"What nonsense!" By now I was really annoyed. "I read about that in Bentzi's encyclopedia — there are places where animals are kept in poor conditions and trained with cruel punishments. What does that have to do with us? We'll just bring Peaky to Zchus Avos and let him strut back and forth a few times in front of the audience. He won't mind at all."
"You don't know what he'll mind and what he won't!" retorted Moishy. "You only saw him once. I visited him lots of times already. I'm his friend and I know he doesn't want us to take him out of his home and make him be in a stupid play.”
"It's not a stupid play!"
"Yes it is!"
“No it’s not!”
“Yes it is, and I’m not going to do anything to help you with it!” Moishy got up, pushing his chair back hard.
The chair fell to the floor with a loud crash. Moishy ran out of the room. Bentzi, Tova, and I were left speechless.
I got up slowly, walked over to the knocked-down chair and picked it up. "What's the matter with Moishy? It's not like him to behave this way!"
Bentzi frowned thoughtfully. “Look, he did make a few suggestions and we didn’t agree to any of them. And it hurt his feelings that everyone thinks I draw better than him.”
“But you really do draw much better than him! There’s no reason to feel bad about it — it’s because he’s much younger than you, he’s just a little kid.” As I spoke, I realized there was something wrong with my logic. If Moishy felt bad about it, then that’s how he felt, even if I thought there was no reason to feel that way.
“Maybe we’re so used to Moishy being a little kid,” I said slowly, “that we don’t notice he’s already grown older, and can take more of a part in the things we do.”
“Let’s let him color some of the scenery,” Tova suggested. “Bentzi can plan everything and draw everything, and Moishy and I will just color it with paints. If Moishy sees that I’m only coloring what Bentzi draws, I bet he’ll agree to do that too.”
“Good for you, Tova, that’s a great idea. So everything’s all planned now, right? I can finally tell Esti! I can hardly wait. She’ll be so surprised and happy!”
I hurried to the phone and called her. “Esti, I have a big surprise for you!”
“A surprise? Really? Wow! What is it?”
“A play!” I exclaimed excitedly. “It’s a play, and you’re going to get the main part! You so badly wanted a leading part in the school play, and were so disappointed when you didn’t get one. Well, here’s your chance! I’m organizing a special play of our own for you to star in. We already have an audience, and a terrific story that we’re adapting for the play. Bentzi and Tova and Moishy are helping with the scenery, and we even have a real live peacock!”
I stopped to take a breath, preparing to graciously receive Esti’s heartfelt thanks and cries of admiration.
But there was only silence on the other end of the line. “Hello? Esti, are you there? Can you hear me?”
to be continued…
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 855)
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