BY BIANKIES

So here I am standing at the Brooklyn bridge. So many memories but one stands out. It was a day just like this and I was standing at the bridge. Well that day I was nervous and well I am just rambling so here I begin. My name is Snipeshooter and this is the story of the day someone broke Mush.

It started like any normal day would. I woke up as soon as Kloppman came up the stairs and I snuck up to Race's bed and stole his cigar as Kloppman woke up the others. Normally I just put it in my mouth and get back on my bed but I was feeling a little more mischievous than normal so I took it over to Skitery whom was trying to sleep despite Kloppy's shouting and I stuck it in the back pocket of his pants where Race was sure to see it. Then I went back to my bunk to enjoy the show.
Let me tell you it was really fun to watch. Racetack woke up and started looking for his cigar. He blamed me but I pretended to be inocent. It worked and he went on looking. He saw the half awake Skittery and HIS cigar. The chase that came from this was really funny. Well right untill Skittery ran into Jack whom was holding onto a bar of soap. The soap went flying through the air and landed directly in Snoddy's path. Snoddy slipped and crashed into Blink whom accidentily shoved Mush into the corner post of the nearest bunk bed. Mush fell but unlike the others he did not get up.

We all stared until Kloppy came up the stairs to check on us since we were all late. The moment he saw Mush he nearly had a heart attack. (Well we all felt the same since Mush is the nicetest guy in all of New York.) He did not take as long to recover as the rest of us since he was the adult and he knew he had to do something so he sent me down to get the medical box stuff and he told Blink to explain why exactly he looks like he had seen a ghost. I didn't hear what he said but I am perfectly sure he felt bad since Mush had been his shadow, partner in crime and best friend since he came to the lodging house. It was not odd to see them toghether all the time even though Blink was seventeen and Mush only two weeks shy of his fifteenth birthday. Everybody knew they were only seperated when Blink had another girl he wanted to take on a date. They even sold together. It had been that way since Blink found Mush when he was starving out on the streets. Mush had only been six and Blink was eight and already a Newsie when he brought Mush to Kloppy. That was the day Mush started to follow Blink everywhere. They were selling partners from day one but that had turned into the best friendship in the losging house three years later when Blink hurt his eye and Mush had half carried the olde boy home. The ever helpful Mush nearly got hisself locked up in the refuge to steal him an eyepatch for his birthday the next week. They were like two good brothers after that.

When I got back upstairs I volunteered to stay with Mush so Blink could go sell for the two of them. I still had some money saved up and I did feel a bit guilty since I was the one to put the cigar in Skittery's pocket in the first place but I was not willing to admit it. It took Jack and Kloppy to convince him to sell and let me keep watch simce the two of them had lost most of their money to Race the night before. He agreed but only after making me promise to go get him when Mush woke up or he would soak the snot outta me. Needless to say I agreed since I was terrified of Blink's temper. That was another good thing about Mush he hated fighting and he knew just how to calm Blink or just talk him out of fighting.

So anyway there I was sitting on a chair next to my bed ( which I had not volunteered Blink just decided I was happy with switching until Mush woke up even though I am not too happy abou heights) just waiting for Mush to wake up. I was bored and more than a little tired so despite my best efforts I fell asleep right there in the chair.

"Wake up Snipes I brough ya some lunch." Jack said as he shook my shoulder gently.

Well he did not need to ask me twice. I was up when he said lunch. I was hungry and everything but still you could get any street kid to do anything whith the offer of free food. I was no different, well I would pretty much dress up like Medda for a Havanna cigar but that is a secret so no telling.

I ate gratefully the moment Jack handed over the hotdog. He chuckled as he turned to check on Mush whom was still out cold on my bed. It was not good but we didn't have the money to get a Doc to look at him so we could only wait for him to wake up and do what Kloppy said in the meantime.

"If he aint awake tonight I'll get Boots to swich wit ya. " Jack promised.
Boots was the only one besides Kloppman and Jack to know about my thing with heights. He was also my best friend so I knew that he would do it for me even if Jack was not the one asking. "Thanks Jack." I said just before he left.

