“It’s not fair!” Moishy burst out. “How come everything you say is a great idea, and everything I say you won’t do?"
"Maybe a New York skyline,” Bentzi suggested, waving his hands high in the air. “With all those skyscrapers!”
I clapped my hands. “Yes, that’s it, skyscrapers! And the Statue of Liberty! Do you think you can draw such a backdrop, Bentzi?”
“I can draw it,” Moishy volunteered importantly. “I’m a good artist.”
“Who, you?” I laughed. “You do draw very well for your age, but you can’t draw things like that, and certainly not as big as a scenery needs to be! This isn’t a job for little kids. Bentzi can do it.”
Moishy pouted, but said nothing, toying with the edge of the tablecloth.
Tova was enthusiastic. “And an American flag, too. We’ll make a big one out of construction paper, with stars and red-and-white stripes and everything, just like a real flag!”
“Great idea! And for the flagpole we’ll find a long pole like for the Lag Ba’omer fire,” Bentzi added.
“And how will we have a stage?” I asked.
“We’ll build it!” said Moishy. “We can nail lots and lots of boards together and—”
“Too hard,” Bentzi ruled. “I hope we’ll find something to use for one flagpole, but where would we get enough lumber to build a stage? And we don’t even know how to build a stage high enough and safe enough, that won’t suddenly collapse in the middle of the show… Batya, I think you’ll just have to have the play on the floor, without a real stage.”
“Okay,” I agreed. I was a little disappointed, but figured Bentzi knew what he was talking about.
“It’s not fair!” Moishy burst out. “How come everything you say is a great idea, and everything I say you won’t do? And you won’t even let me draw the picture!”
“It’s not like that!” I protested. “It isn’t our fault if your ideas aren’t right for what we’re trying to do. You’re just too little, you don’t understand these things. And as for drawing —” I hesitated for a moment. Maybe I should let him draw part of the scenery, even if it wouldn’t turn out well, so as not to hurt his feelings?
No. This wasn’t something just for myself that I could decide to compromise on. Bubby said this production must be good enough for grown-ups to really enjoy. I had to make sure everything would be as perfect as possible. Including the best scenery we could manage.
I decided to change the subject. “Listen, the ending is going to be terrific, when the girl goes with her mother to the zoo and they stop by the peacock’s cage. We’ll bring Peaky and have a real peacock!”
“Wow, Batya!” Bentzi was excited. “That will really upgrade the play!”
Moishy stuck out his lower lip. “You can’t take Peaky, he’s not yours.”
“Well, obviously we’ll ask Asher’s father for permission.”
“He won’t let you! It’s wrong to put animals in a show, it’s tzaar baalei chayim! Bentzi, don’t you remember what you told me once about the poor circus animals? You can’t do that to Peaky!”
to be continued…
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 854)
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