A/N: So I decided to rewrite this story...I wasn't liking where I was going with it and I felt stuck in my writing so I decided to rewrite it, adding in some new parts and keeping parts from the original story. I started this story about a year ago after hearing "Everybody Out" from the Made in Daegham soundtrack (go listen to it, its awesome!) and have been writing a lot of it for the better part of a year.
Sadly...I don't own them...
Sometimes in your life you gotta stand up for what you know is right and prepare to fight.
-Everybody Out, Made in Daegham
On David's last day of school, he decided to take the long way home, falling into conversation with another young man from his math class. The two spent much of the walk talking about academics, with the occasional casual chatter that most teenage boys would discuss. However, David found himself short on small talk, his mind preoccupied with the idea of working as a newsie. His father had hurt himself in the factory he worked out a week ago and as a result of his injury, he was fired. His father couldn't operate any of the equipment and because there was no union to help him out, the factory Forman fired him as he was useless to the company. After much negotiation, David finally pleaded his case to pause his education in order to work and help out the family. Although David was an educated young man, he wasn't educated enough to become an apprentice and there were very few jobs that he could do without resulting in an injury. He finally decided that being a newsie would be the perfect choice to help out his family. He was excited and nervous, fearing that he would not be able to keep up with other newsies and fall short. As the two boys rounded a corner, they stopped by a cart that was selling hot dogs. As the two boys ate, David's friend commented on David's silence.
"Excited to start working?" He asked, taking a bite of his hot dog. David nodded as he nibbled at his own.
"More nervous than excited." He admitted. "I heard the newsies can be quite rough."
Much like all professions, being a newsie held a reputation of being rough and dirty and David was not sure he would be able to fit the description. Most of the newsies that he had heard of had no parents, little to no education and very little money, whereas David had two parents who had some money and could afford to keep David and his younger brother Les in school. He was unsure that he would be able to fit into that stereotype and he was starting to wonder if he wanted to be associated with that type.
"They're only rough to people outside their territory." His friend explained as he eyed a girl who walked past them.
"They have territories?" David asked. He wasn't aware newsies held territories or were even protected by them.
David's friend gave him a look, shocked that David didn't know this. "Of course they do. Haven't you ever heard of newsie gangs?" David shook his head.
"A buddy of mine sometimes will play craps with some of the newsies. Apparently, they have a 'gang' or groups that they follow and those groups are only allowed to sell within their territory and if someone steps into that territory without permission from the leader, they get beaten up."
David's stomach dropped at the idea of a group of newsies beating the crap out of someone just because they were selling in the wrong area.
David's friend saw the look on David's face and clapped a hand on his shoulder in a very comforting way. "Don't worry, you won't get beaten up. As long as you get the leader's permission to sell, you're good."
"The leader?" David asked.
"Ya, the person that runs the group and speaks for the group." David's friend explained and suddenly David's nervousness turned into curiosity. Hearing about newsie logic was becoming more and more intriguing.
"You talked to the leader right?" David looked confused, "You know about selling in the territory?"
"I have to do that?" David asked again, the curiosity melting back to fear,
"Jesus David. I'm glad you talked to me about this. Of course you need to do that!" The friend exclaimed, throwing away the hot dog wrapper. The two boys started once again back down the street towards David's apartment.
"But I'm not a newsie." David explained and to this, the friend shook his head.
"Doesn't matter. You're an outsider. An invader. The regular Manhattan newsies won't be happy with an outsider invading their territory." Although David knew his friend was trying to be helpful, this conversion was making David more and more nervous. He wasn't aware there were all these rules to becoming a newsie. He just thought you showed up, bought your papers and sold them. He didn't think that the newsies were as well organized as he thought they had been. From his experience, which was very little, he thought the newsies were all for themselves and didn't answer to any higher power.
"Look, when you get to the distribution center tomorrow, before you buy any papers, ask for a Scotts Thomas. My buddy mentioned that's the leader. Just explain to her your situation and that you would like to sell in the territory. I heard she's pretty fair when it comes to outsiders selling on her turf." By the time David's friend had finished his explanation, they reached David's apartment.
"Don't forget. Scotts Thomas. She's the leader." David's friend repeated, starting down the street to his apartment. Suddenly, a light went off in David's head.
"Wait!" David called out. "She?"
That night, as David laid in bed, he thought about the conversation he had with his friend, specifically the conversation about Scotts Thomas.
