"My big sister’s in lecture-mode again, and I’m trying to avoid her, so hiking out in the countryside suits me fine"
ARON, a slow-moving fellow who likes to take life easy
BORUCH, trying to cope with a big sister who always knows better
NOSSON, clever and articulate, often talks in italics to make a point
GERSHON, creative and quick to think of new ideas
The B.A.N.G. Gang, after a disrupted biking trip due to the unexpected arrival of Dobra Baila on a tricycle, has now temporarily reverted to teleconferencing to arrange their next outing.
GERSHON: [in a hoarse whisper] Hey, guys!
BORUCH: Why’re you whispering?
NOSSON: Yeah, lost your voice or something?
GERSHON: Nah, but I have an idea for our next outing, and it’s not for Dobra Baila’s ears.
[There is a heavy silence as the boys ruefully contemplate their last outing.]
BORUCH: [cautiously] You’re safe to talk now?
GERSHON: Yeah, she’s upstairs brushing her doll’s hair or something, so I’m fine for now — as long as we keep the volume down.
NOSSON: Okay. Go ahead, Gershon — what’s your idea?
GERSHON: You know the woods we went to on our biking trip?
BORUCH: Don’t tell me you wanna go back there again — we’ve just been there!
GERSHON: I know that. But my older cousin told me that all the way on the other side, there are some amazing hikes. We could ride through the woods, chain our bikes to a fence or something, and then continue on foot.
NOSSON: Dunno. Isn’t it boring?
GERSHON: No way, he said it’s terrific. There are hills and valleys and unspoiled countryside for miles — why, you even need a map to avoid getting lost.
NOSSON: Hmm. What d’ you say, Boruch?
BORUCH: Sounds good to me. My big sister’s in lecture-mode again, and I’m trying to avoid her, so hiking out in the countryside suits me fine.
NOSSON: What about Aron? Hey, is he on the line at all? He’s been awfully quiet.
[All 3 boys yell together]: Aron!!!
ARON: Who— what— sorry, just nodded off for a moment. Why is everyone yelling?
BORUCH: We’re going hiking, and we wanted to check that you’re in.
ARON: Hiking? [groans] What’s wrong with curling up on a couch?
GERSHON: Uh — I hear Dobra Baila coming downstairs. She must have heard us all yelling… Okay, she’s gone. We’re on, guys!
[The boys arrange a time to meet. Aron’s mother, eager for her son to get some much-needed exercise, prints out a map of the area for them. At the scheduled time, the boys arrive at the meeting point, carrying small rucksacks — except for Aron, who sports a big backpack. This time the ride through the woods is smooth sailing, apart for some moans and groans from Aron. When they get to the other side, the boys hop off their bikes and chain them to some railings.]
NOSSON: Let’s look at the map. Aron?
ARON: It’s in my backpack.
BORUCH: [curiously] What else do you have in that humongous thing?
ARON: Oh, not much. Sandwiches and cupcakes and cookies and chips. Oh, and some cans of soda. A guy’s gotta look after himself.
GERSHON: [shrugging] Suit yourself. Pass the map, will you?
ARON [pulls out a bedraggled paper]: Shoot, there was another paper stapled to this one that looks like it’s come off. Well, we won’t need page two for a while yet.
[After perusing the map, Nosson leads the way.]
GERSHON: [breathes deeply] Aah, this is the life. Fresh air, good exercise…
ARON: Could do with a bit less exercise.
BORUCH: Wow, look at the view! Oh my, there are even some animals over there in that field.
GERSHON: [squinting] Bulls.
BORUCH: [nervously] Do we have to walk through them? Aron, what does the map say?
ARON: [pauses, huffing and puffing, and checks the map] Yeah, we need to cross that field.
ARON: It says here that sometimes farmers graze their livestock in the field, but as long as you don’t disturb them, they don’t usually cause any problems.
[The boys enter the field somewhat apprehensively.]
GERSHON: Let’s keep to one side.
NOSSON: Voices down, everyone.
GERSHON: Uh — yikes. They’re looking at us.
BORUCH: They’re coming toward us!
NOSSON: I thought they’re not supposed to cause any problems.
ARON: Erm — just found page two. It says that if any bulls come after you… Gulp!
THE OTHER THREE BOYS: [urgently] What d’you do?
to be continued…
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 820)
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