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Jolly Solly: Streetlights

R. Atkins

Mr. Krankowitz glanced out of a nearby window — to his surprise all of Sunny Lane was in darkness. Whatever in the world was going on?

Thursday, February 02, 2017

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Photo: Shutterstock

I t was the weirdest thing. One minute Mr. Krankowitz was sitting in his favorite armchair, smoking his pipe and reading the evening newspaper — and the next thing, there was a little “pop,” and all the lights in the house went out.

Muttering crossly to himself, the old man got up to check what was going on. He tried flipping a few different light switches on and off, but it was no use. None of them was working.

Mr. Krankowitz glanced out of a nearby window — to his surprise all of Sunny Lane was shrouded in darkness. Whatever in the world was going on?

The door of the house next door was flung open, and he was just able to make out Fishel and Faivish Friedman racing out, waving their arms and yelling, “It’s a blackout!”

The Morrises’ door opened next, and Bracha — who’d come for a short visit from Eretz Yisrael with her lively toddler Avi — appeared with a flashlight. “A blackout!” she exclaimed. “All the lights in the entire street have gone out.”

“Humph! Well, I don’t suppose there’s much to be done about it until the powers that be get things sorted out,” Mr. Krankowitz grumbled to himself. But then an alarming thought struck him. “What about my rosebushes? I’m sure it can’t be good for them to be sitting in pitch darkness. Ha! I’d better call the electric company.”

With some difficulty, the old man managed to find some matches and light a candle. By its flickering light, he located the telephone number of the electric company, and dialed. Fortunately, the telephone was still working normally.

“Good evening, how may I help you?” a bored-sounding voice asked.

“How may you help me? Ha!” spluttered Mr. Krankowitz. “I’ll tell you exactly how, and you’d better be quick about it too. You can get the lights working again, that’s how. Do you know what this dreadful darkness is doing to my roses? They’re looking poorly already, I tell you. What in the—”

“Sir, this is the electric company, not a garden center. Good night.” And with a click, the call was disconnected.

Mr. Krankowitz was livid. How dare they hang up on him! What a nerve! He had a good mind to complain to the mayor, and maybe the president too. He marched out to the front again to check on how his roses were bearing up — and heard a familiar, cheery voice from somewhere nearby. It was Jolly Solly! There was the clown across the road, his jolly hat glowing cheerfully in the dark, talking to some neighbors about the blackout.

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