Recap: Mrs. Tilney’s call about the worrisome new customers at the flight school is followed by Libby’s boss calling to say that Mrs. Tilney is no longer working at the flight school. In the meantime, Marnie and Sabrina are adjusting to living with Libby and Avi.

The next day after supper, there was a knock on the door.

“Mrs. Perlman?” The man standing there had a badge, though he was dressed in civilian clothing. “Can I come in and ask you some questions?”

He pulled out his ID and showed it to me. It said “FBI agent.”

“What’s going on?” I stammered.

“It’s an investigation. We are looking into a Mr. Mohamed Atta from Egypt.”

I motioned him into Avi’s little office. Avi came into the room with me and we closed the door.

“What is this about, sir?” Avi asked.

The agent glanced around the room with its floor to ceiling bookcases stuffed with s’farim.

“We are investigating a man who came up on our computers. We spoke to a Mrs. Ruth Tilney and she gave us your number. She said that you met this man, who enrolled in the Huffman Aviation school.”

I nodded. My neck muscles tightened.

“Are they in some sort of trouble?”


“There were two of them,” I explained.

“What is the other one’s name?”

I thought a minute. “I think it was I think it was Marwan al-Shehhi, something like that.”

“Where did you see them?”

I told him how I first saw them when I was applying for a job at the flight school and how they came later about their flight lessons in Venice.

“Why did they come to your office in Miami?”

“We register and vet the students and then they go to Venice for the flight lessons.”

“Anything unusual about these two men that you noticed?”

“They… well the one named Atta was very rude but, no, except they didn’t have their passports with them and they had been told in advance that they needed them.”

“No passports,” you say? The man had gray eyes that seemed like he was looking right through you to see if you were telling the truth.

The agent was rapidly jotting notes in a small notepad.

FBI agent, Mrs. Tilney. My mind was running in circles.

“We are investigating. Chances are that everything is fine and that this is a dead-end search. Most times we don’t find anything of concern, so please don’t worry, but you must not speak about this to anyone. If at any time you feel unsafe, call this number.” He handed me his card.

 “Is there any reason to think we are in danger?” Avi asked.

“Highly unlikely. These men don’t know we are investigating them. Just be vigilant. We want to rule everything out with them. Thank you for your time.”

We escorted him to the door.

“What do you think they’re ruling out?” I whispered to Avi.

Avi’s forehead creased. “I don’t know, but I don’t like it that we have to be part of this. Maybe you should stop going to that job.”

“We need the money, Avi. They went to the school in Venice. They don’t come to us in Miami anymore once they’re signed up.”

We sat down for supper. Neither of us was very hungry after the strange interview.

“I’m going back to night seder. Should I stay home? Are you nervous?”

“I’m fine. Please go.”

“Okay, but keep the door locked and don’t let anyone in.”

I started reading the first chapter of the Westing Game so I’d be ready to model a lesson for the class tomorrow. Then I realized reading a murder mystery right now wasn’t the best choice, and I switched to Living Emunah. Hours later, Avi came into the room. He shook his head and motioned me to come speak with him in the den. This was new, having to speak in another room so we wouldn’t disturb the children. I felt a little flutter of pride. We had two little girls here, our charges, at least for now.

“Daniella called a few minutes ago.”

“So late?”

“My parents are so upset. She’s trying to help but she doesn’t understand, so it gets more upsetting talking to her.”

“I’m sorry, Avi. I wish there was something I could do but they’re mad at me, too.”

He shrugged. “The Rosh Yeshivah told me it will take time. They need time to accept this change.”

“Is Daniella angry, too?”

“No, she’s not angry. She just wishes we’d go back to how things were.”

“Did you tell her about our new additions?”

“I didn’t. I didn’t want to cause more havoc. The parents will probably disapprove of our taking them in, now that I’m not working towards a high-paying job.”

“Maybe, but I suspect the grands will eventually melt their hearts.”


“Well, they would be their grandchildren.”

“Oh, yeah. You’re right.” Avi laughed.


To be continued…

Susie Garber is the author of Please Be Polite (Menucha Publishers 2022), A Bridge in Time (Menucha Publishing 2021), Secrets in Disguise (Menucha Publishers 2020), Denver Dreams, a novel (Jerusalem Publications, 2009), Memorable Characters…Magnificent Stories (Scholastic, 2002), Befriend (Menucha Publishers, 2013), The Road Less Traveled (Feldheim, 2015), fiction serials and features in Binah Magazine and Binyan Magazine, and “Moon Song” in Binyan (2021-2022).