A/N: It's been a long time since I've worked on any fanfiction, but I'm hoping if I finally upload this chapter then I'll write again. Not gonna lie, this is 100% a self-insert friend-fiction. To be honest I've gotten over the shame of writing fanfics like this, because it's just fun and I like it. And - always a plus - it's good practice, especially with dialogue since that's forever my hangup. Anyway, I hope you enjoy, and I hope that I update soon LOL.
In 1899, the streets of New York City echoed with the voices of newsies, peddling the newspapers of Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, and other giants of the newspaper world. On every street corner they could be heard carrying the banner, bringing the news for a penny a pape. The newsies were a ragged army of poor orphans and run-aways, about twelve-hundred boys and girls strong, hawking papers across the sprawling metropolis.
The borough of Manhattan had about forty newsies pushing the New York World, most of whom resided at the Newsboy Lodging House full-time, unable or unwilling to live at a family home. Nearly a hundred boys stayed there for six cents a week, and one girl for twelve.
Kate Jakob, also known as Kentucky, paid double the rent and promised assistance around the Lodging House to be granted special permission from the superintendent, Kloppman, to live with her fellow newsies for as long as she needed. Of course, by "live with" he meant "stay in the same building" – she was forbidden to be in the boys' bunkrooms on the second and third floors, and was instead given her own small room down the hall from Kloppman's quarters on the first floor. While there were several options of girls' lodging houses around the borough, most were very restricting towards their "proper young ladies," which Kentucky was certainly and decidedly not, if even just for preferring her newsie trousers over her school skirt.
This mid-July morning began the same as any other. Kloppman raps on Kentucky's door to wake her, then ascends the stairs to wake the boys. Despite rising later than their newsgirl friend, the boys are always ready and bounding out the door by the time she can even rake out all the knots in her long brown hair.
The newsboys are already receiving their free daily breakfast from the charity-nuns when Kentucky exits their crusty home to meet up with her best friend, Anna Ridgeland, a.k.a. Georgia.
Being from the South was not the only commonality between the two girls, though it did help. Kentucky had moved to New York nine years ago with her mother following devastating tornados in Louisville. Ms. Jakob found work as a governess for an affluent family in the Lower East Side, but an unwed woman in that position ought not to have a daughter, so Kentucky sought an income and accommodations that wouldn't expose her mother. Newsies weren't known for having stable home lives, if they had a family at all, so no one questioned her vague explanations.
Georgia was the only one who knew the truth about Kentucky's situation, when they befriended one another at school. They each attended a public high school uptown three days a week, and bonded over their love of reading, scholastic ambition, and Southern roots. Georgia's family had moved to New York from Atlanta because her mother worked for the J.P. Morgan & Company bankers, and they all loved to travel. Her father was a Civil War veteran so didn't work, and her little brother Adam attended school full-time. Their family lived in Chelsea, but often Georgia would spend the night at Kentucky's after a long day of work (or long night of partying). The two girls spend nearly every day together, at school or selling papers or just hanging out with their boys.
"Hey girlie, how'd ya sleep?" Kentucky greets, linking arms with her red-blonde friend and walking down the familiar brown streets.
Georgia hands Kentucky a piece of bread and butter from home, allowing them to skip the nuns and head straight for work. "On my side," she quips, winking from behind squared cat-eye glasses and cracking up her companion. "Ugh, what a shitty headline," Georgia groans as the two finally round Greeley Square to the World distribution center, staring up at the giant chalkboard announcing the morning's news.
Kentucky nods absently as she watches Jack "Cowboy" Kelly, leader of the Manhattan newsie population and close friend of Georgia's, finish ritually antagonizing the slimy distribution center workers, the Delancey brothers, Oscar and Morris. She makes eye contact with Morris, the infinitesimally smarter brother, for a second, adjusting her black bowler hat with a smirk, then turns away. "Let's go get in line. I don't wanna be near the end."
The two girls appear nearly indistinguishable from the other newsies, save for their longer hair and, mostly in Georgia's case, figures. They step into the disorganized line behind Snoddy and Swifty the Rake, exchanging greetings with them and the others and discussing personal news and triumphs, as teens will do. Over an echo of Jack's perusal, Racetrack's voice and the swipe of a match can be heard, and Kentucky's ears perk up.
"Mornin' your honor! Listen, do me a favor an' spot me fifty papes, huh? I got a hot tip on the fourth. You won't waste your money."