Well at lights out Mush was still out cold in my bed so Boots climbed the ladder to the bad above his which was normally occupied by Mush while I crawled into his bed. I was out like a light before my head even hit the pillow. I woke to Kloppman's usual wake up call but something was different this morning. I could feel it. Well it could be the fact that I was not next to Race this morning or maybe it was the fact that I had actually slept until Kloppman's wake up call in the first place but that did not mean that I minded it. Boy was I wrong. "Hey that's my cigar!" Race exclaimed.
I was about to protest when I heard the strangest thing. I heard Mush say: "You'll steal anudda." which was my way of saying good morning to Race. I was not the only one to do a double take on that. I could see Blink looking rather dumb as he told the two of them to cool it. Jack was doubled over in laughter. Snoddy was scratching his head and me, well my jaw hit the ground as I stared at Mush whom was acting weird. The rest of the day went somewhat normal but Mush was calling me Mush and he was now selling with Boots like I do every morning leaving me stuck with Blink. We played it to our advantage as we put on a show of two starving siblings that got us sold out pretty quick.

Things got weird when we got to Tibby's and Mush was sneaking up on Race to steal his cigar just like I always do. I looked over to Boots and he looked more than a little feeaked out. I understood but he was not the one who lost his identity to Mush. I sat down with Blink and Jack which was weird since I always sat with Bumlets, Boots, snoddy, Jake and Blanket. "Get back here ya thief!"Race shouted as he ran after Mush. It was both funny and scary to watch. Even old Tibby looked like he was not sure whether to laugh or break it up. He always thought it was funny that I could get away with it every day.

Jack was the one to take action by telling the two of them to sit down. They listened and Blink suggested that we sold with Boots and the very confused Mush. It was aproved and we soon left Tibby's as a group to go sell in Central Park. Where Mush sold quickly since he only bought fourty papes like I always do. When he amd Boots were done he insisted on playing Marbles which he could not play to save his life. I watched him pull out a cigar and bum a match off of me. I was a little reluctant since Mush hates smoking but I gave it to him anyway. He lit the Cigar and smoked happily after the first coughing fit was over. Then he went on to loosing all the Marbles that looked kinda like mine. Me and Blink watched in awe as for a while before we decided to go back to the Lodging house. That night was horifying. Mush was pulling pranks on everyone. He topped it by somehow getting a cat into the bunkroom and closing the windows. It took all of us and Kloppy to get it out of the window and onto the fire escape. "Is I really this bad?" I asked Bumlets whan we got ready for bed. "Nah, wese used ta you doin this but your just a kid. Its weird seein Mush do it." He replied rufling my hair. That night I was once again stuck in Boots's bed since Mush believed he was Snipeshooter. I couldn't sleep. Nobody knew what to do. Not even Kloppy and he knew everything. It was odd seeing Mush like that. It was more than odd, it was scary. Not even Spot could top this.
Wait tha's it I would go get Spot! He is the King of Brooklyn he would know what to do. I bet he could just tell Mush to snap out of it and he would. That guy is really scary evem though he is short ( I never said that okay?). Everyone listened to Spot. Even Denton listened when Spot told him to beat it after Denton asked him about his nickname the day Brooklyn saved us during the strike three months ago.

So when everyone was asleep I got up and dressed as quickly as I could whithout waking anyone up and walked to the window. I opened it quietly and very nearly got away without being caight but Jake and Pie eater had to be a very light sleepers. "Where ya goin Snipes?" Pie asked.
"I'm goin ta see Spot. Maybe he can help Mush. I want him to be Mush again." I replied in a stage whisper.
Jake and Pie would tell Jack and Kloppy where I went. All I had to do was get Spot to help. That meant going down the fire escape and across the very high, very long Brooklyn Bridge. Nothing scary about that, right?

"If ya get Spot ta fix this I'll buy ya a Havanna cigar." Race said poking his head out of the window. Was everyone awake?

