| Jolly Solly |

Burst Pipe

“Burst pipe!” he called to his fellow workmen inside.  “Somebody turn off the water mains!”


ang-bang-bang!  Thwack!  Bang-bang-bang!  Thwack!

Mr. Krankowitz sat up, wondering what the horrible racket was.  He’d fallen asleep in his favorite armchair while reading the newspaper, as usual, only to be rudely awakened by a loud hammering from up the road. The nerve of whoever it was!  He’d jolly well go and give them a piece of his mind.

Grabbing his stick, as well as his coat, hat, and scarf — after all, you never knew when the weather could turn nasty — the old man marched off to investigate.

Meanwhile, Fishel and Faivish were walking down Sunny Lane on their way home from school, complaining about their math homework.

“There should be a law against it,” declared Fishel hotly.  “We’re always being told to eat healthy, and go to bed on time, so we’ll grow big and strong. Well, how’s homework gonna help us be healthy? It just wears us out and uses up our strength.”

Fishel paused to turn a quick somersault to release some of his feelings, before assuming an air of weakness that sat oddly on his healthy frame.

Faivish shrugged.  Although he agreed with his brother, he thought it would be more interesting to take a different view. But he was interrupted by a loud noise.

Bang-bang-bang!  Thwack!

“What’s that?” he exclaimed.

The troublesome two looked around.

“It’s coming from the Rabinowitzes’ house. Look, they’ve got builders!” declared Fishel.

Sure enough, workmen could be seen going in and out of the house.

“I’ll bet they’re building the extension Raffi told me about a while ago.”

The brothers moved closer to watch.

A furious tap-tap-tapping behind them signaled the arrival of Mr. Krankowitz.

“So that’s where that dreadful noise is coming from,” he spluttered angrily. “Disturbing honest folks’ rest.”

One of the workers stepped outside into the front garden and bent to adjust something in the ground. M.r Krankowitz prepared to confront him. Before he could say a word, a stream of water suddenly shot into the air.

The worker stepped back in shock.

“Burst pipe!” he called to his fellow workmen inside.  “Somebody turn off the water mains!”

He ordered everyone to stand back, but it was too late. The water gushed onto Mr. Krankowitz’s coat; it drenched Fishel and Faivish’s hair. Moishy and Miriam Morris, who were walking past, were just in time for a jet of water to hit them head on. The ginger cat from around the corner got a tiny splash on its tail, and yowled and spat, adding to the commotion.

Jolly Solly’s round, cheerful face appeared next door, wondering what was going on.

Somebody turned off the mains, and the water turned to a trickle before stopping altogether. The clown eyed the dripping crowd with concern.

“Oh, my!” he observed. He looked thoughtful. “Hang on — I may have just the thing to help you.”

He hurried back into his house, returning with a large box-shaped device with holes. After having a quick word with the builders, he got to work rigging it up above the Rabinowitzes’ porch. He tested it to make sure it was securely attached.

“Hmm. Needs some cable ties to secure it properly,” Jolly Solly murmured to himself. He whistled sharply. There was a fluttering of wings, and Tuki, who was staying with the clown, appeared. The clown gave him some cable ties, and the clever parrot made quick work of attaching them to the top of the porch with his beak. He perched on Jolly Solly’s shoulder to watch what happened next.

Jolly Solly pressed a button on the device, which started humming. He instructed the wet people to stand underneath, and not to touch it for safety reasons.

Fishel and Faivish went first, eager to see what would happen. The device moved forward, backward, left and right above them, blowing warm air and drying them. Mr. Krankowitz followed reluctantly, muttering crossly all the time. Next came Moishy and Miriam, followed by the outdoor worker.

Then Jolly Solly flipped another switch. The device started flashing lights and playing a merry tune.

Fishel and Faivish broke out into a dance. Moishy and Miriam couldn’t help tapping their feet to the rhythm. Even the workman found himself humming along.

Mr. Krankowitz, assured that the workers were nearly finished building, decided he could put up with the noise for just a little while longer. A close observer might have noticed him actually waving his stick in time to the music.

Which played “Mitzvah Gedolah Lih’yos B’simchah,” of course.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 978)

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