"It's a sure thing?" Mr. Weisel replies.
"Oh yeah, not like last time," Race assures. At Weisel's doubting pause, he adds, "Kentucky's goin' with me."
"Ah, uh huh. Fifty papes! Next!"
Shuffling off with his papers, Racetrack glances back into the line to roll his eyes at his best friend, who responded by sticking her tongue out at him.
Anthony "Racetrack" Higgins and Kentucky had been instant friends, close as siblings, ever since her arrival in the city. Known for his gambling, his interest was immediately piqued when he learned she was from the same city as the annual Derby horse race, and that she was just as invested in horse bets – she was especially good at it, even, knowing so much about horses growing up around them. They regularly went to Sheepshead together to score extra cash on the races, and would often sell their papes together when he wasn't hawking in Brooklyn.
Georgia giggles at the two's familiar exchange before getting distracted by an unfamiliar voice.
"Twenty papes, please. Thanks," the unknown speaker asks at the window. Georgia stands on her tiptoes, trying to see around the mass of newsies. "I paid for twenty. I only got nineteen," the voice continues. A snicker falls over the crowd, and through the throng Georgia catches a glimpse of dark, capped curls and a brown vest over a blue shirt. Jack strides up, using the miscount as another reason to make fun of Morris Delancey, and the mystery boy turns to look at him, giving Georgia a clear profile view. He's pretty cute, she thinks, lips quirking.
The girls finally make it to the front of the line, Kentucky buying fifty papes and Georgia seventy. They stand on the outskirts of the circle gathering and watch as Jack and the other boy, learned to be David, strike up a partnership. Kentucky sidles closer, taking the space Jake the Oyster just slid out of, to observe the newcomer and his little brother. Louis "Kid Blink" Ballett, Kentucky's close friend and nicknamed for the patch over his left eye, throws his arm around her shoulders and tugs playfully on her suspenders. Her smile at him turns into laughing at David's refusal to spit-shake. The little kid, Les, whips around at the sudden sound of girlish laughter, and blushes when she winks down at him.
The rambunctious group shadows Jack out into the street, causing Les to lose sight of the newsgirl until the crowd's disbursement. She walks south, accompanied by Race and Georgia, all waving papers above their heads and shouting out the headlines. David pulls on Les's sleeve to get him to follow with Jack.
"Cowboy!" Les cries, running to keep pace with the older boy.
"There are girl newsies?"
Jack does a double-take, not expecting such a question, before laughing. "Of course there're goil newsies. Mosta dem are liddle, like you, but a few olda ones still carry the banner. We got two of 'em with us," Jack informs the brothers. "Which one you see?"
"She had brown hair and a black hat. She winked at me," Les describes. David blinks dumbly, not having seen any winking newsgirls himself.
Jack laughs, "Yeah, that's Kentucky. She's a cheeky one. She sells near da Lower East Side wit Race, then they go to Sheepshead. Kentucky's from Louisville, where they have da Derby, so she's a pro at horse betting. Plus one of da best liars I've eva known. You look out fa that one, Les, don't let her go breakin' ya heart," he jokes.
"And the other girl?" David interjects.
"Georgia, also named for where she's from. Now dat's a classy doll. She sells in East Village wit Crutchy, or wit Kentucky. Performs, too. Now her, ya'd pray to have a chance for her to break ya heart."
"Hey girl, that was my last pape. I'm heading to Medda's. I'll see you later," Georgia calls out. Kentucky nods at her friend, shouting for her to be safe and have fun. The red-blonde waves her acquiesce and bustles her way to Irving Hall.
A couple days every week or so, Georgia would perform at Irving Hall after her paper load was finished. She was a more soulful singer, but had the perfect moves for the Vaudeville stage. Sometimes she would even make her own costumes, with Kentucky's help at the alterations shop the latter girl worked at some weekdays. The theatre-owner and ragingly beautiful "Swedish Meadowlark," Medda Larkson, had been mentoring Georgia for about a year and a half, so many newsies would come see their acts whenever they had enough cents to treat themselves.
This day's set is going particularly well. Georgia loved getting into character, all made-up and dressed to the nines, exuding a natural risqué attitude that would only invite trouble on the street. Hair curled and piled atop her head, her un-bespectacled and painted face is framed by lush, pinned tendrils. A navy and black striped corset cinches her waist, clinging low into a skirt that barely covers her nylon-donned derriere. There is a fair crowd, some of the more enthusiastic front-rowers making grabs for her boots.
