| Vacancies |

Vacancies: Chapter 8

“We’re hosting a masquerade fundraiser in my café tomorrow evening, can you come? In costume, of course, isn’t that fun?"


high-end boutique, with outrageous styles designed to snowball the standards of Bayton? Naomi set her jaw and turned onto Lake Boulevard. Oh, no. Not on her watch.

The sight of young college-age kids in T-shirts, threading through traffic holding protest signs and knocking on car windows, made Naomi groan out loud. Another protest? Living too close to a community college not only killed parking spots, but also meant that wannabe social activists blocked traffic on a weekly basis. What were they yelling about now? She tilted her head out of her window to get a better view.




The young woman protesting socks caught her eye and advanced toward her car. Naomi whipped her head back inside, rolling up her window. She didn’t need to deal with college crazies now, on top of mall stress. Because she really needed to figure out a plan to get the mall back on track. Her track, not Laya’s, or some exclusive boutique— wait.

A niggle of an idea tickled her brain, just as Wooly-Socks reached her Camry.

“So nice to meet you, we’re having a complimentary event tomorrow night,” Naomi enthused, rolling back down her window. “Tomorrow at 5 p.m.! Right in my café! We’d love to learn more about — uh, sheep abuse. Bring your friends!” After a moment’s hesitation, she dug into her wallet and thrust a few business cards into the girl’s hands. “Bring them all!”

“Racheli! Long time no speak!” Naomi gushed later that evening, on the phone with her neighbor. “We’re hosting a masquerade fundraiser in my café tomorrow evening, can you come? In costume, of course, isn’t that fun? Did you say Ms. Frizzle of the Magic School Bus series? I love that, that’s great! Can’t wait to see you!”


“Yup, a costume party, it’ll be a blast! Spread the word. We’re having a speaker, too. Oh, don’t worry about the costume, anything goes! A gypsy panhandler, love it! Two sizes too big — no, no, that’s good! That’s excellent! So excited! See you at five!”

“Blimi? It’s Naomi. Huge favor to ask you….”

“I heard you’re having some kind of event here later?” Chaykie asked curiously. She’d dropped by the café the next afternoon for her green tea kombucha.

“Oh, just a little speech,” Naomi said airily, pushing another café table to the side. Clearing out the center space allowed more room for chairs; she’d spent two hours last night phoning friends and acquaintances to get them to join, and she hoped they would deliver. Her cousin Blimi had been tickled to help out.

“Someone asked me to host, I figured it was the nice thing to do,” she told Chaykie.

“That’s sweet. Who’s talking?”

“A rebbetzin, forgot her last name. Forgot her first name, too,” Naomi added, as an afterthought. “But she’s amazing!”

“I’m doing a yoga class later today, maybe I’ll stop by afterward.”

“Sounds great! Come in your snood!”


Naomi laughed. She sounded a bit maniacal, even to her own ears.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 660)

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