Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Cheshvan 5766 - November 30, 2005 | 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 6 — Part 1

Fay and Eli are lost in an Amazon rain forest, the victims of the treachery of their trusted employee Fred Smith. Their son Dean is studying in Harvard, but now he has come to . . .

New York (July, 2000)

Dean opened the wardrobe and felt for the sliding panel. The clothing in the wardrobe brushed against his head as he worked. Next he tapped out the code and pulled open the heavy door of the safe. Papers were on one side, neatly arranged, one above the other. In a corner there was a brown envelope and within it were dollar notes held together by a rubber band. Credit cards were in the center, in a clear plastic folder.

Dean had hoped that by looking in his mother's safe he could find some clue to the cause of his parent's failure to return on time from their trip to Brazil. But these things told him nothing.

His father's trusted employee, the deputy chairman of the supermarket chain, who had called and asked him to meet at his parent's apartment in New York had said something strange, something about three million dollars that had been illegally withdrawn. But here he found nothing like that. Just the usual three thousand dollars that his father drew every month for his mother to use for her charity work.

Voices came suddenly from the passage. Dean felt his muscles tense. The house was supposed to be empty.

"Well, where is he? I thought you said we'd find him here," a strange voice said.

Then a voice, familiar to him, answered, "Well, that's what he told me. He said he would be coming straight here. Maybe he's been held up."

Dean recognized the voice of the deputy chairman, who had called him. Dean was about to get up.

Then he heard the first voice again. He realized that he had heard that gravelly voice before. It belonged to the man who was said to be the head of the crime organization known as "Murder Incorporated." Rumor was that for a fee, he would see that any enemy disappeared from the face of the earth, permanently. He was regularly arrested and bailed, and yet never was there even a whisper of proof that he had been involved with wrongdoing.

The first voice came again, that gravelly voice so full of menace, "Listen . . . we did our side. Told you within a month they would disappear and they have. It was up to you to get the boy here."

"I spoke to him. He said he would be here. You don't think he suspects anything do you?" said the man.

Dean remembered how this man had sympathized with him, how he had reassured him. "Don't worry. We will soon get to the bottom of this. We will find your Mom and Dad."

"Naah, why should he suspect anything?" came the harsh voice once again. "Go into the kitchen and grab a bite. He'll turn up soon. I'm leaving now. Gus and Jimmy here will see to everything for you. Soon you will be living the life of Riley, with a cool three million to thank you for your help."

As the footsteps and voices went echoing down the corridor, Dean slowly moved to a new position. His body seemed to be reacting though his mind felt frozen. He pulled out all the contents of the safe and placed them inside the small suitcase that he had brought with him for his overnight stay.

Dean moved slowly, cautiously to the side door that opened into the staff quarters. It opened soundlessly and he gave a sigh of relief. Next he walked to the staff entrance of the apartment. He prayed quietly that no one had thought to use the double lock when they had left.

Luck seemed to be on his side. There was a slight jarring noise as it opened — but it did open. Then he made for the staff elevator and within moments it had taken him to the ground floor. A small door led to the sidewalk.

Dean went out and stood for a few moments as the summer heat blasted him. The dark suit felt like a heavy diver's outfit. The tie cut into his neck. He had thought he would be participating in a board meeting on behalf of his father and so he had dressed for the part, discarding his casual student gear for his good suit.

Dean began walking to the corner where he had parked his hired car. He was about to pass the entrance of the apartment block when he saw the two men with their barely concealed guns, as they came out of the main doors. He heard one shout to the other, "Gus thought he heard someone leave by the back door."

Dean looked around wondering where he could hide before they spotted him.

Suddenly, from across the road, a crowd of boys appeared. They were all dressed in dark suits and white shirts, but mostly they were tie-less. They were sporting black hats or black skullcaps. "Kippot" his grandfather had called such caps. They were making for a bus parked on the road not far from where he stood.

Dean suddenly realized that without his tie, he looked fairly similar to them. He had no hat, but there was a good chance that he could blend in with them, that the threatening men with their guns would not notice him in the crowd. He whipped off his tie and pushed it into his pocket, and walked purposefully towards the bus.

As he sat down inside he became aware that the men with the guns were talking into their phones and separating, moving down the street, one towards the bus and the other in the opposite direction. Dean placed his case on the floor and bent down over it, pretending to make space for it. When he found the courage to lift his head again, the street men were no longer in sight and the bus had begun to move away from the curb.

"Great occasion, the Rov coming back from Eretz Yisroel, at long last," said the young man sitting next to him.

Dean nodded and smiled and hoped that the response was the correct one.

"Oi . . . no . . . look you have no kippah. It must have fallen off in the street when we made for the bus. Do you have a spare one in your case?"

Dean shook his head. The accent of the young man was different: New York, but not quite New York. When he opened his mouth they would know that he didn't belong with them. Then the questions would start. He needed to think. He needed the safety of the bus moving along the streets of New York, farther and farther from the apartment block.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.