours earlier.

“Not here!” Devorah shuddered. “He sat here in my dream also, and it was so scary! Ima…” She seemed to be waking up more. “Ima, what is he planning? What does he want from us?”

“To give us a free renovation.” Elisheva smiled placidly.

“But it’s so strange!”

“You’re absolutely right about that,” Elisheva replied. “Wait a minute, sweetie, let me just wash negel vasser. I’ll be right back.” She washed her hands, and then put two slices of cake onto a plate, poured a cup of juice, and returned to the living room. “Did you wash negel vasser?” she asked Devorah. Rustling from the direction of the bedrooms indicated that she’d better lower her voice quickly, or she’d find herself with a parade of children asking for cake and juice.

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 60

July 6, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 60 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. 

“Grew up happy?” Eliyahu did not understand the question. Only when evening fell did she have time to tell him about her worries. Even then, she only shared the basic idea, because she knew that she could not possibly put all of her detailed thoughts into words, and there was only an infinitesimal chance that he would fully understand her anyway.

“Happy? One minute. Shloimy!” he raised his voice.

Pajama-clad Shloimy came running out to the big porch.

“Shloimy, are you happy?”


“Are you happy?” Eliyahu repeated.

Elisheva smiled from her vantage point on the side.

“Sure,” Shloimy said.

“Why?” Eliyahu probed.

“Because…I don’t know why. Abba, do you let me play with Nati for a little longer before we fall asleep?”

“Five more minutes. But one more second; tell me, please, were you happy in the old house also?”


“But it was so crowded there.”

“So what? It was annoying sometimes, but what does that have to do with it?”

They didn’t get a chance to ask him what didn’t have to do with what, because he was gone with the wind.

“Abba, you called me?” Meir stepped out onto the porch a few moments later, rattling the box of apricot pits that he held between his palms. “You know, this morning I had 186 of them, but I became a partner with Motty Rozinsky from the other class, and now we have 346!”

“A recipe for trouble,” Elisheva muttered.

“Tell me, Meir, are you content?” his father asked him.

“Content?” He smiled, a confused type of smile. “Is content happy?”


“Then yes. Tell me, Abba, if I play a game with these pits, and I lose some of them, does my loss have to get split between me and Rozinsky?”

“Depends what you made up with him beforehand,” Eliyahu replied, glancing at Elisheva.

“Call Esty,” she said with a smile. “If you’re doing a sample survey here, then you need to have both genders represented.”

Esty arrived. “Usually, yes,” she answered the question solemnly.



“And today, for example?”

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