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Jr. Tales: Unit 613

Yehuda Bromberg

What happens when some boys decide to pinch-hit for Chaveirim responders?

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

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O ne ordinary Sunday afternoon a voice boomed out of the walkie-talkie sitting on my living room shelf.

“This is Dispatcher 32, calling all units, anyone available to perform a jump-start on Fallstaff Road? Caller is in a rush to get to work and wants to know if anyone can be there within the hour.”

I stared at the dusty walkie-talkie, an idea starting to spin inside my head. The walkie-talkie belonged to my older brother, but he was in Eretz Yisrael for seven months so he wouldn’t be able to take the call. Would any of the other Chaveirim units be able to take the call in time?

I knew that my brother kept his equipment in his closet, so maybe I could take the call?

I phoned my two best friends: Menachem, a feisty kid, and Mordy, a super-smart kid who always seemed to know the answer to everything. Within three minutes all three of us were crowded around the radio, waiting to see if anyone would respond to the call.

 

“This is Unit 68, it’s going to have to be a negative for me. I’m stuck at work and can’t respond,” a Chaveirim responder said over the radio.

“Unit 54 here, sorry, but I’m babysitting my kids,” another Chaveirim volunteer said.

Several more units chimed in, everyone explaining that they wouldn’t be able to respond.

“I’m responding, guys…” I said breathlessly to my friends, lifting the walkie-talkie to my mouth with growing excitement.

“No!” Mordy hissed, grabbing the radio away. “We’re not in Chaveirim!”

“It’s a mitzvah!” Menachem interjected heatedly.

“So let’s grab some equipment and check out the situation!” Mordy replied. “But we are not replying over the official radio channel!”

“Mordy’s right,” I said. “We can still help out though! My brother has a special box upstairs I’ve seen him use to reboot car batteries. Let’s take it over to Fallstaff Road!”

~ ~ ~

Fifteen minutes later, panting and dripping with sweat, we arrived at the side of the caller in need.

“Trouble with your car battery?” Mordy asked the distressed-looking man peering inside the hood of his car.

“Um, yes, but who are you kids?” the man replied hesitantly.

“I’ve got the jump-start pack!” Menachem said, sidestepping the question. He held up the blue boost pack. There were two plugs with metal clamps wrapped around the portable battery booster. One was red and the other one was black. Menachem unwrapped the plugs and with an air of confidence attached the clamps to something inside the hood.

“Uh, I’m pretty sure you just hooked the pack to the engine, not the car’s battery,” I whispered.

“I-I knew that…. Just testing you!” Menachem answered, laughing nervously.

“The battery is here!” Mordy said, pointing to a black box within the hood. “But I don’t know where the clamps go. One is red and one is black….”

“It probably doesn’t make a difference,” I said wisely.

“Okay, then let’s go!” Menachem said gleefully, snapping the clamps onto the two metal screws on top of the battery. “Sir, go ahead and start your car please!”

The man peered down at us through his glasses, frowning skeptically. Then with a shrug of his shoulders he clambered into the old car and turned the engine on.

BANG!

There was a loud sound and a wisp of black smoke flew into our faces.

“What was that?” the man asked in alarm, running out of the car.

“Sorry!” Mordy whispered. “I think we mixed up the positive and negative—”

“Nonsense!” Menachem interrupted loudly. “Try turning the key again!” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 683)

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