es, I was sure Shuki regretted having taken the dreidel. The question was, how could he have done such a thing in the first place? And why? Was he really that anxious to join our club? After all, he had asked only once and hadn’t made a fuss about it, and anyway, he has his own friends.
I looked at the purple dreidel standing once again in its place, and suddenly I remembered that I had forgotten something else Shuki had said: “There’s a dreidel here that reminds me of one of my grandfather’s dreidels.”
Did he mean this dreidel? Perhaps he missed his grandfather so much, and was so disappointed at not being left anything from the collection now housed far away in Belgium that he couldn’t overcome the temptation to take the dreidel? Then afterward he realized what a terrible thing he had done, was sorry, and returned it. Great. All’s well that ends well.
Surely Shuki won’t come to the museum today; he must be terribly ashamed. That must be why he didn’t put the dreidel back yesterday during visiting hours, he was scared we might catch him in the act. He preferred to come afterward, when no one was here, and — just a moment. How exactly did he come afterward? How did he get in? I locked the door! I distinctly remember that! Yoel told me to stop daydreaming and lock the door already, and I did. The door was locked today when we arrived, and I opened it with my key. So…?
“I’m going home,” I announced. “You’ll manage here without me, won’t you?”
“Sure!” said Tulli. “In the end we don’t have to do any detecting today.”
I climbed slowly up the stairs, trying to think. Where had Shuki gotten the key? Had he stolen it from me, duplicated it, and returned it? How did he manage that? If so, that wasn’t like taking something in a moment of giving in to temptation. It was a well-thought-out plan in several stages. To take the key without my noticing, pay to have it duplicated, and return the original to me, again without attracting my attention. Shuki couldn’t have done that! Maybe he’s got some uncle or something in our building, and got the key from him? Which of the neighbors…?
I turned a corner in the stairwell and almost bumped into someone coming down. It was Asher. I muttered a faint, “Hi,” and continued up the stairs, when suddenly the realization struck me like lightning.
Asher lives in this building. All the people who live in this building have keys to the cleaning-supplies room. This means Asher has a key to the cleaning-supplies room. [You learned something from those logic puzzles we used to solve together!—Batya]
So, can it really be…? No! It seems I was wrong to suspect Shuki. I don’t want to risk suspecting Asher wrongly too. Maybe I’ll just feel him out. I’ll tell him and see how he responds. I called after his retreating back, “Asher, know what happened yesterday at the museum?”
“What?” He turned around, looking scared. Or was that just my imagination?
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 753)
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