“Listen, I think only I should go into the museum now,” suggested Yom Tov.
“Why only you?” Yoel protested.
“Because it will arouse the thief’s suspicion if all three of us are there. You had better wait outside, and come in after it fills up.”
“An excellent plan!” I tugged at Yoel’s hand. “Come, let’s wait here behind the stairs.”
We hid, and waited. And waited. And waited. In books, lying in wait to catch thieves sounds like a thrilling adventure. In real life it’s just boring, hiding and waiting and doing nothing meanwhile. [At least whoever reads this book will know it’s boring. — Batya]
“Maybe no one will come today,” said Yoel. “Maybe everyone is tired of the mu—”
“Shh!” I whispered. “I hear something!” There were voices and footsteps, at last! We peered out cautiously and saw some kids entering the museum.
“Come on, let’s go in too,” I said.
“Shouldn’t we wait till more kids get here, so we won’t attract attention?”
“No, come on already! Maybe nobody else will come today, and in the meantime the base might disappear.”
In the museum Yom Tov was giving a speech, obviously enjoying himself. “Judaica means decorative objects and art that is connected to Judaism,” he explained solemnly.
I scanned the audience carefully. Was Yair there? No. Asher? Not him either. So I didn’t have to keep track of anyone who was already there. I had to watch the door to see if one of the suspects arrived.
A few more kids came in, Shuki among them. He went straight to the display shelves without looking around. He didn’t notice me.
“Shu—” I began to say, and the word froze on my lips. Shuki! Shuki?
Yes, it was Shuki who had flashed in my memory! He had turned red and apologized for coming day after day, and explained why, even though I hadn’t asked. That was suspicious behavior. Could it be Shuki who had taken the dreidel? But why?
Maybe because we didn’t let him join us in organizing the exhibition? Was he really so hurt that he decided to steal a dreidel and get us in trouble? And had he now come to steal the base too? I tried to watch him without getting too close. It wasn’t easy, and I didn’t really manage it well. After he left the museum, I apprehensively approached the display and looked at the spot where the base had been.
It was still there, shining and empty. No one had taken it.
And at closing time it was still there.
“Our plan failed,” Yoel concluded gloomily, when only the three of us were left. “No one took the base, so we don’t know who the thief is and who we can make give the dreidel back.”
“Don’t give up so easily,” protested Yom Tov. “Let’s keep watch for a few more days. Maybe the thief couldn’t come today? Or maybe he was here but felt he was being watched and didn’t dare take the base?”
The thief. What a terrible word.
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 751)
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