Basically, we sold well that day, despite the bad news.
I sold with Sling for safety, while Spot sold with Snake, his best knife-thrower.
I met with the rest of my girls at the café after work.
"So what're ya gonna do?" Dicey asked.
"Wait." I said, shrugging. "Sell papes. Avoid flying knives. Keep an eye on Spot."
"Aw, dat's sweet, sugah, but I don' need a sittah." A voice drawled behind me.
I banged my head slowly, hard, on the table, rattling the table as my girls laughed.
"Spot, don't you got better things to do than bug me?" I moaned, my voice muffled by the table.
"Naw," Spot said behind me. "Wolf ain't around to bug me so'se I'se got nothin' ta do."
"Well, go yell at Poker. He's beatin' Snake out of his lunch money an' then they'll both get kicked out." I ordered. Spot looked over and saw I was telling the truth.
"I'll be back, Gypsy." He muttered rebelliously before doing as he was told.
"Not healthy, Gypsy." Sling reprimanded.
"If I cared about health, I'd pay attention." I yawned. "Seeing as I don't, I'm gonna ask you goils, have you noticed anything weird about Spot lately?" I made sure he was yelling at Poker before I went on. "Like he's distracted or tired?"
Dicey nodded reluctantly and Jewels followed suit. Kitty shrugged. Sling copied Jewels and Dicey, but Witchy stayed motionless.
"Witchy?" I prompted. "You got somethin' to share with the class?"
She shrugged. "I got plenty tah say. Wheddah I say it o' not is somethin' else."
"Spill," Sling ordered sternly. Dicey muffled a giggle.
"Easy, goils. You'se is blind. Spot's sick." She put her feet on the table. "Fevah, distracted, tired."
This of course started a wave of murmurs at our table.
"Spot?" Jewels gaped at Witchy. "Sick? Like, really actually sick?"
"The Spot Conlon?" Dicey muttered. "Sick?"
Kitty paled and whimpered. She clutched my arm as a shadow fell over our table.
"Mistah Spot, we'se didn't mean aythin'." She muttered.
Spot was furious, you could see that if you were blind. His stormy eyes were on fire, boring holes into my brain, and his face was fixed in a scowl.
I took Kitty into my lap.
"Stop it Spot, you're scaring her." I scolded, seemingly oblivious to his temper.
"Gypsy, outside, now." He hissed through clenched teeth.
Well, when Spotty calls, you better listen. Unless you want to end up at the bottom of the East River.
I handed Kitty over to Dicey, who took her gladly and mouthed, Good luck.
I followed Spot out to the opening of an alley, oblivious to passersby.
"Yeah?" I asked, when Spot just glared at me for a few seconds.
"Gypsy," He warned, like a dog gives a warning growl.
He just glared at me. He didn't seem to have the energy to deal with me. His face was flushed and he had circles under his eyes.
"If ya tell anyone, I'll rip your guts out and feed 'em to Kitty." Spot growled.
"Holy Brooklyn, you are sick." I gaped at him. "Spot, you've gotta tell someone, or, or get some rest."
"I can't rest, Gypsy. I'se gots Brooklyn to run." Spot insisted.
"Then turn it over to Wolf for a couple of days. Sling and I and some of your newsies have extra cash, you can take a couple o' days off an' have someone take care o'-"
"I ain't nevah havin' anyone takin' care o' me, Gypsy. Nevah, d'ya heah?"
I nodded mutely. After all, he'd grabbed me by the throat by now, I couldn't exactly speak.
He let me go and I rubbed my neck.
"And I don't suppose you've thought on what might happen if you get sick real bad?" I asked him, leaving. "What happens to Brooklyn if you die?"
I let him think on that. I went back into the café. I swore my girls to secrecy and picked up Kitty. The five year old clung to me and I took her back to the lodging house.