M r. Krankowitz was in a rage. Waving his arms around, he was yelling to all and sundry that there were burglars about. He’d got some shiny new twist ties to tie back his prize rose bushes, and left them out in the back garden while he went inside to get his gardening gloves. But lo and behold, he’d come back only to find the twist ties gone. The nerve of those criminals!

Mr. Krankowitz had reported the crime to the police, of course, but in his view they’d been useless. They had refused even to send out an emergency vehicle, telling him they’d send an officer around “when he was in the area,” whenever that might be. Bah! Mr. Krankowitz was enraged. What was the world coming to?

The neighbors listened politely to Mr. Krankowitz’s rantings, but while expressing sympathy, most thought it highly improbable that any burglar would be interested in stealing a few twist ties. It was much more likely the old man had put them away somewhere and forgotten about them — and it wouldn’t be the first time, either. He was always losing things, and then getting in a tizzy. Just recently he’d spent ages searching all over the place for his missing handkerchief — real cotton, not one of those flimsy paper tissues that Mr. Krankowitz detested — only to find it had been in his pocket all the time.

Unfortunately, Jolly Solly, whom the old man could always count on not just for a listening ear but for practical advice and help, was out on one of his mitzvah errands, leaving Mr. Krankowitz in a very bad temper indeed.

On the other side of the garden fence, meanwhile, Fishel and Faivish were busy with their own troubles. Fishel had lost a piece from his metallic key chain.

“Next time, look after your things better,” declared Faivish unhelpfully.

“Oh yeah? You’re a fine one to talk,” sneered Fishel. “Who lost his—”

“Yeah, yeah,” Faivish interrupted him in a singsong. “I’m not interested. “

“What makes you think I’m interested in you?”

Biff! Bang! Uh-oh. The troublesome pair was at it again.

Little did they notice that two doors away, another neighbor was also looking around for a lost item. Mr. Faigelbaum was searching for his new CD of birdsong recordings, which he’d left on the garden table while he popped inside. He’d come back out, only to find it had vanished!

When Jolly Solly’s car pulled into Sunny Lane soon after, parp-parping cheerfully, Mr. Krankowitz pricked up his ears immediately. Hah! The clown was back! He was sure to come up with a solution to his problem.

The old man marched up the road to Jolly Solly’s house. He was surprised to see his next-door neighbor Mr. Faigelbaum also making his way there, with Fishel and Faivish not far behind.

And a mere minute or two later, a breathless Moishy Morris arrived, along with his little sister Miriam, who was calling “Jolly Solly! Help!” in her high, fluting voice.

The clown stared in surprise at the crowd. (Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 664)