The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 11

June 24, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 11 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 young man who regularly came to care for the trees on Ourdwe Street, including the branches at number 8, caught the attention of the children in the orphanage. He was blond haired, with sparkling eyes and a ready grin. He sang while he worked, and most importantly, he would toss small lollipops at the children at a time when there wasn’t a candy to be found in the orphanage kitchen. Slowly the children began to approach him. “What’s your name?” one little boy dared ask.

“Emil.”

“Emil-Emil-Emil,” the children chanted as they sucked happily on their lollipops.

“What are you singing?” another boy tried.

“Nice songs,” the gardener replied. “And what’s your name?”

“Max.”

“Geza.”

“Gustav.”

“Molko.”

Some of the boys only nodded bashfully but didn’t say a word, especially the younger ones. The tree man would smile, wave at them, and move on to the next part of the street.

He continued coming at least twice a week, and in time Theodore noticed him and began observing him from the window of the office.

“I’m wondering about that man,” he said one day to Farash, who was seated behind him. “Since Lucio left, we have a problem with the evening hours. What do you say, should we try offering him a job?”

Farash raised his head from the daily paper. “You can try,” he murmured.

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 10

June 17, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 10 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 feel bad for Tzippy.”

Yaakov raised his head from the electric bill he was studying. “Huh?”

“I feel bad for Tzippy,” his wife repeated.

“Your sister?”

“Which other Tzippy would I be talking about?”

He folded the bill. “I guess it should be obvious that you mean your sister, but why do you feel bad for her? She’s a kallah, isn’t she?”

Miri tilted her chair back a bit, a habit she had not been able to kick since second grade. “Yes, she’s a kallah, and I think she’s very happy, baruch Hashem. But when I think about the financial situation in my parents’ house, which has gotten worse than it was before our wedding, I feel so torn for her. And that’s even with my mother’s new job. I’m not sure they will even be able to rent in Bnei Brak, and they’ll have to go live in some remote hole in the wall right after the wedding. And there’s no way to know when or how they will ever get an apartment of their own. I know my parents are very stressed out about the whole subject.” She fell silent for a minute and stared at the table.

“I’m not sure they even started doing any shopping, you know, kallah kind of shopping… I wish I could take her to Berman’s sale with about four thousand shekel in my wallet.”

Yaakov smiled. “Four thousand shekel? What will you buy with that? Towels with golden tassels?”

“Oh, Yaakov, you have no idea,” his wife said seriously. “Not golden tassels, but do you know how much a good set of linen costs? Our blue-green set cost about three hundred shekel, and it’s not even an expensive one. And you need quite a few towels, and that’s only one category. I haven’t even touched on sheva brachos outfits and some good weekday clothes, and pots and dishes for a starter kitchen, and a broom and dustpan and mop and pail and an ironing board. Oh, and what about appliances and furniture?”

“So four thousand shekel really isn’t enough for all that.”

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 9

June 11, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 9 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. 

 

“A wedding on Rosh Chodesh Teves. That is the only thing you have to do,” Rosenblit said as he took a binder out of his drawer that had apparently been waiting for this very moment. “He would also be happy to receive an invitation to the wedding, but it would be purely honorary. His health precludes him from traveling to Israel.” He pulled a page out of a sheet protector. “This is a copy of the contract,” he noted, and pushed it toward them.

“What about after the wedding? Is he going to have any other demands then?” Eliyahu examined the photocopied page. Elisheva also looked at it, but she couldn’t read anything. This was impossible. Actually, it was possible. It was a scam. It was real. Someone was deceiving them. This was the answer to her tefillos. It was too delusional to be real. It seemed reasonable and well founded. Rosenblit had even shown them copies of the Australian man’s ID documents.

“For example, will he want them to keep in touch with him?” Eliyahu, who was very grounded, and remained so now, was trying to choose his words carefully. “Even if he is Torah observant, as you say he is, I wouldn’t exactly want him to ‘adopt’ our couple. He won’t wake up one fine morning and demand that they fly out to Australia to him?”

“Nothing,” Rosenblit declared. “What’s important to him is the date of the wedding and the documents that affirm that. Everything is clearly stipulated here. If you ask me, it would be nice for the chassan and kallah to write him a nice thank you letter, but that’s a side point. He is not demanding it.”

“A thank you letter is the most basic decency. That’s not what we’re talking about. The question is if he is going to want to be involved in the young couple’s life or intervene about matters like buying the apartment, for example.”

 

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 8

June 3, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 8 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. 

 

They sat in the stylish waiting room of Rosenblit and Etzioni, Attorneys at Law, Eliyahu perusing his ever-present pocket Chumash, and Elisheva clicking the clasp of her pocketbook open and closed. It was quiet; aside for the secretary seated at the front, no one else seemed to be there.

“Attorney Rosenblit will be finishing his meeting momentarily, and then he’ll be with you,” the secretary had told them two minutes earlier. “In the meantime, why don’t you take seats?” She’d placed a tray with some high-quality, crystal-style disposable cups and a bottle of Coke in front of them.

“Do you want a drink?” Eliyahu asked his wife.

“No, I just want to know what they want from us.” Elisheva took a tissue out of her bag. Then she put it back in and took out her cell phone. Then her wallet.

“It’s about a business matter,” the lawyer had told her the day before. When he’d called, Elisheva had grabbed the phone and dashed back down to her parking lot refuge and her recent acquaintance, the cat. “A grant of sorts that the couple getting married might be able to receive.”

“What’s involved in getting this grant?” she had asked, backing up from the cat and waving with one hand at the neighbor from upstairs who was crossing the parking lot to toss her garbage bag in the dumpster.

A truck was reversing out of the parking lot next door to the grocery which adjoined Elisheva’s building, and the lawyer’s words had gotten swallowed by the din. “Pardon me?” Elisheva said. She hadn’t heard a word he had said.

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The Cuckoo Clock – Chapter 7

May 27, 2019

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 7 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 phone rang. And rang. Finally, someone picked up.

“Rosenblit and Etzioni, Attorneys at Law, good afternoon.”

Lawyers? Elisheva kept a steady gaze on the cat that had sneaked up behind the large dumpster. For its part, the cat was maintaining eye contact with the strange woman who had invaded its territory.

“Hello?”

“Yes…” Elisheva tried to focus on the conversation. “I received a call from Mr. Rosenblit, and he asked me to call him back.”

“Who is this, please?” The woman was probably a secretary.

“Mrs. Potolsky.”

“Potolsky? …Oh, yes. Attorney Mayer Rosenblit would like to set up a meeting with you and your husband.”

“A meeting with us?”

“Are you Tziporah Genendel’s parents?”

“That’s right.” She felt constricted. And it wasn’t because of the cat, which was approaching her step by step. Goodness; that cat was getting daring!

“So, Mr. Rosenblit wants to meet you.”

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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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