Author's Note: I dedicate this to those awesome people who have, at one point, at the discussion that this fic is based on. And, if it sucks major butt, it was 11:00 pm inspiration for a midnight deadline. So there… and Shoe? I still say cyan. Woot.
Disclaimer: The characters highlighted in this quick pointless piece are, unfortunately, not my property. They are owned by Disney and appear here because I wanted them to. But I'm not making any money off of them, so it's all good.
Just a Friendly Wager
"No, Race, I don't think you know what you're talking about." The olive-skinned boy jammed his hat down on his head as he walked with Racetrack.
The short gambler scoffed. "Is that right, Mush? You want to place a wager down on that?" Racetrack jingled his hands in his pocket, letting the handful of coins he earned that morning clink together. "How about tonight's lodging fare and supper says I'm right?"
Mush paused for a second, the last few papers from the morning edition of the New York World under his arm. "I don't know…" he said, before continuing on his way.
"Come on. You say it is one thing. I say it's another. If you're so damn certain that you're gonna argue with me over it, I say you're certain enough to put your money down on it." Racetrack smirked, his dark eyes crinkling in amusement. Mush was probably one of the easiest boys in the lodging house to trick into losing money.
"Well," Mush began, the puzzled expression he normally wore twisting into one of hesitation. "If I did agree, how would we know who was right or not?"
Racetrack shrugged. "We could ask Jack. Don't you think that he'd know?"
"Nah… I mean, Jack knows a lot but I ain't too sure that he'd know the answer to this one."
"Yeah, you're probably right." Racetrack scratched his forehead and thought about it. "We could hunt down Davey and see if he knows. He's the kind of kid who'd notice something like that."
Mush's eyes lit up. "Yeah, Davey would know," he said brightly before his face fell. "But ain't he in school now?"
"That's right. His Pops made him go back. Hmmm…" Racetrack was almost sure that he was in the right over this argument with Mush. And, even though the argument was stupid, the odds were in his favor – it would be nice to win the money off of Mush for something as simple as this.
He snapped his fingers. "I know. We can cross the bridge and ask Spot Conlon. I mean, he'd know if anyone, right?"
Mush was grinning that goofy grin. "I don't know why we didn't think of that before, Race. Of course Spot would know." He turned around and saw exactly where the two of them had walked. It was not that far off from the Bridge – if they hurried, they could make it over and maybe earn some supper over in Brooklyn.
"Alright, Race. I'll take up your wager."
Racetrack spit into his hand and offered it out to Mush. Mush did the same and the pair shook.
It did not take long to cross the Bridge – even with the obligatory screaming over the edge. Before the pair of the Manhattan boys knew it, they had walked up to Poplar Street and were facing the Brooklyn Lodging House. It was mid-September – probably too late to be down at the docks – so, rather than look for Spot there, they went straight to the lodging house.
There was a small kid sitting on the front stoop. "Can I help you two?" he asked, a bit snidely considering his diminutive size.
Mush looked surprised that he would speak so rudely to them but Racetrack held his hand up. "I got this," he said out of the corner of his mouth before turning to the boy. "Listen, kid. My friend and I have a bet to settle. So, could you do me a favor and go get Spot? He needs to decide something for us."
The kid looked over Racetrack and Mush, his dark eyes taking them in. He did not seem to think either of them a threat; without a word, he climbed from the stoop and entered the building behind him.
Racetrack looked over at Mush. "I told you I got that."
Mush nodded. "Yeah, well, I still say that I was right."
"And I still say that I'm right. Come one, haven't you ever just looked?"
Mush ignored that. He would let Racetrack feel like an idiot when Spot proved him right. "I can't believe that we walked over to Brooklyn just to settle the bet."
Racetrack smirked. "Especially since you're about to lose your money."
Mush was spared from responding when Spot Conlon appeared in front of the lodging house. His fair hair was mussed, and one of his suspenders was hanging off his shoulder; whatever it was that Spot was doing, he had been busy when Racetrack and Mush arrived.
"Race. Mush. You bums," Spot greeted them, recognizing them at once. He did not seem altogether pleased to have been disrupted but his alliance with Manhattan enticed him to be somewhat civil. "What's this I hear about a bet I got to settle?"
Hearing the words come from Spot Conlon himself made the two of them realize what they had just done. And how stupid it really it was.
Racetrack elbowed Mush in the side. "Well, go on, Mush. Ask him."
Mush elbowed him back. "You do it, Race."
Racetrack sighed. "Either you go find out, Mush, or I call. I win the bet."
"You can't do that."
"Yes, I can. It's in the rules of the wager. I set the wager, you have to find out who wins. Otherwise you lose."
Mush was not as big a gambler as Race was; hence the reason Racetrack was always able to sucker him into a silly bet – such as this one – and win his money. If Racetrack said that such a rule existed, then he believed it.
"Okay, Race." He breathed in and, despite the fact he was bigger and probably stronger than Spot, he took a few slow steps towards the Brooklyn leader.
Spot looked a little amused that Mush approached him so carefully. "Well, Mush? What is it?"
Mush stopped and stared dead at Spot's face. His eyes squinted a bit as he gawked.
Now Spot was known for being the toughest newsies in all of New York but, honestly, having a kid like Mush staring at you would spook anyone. "Mush, what the hell are you doing?"
Mush's face broke into a grin. Rather than answer Spot, he turned around and faced Racetrack. He held out his hand, palm up. "I win, Race."
"You're kidding." He rushed forward and, just like Mush had done, stared at Spot – a very confused Spot.
"Race, what are you doing?"
But Racetrack, just like Mush had done, ignored him. Instead, he slapped his hand against his knee. "I'll be damned. His eyes are blue."