Suddenly Georgia can hear Medda's voice behind the audience's hollers. What on earth is happening backstage? she wonders, trying to finish her act as nonchalantly as possible. Her music finally ends and she practically sprints stage-left.
"Oh, you are good. Oh yes, this kid is really good. Speaking as one professional to another, I'd say you have a great future," Medda's sugary accent carries from downstairs.
"You're not tryin' to replace me already, are you Medda?" Georgia exclaims from the top of the dusty steps, fanning hand to chest dramatically. The group below turns to the girl, Medda and Jack smiling and the Jacobs' just staring perplexed.
"Of course not, darling! Though maybe you could use a little gentleman in your act," Medda teases, pinching Les's cheeks adoringly. He blushes.
"Ya sounded great out there," Jack compliments, offering his hand as Georgia descended the stairs.
"Thanks, Cowboy. What are you doing here? Y'all are usually never here to see my midday show."
The boys grimace. "There's just a little problem outside." He turns to Medda. "Is it alright if we stay here for a little while, just until it goes away?"
"Sure, stay as long as you like. Toby," Medda catches the attention of the passing concessions vendor, "just give my guests whatever they want."
The announcer calls for Medda's set, so she bids farewell to the kids and saunters onstage. The newsies, sans a candy-collecting Les, follow quickly, watching the Vaudevillian from the side. Or rather, Jack watches Medda while David and Georgia half-watch each other.
"I'm Georgia," she whispers, outstretching her hand to shake.
David's eyes widen as he accepts the gesture. "You're Georgia?"
"Oh no, what'd Jack say about me?"
He laughs under his breath, taking a second to gaze at Medda before turning back to an equally entranced Georgia. "Only good things, I promise. I'm David."
Georgia smiles at him, trying to quell the butterflies starting to flitter in her gut. Their conversation dims from there, too enraptured in Medda's performance. When it finally ends, they all clap and cheer. The star has to take care of some business afterwards, so tells Georgia that she can go home for the day and for the boys to come back soon.
"Youse wanna come back with us, Belle?" Jack offers as the girl heads to her dressing room. Georgia chortles at the nickname, agreeing to join them after she changes back into normal clothes.
"Is Belle her real name?" Les asks, licorice hanging out of his mouth and more in his hand.
"Nah, it's a play on her bein' from da South – a Southern belle, ya know? Her real name's Anna," Jack clarifies. He turns to David, "So, you like the show?"
"Oh, I loved it. It was great. She's beautiful—" at Jack's saucy look, David quickly corrects, "Medda's beautiful. How do you know her?"
Jack purses his grinning lips, unconvinced but willing to play along. "She's a friend of me fadder's." He seems like he might've said more, but is interrupted by Georgia's return.
All the makeup is washed from her face and she dons glasses again. Her hair is let loose, though still retains the bouncy curls under her dark cap. She's just finished tossing her maroon scarf around her neck when she rejoins the boys. David gawks at the typical newsie-wear, finding it hard to believe that this is the same girl from minutes ago.
"Ready to go?" She pipes, leading the way out into the street. Jack climbs up on a shoeshine station situated just outside the theatre doors and asks if Les wants to shine his shoes.
David frowns up at the blackened sky. "It's getting late. My parents are going to be worried. What about yours?"
"Oh, I stay out all the time. My folks won't be concerned," Georgia shrugs.
"Mine are out west lookin' for a place to live. Like this," Jack pulls a book out of his back pocket. "See, that's Santa Fe, New Mexico. As soon as they find the right ranch, they're gonna send for me."
"Then you'll be a real cowboy!" Les exclaims. Jack agrees with a chuckle, ignoring the hard glance Georgia sends him.
A loud crash echoes through the night. Jack immediately jumps up and rockets towards the sounds of mayhem, the others running a few paces behind. They have to duck around a racing firetruck, a huge inferno building where trolley strikers fight. A man starts to get soaked right in front of them, Jack mimicking the punches.
"Jack! Why don't we go to my place and divvy up? You guys can meet my folks," David offers, uncomfortable with the violence raging around them. "Let's get out of here," he insists when Jack brushes him off.
"Jack, time to go," Georgia growls, pulling him further back onto the sidewalk and away from the brawlers.
