Chapter 15 – Ornery – February 2023
January 2067 - "Do you remember that year Ima almost shot the twins' piñata?" Anthony asked his siblings as the five were breaking for lunch while cleaning out their parents' house of food and clothing after the elder DiNozzos had passed.
There were chuckles all around as they reminisced; LJ had some memories of that day, but most of what he knew was from the stories told by his siblings and parents over the years. He'd only been sixteen months old at the time…
~19 February 2023~
Ziva put the last of the paper goods on the dining room table alongside the cake for the twins' birthday. They'd decided to have the party on Sunday, 19 February so that family and friends could attend. The weather cooperated to make for an unusually warm day for that time of the year in DC. With the Presidents' Day holiday the next day, the family would have time to celebrate again with just the seven DiNozzos.
Tony finished rigging the brightly-colored piñata in the shape of a mermaid on the deck. He had tied a rope to the hook at the top of the piñata and draped the rope over one of the beams for the pergola covering part of the deck. He tied the other end to one of the deck rails; with the rope he could raise or lower the piñata to the height of the person with the stick. He rested the two sticks, handles from brooms long ago past their usefulness as sweeping devices, against the deck railing.
The guests started arriving about 1300; Rivka and Beth were wearing matching outfits that they'd chosen from the children's store at the mall. Rivka's dress and leggings were in shades of blue and Beth's were in reds and pinks. They greeted their cousins as they arrived.
When all the guests were there, Tony announced that it was time for the piñata. "First the birthday girls, then the other kids; if the piñata is still not broken, the adults will have turns until it breaks." He handed the stick to Rivka.
"Ready, Riv?" She nodded and he grabbed hold of the rope as she swung. The first swing missed completely, but he lowered the piñata a bit as she readied for her second swing. It connected with a big thud, but the piñata didn't break. "One more swing and then give the stick to your sister." The little girl gave it her best swing, but just another thud.
Beth took the stick from her sister, "I'm gonna break it!" She tried three swings, and each one landed on the piñata with a loud thud. After the three hits, the piñata was still intact.
The other kids all took several swings and connected with most of them. Tali hit the piñata so hard with her third swing that Tony's grip on the rope slipped and the papier mache mermaid fell on the patio. Ziva examined the piñata before her husband raised it on the rope again; still not a dent or crack.
"This piñata must have been designed for adults," she decided and handed the stick to Ellie.
All of the adults who wanted a turn tried to break the piñata. Nick took a mighty swing and hit the piñata with a very loud thunk, causing it to swing wildly. He caught the swinging mermaid and examined the sides.
"I thought for sure that it would break; there's not even a crack!" he was surprised as he handed the broomstick to Ziva.
She lined up the piñata in her sights and aimed the stick like a javelin, trying to stab a hole into one side. The stick bounced off the piñata; Ziva swore in Hebrew under her breath. She handed the stick to Tim and grabbed the pellet gun from its rack. They kept it on a high rack to scare off squirrels from the bird feeders near the deck.
"NO!" Tony let the piñata drop to the deck. "Ziva, you DON'T want to try to shoot it. The pellets will ricochet and may hurt someone."
Ziva stopped, "You are correct." She placed the pellet gun back on its rack. Before anyone could react, she pulled her folding knife from her pocket and stabbed two holes in the piñata. She then connected the holes with a circular cut and removed a section of the bottom of the papier mache mermaid.
"Raise it now, Tony," she said as she folded her knife and put it back in her pocket. "Rule 9."
"Never go anywhere without a knife," almost everyone replied automatically as Tony raised the piñata and the candy poured out.
The kids all ran under the piñata and grabbed candy from the deck.
Tony quipped to anyone who would listen, "This will be remembered as the birthday that Ziva nearly shot a piñata!"