Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

23 Tammuz 5766 - July 19, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

by Gita Gordon

Serializing a new novel.

Chapter 26: Later that Day in New York City

Daniel has met his parents in Jerusalem, and now they have gotten together with his wife Esther and Rav Dov to catch up on what has happened. Meanwhile, in New York . . .


"Boss, they got Fred Smith."

"Good, at last."

"No boss, not our men. The Israeli police have him. He's told them everything."

"Why would he do that?"

"Well . . . it's like this. Bud and Jimmy were just about to nab him, but the cops got there first. Fred Smith, he was dealing in drugs . . . so they got him. Well, Bud and Jimmy, they thought they would make like good Americans helping a fellow American in distress, and they went to bail him out. But those police — they were on to them. They inspected them, found illegal weapons on them and now they have Bud and Jimmy in custody."

"What? Our men in police hands?"

"Yup. But they ain't talking."

"I should think not."

Thomas, known to all as "Boss," sat deep in thought. His deputy sat waiting for instructions.

"Listen, nothing has gone right with this operation from the beginning. Seems to me we must give the money back and cancel the contract. Take the three million and put it right back into the bank account it came from originally. Then call the people who hired us. Tell them the money is back in their bank and the deal is off."

Gus, the deputy, did as he was told. He was surprised by his instructions, but didn't dare to voice any objections. The Boss had never admitted defeat before.

By early the next morning he was able to confirm with the Swiss Bank that the three million pounds was back in the bank from which it had originated. He called, as instructed and said, "The deal is off. The money is back in your bank. Fred Smith is in police custody in Israel, but he will be back here soon and he is singing like a canary. He doesn't know our names, but he knows yours. You had better leave America, but quick. I put the three million back in your account, so you'll have money to tide you over."

The voice at the other end of the line was silent for some moments. Then came the question: "Where did you put the money? How did you know my account number?"

"Simple, I just put it back into the same account it came from. We're not an amateur organization you know. We keep accounts."

Now there was an even longer silence and then a very strained reply. "The money was from Barton's account, not mine. You have put the money into Barton's account. Fred Smith took the money from the Barton account and put it into the Swiss Bank account. He thought the money was for him .. in payment for the things he did for us."

Gus was a faithful deputy. He did as he was told. This was a situation he didn't know how to deal with. "Listen, I'll call you back about the money, but meanwhile pack and be ready to leave. You don't have much time."


"Boss, you know you told me to return the money?"

"Yup. You did it?"

"Well its like this: yes and no."

"That I don't like to hear. What is `yes' and what is `no?' "

"You see the money came from the Barton account. Fred Smith took the money from the Barton account and put it in the Swiss account. He thought that money was for him. He actually went there and tried to get it back. So now the whole three million is in the Barton account, where it came from. Our clients are not pleased."

Gus wasn't happy. In fact he was afraid. The Boss didn't like it when things went wrong. The reaction was explosive, but it was also unexpected. Instead of finding himself in the firing line, the anger was directed elsewhere.

"Those crooks. They take money from a man and then they use it to put a contract on him. Are there no honest men left in the world?"

Neither Thomas, nor Gus, saw any incongruity in the sentence. They were in the business of killing. They did this according to set rules. However, the idea that the victim's money was used to pay for his own demise, appalled, first Thomas the "Boss" and then, slowly, as he thought about it, Gus too became horrified.

"No wonder everything went wrong in this deal. Who is this guy Barton, anyway? First time we failed like this. Gus, go find out who this fellow Barton is. Find out everything you can about him, but everything."

An hour later the answer to the question came. "Boss, Barton is from your old area. He used to be called Barchefsky."

Thomas sat back deep in thought. Could it be Eli Barchefsky who used to help him with his homework when they were kids? In those days, discipline prevailed in school. Homework that wasn't done or was badly done resulted in a stinging blow to the hands with a leather strap. Eli had taken pity on Thomas and his burning red hands and regularly helped him with his homework.

Gus remembered one fact he had left out. "Seems like the kid went to your old school. Clever kid he was. His father was a refugee form Germany. Got out just in time it seems."

Now there was no doubt. Those crooks had nearly made him kill his old pal. Thomas reacted.

"Call them. Tell them the money is back where it came from and the deal is off. Tell them if they are not both out of this country in three hours then they will get what they wanted Barton to get. If the cops get them they can rat on us. Make sure that they go, one way or another."

Gus scurried of to fulfill his commands.

Thomas himself dealt with the problem of Eli Barchefsky. He called the clothing shop. If anyone knew how to contact Eli it would be his friend David. "Hey, David. Thomas here. Remember me from PS 13? Remember how we used to fool around, hey? Well if you can get hold of Eli, tell him I fixed things for him, just like he used to fix things for me. Yeah, just that. I reckon he is still as smart as he was in school days. He will know what I mean."

David held the receiver long after the caller had gone away. What could the call mean? Was it a trap? How did Thomas find out about his connection to Eli? A few days later an off- duty police officer called in for a new suit.

"Seems like the contract on that millionaire guy is off. You know the supermarket guy, the one that was lost in the Amazon? Dead they said he was — and his wife and his kid too. Now it seems they are all OK and the contract is off. Never seen such a thing before. Can't understand it."


David didn't really accept that the nightmare for the Barton family was over until some months later, when Fred Smith appeared in court. He mentioned the names of the men who had promised him money, but never paid. The police told the court that extensive inquiries had been made. The men had left America. Their present whereabouts were unknown.

Bud and Jimmy, the two men apprehended with guns in Israel, maintained a tight silence. Clearly someone had set out to commit murder in return for money, but who it was could not be determined.

The only person to pay for the crime was Fred Smith. Somehow, on their way to court, the two gunmen were able to slip out of a police van and escape undetected, to merge with the millions who live in New York. The police and press did not express great surprise at this last incident. These things happen.


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