"So, maybe we'll have a good headline tomorrow," he grins, shrugging at his friends' discomfort. He notices Les snoozing on a bench. "Look at this! He slept the whole way through it." He throws the younger boy over his shoulder and allows David to lead them away from the scene.
They finally arrive at the Jacobs home, and Mrs. Jacobs cries out at the sight of her son unconscious in the arms of a strange boy. David assures his mother that Les is only asleep and presents his day's earnings to his father before introducing the newsies.
"This is our selling partner, and our friend, Jack Kelly. And this is Anna, she's also a newsie. Jack, Anna, this is my parents. And that's my sister, Sarah."
Jack and Georgia greet the couple and daughter politely. Georgia notices that Jack and Sarah's gazes linger, so tries to hide a growing smirk. Her friend wasn't one of the (many) womanizers in the newsie ranks, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a huge flirt. This Sarah was possibly in for quite a wooing, and Georgia couldn't wait to watch it unfold.
"Esther, maybe David's friends would like to join us for dinner. Why don't you add some more water to the soup?" Mr. Jacobs kisses his wife on the cheek, and she scolds him playfully.
The six have a lovely dinner together. Jack is mostly only his best behavior, but the connection brewing between him and Sarah was obvious to everyone at the table. Georgia had to distract the rest of the family a few times so the two could make eyes at one another. Of course, Georgia sometimes had to kick Jack under the table to keep him in line even then, and steal Sarah's conversation. The two girls found they liked each other quite well, and after dinner Sarah assured Georgia that her parents also liked her.
"I didn't know that there are newsgirls too. Are there many?" Sarah asks her as they help clear the dishes.
"Not tons, no," Georgia replies. "Usually there're only littler girls, and half the time they dress up like little boys, since it's not a typical job for girls, and not always the safest either. There're only a handful of girls my age still carryin' the banner. The leader of the Queens newsies is a girl, a year older than me. She'll probably be retiring soon though."
"What does a newsie do when they 'retire'?"
"Well, the boys usually get grown-up jobs – at factories, or go into the newspaper industry, or other things. Younger kids, boys and girls, who leave the newsies usually go into factories or other specialized jobs, like deliveries or laundry or apprenticeships. If a girl ages out of the newsies though, then usually one of two things happen: she either gets married and starts a family, or she doesn't end up in a respectable way…sometimes once you start on the street, you don't leave workin' on the street, ya know what I mean?" She watches Sarah dip her gaze and pale a little bit, so she tries to steer away from that idea, "Cupcake, I mean Amaya, that Queens leader, she's gonna get married. She met this reporter guy, and wants to have like ten kids. And me and my best friend, Kentucky – sorry, Kate – want to go to college."
Sarah started, surprised but pleased. "To study what?"
"I want to travel, so anything that will let me do that," Georgia sighs with a smile, her mind wandering to faraway countries and cultures she's yet to explore. She catches sight of the cowboy novel that always sticks out of Jack's back pocket as he talks on the fire escape with David; they share the dream of Santa Fe and have talked about meeting up in the West together sometime in the future, and wonders if Sarah would be on board for his "retirement plan."
The Jacobs parents call their children in for the night, and Jack and Georgia decline David and Sarah's offers to spend the night.
"You gonna come spend the night at the Lodgin' House, or you goin' home?" Jack asks Georgia on their way down from the Jacobs'.
"Nah, I should get home," Georgia smiles, waving as she turns toward the route to Chelsea and starts on her way.
"Hey!" Jack calls, catching up to her. She turns and waits for him. "You knows I ain't lettin' you walk home alone."
While she wasn't uncomfortable travelling the city by herself at night, she wasn't going to refuse Jack's company either. She wraps her arm in his and leads them toward her neighborhood. Better safe than sorry, she figures. Plus… "So, Sarah's pretty, you reckon?"
Jack barks a laugh, saddling her with a warm sideways glare. "She's alright."
Georgia returns the guffaw. "You are so obvious, Cowboy. But, I mean, so was she." She catches Jack's ears turning red. "Oh c'mon, Jack, y'all were flirting so hard I thought David's folks were gonna commit her to a nunnery."
The newsboy couldn't control his facial muscles his glee was so strong. He couldn't pretend he wasn't attracted to David's sister. He hadn't felt this way about a girl in a long time; he flirted with girls frequently, and hooked up with one every so often – he was a teenage boy after all – but all were harmless dalliances. He'd never properly courted a girl before, but something about Sarah made him want to try.
