Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

18 Sivan 5766 - June 14, 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 23: The Search for Fred Smith (May 2002)

As Eli and Fay are on their way to Israel, the search continues by the mobsters for Fred Smith, who betrayed the Bartons.


New York . . . a meeting in a carpark.

"You found something, you say?"

"Don't know, could be.

"Fred Smith. We followed his trail from Switzerland to Israel"

"To Israel? No! He hates Jews."

"Yes, that's correct. We can't understand it. We know that he arrived there some weeks after leaving New York. We managed to find someone in the Swiss Airport to go through all the departures. It cost us but it was worth it. Then the trail goes cold. We don't know where he went. There is no sign of him, but there is also nothing to show that he left the country."

"Find him. What became of the other one, Dean Barton?"

"Nothing. Not one lead."

"You think maybe that Fred Smith is in Israel because he thinks Dean Barton is there?"

"Unlikely. They were never friends at school. We could look around to see if Dean Barton is there while we are setting it up for Fred to disappear."

Fred Smith sat on a bus driving through the hills to Jerusalem. His backpack was in the luggage compartment of the bus below. He was uncomfortably squashed next to a very obese lady who sat beside him, a squirming child on her lap. He felt that his luck couldn't get any worse. It must start improving.

He thought back to the many months that had passed since he had left New York, jubilant at the thought that he would soon be three million dollars richer.

He had arrived at Zurich airport and booked into the youth hostel. With his casual clothes and backpack, he felt he would fit in best in such a place. Besides, if they had managed to track that he had gone from Boston to Switzerland, no one would think of looking for him anywhere but in the smartest of hotels.

As soon as he had deposited his belongings, he had showered and changed into his business suit and made his way to the bank where he had deposited the three million dollars. He would take out the money and place it in another, quite different bank, and another, quite different account, before making further plans.

He had walked into the bank building with a jaunty step. Everything seemed to be going well, as he had handed in the withdrawal slip. Then he had noticed a look of surprise as she looked at the computer screen. He noticed her hand go under the counter and then, glancing back, saw two guards speak into receivers and slowly begin walking up the long ornate hall towards him.

Later he was to thank his years of playing American football for saving him from this particular jam, as he had walked quickly towards the exit door and narrowly dodged the guards before running around the corner and into a large department store.

Somehow he had made it back to the youth hostel. Once there he realized that he was now in a foreign country with little money and a bleak future.

"Hey man, why do you look so gloomy?" he had heard as he sat despondently on his bunk bed.

"Yeah. Things can't be as bad as all that," said another.

The sounds had passed around him without response, until one sentence caught his attention.

"Let's go to a kibbutz in Israel since we're short of money. We still have another three months before we have to go back to college. Let's go to a kibbutz. George went there last year. He says it's great. It doesn't cost a penny. You do a bit of work each day. The food is OK and they even give you a bit of pocket money."

The fog of despair began to lift. Fred decided he would get friendly with these people and go with them. Who would think of looking for him in Israel? His round-the-world ticket would allow for a change of schedule, so he wouldn't have to spend any money to get there. He would have no living expenses once he was there. It would give him time to think out a strategy.

Now, sitting on the crowded bus Fred realized that it had been a stupid idea. Who could have known that the work in the fields would have been so arduous? How could he have known how difficult it would be to find a job that would earn well and take him away from his small uncomfortable bed in an old wooden hut?

He had looked down on his father, working in the gardens of the school for such a low salary. He had looked down on his father for his lack of education. Yet here he was, a graduate of one of the top American private schools, yet working harder than his father ever had and receiving a pittance in return.

However, at last he had found a way to leave. He patted his pocket to make sure that his merchandise was snug and safe in his pocket. He was heading for Jerusalem where, he was told, good profits good be made by selling illegal drugs to disaffected teenagers and backpackers on world tours.

Little did he know he had left the kibbutz just in time. At that very moment two men with New York accents were asking about him and were less than pleased to hear that they had only just missed him.


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