The brothers watched, horrified. Before they could do anything, the door opened, the old man stuck his head out — and the dreidel smacked straight into his hat
There were posters all over town. A grand menorah lighting was taking place in the town square in a few days, with free doughnuts. The entertainment was none other than Jolly Solly, the famous clown. On the posters, he was juggling 25 balls.
Fishel and Faivish eyed the posters excitedly.
“We’ve simply gotta go,” declared Fishel.
“Yeah! Sounds amazing!” responded Faivish, agreeing with his brother for a change.
“Let’s ask Daddy to take us.”
“Um… ” Faivish hesitated.
The brothers eyed each other.
The problem was, they weren’t exactly in Mr. Friedman’s good books at the moment. In fact, their allowance had been stopped for three weeks. “Just because of an old ball that slipped out of our hands backwards,” as Fishel put it.
“As if it’s our fault it broke all those plates,” agreed Faivish. “There must have been something wrong with them.”
Still, they felt that now was not the best time to ask their father for a favor.
Then Faivish had an idea.
“Hey! What if we’re on our best behavior all day tomorrow?”
“And after a whole day of being good and helpful, then we ask Daddy about taking us.”
“He’ll be so impressed, he’ll have to say yes!” exclaimed Fishel.
The next day, Fishel and Faivish came home from school, and put their schoolbags away, instead of dropping them on the floor. Mrs. Friedman stared.
“Feeling all right, boys?” she asked.
“Yes, Mother,” replied Fishel. “Just want to be helpful.”
“And not cause you any extra trouble,” added Faivish.
The boys quietly made their way outside, instead of running as they usually did.
Sunny Lane was pretty quiet. They leaned against the wall, talking in quiet voices. They were determined to be on their very best behavior.
It was all right for a bit, but then it got boring. How long can you stand around for, not really doing anything?
Fishel checked his pockets, and found a dreidel.
“Let’s play! I know how to spin it upside down.”
“So do I. Bet I can spin it for longer than you.”
The brothers took turns, each determined to outdo the other.
Then: “Bet I can get it to fly,” claimed Fishel.
“Bet you can’t,” responded Faivish.
He spun it, with a twist of the hand. It sailed up into the air — and into Mr. Krankowitz’s garden next door. The brothers watched, horrified. Before they could do anything, the door opened, the old man stuck his head out — and the dreidel smacked straight into his hat, knocking it off!
There was a cry of rage. Fishel and Faivish didn’t stop to think or retrieve the dreidel. They simply fled.
But not before they heard Mr. Krankowitz yelling, “You young rascals! I’ll be knocking on your door tonight to speak to your parents.”
The brothers were very quiet at suppertime. Mrs. Friedman was worried they were coming down with something.
After supper, they decided to go next door and apologize. It was unlikely their apology would be accepted, but they had to try. They did feel bad about the hat incident.
The path to Mr. Krankowitz’s front door was badly lit. Fishel didn’t notice the orange cat from around the corner slinking between his legs. He tripped over it. Crash! Faivish smashed into Fishel. Bash! The cat yowled. Fishel and Faivish yelled. There was complete chaos.
Suddenly, the cat’s owner appeared.
“What have you done to my cat?” she asked.
“Nothing,” protested Fishel. “It tripped me.”
Faivish rubbed his bruises.
“And it made me bash into my brother.”
The owner picked up her cat with a scowl.
“Huh! Well, I normally let him roam around on his own. But I’ll make sure he doesn’t come here again. Nasty boys.”
Before the brothers could reply, she marched off in a huff.
Suddenly, Fishel and Faivish were startled by a man’s voice nearby. Oh no! It was Mr. Krankowitz!
To their surprise, he sounded almost friendly.
“Good riddance to that cat! Always coming and making a nuisance of itself. You’ve done me a favor, boys.”
Fishel saw an opportunity.
“Are… are you still going to tell our parents?” he asked.
“We’re very sorry!” pleaded Faivish.
“It was a real mistake,” added Fishel.
“Well, I don’t suppose I will after all,” declared the old man. “I’m going inside now, anyway. For a catnap.”
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 940)
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