It was a beautiful late-April morning in 1986. A hobo was slumped against a wall, asleep, a hat with a few coins in it at his side. While sleeping, he became aware of a voice saying, "Excuse me sir? Can I ask you something?… You might have to wake up first."

The hobo opened his eyes. A strange looking creature was standing in front of him, with his hands on his hips in a streetwise manner. He looked somewhat like a dog, and yet not. He had black fur on all of his body except his face, which was highlighted with white. He also had a large red nose, huge black eyes, two long black ears, and a slightly twitching tail. Added to that, the boy was wearing clothes that had probably been pretty nice when they were new, but were now a little ratty.

"What do you want, kid?… or whatever you are," he murmured, still asleep.

The boy looked at his money-collecting hat. "Looks like business isn't all that great. It's been bad for me, either. Being a homeless person really isn't the way to live, is it?"

The bum just looked blank, so the young creature continued. "You could use some help. With a homeless four-year-old--yours truly--at your side, you'll probably get a little more dough. We can split it 50/50."

The man held out his hand for the boy to shake it. "You've got yourself a deal, kid." The boy smiled and sat down next to the man. "So, what's your name, and story?" asked the man.

The boy gave him a look. "Don't you think that's getting a little personal? I've got this whole confused messed up story of my life, and I'm only four years old."

"Don't all bums do?" asked the man. "My name's Scott Walker. I got a degree in engineering, but there aren't any jobs available for me out here, it seems. So I live on the streets, trying to find a job. It gets harder and harder, since I can never even look good for my job interviews. There, that's my story."

The creature sighed. "Well, okay, I'll spill the beans. My name's Yakko. I don't have a last name, or at least not that I can remember. In fact, I can't even remember if I had parents or a home or anything. What annoys me is that if I did have parents--which I probably did--then they left us or died or whatever less than a month ago, cause my little sister's not even a month old yet. I can't remember where I came from, but I can remember my birthday, and my brother's and sister's also. Isn't that weird?"

Scott laughed. "Well, let me tell you something, Yakko, when you're a kid, your memory works in funny ways. You can remember some things and can't others. So, you have a brother and sister? Your sister's younger, but what about your brother?"

"Younger also. I'm the oldest, so I have to take care of them. I told Wakko--my brother--to take Dot--that's our sister--to the park. They need a chance to play, I think."

"So do you! You're only four years old!"

Yakko looked at Scott sadly. "I know that, but I have to be a 'parent' first."

Scott sighed. "Life is cruel, isn't it. So what are your siblings like?"

Yakko smiled. "Well, Wakko is wacko. Hence the name. And he likes to eat, which makes getting enough food for all of us a real problem. But he's a lot of fun to be with. I'm the only one who can understand him."

Scott chuckled. "Why, does he only speak Russian?"

"No," said Yakko, "he doesn't speak at all! He's two years old and I don't think he's made one sound out of his mouth. Except for burps, of course. I don't know how, but I can sense what he's thinking."

"What about your sis?"

"Oh, Dot? She's probably the cutest baby you've ever seen. She's… small, though. Fragile, almost. I worry about her."

"And so you are taking care of a two-year-old and a baby single-handedly?"

"Pretty much."

Someone walking by threw a few dollars at them. "Thank you!" Scott and Yakko called out at the same time.

Scott looked at Yakko. "Maybe we should split it 25/75."

Yakko looked horrified. "Why would we do that?"

"You've got two other people to feed! I've only got myself."

"Well, if you insist… Thanks a lot!"

Fear gripped at Wakko's mind. All he had done was pick up that half of a big, soft, warm pretzel on the ground a few yards away, and when he returned, Dot was gone. Wakko had no clue where she could have gotten to, or how, for that matter. She wasn't even a month old yet, much too young to crawl.

~I'm so stupid!~ he silently cursed himself. ~I should've just brought her with me! She's not that heavy!~

He then heard giggles from children a few years older than him. He ran towards the sounds and saw two girls gently lifting baby Dot up so she could splash in the birdbath. Wakko ran towards them.

"Hey, look!" said one of them. "It's another one! Is this your sister?" she asked, addressing Wakko.

Wakko nodded.

"She's so CUTE!" squealed the other girl. "You must be so proud of her!"

Smiling with pride, Wakko nodded again.

The first looked at him quizzically. "What's the matter? Can't you talk?"

Wakko's smile faded quickly. He shook his head sadly.

"Jeez, that must stink," said the second. "Here's your sister back. Don't worry, we didn't hurt her."

She picked up Dot and handed her to Wakko. Wakko hugged Dot tightly and nodded his thanks to the girls. Then he strolled out of the garden.

"That was sweet," the first girl said.

"Yeah," said her friend, "but what exactly WERE they?"

The first laughed. "They were cute, that's what!"

It was only 11:00 A.M., but Yakko and Scott had already made a fair amount of money. "We are champion bums!" proclaimed Yakko triumphantly.

"Hey, Yakko, look!" cried Scott, looking down the street and seeing the two Yakko-like creatures coming closer. "Are those your siblings?"

Yakko spun his head around. "They certainly are! What are they doing here?"

Wakko's greeting was very much the same. ~What are YOU doing here?~

"What does it look like I'm doing? I'm getting some money! Why aren't you at the park?"

Wakko shrugged. ~We got bored. At least, I did. Who can tell with Dot?~ Wakko tickled his little sister in the ribs. Dot shrieked with laughter.

"Not so hard, Wakko!" cried Yakko. "You don't know how much she can take!"

Wakko sulked. ~I was NOT being extreme!~

Scott looked at Wakko. "So you must be Wakko!" he said. Wakko nodded. "Well, Wakko, it's very nice to meet you. And it's very nice to meet Dot. You were right, Yakko! She IS the cutest baby I've ever seen!"

Yakko sighed. "Since my sibs can't keep busy for more than two hours, I'd better leave and take my fifty."

"No, Yakko, I insist. Take more than that."

"No, no, no, I won't hear of it. I'm the one who barged in on you. Technically, it's your money."

"Here, take this. Please."

Yakko sighed. He wasn't one who liked to be in debt to anyone, and, in a weird way, had a hard time accepting kindness. "Oh, okay, but only because you were polite!"

As the sibs walked away, Wakko pulled on Yakko's sleeve to get his attention. ~You know, you could just accept when people want to be nice to us!~

"I don't want people to feel pity for us, Wakko," explained Yakko. It seemed to him that he had to explain this to Wakko everyday.

Wakko wouldn't drop the subject, though. ~Well, if you won't let them, then who will?~

Yakko grinned grimly. (AN: I did it again! Grim grin!) "Us!"