The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 46

March 23, 2020

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.”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 45

March 16, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 45 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. 

“I’m calling about the cuckoo clock you advertised that you’re selling?”

“Okay…?” Elisheva was getting tired of these phone calls. The day after tomorrow, the day before bedikas chametz, was moving day, with Hashem’s help, and she didn’t know where she would get the energy from for this final battle. Perhaps it had been foolish to try to sell the clock; it was a shame they hadn’t just dumped it.

Her father, remarkably, had not displayed any particular sentiment for it. “You can throw it out,” he’d replied when she’d asked him, on the day he was released from the hospital. Of course he had returned to the nursing home. He was weaker than he’d been when he’d left from there, but healthy, baruch Hashem.

“I understand that it needs some repairs, is that right?”

“Yes.”

“So, what’s the problem?”

“Something with the balance of the gears.”

“It doesn’t work at all?”

“No. Sometimes the cuckoo bird pops out and chimes, but it’s rare, and we have no idea what causes it to happen.”

Meir entered the empty kitchen, mouthed something to her in a whisper, and then suddenly blushed and fled outside.

“How much do you want for it?”

“Two hundred and fifty shekels.”

If someone would come and show interest in the old clock, they could always knock down the price a bit—that’s what Eliyahu had told her. But so far, no one had expressed serious interest in it at all.

“And how much should a repair cost?”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 44

March 9, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 44 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 little house slowly underwent a change. Every piece of furniture was cleaned, packed well, and prepared to be sent to the new apartment. The children ate “Erev Pesach suppers” long before they were used to doing so every other year, but Elisheva knew that something had to give; she couldn’t be perfect on all fronts. So they ate pitas and pastrami and franks, and baruch Hashem no one seemed to be the worse for wear because of it.

“We’ve finished the dining room,” Eliyahu said with a sigh of relief late one night. The bookcase was dismantled, the sefarim were packed in boxes, and the table and chairs were wrapped in plastic. The little ones were sleeping, crowded tightly into the bedroom. Later, they would be transferred back to their mattresses, in the dining room.

Elisheva sat down on a plastic chair that still remained unwrapped. ““There are two things left that are questions: the cuckoo clock and this silver yad.”

“Right.” Eliyahu squinted his eyes. “What is this? A mystery without a solution, or what?”

“There has to be a solution,” Devoiry said, looking from one parent to the other. “Things don’t just land in homes out of nowhere…”

“Maybe one of the little ones brought it from someplace?”

“Who? Everyone says they don’t know what it is,” Elisheva replied.

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 43

March 2, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 43 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. 

“It’s hard,” Elisheva’s father said suddenly.

“What is hard, Abba?” She bent over him. “Does something hurt you?”

He shook his head from side to side.

“So what is hard?”

“It’s hard,” was his answer. He sighed.

“The weakness?”

Again, a negative shake of the head.

“Being in the hospital?”

“No.”

“So what is it?”

“Being alone.”

“But Eliyahu was here all night, Abba,” she said, almost pleadingly. “He just went down to shul for Shacharis. I know it’s not easy to be alone, but I really tried hard to come early…”

He waved his hand weakly.

“Not that?” she asked.

“When I was a boy,” he said, “and I was alone…”

All at once, the few photos she knew from that time flashed through her mind. Photos from her father’s childhood. Two were from Europe; the rest were already taken here in Eretz Yisrael. He gave the impression of being a calm, worry-free child, and in some of the pictures, he was also surrounded by friends.

“Did your friends have families?” She slid her finger along the metal railing of the wide bed. “Most of them probably didn’t.”

“They had names…” he whispered, and closed his eyes. “They knew who they were.”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 42

February 24, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 42 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. 

“Excuse me, did the van from Atah Imadi pass by already?” The woman who turned to Elisheva was elderly and seemed to be somewhat blinded by the bright sunlight.

