Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Freefall: Chapter 31

Miriam Zakon

Abe shocks Annie when he tells her he’s enlisted as a paratrooper. Colonel Cohn offers Moe a top-secret post in the army, and Moe accepts

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Colonel Cohn jumped up and slapped Moe on the shoulder. “Good boy,” he said. “And you’ve made a good decision.”

He walked over to a corner of the room, opened a brown briefcase, and pulled out several papers. “This is an Official Secrets Act document from the British government. Since this project is under the aegis of Britain, you will have to sign it. And here,” he said, holding out another paper, “is the American equivalent, the nondisclosure agreement.” His voice was low and serious. “Both of these documents say the same thing: Everything you see and hear during your posting is top secret and not to be shared by anyone who is not part of the project. That includes family members. This is not for the duration — this is forever. Breaking that silence renders you liable to criminal charges and imprisonment. Is that understood, lieutenant?”

Moe’s voice, too, was somber. “Yes, sir.”

The colonel pulled a Shaeffer military clip pen from his pocket and handed it to Moe. Moe carefully read through each paper and scrawled his signature on the bottom line.

He was committed to… what? He had no idea.

Cohn returned the papers to the briefcase. He took a long sip of the bottle of ale that the waiter had brought. “Okay, Moe, let’s start talking about your new posting. Station X.”

Moe’s face brightened. Station X? This sounded like real spy stuff. Maybe he’d be carrying secret documents? Going behind enemy lines in disguise? Helping resistance workers?

“We’ll be traveling to—”

The colonel’s voice trailed off at the sound of a knock. They could hear a key scraping the keyhole and the door slowly opened.

The colonel and the second lieutenant both jumped up, as a woman wearing a stylish lavender coat and hat walked in. “Hello, my dear,” Colonel Cohn said, “I believe you met Moe Freed at Harry’s graduation. Moe, this is my wife. Moe and I have been talking”—he sent Moe a meaningful look—“about Harry and how well he’s been doing.”

Mrs. Cohn had her son’s smile, and she beamed it onto Moe. “I have so wanted to meet you, Mr. Freed. There are just no words to thank you for your bravery and heroism, and for saving our boy.”

Moe’s cheeks flushed scarlet. “Harry’s a great guy,” he muttered, berating himself inwardly for saying something so inane.

“I can’t wait to see him,” Mrs. Cohn said, settling herself comfortably onto an embroidered loveseat.

“Mrs. Cohn is traveling back to the States,” the Colonel explained. “She’s anxious to see just how Harry is doing, and our daughter is expecting our first grandchild.”

“And Granny’s got to be there for the great event,” Mrs. Cohn laughed.

Moe began to feel a little more comfortable; Harry’s mother sounded more like a Jewish bubby than a military wife. “When are you leaving?” he asked.

“This Wednesday. And Mr. Freed…”

“Please, call me Moe.”

“Moe, I’m going tomorrow morning to Bath to pick up the children. Could you possibly join me?”

“The children?”

“Yes. Your cousin’s children, poor little things.”

Moe’s cheeks grew even redder. How could he have forgotten the orphaned children and his mother’s cousin — what was her name? — who’d been killed in the Blitz?

“Oh, yes, of course,” he said, trying to hide his surprise. “But why are you picking them up?”

Mrs. Cohn cast an impatient look at her husband. “Haven’t you told him?”

“I didn’t get the chance.”

Related Stories

Leftovers Make a Comeback

Libi Astaire

Once they were the hallmark of the savvy homemaker. Then they fell into disgrace. Today leftovers ar...

Freefall: Chapter 30

Miriam Zakon

Moe arrives in England. He’s given mysterious orders to report to a room in London’s most elegant ho...

Responsibilities

Esther Kurtz

Rochel rolled over in bed. It was after two in morning. Hindy had abused the power she had access to...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"