2.4: Return to Whitechapel

The hours went by. Chaim Lypshytz in his office thumbed bibles and ledgers: dusted a cross, sipped copper water. Ignacz took to the theological texts, took to the prayer books and took them away.

The days went by. Ignacz lost his temper, accused of stealing a towel. Lypshytz, amid the arguments, heard a third man say his silver chain was away as well. Ignacz compared this to the trumped up charges laid before Christ by disgruntled Roman soldiers.

Two weeks went by. The departure left dashed hopes and a fear for his safety, as it was so sudden. Another matter was biting the back of Chaim Lypshytz’s mind that day. A fixture of his desk was a present from his wife of a gold watch and chain. It had been moved from the corner where it lay, dependably. He searched the table by the door, the shelves and floor. His day was devoted to the work of the London Jews’ Society home, but he continued looking. Early evening came. He thought it moved by invisible forces testing faith. Or had it maybe been stolen? The latest batch of way-wards were mostly good men. Chaim had barely time to reprimand himself when there was a knock on the door. Gaunt Joe, face of bones, tugging on his front locks. Joe was a stench of worry. The Reverend sat him down but he was already out with, “My passport is missing. I left it under the pillow. Old Bill are still looking for the Ripper! Have you seen my passport?”

The months went by. Near the Danube’s early evening streaming, Professor Lajos Trebitsch turned the key in his ground floor flat. Ignacz was laid on a mattress under Lajos’s bed, his whole skin writing. He harrumphed at the call of his name.

“There’s someone here to see you,” Lajos called.

The items, removed from his pocket, were hastily gathered and put under the open notebook. The bedroom door swung open.

“So this is where you’ve been hiding,” said Jozsef.

He rose to meet his brother and kissed him on both cheeks.

“He’s grown since you’ve been away,” said Lajos.



Image attribution: London Methodist
Ignacz The Watch Thief is serialised five days a week. To donate go to patreon.com/andyluke and access four advance chapters, commentaries or bonus art.


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