AN: Time to change history, people. I'm ready. Are you?
Summary: A whole lot of movies have been made about when the 'big earthquake' hits NYC. Well, it's about to. It's 3 o 'clock in NYC, on a sunny August afternoon in 1899. All the newsies are scattered all over the city selling their papers. And that's when the ground begins to shake. Will they ever find everyone? Or the bigger question…
Did everyone make it out alive?
"Dog saves owner from inferno! Fido becomes a hero!" I screamed, making my way down the crowded street. I was so mad at myself that I could barely concentrate on selling, but I managed to sell a few.
Why did I have to snap at him? I knew he would get mad. I knew he would run off like that. And now my selling partner was off selling by himself in Manhattan.
He can take care of himself. Don't worry about it. You'll see him at Tibby's tonight and you can apologize.
Yeah, right. Don't worry about it. Like I'd ever be able to do that. I sold my last paper, and then I groaned and took off running. I had to find him and apologize. It couldn't just wait until Tibby's. Something told me I had to do it now.
I rehearsed it in my head: "I'm sorry, Mush. I didn't mean to say that about your mother. It was just…"
Well, Kid, what was it? A mistake? A reflex? Yeah, right. You know he's all sensitive about his mother and stuff, ever since she kicked the bucket. And you had to go and say something stupid. Real smart, Blink, real smart. He always warned you about keeping your temper in check, and who do you lose it on? Your best friend, and the person who warned you in the first place!
Where would he have gone? Bottle Alley? Central Park? I had no idea.
Shit. I would just have to take a guess.
Just as I turned to make my way to Central Park, the ground began to shake beneath my feet…
"Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Woman accused of killing her husband in da Bronx!" I screamed over the roar of the crowd at the tracks. Of course, the guy had gotten food poisoning by food his wife had cooked, but murder sounded so much better.
I sold a few papers and then sat down, lighting up a cigar and watching the race continue. I had bet on number seven, AppleSider. And she was looking as lucky as ever today.
I wondered who I would borrow rent for tonight from if she lost- I had bet my last nickel on her. Maybe Mush would be in the mood to chip in to the 'save Race from his gambling addiction taking him to the grave' fund, as it had come to be known. Maybe Swifty had a few extra pennies on him, too. I'd have to ask real nicely, since this was the second time this week.
Or maybe she'd actually win…wouldn't that be a blessing!
But she never got the chance. No horse won the race that afternoon. Because as I sat there, the ground began to move of its own accord, and the horses scattered and fell like dominos…
Wow. 10 cents. I actually found a copy of the book Specs had been wanting for only 10 cents! Not to mention this was the day that I had to have it…the party was tonight, and I don't know what I would've done if I hadn't found it by then.
I rushed to the counter, holding the coveted paperback in my hands and digging out my extra change. I'd been saving up the whole week, and searching a different bookstore every single day, and I finally got lucky…not only that, but I'd have enough change left over for dinner and rent!
"Um, sir? Could ya do me a favor?" I asked as the cashier took the book from me. He smiled, and I was relieved that this was a pretty generous looking man.
"Sure, kid. What do you need?"
"Could ya wrap that up for me? Nothin' fancy…it's just a present for someone, and I want him ta be able ta unwrap it."
He smiled and reached under the counter, pulling out a large sheet of brown paper and wrapping up the book, and then he tied it with twine. It was perfect. I handed him the dime, beaming as I took the package from him.
I walked out of the store, tucking the book into the bag that I had carried every day this week just in case I found it. I didn't want Specs to see it before his birthday party tonight.
Just as I began walking and hawking the headlines again, the street jerked beneath my feet…
I had sold all my papers already, a rarity for me. I sat down on the steps of a nearby building and lit up a cigarette, grateful for the extended break.
"Hey Skittery! How's it rollin?"
Specs practically leaped up to sit beside me on the steps, and I just shrugged.
"The usual. Just finished sellin' my papes. Oh…happy birthday. It is your birthday, right?"
"Yeah. Hey listen, you seen Dutchy? I think he's been avoidin' me da last few days…"
"He ain't been avoidin' ya. And if he has been, he's got his reasons."
"How do you know?"
"I jest know. Trust me on dis one."
He mumbled something about me and my moods, stealing my cigarette and taking a drag off it. I didn't complain…he was always doing that to me.
"Well, I'm gonna go find him. Wanna come? I mean, since you're finished sellin' and all…"
"No thanks. I'm gonna sit here and enjoy da scenery."
"Skittery…that's a brick wall."
He shook his head and stood up. "You need therapy, Skitts…"
I was about to respond with a snide remark, but I didn't. Probably because the ground was trembling underneath me…
AN: The suspense! I love it! I hope you love it too. And if you love it, review. Hey, if ya don't love it, review anyway!
Next chapter, the quake takes its toll…