10 year old Caps sat down on the curb frustrated. She couldn't go home. Not today anyway.
If only her arm had never broken on that stupid machine.
If only her Ma hadn't died.
If only her Pa hadn't become an alcoholic.
If only there weren't so many if onlys.
A well dressed gentleman in a top hat walked by her. "Excuse me sir" Caps said hopefully. "Can you spare a penny for my dinner?" The man didn't even stop to say no, he just walked on briskly as if he had something important to do. Caps sighed, "I'm gona be in for it tonight if I don't get some money soon." she thought to herself. "It's already almost 8:30 and I only have 10 cents." Ten cents wasn't going to satisfy her Pa. No way.
Caps looked down at the big, ugly bruise on her good arm. "Can't let that be happening again can we?" said a voice just above her head. Caps looked up to see an elderly woman with big, sad, blue eyes. "Oh hello Mrs. Jenkins." Caps said. "How are you this evening?" "Good thank you." Mrs. Jenkins said. "I wish I could say the same for you though. Let me have a look at that."
"No." Caps said" It doesn't hurt." She lied. Mrs. Jenkins looked at her worriedly. "Ok" she said. "But I have a mind to talk to that daddy of yours." "Don't do that Mrs. Jenkins! I'm fine really! I can take it, I'm tough." Caps said bravely. "Can you really?" asked the old woman seriously, and then without waiting for an answer she turned to leave "Well I'd better be getting home now. Goodnight Samantha." Caps hated it when people called her by her real name. "Wait, Mrs. Jenkins, can you spare a few pennies?" She asked" I really need some money." "Sorry" Mrs. Jenkins said. "I can't... I really would if I could but I don't have any to give." Caps nodded understandingly. "It's ok. Goodnight Mrs. Jenkins." Caps said and watched her walk away.
A young woman walked past her. "Excuse me Mam." Said Caps holding out her hand. "Can you spare a penny for my supper? " The woman looked at her sympathetically and dropped two pennies in her hand. "You best be getting home," said the woman. "It's much too late for little girls like you to be out begging in a city like this." "Thank you Mam." Caps said as the woman walked away. "I'll be going home shortly."
"Excuse me m…" Caps started to say, but she was interrupted by her sister Bethany. "Sam we better be getting home." She said. "Pa's been drinking again." Caps sighed and started to walk with her sister solemnly. "How much money did you get?" asked Bethany worriedly. "We don't want Pa getting angry again tonight." Caps looked down still not saying a word. "Caps what's wrong?" Bethany asked. "You can tell me."
"I only made 12 cents." said Caps sadly. "Twelve cents!" cried her sister. "Oh Sam. What have you been doing all day?" "I tried my best! Really I did, but people just aren't very generous Beth!" Caps cried back at her sister. "I believe you Sam," said Beth comfortingly. "Let's just get home. "