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Summer Job: Chapter 40

Dov Haller

“It’s weird, your shver didn’t really get that involved in this type of thing, but fine, you’re the new sheriff in town, I get it”

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

"W hat?” Chaim said, looking up at Chananya Singer. “Why are you making a weird expression?”

“No, nothing, it’s fine,” said Chananya. “It’s just that you’re the one who’s pushing this whole inter-camp game, the team-spirit thing, and look at you, all glum and spaced out. I mean, we have the new uniforms and all the kids are wearing their C.N.D. shirts. Most of the counselors laughed at me when I said we’re bringing the whole camp, but I insisted, because it’s what you wanted. I got back Gershy Lerner, like you said — you know, the married guy. He’s actually kind of pumped.”

“The other camp was okay with it? You told them?” Chaim asked. He didn’t want any scandals.

Singer grimaced. “Okay with it? I spoke to Mo Glatter, the head counselor at Rekod, and he couldn’t stop laughing. He said, ‘You think that’ll help you? You guys can take Lerner, and Lebron, and anyone else you want. No problem, we’ll finish you off anyhow.’ ”

Mo.

Mo Glatter.

That was a name for a head counselor, Chaim thought, much more than Chananya Singer.

“Okay, so?”

“So?” Singer was the mild-mannered sort, so when he got agitated, it was a bit comical. His neck turned pink, and his voice came out harsher than he’d have liked.

“So? You have this idea, you want it to happen, I try to accommodate. It’s weird, your shver didn’t really get that involved in this type of thing, but fine, you’re the new sheriff in town, I get it. Mr. Penner told me before camp that I should take you even more seriously than I took your shver, so here we are. Uniforms, a team, a game scheduled tonight. And you’re totally out of it; you don’t even look like you care. I‘d have expected you to have my back, to help me out, and you’re sitting here on the porch, in a daze.”

Chaim sighed. Singer was right. The basketball game had been his idea and it had been clear from the start that Singer was doing it for him.

His father-in-law had also waved away the idea, saying that there was no reason to play against other camps — much better to play right here among friends.

But Chaim had insisted.

How could he have known that this afternoon he’d be sitting dolefully on the porch of his bungalow, wondering about Rivky and where he’d taken a wrong turn?

Over the years, he’d smile along when the men in shul made jokes about wives being impossible to read; he hadn’t really gotten them. He found Rivky as easy to read as a children’s book, everything clear and out there.

Not today. She’d left in the morning, off to Lakewood to visit Nechamie and help with the bar mitzvah, with her usual smile. But when he’d panicked and asked to come along, she’d gently reminded him that he had a job. He’d signed up for something.

Which meant she was saying no.

He’d texted her, asking What’s going on Rivk? Are we okay? Is this what people mean by a fight :):):)?

She hadn’t answered, so he’d tried again.

Rivky, come on. You usually clean up these kinds of messes — now Im worried. Reassure me.

He couldn’t remember ever feeling this vulnerable before.

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