"You think she'd go for a street rat like me?" He quirks his mouth into a half-smile, but the vulnerability is palpable.
Georgia stops them on the sidewalk, staring down his insecurity. "Jack Kelly, don't you ever say such a bonehead thing to me again. You're a great catch and she's clearly smitten with you. She's a normal girl, not a royal dame. Plus," she smirks, "I think she might could have more spunk than you're givin' her credit for."
This lifts Jack's spirits some, and they make pleasant conversation about their friends and lives for the rest of the walk. Georgia told him how her little brother, Adam, who loved all her newsie friends, was getting interested in engineering but was also starting to get in some trouble under the influence of his highbrow school chums. She asks Jack if he'd give him a talking to since Adam looked up to the newsboy so much. He agreed, joking that he might corrupt the younger boy further. She can't decide whether to laugh or smack him, when they finally arrive outside the north Chelsea apartment the Ridgeland family occupied. Georgia hugs him goodnight. "Thanks for the company, Cowboy. I'll tell Adam 'hi' for you. Get home safe."
Jack's façade drops as soon as the newsgirl is out of sight. The newsies are his family, but it's families like David's and Georgia's that he secretly craves. He laments and denies and sings the praises of Santa Fe his whole way home.
"Heya Race," Jack greets, walking up the steps of the Lodging House with the shorter boy. "How was your day at the track?"
"Rememba that hot tip I told you about? Kentucky left before she could tell the horse."
"Again? That's like the third time this month," Jack pats his friend on the back as they head inside.
From around the building's corner, Kentucky burns bright red at letting Race down again. Scrubbing the flush away with her hands, she lets her fingers slide lower to her neck and pulls her collar up to hide the red and purple circles lining her jugular. I am a horrible, horrible friend, she groans. She chainsmokes three cigarettes before she finally speeds inside.
At first she thinks that only Kloppman sees her sneak in, but half way down the hall she's suddenly got a newsie on each shoulder. Blink and Swifty the Rake each beam mischievously down at her.
"Say Duchess," Blink starts, using the lovingly teasing nickname her favorite boys dubbed her, "Some of us are gonna slip out afta' curfew for a jolly lil get-togetha in Hell's Kitchen—"
"—and it would be a damn shame if we didn't bring a single totty to da joint, 'specially one fine as—oof!" Swifty eats his butter-up with a sharp elbow to the chest from Kentucky.
"Muttonheads." She rolls her eyes at them, but their charming smiles and the notion of booze are too tempting. "Fine! I'll meet y'all outside at 10:30. If you're late or leave without me, you can bet your cute asses Kloppman'll have you out in the street by mornin'."
The boys laugh at her usual threat, knowing by now that she would never snitch on any of the newsies. They release her from under their arms and agree to her terms. She escapes to her room, checking the time to see how long she has to get ready. The small clock on her dresser reads quarter til ten o'clock, fifteen minutes before the Lodging House curfew time. If the boys are sneaking out, that means that they didn't expect to be back by midnight, so the curfew pass would be useless.
It doesn't take her long to prepare herself – hardly anyone in their station in life had an extensive wardrobe; it was considered a wealth of clothing that she had four complete outfits at her disposal: two for working (one with trousers and one with a skirt), one that was casual but an "appropriate" look for a young lady, and one that was fancy for special occasions like visiting her mother. She quickly bathes, then changes into a clean blouse and reapplies the kohl on her eyes. Steadfastly ignoring the bowler hat on her dresser, she dabs some colored powder over her throat. She pins the top of her hair away but lets the rest fall over her shoulders, doing the rest of the cover-job.
Kentucky is tip-toeing out the back door of the Lodging House at the same time as Swifty, Skittery, and Boots, and when they walk around to the front, Jack, Race, Blink, Bumlets, and Snoddy are already waiting. The group greet each other in whispers and enthusiastic pats, then get going. The trip to Hell's Kitchen doesn't take long, but the developing area was still a little sketchy to traverse. For the past several years it was becoming known as a warehouse district, and had a growing Irish community. While in the more residential area, the newsies try to keep quieter, but once tenements fall away to industrial complexes, they grow rowdier.
