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How to Be a DiNozzo

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Chapter 13 – Money – March 2025

Thanks to Sandie (sl_52311) for the idea!

She almost missed it; the dollar bill origami butterfly was hidden in the leaves of the ficus plant in the family room. It had been laid on a leaf that was partially covered by others. Ziva finished watering the plant and carefully extracted the money butterfly so that she did not damage any leaves.

She wondered who had placed the butterfly in the plant; all of the children had recently tried dollar bill origami when Tali brought home a book from the school library. Surprisingly, Anthony had been the most successful of the five. He'd even created a few of his own. LJ tried a few of the simpler shapes, succeeding in making a heart on his own by following along with his big sister when she also made a heart.

It was those same shapes that showed up a day later when Tony was filling the dogs' food. He'd opened the large tote of dog food to find two dollar bill hearts sitting in the scoop for the dog food. He showed the hearts to Ziva.

"Found these in the dog food," he handed one of the dollar bill hearts to his wife. "Weird place to find them."

She nodded, "It is. I found a butterfly made from a dollar bill in the ficus in the family room yesterday. I put it on my desk." She took the two hearts from Tony and put them on her desk with the butterfly.

The following day, all of the kids were out at school or preschool, and Ziva decided it would be a good time to clean windows. The family room window had a way of attracting dog nose-prints, kids' fingerprints, and cat hair. As she raised the blinds, she noticed something on the sill near the corner of the window. Closer inspection revealed a tiny cube made from a dollar bill. She finished cleaning the window and put the cleaning supplies away in the cabinet in the laundry room.

Ziva put the cube with the hearts and butterfly already on her desk. Before she started her work for the day, she sent a text message to her husband with a picture of the tiny cube.

'Found this in the family room window'

Her message alert chimed as she opened her school email to check messages. She glanced at the screen; Tony had replied.

'Weird that all these dollar bill origami shapes are showing up around the house all of a sudden. Found a peacock in my lunch bag.'

Ziva typed a reply, 'Has to be one or more of the kids. Wonder why?' She made a mental note to question the kids when they all came home.

The day got crazy and Ziva almost was late to pick up LJ, Beth, and Rivka at their preschool. She had to wait in the line of parents queued on the school driveway and into the parking area. Usually she was one of the first vehicles in the line.

"Hi, Ima," Rivka led her twin to the family minivan and climbed in to her booster seat in the third row. "Beth was worried that you weren't coming. I told her that you would be here."

"Was not! Riv was the one upset, not me," the youngest DiNozzo daughter sat behind her Ima, buckling herself into her booster seat.

Her twin stuck out her tongue, "Uh-uh; you almost started crying…"

"Girls! That is enough; I am here," Ziva glared at the twins. They seemed to be irritating each other on purpose lately. "Where's LJ?" She looked at the crowd of waiting children; her baby wasn't in the group.

Riv answered, "He had to go to the bathroom, Ima. I think Miss Tomi took him." Just as the five-year-old finished explaining to her Ima, LJ appeared from inside. He ran to the van and climbed into his booster seat as Ziva pressed the 'close doors' button.

"Hi, Ima! Did you see a leprechaun?" he grinned at his mother. "He's supposed to bring us candy soon."

Ziva turned and looked at her youngest, "Why would a leprechaun bring you candy?"

"For Saint Patrick's Day," all three answered together.

"Oh; who told you that?" Ziva suspected her oldest had filled her siblings' heads with yet another tale.

"Mrs. Dooley," Rivka replied. "She told us to hide money for the leprechaun to find so he will bring candy for Saint Pats' to all the good children. She and her sister and brothers did that when they were little kids like us. Every year the leprechaun brought them a bag of candy."

"Yeah, when she stayed with us when Abba had to help Uncle Tim with his car. You were at school, Ima; 'member?" Beth added.

LJ spoke up and added, "Anthony makes the pretty shapes with the dollars and we hide 'em. The leprechaun found the butterfly and the hearts; that means we are going to get candy from him. Right, Ima?"

Mrs. Dooley was the next-door neighbor on the north side of the house. She was an older widow who lived alone with her two indoor cats. She was a grandmotherly type, and the kids adored her. She kept trying to get Ziva and Tony to just call her Sue, but when Tony said that she reminded him of his mother and his aunts, neither one could quite get the motherly image from their minds. Hence, the whole family called her by the more formal Mrs. Dooley.

Ziva had to think fast; she made a mental note to self to text her husband when they got home to get some candy for the kids on his way home. "Have you been good?"

"Yes, Ima!" She really had not expected any different response from the three.

Back at home, she gave the kids a snack; they went to play in the family room while waiting for Tali and Anthony to get home. Ziva refilled the cookie jar and found a shamrock made of four dollar bill hearts in the pantry. It reminded her to text Tony about picking up some candy at the superstore on his way home.

'The dollar mystery is solved. Pls stop at store on your way home and get some St Pat's themed candy for each of the kids. Also something a bit nicer for them to take to Mrs. Dooley. Thx'

She put her phone on the counter and started preparing a baked chicken dish for dinner. She had just placed the pan in the oven when her incoming-text alert sounded. Tony was on his way home; today was one of his early days.

'Will do; want the WHOLE story when I get home :-) '

'From me or kids? :D ' Ziva hit send and noticed the time; Tali and Anthony's bus would be there in less than five minutes.