Author's Note: I have no idea where this came from. I've spent the last two days trying to work on chapter sixteen of Diabo and have gotten no further than four paragraphs – yet this little ditty wrote itself. Go figure.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters mentioned in this story. They are the creative property of Disney.
I want the one I can't have. Isn't that just typical?
A tough kid who sometimes swallows nails
Raised on Prisoner's Aid
He killed a policeman when he was thirteen
And somehow that really impressed me
And it's written all over my face…
Oh, these are the riches of the poor
These are the riches of the poor…
– The Smiths, I Want the One I Can't Have
I want the one I can't have. Isn't that just typical?
I guess I should be used to that, by now. Growing up as one of three children, you get used to not getting everything you want. I learned that lesson early on when Papa would bring home small pieces of butterscotch for us to enjoy after a hard day at the factory. Sarah always ate her piece and then took mine to add to her hidden collection of stolen sweets. Then she would take pleasure in counting the candy pieces in front of me. She knew I would never snitch on her but sometimes I really wished she would share… Sisters.
And it didn't end there. Sarah seems to get everything that I want. Everyone thinks that she's so sweet and kind and innocent but I know better. Sarah's only existence in this world is to make sure that I am left empty-handed. I swear it. Now that she's grown and, unfortunately, pretty, I never have a chance.
Take Jack Kelly, for example. From the first moment that I saw him, I tried not to be infatuated. He was handsome but in a roguish way. Now, I know when the time comes and I have to admit to my parents that I'm a queer – though I'm pretty sure they know by now; I'm not that good of an actor though I do think I did a good job at pretending to be a normal boy when I met Medda Larkson – but to tell them that I love a boy like Jack Kelly? I don't know if Papa's heart is strong enough for that.
But as William Shakespeare said: 'the course of true love never did run smooth' and I was attracted to his charm without meaning to be. And what happened?
Sarah got him in the end. I never should have invited Jack into my home that first night. I should have known better.
But that's alright. Jack Kelly turned out to be someone different than the boy I thought I fell in love with. He was a pretty face and, I admit, perfect for my sister. And because 'the course of true love never did run smooth', I learned that he was not the boy I wanted.
I met the one during the strike. Jack had decided to go with Boots to try to convince the leader of the Brooklyn newsies, Spot Conlon, to join us. By some fancy, Jack wanted me to go with him.
Now, I'm a smart guy. If none of the other fellas wanted to go near this guy, I definitely did not want to cross the Brooklyn Bridge and try to bring him on our side. But that was before Jack placed his hand on my shoulder. All protests were instantly silenced.
Hey, I was still infatuated at that point. Even though I had to stomach Sarah making eyes at Jack during that dinner at my home – and I knew that Jack Kelly would never return my affections – I was still infatuated.
But that was before I met Spot Conlon.
During the trek from Manhattan to Brooklyn, Boots hadn't stopped talking about this 'monster' we were going to see. According to him, Spot was the strongest, baddest, dirtiest kid on the street. He killed coppers for fun and ate babies for breakfast. You know, stuff like that. I tried not to let my nervousness show – to be honest, I was still trying to catch Jack's eye – but I'm surprised my knees weren't knocking at that point. Babies?
I don't know what I was expecting when I met him. I'll tell you, though, he was definitely not it. When Jack addressed the boy as Spot, I almost dropped my jaw in amazement.
He was beautiful.
There was no way about it. He was much shorter and slimmer than I expected but that seemed to enhance his confidence. His hair, a fair shade from what I could see, was covered by a grey cap; his eyes – a piercing shade of bluish green – stuck out from his sculpted face and I think I fell right there. Seriously. Check those docks – you'll see my imprint against the wood.
I had to speak to him right away. Thinking back, I don't even remember what it was I said. Something about joining in on the strike, I'm sure. He didn't bite and refused to join our side, though, and Jack was glum on the way back home. But I wasn't.
'I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?'
Those eyes of mine had spied the boy called Spot Conlon. And I knew, from that first night, I wanted him.
When he appeared in the midst of that fight with the Crips, I fought the urge to embrace him in appreciation. I let Jack handle that with one of their germ-filled spit shakes.
Spot Conlon stuck it out in Manhattan during the lengths of the strike. I'm pretty sure that my emotions were written out on my face for anyone and everyone to read. I adored him – I still do, damn do I – and I wondered if there was any hope. He seemed so strong, so brave – almost as if he were my opposite. Could he ever want me the way that I desired him?
But the longer that Spot was around, the more I learned about him. I found that he hadn't ever killed anyone before and he ate bread and butter for breakfast like the rest of the boys did. He was smarter than I assumed he would be and not as intimidating as Boots' stories made him out to be. And I only wanted him more.
There was one thing that Boots had neglected to mention. Spot loved his women. He liked to boast and brag about conquests that made the best of us turn red.
But that didn't kill my hopes right away. I'm pretty sure that one of these days I'll have to marry a woman – carry on the family name and all that business, like I'm expected to do – but I still am drawn to boys. Maybe it was possible that he could do the same thing.
Then I learned that he was a big supporter of soaking the few queers that he found in Brooklyn. He thought they were unnatural. I think he's ignorant.
But I still want him.
So I want the one that I can't have. Isn't that just typical?
At least Shakespeare liked boys, too.
End Note: My David is a huge Shakespeare fan; I try to mention the Bard in any fics dedicated to my favorite dork.
'The course of true love never did run smooth' is from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
'I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?' is from A Merchant in Venice.
Now, me, I didn't know that Shakespeare was bisexual but I came across that tidbit on a website called: The Great Queers of History and checked it out at Wikipedia. Very fascinating, I must say.