He was nervous about what he would be like? Was he really fair as his friend had stated, or was that a lie he had heard. What if this kid didn't let him sell in the territory! Would David have to risk getting beaten up in order to provide for his family?
As he continued to stew over every hypothetical situation in his head, one thought continued to pester him. His friend had called Scotts she. That can't be right.' David thought to himself as he turned over onto his side. He was sure that his friend had misspoken. 'There are no girl newsies, especially female newsie leaders.'
David made his way towards the World's Distribution Center with his younger brother Les, who insisted he come along, first thing in the morning. It was his first day as a newsie and he wanted to get there bright and early. David was always a punctual person, never late for anything in his life. He figured he should keep up that punctuality, even if there was no clock telling him to be on time. As David and Les made their way closer to the World's Center, he noticed a large group of young boys running towards the gates of the distribution center. They seemed much less intimidating than David thought they would be. From where David was, they seemed to just be a bunch of young boys playing, not a group of thugs.
As David got closer towards the group, which was now huddled by the distribution entrance, he noticed two boys on the other side of the gate approach and saw that the newsies had begun heckling the two boys on the other side.
"Dear Me! What is that unpleasant aroma? I fear the sewer may have backed up during the night?" one young man stated, waving his hat in front of his face.
"Na! Too rotten to be the sewer!" Another boy stated. "It must be…the Delancy Brudders!" The two stated, causing a roar of laughter from the rest of the group.
"Hey Oscar! Woird on the street is youse and ya brudder took money to beat up strikin' trolley workers!" The first boy, a young italian man, stated. From where David was, he could see the boy, Oscar, beamed with smug pride.
"Ya so? It's honest work!" Oscar exclaimed.
"A crack in da head ain't work!" Another boy shouted. Oscar and the boy next to him turned fully to the gang of newsies.
"Well, I take care of the guy who takes care of me." Oscar pronounced loudly. David noticed that the young italian boy came up closer to the two, placing his arm on Oscar's shoulder.
"Ain't ya father one of dem strikers?" He asked and Oscar shoved his arm off him, brushing his coat of wrinkled. "Well I guess he didn't take care of me." Oscar replied, shoving the boy toward the group. David watched as the other boy made his way towards a young boy with crutches.
"Ya want some too? Ya lousy crip?" He shouted, taking the boy's crutch and roughly shoving him. Some of the boys around him quickly grabbed him so he didn't fall. The group shouted in protest.
And that's when David saw her.
Emerging from the crowd, a young woman made her way into the middle of the circle. Beside her, a young man with an eye patch stood beside her. The way she made her way into the circle made David catch his breath. She moved in a powerful motion much like a general would as he addressed his soldier. Even in the dark brown skirt and emerald blouse, she looked like the leader. David couldn't stop staring at her. David, entranced by the young women and the situation unfolding before him, moved closer towards them, still trying to keep some distance between them.
"Hey, hey, hey!" She shouted, going over to the young man with the crutches, making sure he was okay before turning to the two boys. "Now, that's not nice Morris." She started. "Find that one day, you might find yourself with a bum gam of ya own. How'd you like us pickin on you?" She asked, getting much closer to the two boys. The boy with the eye patch got closer as well.
"Hey." She said to the rest of the boys. "Maybe we should find out!" She said, grabbing the crutch back and in a swift motion, jab Morris hard being the shins, causing him to fall hard on the cobblestone. The other boy, Oscar, charged at her but the boy with the eye patch stopped him, shoving him back into the group of the newsie.
'Wait till I get my hands on you!" He shouted.
"You're going to have to catch me first!" She shouted and took off running, the boys around her hollering and cheering her on.
David watched her, the boy with the eye patch and the two boys run around the square. The young woman and the boy with the eye ran much farther ahead then Oscar and Morris, swerving around pedestrians and throwing the crutch between them. At one point, the young girl had pushed herself up under an awning and as the two boys looked for her, she jumped down, kicking them both into the street. David was in shock. He's never seen a girl act like that before. Act like a boy.
Before David could think, the young women barreled into him, making both of them stagger. He grabbed on to her so she would send them tumbling to the ground. For a second, he got a look at her face. She looked much more feminine than he thought she would. Creamy skin, big blue eyes and pouty, pink lips. The only thing that seemed odd was the rather large scar that ran from the top of her cheek to her jaw line.
"What do you think you're doing?" He asked, looking concerned. Both of them looked behind, seeing the boys had created a barrier for her.
David was taken back by her smile. It was warm and friendly and it made David's heart skip a beat.