"Nah, I just wanna be tha only Snipeshooter." I replied nearly smacking myself on the head but luckilly Race turned it into a bet.
"I'll persenally take up a collection. Everyone wants Mush back. Maybe we can getcha more than one if you get Mush back ta bein Mush." Specs said poping his head out too. "I'll give ya free lodging for the month. Just get Conlon to help." Kloppy said as he popped out his head out of the window as well. Okay I must have made a racket or they were having trouble sleeping too.

So there I was on the Brooklyn Bridge. Tremblimg and whimpering like a lost four year old. I was terrified. I told you I was not fond of height right? Well yeah so I am scared so what at least I am still walking on it!
I tried to keep my mind on what I had to do. 'Find Spot and get him to help.' I kept repeating it in my head. The only problem was where to find him. Getting him to help would be a little easier since I had about ten dollars in savings back at the lodging house. I knew it was there I had checked and I knew better than to bring it with me. I was just twelve and Brooklyn was a bad place to be at night but I was deperate.

I was absolutely glad when I stepped into Brooklyn. Now all I had to do was get to the lodging house which was near the docks and I would be fine. Hopefully. Well it all depends on whether or not Spot Conlon was in a listening mood. Which he hopefully was. Still I would rather be soaked by the king of Brooklyn than see Mush acting weird again. Trust me when I say it was creepy and I am not half as anoying as he makes me look. I didn't think Brooklyn could make me more nervous than the bridge but Brooklyn at night was not a place you wanted to be caught. Still the thought of Mush acting like me one more day and the thought of a cigar of my own and free lodging for the month made me walk faster.

When I reached the lodging house I was shaking badly. I could not decide what was scarier, the fire escape or waking Spot Conlon. Well now that I think of it Spot is worse than heights when he was having a good day so there was definately no competition there. Spot wins hands down( which is hopefully the way his hands will stay since I am not looking forward to getting soaked).

With a small wimper and legs as weak as Mush's threats I climbed the fire escape slowly, very slowly. When I reached the top I tried to open the window quietly but it was not even open an inch before someone from the inside threw it open and dragged me inside where I was gently (yeah right) shoved onto the floor.

"I aint gonna steel notin'. Please don't kill me." I said in a voice that did not sound like mine. Everyone laughed at me before I heard the very familiar and not too friendly voice shouting at them to get to bed. Niw believe me when I tell you I was nearly trampled since evry boy in the room was back in their beds in ten seconds. I understood their hurry Spot made me nervous and I don't have to live with that temper of his day and night. I was about to explain myself when I was roughly pulled to my feet and practically draged out of the bunkroom. I tried not to wimper or actually cry but I am just twelve and even though I like to act older sometimes I am still considered a little kid and I coud ocasionally act like one.

"Youse gets ome minute ta tell why yer 'ere 'fore Ise soak ya." Spot said in a neutral tone but I could see that his eyes were shooting daggers.

Before I could even think about it I was talking so fast he had to actually stop me amd make me start again. I told him everything. Even the fact that Race was chasing Skittery because I put the cigar in the taller teen's pocket. He listened with only a nod here and there as I relayed every one of Mush's pranks. From the cigar stealing to hiding Jack's beloved bandanma amd hat and even the spider in Skittery's bed which was very weird since Mush is even more mervous of spiders tham Skittery and the money I had saved up which he could have if he turned Mush back into Mush

"So ya see, mistah Spot, sir. I need help." I said making him smirk. I would have added somethimg like yer Majesty but that was going too far. I am desperate but flettery is the Mouth's job. I was the prankster and trouble maker.

"Sure, kid." Was all spot said. Well if he wanted to say more I think I didn't exactly give him the chance since I tackled him with a hug practically shouting: "Thank you, youse the best pall a kid can have!". Lets just say he did not exactly like that so he just shoved me onto my butt again. This time I did not mind so much. I was just glad he was going to help.

It was ten minutes and two near hugs (which was warded off by planting the gold tip of his his cane on my chest) later that we were off. I was instructed to walk quietly. It was hard to keep my mouth shut since I would normally have talked his ears off just to annoy him but I didn't want him to ho back to bed and leave me to live out my life as someome other than Snipeshooter.

