I always loved Newsies since I was a kid, and somehow never grew out of it. But the relationship between Spot and Jack always intrigued me. At their first meeting in the movie it was clear there was a lot of history between them. And when Spot says that line "That ain't good enough Jackie boy, you got to show me." The looks between them made me start to think. And thus this story was born. Honestly I first wrote it and posted it maybe 15 years ago in like middle school, and it was a mess of grammatical errors and such. Some of the problems came from me trying to write out a New York accent… a mistake that just made things look bad. So I fixed that and now you just have to image the dialogue has the expected New York accent. Anyway here is the all fixed up story reposted after a long time being gone.
This story doesn't start where you would expect, on the streets of Brooklyn, but instead it starts in a small apartment in Manhattan. Yes, ladies and gentleman the famous Spot Conlon, the leader of the Brooklyn newsies was actually from Manhattan. But he'd never tell anyone that. Like so many of the other lost boys that made up the newsies, the secrets of his past were known only by him, and one other.
Spot Conlon was actually born James Andrew Conlon, he later would get the name Spot because someone commented he was always getting himself into a spot of trouble, and somehow it stuck, and he liked it more than his real name.
He was born to two people who cared nothing for each other or him, and who never wanted a child. But he made do; he learned to stay out of his father's way when he was drunk and out of his mother's way all the time. He also learned early on that you couldn't depend on or trust adults, only on yourself and occasionally other kids.
All in all he got by. He had a place to sleep most nights and didn't starve, he never thrived but he always sorta managed. He spent most his time hanging out on street corners with his friends. Making trouble by shooting marbles with slingshot at the horses going by to startle them. He was always a natural with a slingshot, having it made him feel safer. He had learned quick to defend himself with anything at hand, including if necessary just his hands alone. But his small size always seemed to work against him, making him an easy target to those around him.
Eventually his mother just stopped coming home, and his father never commented on it. But Spot didn't mind, it was a relief to only have one parent to dodge. The only thing that woman had ever done for him was birth him, and she's made him pay for that twenty times over, so he felt no sorrow to finally be rid of her. He did notice when his father didn't come back. But only because that was when they kicked him out of the apartment. And just like that he was on his own; he just was thirteen.
He didn't waste time complaining about the unfairness of it all, he just dealt with it. And the way he dealt was by going out to find some way to survive. He'd always kinda figured something like this might happen sometime, and he'd kept an eye out on the world to plan for what to do. So when the carpet was pulled out from under him, he rolled with the punches and went with what he thought was the best plan, to work as a newsie.
And that's when he met Jack. Jack Kelly was a year older than him and though he claimed that his parents were out west looking for a ranch, something in his eyes turned cold and bleak when he said it. To Spot's eyes he was an odd contradiction, cold eyes when asked about himself but kind eyes filled with humor when dealing with the younger kids. It was a contradiction that intrigued Spot.
Their first meeting didn't go the way most people would have thought, considering how it all ended up. The first time they met was at the newsboys lodging house, Spot's first stop in his plan. Stepping in you could immediately tell that Jack, although young, had clearly made himself the leader. Spot could see that from the second he walked in, that everyone looked up to him, either in totally hero worship or just with real respect. There was only one person who didn't act like Jack ruled the world and could fix anything, and he would later realize that it was only because he seemed to be Jack's second in command of sorts. He introduced himself as Racetrack, to which Spot smirked slightly in amusement. Race dragged him over to Jack, so Jack could look him over himself.
"So who's the runt?" Jack asked and Spot bristled with fury.
"New kid, says his names Spot" Race replied with a glint of humor in his voice.
"Doesn't look like anything special, give him a bed I guess" Jack said with indifference.
"Yeah well you don't look like much neither" Spot snapped unable to keep quiet.
"Well would you look at that, the shrimp has a backbone, and a big mouth. Kid unless you want me to break that mouth I advise you keep it shut" Jack snapped.
"And if I don't?" Spot challenged, never able to back down from a fight even when he knew he'd loose.
"Then I'll make you" Jack said with quiet certainty, getting up from the bunk and standing up, which put his head way above Spot.
"I'd like to see you try" Spot said while internally he berated himself for picking a fight when he needed to belong here.
"Oh when I'm done with you, seeing won't be an option" Jack said confidently and shoved him up against the wall.
What followed was a bloody fight, with both of them getting bloody noses, lips and many various bruises to boot. They were closely matched, to both of their surprise and to the surprise of all those who watched, but as always Spots small size was slowly working against him. The fight was quick and dirty, but after a few minutes Jack used his larger size to trap Spot and stop his movement.
"Enough, I've got a feel for what you can do now, lets end this" Jack said clearly, and then in an undertone meant only for Spot "Quit while you're ahead kid, you are good but with the size difference you can't win and I don't want to seriously injure you."
Spot nearly grinned in relief having seen the writing on the wall and glad that Jack was playing this off as testing his skills. "Fine by me" and he moved forward towards Jack, this time not in a threatening manner.
Jack spat on his hand and held it out to him, clearly a gesture long used, he paused for Spot to shake it; only to have Spot give him a odd look. Spot noticed that no one around them seemed phased and decided it must be some news boy handshake thing, and that if he wanted to look like he belonged he'd better play along, disgusting or not. So he followed the suite by spitting into his own hand and only then grabbing hold of Jack. A flicker of amusement crossed Jack's face and for the first time a smile slowly graced his face, and in spite of himself Spot smiled back. They had both met their match. And with this came the start of a bond that would end up meaning more to both of them than they ever could have imagined.