"Simple, Slips." Spot said, jumpin' down from 'is mountain. "You'se was talking wit' da Mouth and' Cowboy after da fight."

I put my hands on my hips. "That's you're problem? I was talkin' wit' the Mouth. It wasn't exactly friendly-like conv'sation. And I was talkin' to the Cowboy cause I used ta be a 'Hattan newsie. We was talkin' about nothin'! About the Mouth!"

Spot could find no point to this. So instead he put 'is face up real close to mine and glared at me wit' those blue eyes o' his.

An' he snarled. "Jump."

That was it! I punched 'im an' widout blinkin' he caught my fist before it hit his face.

"Spot Conlon!" I yelled. "Did you just tell me to jump?" Everybody looked over. Nobody told me to jump. I said so to Spot. "Nobody. I mean nobody tells me to jump, Spot Conlon!" I wrestled my fist back.

He glared at me. "I'se da leadah here, Slips."

"You think you're so fancy wit' your special made slingshot and cane! Whenevah you got your Brooklyn on, nobody can say a word to you!" I yelled at him. People came over. "You're vile and cruel and arrogant! And you should never, ever tell me to jump."

People only stared at me. Spot looked at me. "You really wan' a fight, Slips?"

"I wan' an apology fer tellin' me to jump! I answah to ya, Spot. An' I told Mouth so. I answah only to Spot Conlon an' Brooklyn. But you ain't got the right to treat me like dirt!"

"Fine." I could see how much it hurt Spot to have to do this. "I'm sorry fer tellin' ya to jump, Slips." 'He glared at the crowd around us. "You tell anyone about this an' I tell da Bulls you'se are all carryin' bombs."

I grinned. That's my Spot. I hugged him and kissed 'im. "I'm sorry, too." I whispered in his ear. But that was as sentimental as I would ever, EVER, get.

The next day we all went to dis rest'raunt in 'Hattan. That reporter was there wit' 'is newspaper, the New York Sun.

The picture 'e took from the fight the day before was on the front page.

Ev'ryone crowded around the pape. The reporter, Denton, put it down in front o' Jack.

Da boys gathered round Jack like little kids. "Where's me picture, where's me picture?" Spot cried over Jack's shoulder.

Mush put 'is finger on da picture. "Look at you, Jack. You look like a general or somethin'."

"Hey, will ya get you're finger's off my face." Jack said, brushing 'em off.

"Where does it say my name? Where's my name?" Spot demanded with a childish whine. I almost laughed.

"Will ye quit thinkin' about yourself?" Cowboy said.

"You got us on the front page." Mouth said to Denton.

"You got yourselves on the front page." He said. I may vomit. "You just gotta make sure you stay there." 'E don't talk New York, neither. Most adults don't.

"What?" Skittery asked. "You get your picture in the papes so what's that get you, huh?"

"What you talkin' about, huh?" Mush said.

Everyone started yellin' at Skittery. "You been a bad mood all day."

"I ain't been in a bad mood." Skittery said crossly.

"You're bloomin' dumb." Racetrack said. "What's da matter witchyou?" He pushed Skittery's face away, nearly into Mush's. "You're in the papes, you're famous. You're famous you get anythin' you want." He slammed a fist on the table. "That's what so great about New York." People cheered.

An' then they started singin'. A regular musical, dese guys. Even Spot joined in.

Mush: A pair o' new shoes with matchin' laces.

Racetrack: A permanent box at Sheepshead races.

Spot: A porcelain tube wit' boilin' water.

Blink: A Saturday night wit' da mayor's daughter!

And they sang on and on about bein' da king's o' New York. Boys. Weirdest creatures in da woild.

Once erryone was sane again, dey all gadered round a table and Cowboy said,

"So let's have some ideas."

An' den da Mouth starts talkin'. Somebody gotta put a lid on dis kid.

"Well, we gotta show people where we stand."

"Yeah so we gotta stay in da papes." Cowboy says.

Denton just has to put a downer on da whole conv'sation. "My paper's the only one printing any strike news so far."

Cowboy wiped his face.

"So we should do somethin' dat's so big, de other papers are gonna feel stupid if dey try an' ignore us." He said. "Like a rally."

"A newsie rally wit' all da kids from New York. We make it da biggest, loudest, noisiest blowout dis town's evah seen." A man slid a tray of cups full o' soda onto da table.

Den Mouth's gotta open up again. FER HEAVEN'S SAKE, SHUT DIS KID UP! "We'll send a message to the big boys." This guy's a lunatic. And the world will know.

But ev'ryboy agrees wit' dis lunatic and grab cups. Cowboy talks again.

"Dere's a lotta us. An' we ain't goin' away. We'll fight until damn doomsday if it means we get a fair share." Ev'rybody shouts deir 'greement an' dey all toast deir damn man Denton.

Next day Kim comes an' gives us da report o' da day.