The bridge was a little worse this time around since I didn't want to look nervous in front of Spot and it was starting to get lighter out so I can see the heights. Luckilly Spot can be nice whem he wanted to be so he waled between me and the railing which made it a little better (but I still think I looked like a terrified baby no matter how brave the others said I was for this).

When we reached the lodging house Jack opened the door and poor Spot was tackled with huggs from practicly the entire lodging house. Even Kloppy pulled the king of Brooklyn in for a hugg. The funniest of all of the was when Blink actually managed to tackle the king of Brooklyn down since he was busy keeping Tumbler at bay with the tip of his cane. In the end he had to threaten to go home without helping to actually get everyone to leave him alone. He also told them to keep out of the bunk room entirely nefore grabing amother fist full of my shirt and pulling me into the bumkroom where Mush was sitting on his bed moping like I would when Jack told me I couldn't sell because of a prank gone too far or something like that.

I was told to wait by the door while Spot fixed Mush. It started with Spot just staring at Mush for a while untill poor Mush looked more than just a little nervous to me. Spot them grabbed Mush's shirt and pulled him to his feet. Poor Mush looked like he was about to cry. Well who could blame him. Spot is worse than anyone's worst fear even when he is in a good mood.

"Snap outa this, ya bum or I'll fix ya so ya can't walk." Spot ordered without raising his voice though he did sound like he was ready to kill someone.

He shoved Mush back onto the bed and ordered le to sit down too. I was rather confused now as he made us both sit quietly for what felt like hours. He was just staring at ys abd that made me nervous. Okay so I admit there are a lot of things that made me nervous but if you look at Spot Conlon, the Spot Conlon whom could have avyone want to jump off the Brooklyn Brindge with one glare, you would be nervous too.

"You owe me ten bucks, Snipeshooter. So get it." He ordered in the same tone.

I looked nervously from Spot to Mush, whom was still sitting down lokoking confused, before getting the money I had hidden and handing it over. Spot nodded at me once before glaring at Mush again and walkimg out of the lodging house.

"Why was Spot mad at me, I didn't do nothin' stupid, an' why do ya owe him ten bucks, Snipes?" Mush asked rubbing his head where Spot had wacked him.

"It's a long story mush." I replied with a grin and he just nodded.

When we got outside Spot was waking Race over the head with his cane. I leaned down to check on him. I looked up at Spot whom was already half way down the block. I was mad. No one but me messed with Race.

"Race you okay?" Jack asked as Race opened his eyes.

"Why you callin' me Race, Ise Snipeshooter." Race said with a confused face.

I looked at him for a moment longer before I practically fell over my feet as I charged after Spot hoping to catch up to him before he went back to Brooklyn. I was not going to let Raceteack Higgins act like me too!

I saw Spot near the bridge but before I could call out to him someone tackled me to the pavement earning the two of us odd glances from the passing people. I ignored them and turned to whomever had just tackled me. I was going to give that someone a good soaking even Spot conlon would be proud of.

I dropped my fists again when I came face to face with a grinning Swifty. He was breathing as hard as I was. Hell he must have really sprinted to catch up with me but why would he stop me from asking Spot to fix Race?

"Well if my name aint Swifty it would be yours. So yeah when I leave start going by swifty." He said with a grin as he got up and held out a hand for me.

"Ise gotta get Spot. He has to fix Race!" I practically shouted.

"Nah, we were just messing with ya. Spot told us you deserved it. So I guess it was a prank that got us into the whole mess in the first place." Swifty said with a smirk as we started walkimg to the distribution and I told him about the prank.

Well, so there you have it. The story of the day one of my pranks broke Mush Meyers and how Spot fixed him. So yeah, I never pulled a prank like that again. Okay that was a lie, I just made sure to tell the others to watch out before I do it. And yes I did get free bording for a month and the guys ended ug getting me eight Havannah cigars and I am perfectly sure Swifty and Snich stole most of them.

Well that did not mean that I stopped stealing Race's cigars, but I didn't smoke them for a while. But now I gotta run since Bumlets just found out who took his walking stick.