"Running!" She shouted at him and pushed herself between him and Les, running back towards some of the other boys, giving back the crutch to the young boy. David ran towards the group, pushing his way through the crowd to get to the inner circle, where he watched her and the kid with the eyepatch high five and accepted praise from the rest of the group. Les just stood in awe at the whole thing.
The newsies began to line up for their papers, energized from the spectacle that happened. As David walked into the distribution center, he watched as Oscar and Morris passed by him, looking annoyed.
"See you tomorrow, Thomas." Morris sneered.
"You're as good as dead, Thomas." Oscar threatened and several newsies, including the young girl laughed as the two moved towards the distribution window.
David started towards the distribution line when Les tugged on his pants leg. "We have to talk to the leader, remember?" Les stated. David pulled Les's hand off his pants.
David walked over towards one of the newsies and tapped him on the shoulder
"Can I help ya?" The boy asked. David was taken aback by his diction. It was horrible. Mustering up all the courage he had David asked the boy for Scotts Thomas.
"What's it to you?" A boy with an eye patch asked, over hearing David asking for Scotts and came up next to him. David's hands started to become clammy, noticing more and more boys staring at him.
"Um-I-um.." David stuttered to get out a sentence. Before he could choke on any more words, the young girl from early came up to the three of them.
"I'm Scotts Thomas." The girl said. David was in shock. The girl from earlier, was the leader?
"You're-you're Scotts Thomas?" David sputtered out, still in shock that a girl from earlier was Scotts Thomas. "But-but I thought Scotts was a boy." He admitted which was received with laughter and mockery. None of the boys were shocked at David's comment. Most people who didn't know Scotts was a boy and it was fun to watch their faces when they realized that Scotts was indeed a girl.
"You-you thought she was a boy. Jesus H. Christ, did you hear that Scotts? He thought a guy was gonna appear." A boy with a thick italian accent doubled over onto his friend, a tan muscular boy as they recovered from David's remark.
"No, no. I just ...I wasn't aware Scotts Thomas was a woman." He said.
"Well, I am." She said, moving closer to David. "Is that going to be a problem?" She asked.
David shook his head wildly. "N-no! Not at all."
Scotts smiled, giving off a much warmer energy to David. "Welcome to the Manhattan Newsies." She pointed up towards the distribution window. "You get your papes up there." She explained, smiling and made her way towards the window with the italian boy and the kid with the eyepatch behind her.
"You sure you're okay with that guy selling here?" Kid Blink, Scotts second in command asked as they made their way towards the window.
"Did you see him? He's harmless." She stated, turning around so she was walking backwards. "Besides, he has a kid with him, what about that is threatening?"
Seeing the window of the distribution shut, Scotts knocked on the window.
"Oh, Mister Wisel." She sang, looking at Kid blink and Racetrack. Behind the metal bars, the wooden curtains opened up, revealing a middle age man and Oscar and Morris, all looking annoyed. Scotts leaned on the bars and gave Mr. Wisel a warm smile.
"Good morning, Mr. Wisel. Did you miss me?" She asked. Mr. Wiesel rolled his eyes.
"How many?" He asked, watching Scott pick up a paper and reading the paper.
"Don't rush me, I'm perusin' the merchandise." She stated and then turned towards him and slapped down a quarter. "Give me the usual, please." She stated.
"Hundred papes for the wise ass." he told Morris, who gave Scotts an evil look as he slid over the papers towards her.
"See you tomorrow boys." She said and moved away from the window. Kid Blink and Racetrack came up next to her after getting their papers, sitting down on the edge of the platform and looking at the headline.
"You know, one day they are gonna murder you." Kid Blink stated, jutting his head towards Oscar and Morris, who kept giving the trio side glances.
"Oscar's just mad because I refused to go out with him on my first day here." She joked, referring to the first time she met Oscar and Morris, who both tried to flirt with her.
Kid Blink looked over at David, who was standing on line and looking around aimlessly. While Kid Blink was a trusting guy, he was still wary of newcomers and even if David didn't look like a threat, Blink still didn't fully trust David, especially after commenting on Scotts being a girl.
Scotts and Racetrack followed his gaze. "What are you looking at?" She asked and Blink turned back towards Scotts. "Nothing."
"Look at this." Scotts pointed towards a particular headline. "Baby Born with two Heads. Must be from Brooklyn." He finished.
"Hey maybe it's ya brothers." Race said to Scotts. "Don't even joke about that." She said, punching Racetrack on the arm.