| Jolly Solly |

The Noisy Neighbors

The old man frowned. Was he going to have to be disturbed all day long by these noisy birds?

MR. Krankowitz sank into his favorite armchair with a sigh of relief. He had gone away for a few days with some of his senior friends and was glad to finally be back home. Within two minutes, his eyes had closed, and he was fast asleep.

Whoa! What was that?! His eyes popped open as he jerked up and looked around. Some sort of noise had woken him up. “Ehhhhh,” he grumbled as he nodded his head from side to side. Who was bothering him? He listened carefully, but all was quiet now. He sank back into his chair again, ready to fall into a peaceful sleep, when after only two minutes, he was up again from yet another noise.

Mr. Krankowitz got up angrily as a third strange sound filled the air. There it was again! It had to be the Faigelbaum kid next door, playing with his fire truck. That truck had a noisy siren that went right through your head.

The old man grabbed his coat and hat from the stand in the corner with a huff. Summer or not, you never know when it might pour. Placing his hat firmly on his head, coat draped over his hand, he marched over next door to complain.

Rat-a-tat-tat! He banged on the door.

It was only a few seconds until Efraim Faigelbaum made it to the window to see who was knocking so loudly.

“It’s Mr. Krank!” he called, feeling proud of himself for remembering the old man’s name. He ran to open the door as Mrs. Faigelbaum came running to join him.

“The noise has gotta stop!” growled Mr. Krankowitz before they had a chance to say a word.

Mrs. Faigelbaum looked puzzled. “Which noise?” she asked.

“Your son’s fire truck,” he grumbled. “The siren woke me up a few times and it’s giving me a headache!”

“Truck!” echoed Efraim, as he ran off  to get it, thinking the old man wanted to admire it.

“Erm — are you sure?” asked Mrs. Faigelbaum in surprise. “As far as I know, the truck’s battery died a while ago, and we didn’t replace it.”

Just then, Efraim came running over with his truck and proudly pushed it into Mr. Krankowitz’s wrinkled hands. Mr. Krankowitz looked down as he noticed that the battery compartment was open — and clearly empty. He frowned.

“Nice truck!” Efraim said, jumping up and down.

“Yes, yes, very nice,” muttered Mr. Krankowitz, not wanting Efraim’s infamous tantrums. He thrust the truck back into the little boy’s hands and marched off.

“Humph!” he grumbled.

Returning home, disappointed, he wondered if it had all been a bad dream. Maybe there hadn’t been any noise. He hung up his coat and hat and sat down again in his trusty armchair.

Soon loud snores could be heard — but not for long. There was that noise again! Mr. Krankowitz had had enough. He was going to track down this noise culprit by hook or by crook. If it wasn’t Efraim Faigelbaum, it was probably those two Friedman troublemakers who lived on the other side of his house.

On went the coat and hat. Grabbing his cane in case it was needed, he went off to complain to the Friedmans.

Fishel came to the door as soon as he rang the bell.

The old man waved his stick threateningly. “The racket’s gotta stop!” he ordered.

Fishel, who’d been nicely doing his homework with his mother, looked confused.

“Racket?” he asked. “What racket?”

“It wasn’t us,” echoed Faivish, coming up behind his brother in defense.

Mrs. Friedman came to the door, too.

“I’m so sorry you’ve been disturbed, sir, but it wasn’t my boys. They’ve been doing their homework quietly in the kitchen.”

Mr. Krankowitz glared at the troublesome two, not believing what he was hearing, but Mrs. Friedman seemed certain.

With no choice but to return home, he turned on his heel with a bad-tempered, “Humph!”

As he made his way down the steps, Jolly Solly was driving past. Seeing the old man looking upset, he pulled over.

Jolly Solly rubbed his head as the old man shared his problem. He wanted to help.

“Can I come back later and see if I can figure out what’s going on?” he asked.

Mr. Krankowitz gruffly agreed.

The clown arrived a few hours later. He put on the kettle to make the old man a good, hot cup of tea, then stood listening carefully. His face brightened when the noise continued.

He got up with a jump, went to go unlock the garden door and darted outside.

“Aha!” he cried. “Got it!”

The old man shuffled outside after Jolly Solly.

Jolly Solly pulled out a rounded stick from his sleeve and Mr. Krankowitz watched in surprise as the clown flipped a switch that turned the stick into a small but sturdy stepladder.

“Mr. Krankowitz, there’s a nest over there,” said the clown as he climbed up the ladder and pointed towards the roof. “You must’ve heard the chicks squealing and shrieking. They can be really noisy.”

The old man frowned. Was he going to have to be disturbed all day long by these noisy birds?

The clown grinned.

“No worries, Mr. Krankowitz, I’ve checked the nest and it’s empty. The chicks have flown away and they won’t come back. You can rest easy now, alright?”

Mr. Krankowitz shuffled back inside, heading straight for his armchair of course.

“Humph!” he muttered.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 964)

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