“I think it should be here any—” Elisheva, shading her eyes with her hand, didn’t have a chance to finish her sentence before the white van drove around the bend in the road. She climbed aboard and was on her way to spending another day at Tel Hashomer Hospital, with the hope that everything would go smoothly, and that her father would feel well and hopefully be released in a day or two.

That was life—strong, turbulent, often drowning out all your plans. She had planned and thought and ran around and hoped that by this week, they’d finish all the packing and would finally be able to move. But the infection that Abba had come down with had upended all her organized plans, and turned them into one big joke. For the past three days, since Rosh Chodesh Nissan, she and Eliyahu had been taking shifts at the hospital, in Internal Medicine C, while the children were doing the best they could on the home front.

Just then her cell phone rang. What was this long number?

“Ms. Elisheva?”

“Yes?” Her voice was laced with puzzlement.

“This is Mahmoud from Internal Medicine C.”

Her heart skipped a beat. “The hospital?”

“Yes. Your father wants to know when you are coming. He’s alone right now.”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 41

February 17, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 41 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. 

Purim was behind them, and Elisheva and her entire household of three small rooms flew into a frenzy of organizing and packing. The little ones kept competing as to who would get hold of the biggest boxes from the grocery or nearby supermarket. But Elisheva threw out at least a third of the cartons they brought home, because of all types of unidentifiable crumbs in them.

“Ima wants everything to be clean for Pesach, not just plain clean!” Rikki and Devorah tried to explain to the kids. But their explanations fell on deaf ears. It was a fun activity for the boys: to search for the boxes, ask permission from the proprietors to take them, and then drag them home—just to donate most of them to the storage room in Meir’s friend’s building. Meir’s friend Elchanan was organizing a huge bonfire for Lag B’Omer, and he’d already started collecting boxes and wooden boards for it.

Even Saba had already heard about the famous bonfire, and when Meir went to visit him, he rose slowly from his chair and, with the help of a broomstick, slowly nudged a large, folded cardboard box from under the bed.

“This was downstairs in the lobby,” he said to his grandson, who stared wide-eyed in delight. “I asked if I could keep it for you.”

“Thank you, Saba!” Meir hugged the carton as best he could; his arms hardly went around it. “Ima, can I go bring this over to Elchanan?”

“Wait, not this minute,” Elisheva said. She had just leaned back in her chair and was holding a steaming cup of tea, a bit of a break from the mess at home. It was just two days to Rosh Chodesh Nissan, and they hoped to move next week. Maybe it would have been better to wait until they could close off the unit for her father, instead of renovating while they lived there, but the temptation of moving before Pesach to a new, clean, very large home was overwhelming. And in any case, her father was not being very clear about his plans. It seemed like he would be happy to come live with them, but every time the subject came up, he kept saying, “We’ll see.”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 40

February 10, 2020

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 40 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. 

When Binyamin walked into the house with his bag of laundry on Motza’ei Shabbos, he was greeted with upbeat music.

“Sorry,” he said with a tired smile. “I thought this was my house.”

“It’s always happy here!” his sister Chani said, waiting ready with her camera.

“But there isn’t usually so much noise here. Can you lower the music a little?”

Mishenichnas Adar marbim b’simchah!” five-and-a-half-year-old Shloimy said knowingly. “And besides, don’t you know we’re moving? Right after Purim!”

“He knows,” Esty said.

“I know,” Binyamin said at the exact same time. He sat down on a chair. “Of course I know!”

“Oh, so Abba and Ima told you?” Four-year-old Bentzy nodded understandingly.

Binyamin laughed. “And if they wouldn’t have told me, my friends would have updated me. Almost all of Bnei Brak knows about it!”

“Yes, and it’s a little…uncomfortable to be the subject of people’s stories…” Devorah spoke up. “Do you feel that way, too?”

“There certainly is something to what you’re saying.” Binyamin rested a hand on his forehead and raised his eyes to his sister. “Can’t you lower that music? My head is really aching.”

Chani and Esty studied him.

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