The gathering is already about forty kids and street urchins strong, pulling in people from all over Manhattan. Newsies, factory workers, dealers, delivery boys, warehouse and dock workers, stable hands, call-girls, laundry washers, bums, grunts and assistants of all sorts laugh, drink, gamble, and socialize together. Besides Jack, two other borough's newsie leaders are there: Malcom "Coco" Morcant from the Bronx and Josiah "The Beard" Fergus from Staten Island. Apparently Coco organized the party, but the Manhattan venue was compliments of his boyfriend who works for the shipping company of the warehouse they're in.
Upon seeing The Beard, and to avoid Racetrack out of guilt, Kentucky immediately looks around for another Staten Island boy, a musician named Charlie. He and Georgia had been on-and-off for close to four years now, right now currently being their off season, and Kentucky had befriended him through her. She finally spots him standing over a game of toss-penny that some younger kids are playing.
"Hey Charlie!" She gives him a hug. "Have you seen Anna?" When talking to non-newsies, she usually switches to real names for ease.
"Evening, Kate. No, not yet. Wouldn't she have come with you?" He replies, scratching his stubble as he rescans the room for their girl.
Kentucky frowns. "I guess she went home for the night after her show. Give me a holler though if you see she comes 'round?"
Charlie agrees and she leaves him to the game, heading over to a group of girls sitting and drinking around poker on a shipping crate. She recognizes most of them: a couple factory girl friends of Georgia's, a mutual friend Danielle who worked at a boutique, and Kentucky's call-girl friend Eliza. Between the four of them, most of New York's gossip was known and spread. Kentucky had long suspected at least Eliza to be one of Spot Conlon's, newsie King of Brooklyn, "birds," who feed him information from all around the city.
"Duchess!" Eliza drunkenly stumbles into her friend. "Who is that dashin' lil rube you newsies got sellin' with Cowboy Kelly?"
Kentucky's brow furrowed before finally realizing that she meant that new boy from this morning. "Uh, David I think? He just started today, an' I haven't really met him."
This answer is apparently insufficient, so Eliza calls out for Jack to join them. "Cowboyyy! How you likin' David?"
Quite unlike his usual buoyant self, Jack sidles slowly over the girls. Kid Blink, Boots, and Race follow, also wanting to hear more about the new kid. Race brings a second bottle over for Kentucky, and Blink swings her onto his lap as the newsboys take seats around the crate. One of the factory girls deals them all in.
"He did alright for his first day. Showed him da ropes, he sold nineteen papes—" the newsies all cackle at the irony, "—then we went to Medda's an' he made mushy eyes at Georgia." He doesn't mention his own flirtations. "His lil brudda Les, though, knockout. Got a quarta for drinkin' a beer, and Medda wanted to put him on stage." He brags like Les was his own little brother, and the quarter story has everyone rolling. Boots wins the round. "We saw da trolley strikas fightin' and startin' a fire, so we should have a good banner in da mornin'."
"I just don't see how they think a strike is gonna work? I mean, there's so many people looking for work. I'd get replaced in three minutes, tops," Danielle laments, passing out a fresh hand of cards to everyone.
"Then youse just gotta make sure you're irreplaceable," Race smirks. He lights up a fresh cigar and goes all in. Boots, the factory girls, Danielle, and Blink all fold, but Jack and Kentucky both call bluff. Race fixes them with a glare and waves his cigar accusatorily, "I swear! Why do I even keep you two around, huh? You're killin' me!" He whines as Jack scores the pot, pulling in the assortment of coins, cigarettes, a pocket knife, and one whole dollar bill. Eliza shuffles the deck for another go; Jack ducks out with his winnings, joining Coco and The Beard for some business talk across the room. Race is determined to get some money back, however, and demands they play a different game.
"Those are cute," Blink whispers to Kentucky, wagging his eyebrows at her neck. She hadn't even noticed her hair had swept, and blushes. "Hey hon, no shame, no shame," he teases. Kentucky knocks back the rest of her drink and steals Blink's too. "Oh, some shame? No worries, hayseed, we can cover dem up nice an' good." He winks dramatically, the only way he can with just one visible eye.
Everyone's night gets fuzzy as they laugh and drink together, and the Manhattan newsies end up staggering into the Lodging House past one o'clock in the morning. Swifty and Bumlets had each gone home with laundry girls that had been at the warehouse; Jack carries a passed-out Boots over his shoulder, and Skittery repeatedly shushes Racetrack for singing. Snoddy rushes past everyone to go vomit, and none of the boys notice Kid Blink follow Kentucky to her room instead of joining them upstairs.
A/N: Feel free to drop a review if you have any constructive criticism! xoxo