Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Sivan 5766 - June 8, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

by Gita Gordon

Serializing a new novel.

Chapter 22: Brooklyn May 2002 — Part 2

Fay and Eli are back in New York City. They are staying in Eli's parents' old apartment and living quietly, while their friend David is trying to figure out what has happened. At last, after several months, David is ready to present what he has learned.


"We will start at the beginning. You were asked to merge with another supermarket chain. Why? Well because they were in trouble. A lot of money had been taken from the company by the managers to support an extravagant life style. Only by a merger with a company with plenty of assets could this be hidden away in the accounting.

"Then you turned down the merger. So, soon after that a smart young man, Fred Smith, comes to your office and wants to be your assistant. You are tired from all the work. You feel that you can trust this young man. He tells you he knows your son from that smart boarding school. You employ him. You cannot know that he was sent specifically to ensure that the merger would go ahead.

"Fred Smith suggests this idea of the Brazil rain forest charity and that part I don't need to tell you. This young man has learned how to forge your signature. Before he leaves for Brazil he types out at your secretary's desk a letter agreeing to the merger. He signs it with your signature and gives it to the man wanting the merger. He does something else. You give him a withdrawal form for three thousand dollars, to leave for petty cash in your safe at home. Each month you give that to Fay for her charity work.

"You are entitled to draw three thousand dollars from the firm. But this assistant, he changes the number to three million and places the money in a Swiss bank account. All this he has been instructed to do. He is promised that when he returns, that money, that three million, will be his.

"Now things begin to go wrong for these people plotting to take over your firm. When they feel sure that you will never return from Brazil they take the letter that Fred, the assistant, gave them. You supposedly wrote it before you left, agreeing to merger. But your lawyer, Maurice, won't accept it.

"Of course we know why. Your father was upset when you wanted to change your name from Barchefsky to Barton. He told you the Jews in Egypt were saved because they kept their true names. So in the end, you didn't change your name by law. You were known in business as Barton, but all your legal documents you had to sign "Barchefsky." But no one knew about this. Your secretary would bring you letters, and those that needed to be signed "Barchefsky" because they were legal documents, you would sign privately and then seal and post on the way home yourself. No one knew of this in your office. So Maurice knew immediately that the letter was a fake when it was signed "Barton."

"Now all along there was a plan to kill that assistant fellow, Fred, when he got back. Of course, he knows too much to be allowed to live. Plans are made to kill him. Also, they decide it is necessary to kill your son. Why? Because if you are gone then he is the heir — and who knows if he would agree to a merger? But the killing doesn't succeed, apparently. Maurice received a letter from Dean telling him to renew the payment for this apartment. There was no address so it seems that he knows that he should remain hidden. It seems that there are lots of queries about Fred Smith, so presumably he too is hiding. I am still trying to figure out how Dean and Fred discovered they were in danger and what happened to them after that.

"Now who do you think has been hired to do all this killing? None other than our old enemy, big Thomas, the bully from school. Remember him? Well his old mother still lives around here. She won't move to the fancy place he bought her because she knows how he came by the money. Still, he visits here once a month and she sees him. People here, they know about him. He brags, they listen.

"Something goes wrong. He can't find your boy. He can't find your assistant. They disappear. Poof . . . like that. No one can find them, not even the crooked police in his pay.

"So now we know why they tried to kill you. They didn't succeed in Brazil and they tried again here. Maurice told the deputy chairman at work that you were safe and well and would be arriving back. This fellow, he has been living at a very high lifestyle since you disappeared . . . much more than he could on his salary, generous though that is. I suspect that he too is part of this bad business. I have spoken to Maurice and warned him not to talk to anyone at your office.

"Now, we must find your son and this assistant fellow, Fred, before Thomas and his gang do it. This assistant fellow, Fred, only he will know of every part of this story: of the three million you are supposed have drawn and placed in a Swiss Bank account, of why you seemed to disappear in Brazil. Only when all the facts are out in the open and those who did these deeds are behind bars, will you once again be safe.

"I am sorry that in telling you this, you will realize the danger that your son faces. Fortunately he appears to know this and he is keeping his whereabouts a secret. I am sorry to tell you this, but what can I do?

"The worst part is, I don't know how we should begin looking for him. Next week the Hirshes go to Israel. Their doctor son is paying for the trip. It is an old dream of theirs. All I can think of at the moment is that you write a kvittel for them to put in the Kotel."

There was a long silence. Eventually Fay spoke. "That these things should happen here in America. We were taught that here we can live in freedom, without fear. We heard of things like this happening in the old country, where Jews had no power. Where anyone could do anything against them, but here!"

David said, "Evil and greed exist everywhere."

Then Eli spoke. "We will go ourselves to the Kotel. If our only help is from above, then we will not send a kvittel. We will deliver it ourselves."


It was arranged that Fay and Eli would leave within a week. Money was no problem. Though Eli's salary had been discontinued after his long months of absence, the profits of the business in the form of share dividends had been regularly paid into their account.

They would stay in rented accommodations in the center of Jerusalem, rather than a hotel where it would be necessary to register by showing their passports. "These men are still looking for you. They have international connections. It is better to live quietly in a small apartment. There is no way for them to trace you there. In a hotel you would be too vulnerable." David had said.

How could they know that other more sinister travelers had already been in Jerusalem for some time? These sinister men were at that moment hot on the trail of Fred Smith.


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