"I doubt she’ll even open the door to us. She thinks we attacked Tiddles on purpose, when it was entirely his own fault"
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
NOSSON: Wow, that was some speech the principal gave today.
GERSHON: Yeah. And what about his inspirational Yom Kippur story?
ARON: Speaking of Yom Kippur, aren’t you guys glad we don’t need to fast yet? I get hungry just thinking of it. Gonna treat myself to extra potato chips when I get home.
NOSSON: How about some spiritual preparations for Yom Kippur?
ARON: I’ll make a nice hearty borei peri ha’adamah — that’s spiritual enough for me, heh heh.
BORUCH: [ignoring him] What did you have in mind, Nosson?
NOSSON: Dunno. Maybe the B.A.N.G. Gang could do something extra before Yom Kippur?
GERSHON: Never mind something extra — we’ve still got unfinished business. Remember my old neighbor Mrs. Parker that we tried helping out? She’s still giving me the cold shoulder. We gotta do something.
ARON: But that totally wasn’t our fault! She said she wanted two flours. It sounded like “flowers.” How were we to know what she meant?
GERSHON: I’m not saying it was our fault. But we can still try and get into her good books. And — um — maybe we should ask her for mechilah.
[There is an unenthusiastic silence, as the boys remember Mrs. Parker’s scathing scolding.]
BORUCH: I doubt she’ll even open the door to us. She thinks we attacked Tiddles on purpose, when it was entirely his own fault.
ARON: I vote we just leave it alone.
GERSHON: [stops short] Hey, I know how to get back into her good graces!
ARON: By staying far away.
GERSHON: No, really. Boruch, you gave me the idea.
BORUCH: Me? Huh?
GERSHON: You mentioned Tiddles! We find a way to ingratiate ourselves with Tiddles, and that’s the route to winning over Mrs. Parker.
[There is a general chorus of consent]
NOSSON: Question is — how?
BORUCH: D’you remember how affectionate Tiddles was toward Mr. Langsam? Mr. Langsam promised him “a shtickele fish.” Why don’t we buy him some fish?
[The boys indicate their approval. They hurry home for a quick snack and arrange to meet by the fishmonger’s. With a small monetary contribution from each member, they buy a package of fish and take it to Mrs. Parker’s house. Unfortunately, Tiddles is lurking outside and shows his opinion of them by hissing and spitting. The boys back off uncertainly.]
[MRS. PARKER’s voice is heard from inside the house]: Tiddles, dear, what’s up? Still feeling under the weather, poor old puss?
[The boys think Tiddles doesn’t look under the weather in the least. The door flies open, and Mrs. Parker spots them, fixing them with a fierce glare]
MRS. PARKER: You! I thought I told you I don’t need your help! Buying me daffodil bulbs instead of whole wheat flour. And attacking poor old defenseless Tiddles!
[GERSHON speaks up, trying to hide his trepidation]: Actually, we’ve brought a treat for Tiddles —some kippers.
MRS. PARKER: Slippers? For Yom Kippur, I suppose. [Face darkens] What d’you take me for? I’ll have you know, I bought slippers for Yom Kippur weeks ago!
NOSSON: Not slippers. Kippers! As in, fish.
MRS. PARKER: Huh? What? Why do young folks speak so softly nowadays? Speak up, will you?
[Nosson draws in a deep breath and prepares to yell, but is interrupted by Tiddles, who heard the word fish, and has made the connection with the extremely enticing smell emerging from the package in Gershon’s hand. Tiddles runs through Gershon’s legs, startling him. Gershon stumbles and trips. The kippers drop with a loud splat. Tiddles immediately pounces on them and starts gobbling them up. The boys are scared even to look at Mrs. Parker.]
MRS. PARKER [in astonished delight]: Why, Tiddles, dear, you’re obviously feeling much better. It looks like these dear boys have revived you! Thank you, my dear boys!
NOSSON [quick-as-a-wink, in his loudest, clearest voice]: So all is forgiven?
MRS. PARKER: Forgiven and forgotten!
TIDDLES: [approvingly] Meooooooooow!
To be continued…
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 829)
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