| Serial |

Trust Fund: Chapter 24

“Akiva, I’ve been thinking….” She trailed off in a way that had Akiva suspecting he was not going to love the next few words



reached for his coffee and winced. Old age setting in? He thought about this for a minute, then smiled.

Old he might be at 37, but the aching in his wrists was more likely from his jam session with Deena late last night. He was a fool to think the sudden wrist action wouldn’t catch up with him.

“The problem,” he mused aloud to Libby, who was scrambling eggs, “is that we both play drums. We kinda need someone to mix it up.”

Libby placed a plate of fluffy eggs in front of him.

He tried to dig in eagerly. “Ow!”

“Why is eating eggs painful?”

Her phone buzzed, she ignored it, forehead scrunched in concern.

“My wrists. Anyway, as I was saying, I think you need to learn to play an instrument, Libs. There’s far too much drumming and we need to someone to harmonize us. How does electric guitar sound?”

Her phone buzzed again; she slid it open. “Akiva, I’ve been thinking….” She trailed off in a way that had Akiva suspecting he was not going to love the next few words she uttered.


She bit her lip. “I think we need a showroom.” She hurried on before he could protest. “Not a full storefront, but just a room set up in the basement with all the pieces on display, one size of each, so people can come and see our items themselves. When the prices are low, you’re always scared you’re getting garbage — you want to touch it, feel it, before buying. I think it will be a big draw for them.”

As will our home, Akiva thought silently. Everyone will want to see the inside of a Frankel home — people are curious like that.

He shrugged. “I guess if that’s what you want. But didn’t you want the website to go live in a week? How are we setting up a showroom in that time?”

Libby grinned at him. “I like that you said ‘we.’ That’s the entrepreneurial spirit I need.”

Akiva laughed. “My mistake, it just slipped out.”

She shook her head. “No backsies!”

The Candlelight was the sort of ironic venue that no one actually used; it was more of a metaphor these days for the opulent and ostentatious.

People would say, “Well, it was no Candlelight, that’s for sure,” or, “You passed your math test? Call the Candlelight, we’re going out!”

But apparently, Baruch Abrams had decided that’s where his firstborn would become a man.

“I don’t know what will annoy me more,” he grumbled to Libby as he chose a tie.

He fingered the silks and selected a floral one to match the blue suit, and turned back to Libby, who was choosing an evening clutch.

“I don’t know if it will annoy me more if Baruch’s going to act all self-deprecating about the whole event, or is going to be straight up about it, all ‘Akiva, brother, good to see you, hang on, Ishay’s setting up in the wrong place. Awful acoustics in this old haunt.’ ”

Libby giggled, then sucked her cheeks inward in an effort to keep a straight face. “Akiva, you’re terrible, stop it. It’s going to be beautiful, and you are going to be mesameiach your best friend. No more snooty comments, agreed?”

“Agreed. Oh, look, Joe stopped in to say mazel tov. Akiva, have you met the president?”

They cracked up.

The president definitely wasn’t there, but Akiva did spot their local councilman. How on earth did Baruch know him? Forget it, he didn’t want to know. He skulked at the bar for a few minutes, surveying the teeming room. The bar mitzvah wasn’t quite Frankel standard, but it was a fair rival.

Flowers cascaded from the ceiling in hanging tendrils, waiters milled through the crowds, offering the trendiest hors d’oeuvres, and while there was no Ishay, he spied three different up-and-coming singers softly singing in the corner.

But the bar mitzvah boy looked cute and sweet, and Baruch had surprised Akiva by simply pulling him into a hug, clapping him on the back, and then letting him go without saying a word.

He straightened his shoulders and stepped out from behind a giant flower arrangement only to bump right into—

“Dad! Hi!” he blinked away his surprise and gave his father a kiss.

“Akiva. You look well.”

“Thanks, Dad,” he said. “As do you.” he bobbed his head formally. “Is Ma here?”

His father nodded, surveying the room expressionlessly. “Yes, she met Libby out by the seating cards and they’re catching up.”

The two Frankel men stood together, looking around.

“He’s doing well,” Yehuda Frankel commented.

Akiva wondered what was going through his father’s mind. Regret that he let Baruch go, when the man obviously had a knack for success? Envy, that the young whippersnapper who used to trip over his own feet was now a successful businessman? Scorn, that said businessman didn’t yet know the art of subtle elegance?

Whatever it was, Akiva would never know. His father was a master at hiding his true emotions. Unless, of course, it was disappointment in his eldest son.

“How are the house sales going?” Yehuda asked, nodding at the bartender. He held his scotch, loosely, carelessly.

Akiva knew this game. “The house flipping is going well,” he said. “But slow,” he added honestly.

“And how’s Libby’s personal shopping business?”

Akiva took a deep, calming breath. “Libby’s online clothing business hasn’t opened yet, but we’re expecting great success, b’ezras Hashem.”

Yehuda shot back his scotch in one go. “B’ezras Hashem,” he repeated.

Akiva wasn’t much of a drinker, but if there was ever a time….

“Cabernet,” he requested.

His father smiled placidly. “L’chayim, Akiva.”


The pshetl was duly delivered with adorable poise, the food was delicious, and now the three up-and-coming singers were ready to prove their worth.

Akiva swung Binny onto his shoulders and bounced up and down. He wrinkled his nose at the sudden purple strobe lights, then shrugged. Hey, it wasn’t his party. He had zero skin in this game, might as well enjoy.

He danced up a storm. At some point, Binny miraculously fell asleep amid the music and noise. Akiva laid him on two chairs.

Koffman grabbed his hand; Akiva resisted the urge to pull away. Instead, they danced in front of Baruch, singing enthusiastically.

Then the music slowed and one of the musicians performed an incredible guitar solo that rendered him silent, heart thumping.

That’s when Baruch pushed him forward. “Get up there, Keevs. Drum solo!”

He turned to the crowd. “Akee-va! Akee-va!”

The crowd took up the chant. Akiva grappled with wanting to kill Baruch and wanting to get his hands on the drummer’s sticks. He settled for the former, switched to the latter, and bounded toward the stage.

And while the bar mitzvah boy clapped, and Baruch cheered, Akiva played his heart out.

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 992)

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