Recap: Sender gets a reprieve from working with the ice man. Mr. Corman’s relative will be working for him temporarily, so Bubby reluctantly agrees to let Sender go back to work for the Wright brothers. When he’s at the train station, heading back to the Wright brothers, the man who’d been leaning over him in the train before, offers him a large amount of money in exchange for the Wright brothers’ plans and photos. Sender refuses to do anything that would hurt the Wright brothers, and the man warns him that he will be sorry for not accepting.
“Mickey, I’ve been calling you,” Mrs. Aron stood in the doorway to my room.
“I’m sorry, we didn’t hear you,” I said.
“I‘ve got lots of new pants and pajamas and shirts for you, Mickey.”
“Let me see!” Mickey followed his mother downstairs.
Just then, Ima walked into the room. “Ezra, what happened in school? Aba told me you were accused of something and we have to go meet with the menahel.”
All the horribleness descended on me full force again.
“Ezra, you can tell us what happened. It’s not lashon ha’ra. It’s a toeles.”
“I don’t want to talk about it now, Ima, please.”
“Okay, but whatever it is, I want you to know that we believe you and we are here for you.”
“Thank you!” I blinked back tears and hugged her tight.
The next morning, we headed to school. Aba hadn’t said much to me as we drove towards school. Ima had sent me a sympathetic look.
Rabbi Kleiner motioned us into his office. He towered over Aba and Ima. Mr. Rabinowitz was there, too.
No one said anything. Rabbi Kleiner cleared his throat. “I’ll get right to the point here. Betza–– Ezra has never given us any problem before.”
He almost called me Betzalel.
“I don’t understand what happened,” Rabbi Kleiner continued. “I tried to get a straight story but he wouldn’t say a word, your son. And the new boy was crying and said that Ezra poured water all over his desk and his new book.”
Aba steeped his hands. “Excuse me, Rabbi Kleiner. Can we hear what precipitated this whole incident? Mr. Rabinowitz, please tell us what was happening in class.”
“I assigned the boys to read in partners. I partnered Ezra with the new boy, Kalman Newfeld. I was working with another group when I heard commotion and saw water spilled all over, and Kalman was crying.”
Aba turned to me. “Were you working with Kalman as you were supposed to?”
“Then what happened?”
“We were taking turns reading,” I mumbled.
I didn’t know what to say. I felt trapped. Couldn’t Aba see I didn’t want to tattle?
“Ezra, tell us what happened. Did Kalman get upset at you? Did he make you feel bad?”
I shook my head.
Ima interrupted. “I think there is an easy way to get to the bottom of this. Rabbi Kleiner, don’t you keep a video camera in the classroom?”
“Of course. Thank you, Mrs. Newmark. I should have thought of that.”
He found the remote and pushed a button and a video flashed across his computer screen.
The whole terrible thing was there, and they all watched. I turned away but I knew they were watching Kalman pour water all over his desk and his book.
Rabbi Kleinman switched it off. “I can’t believe it. That boy did it to himself and then pretended your son did it. That’s outrageous. Ezra, why didn’t you say what happened?”
“I’m ss- sorry.”
“No, I’m sorry. I owe you a huge apology. Rabbi and Mrs. Newmark, I apologize. Thank you, Mrs. Newmark, for pointing out the easy way to find out what happened. See, after 120, we’ll all be watching our own video of our lives. Ezra, I’m so sorry and I look forward to your presentation in the writing club. I know you’ll make our school proud.”
I had just started to feel better and exonerated when he had to bring up the writing club. I only had another two nights to come up with an idea.
To be continued…
By Susie Garber