I woke to Kloppman quietly shaking me awake, "Hush, get up. I thought you'd like the bathroom to yourself before I got the boys up." I smiled and nodded my thanks. I quietly got my clean clothes and walk to the bathroom and into the shower stall. I locked the door and quickly got undressed. The water was cold but it was better than nothing. I showered quickly and put my clean clothes on. Today, I was wearing my tan short sleeved shirt, black shorts, and green vest. I unlocked the door walked back into the main room where I saw Kloppman coming up the steps to wake the boys. I wondered if he would be as gentle to them as he was to me. He started yelling and smacking the bunks with a broom stick. I laughed at all of them. Some were groaning but getting up, others were happy to get up, and some, like Jack, just rolled over and tried to get back to sleep. I was laughing so hard I was almost crying. It was a little awkward cause most of them were only half dressed, but I don't have any problem with watching boys as cute as them wake up and get ready for their day.
Just then Mush walked by to get to the bathroom, "What's so funny? You think that watching us get up is funny?" I nodded still laughing.
"Well, I know something funnier." He started tickling me and I fell to the floor laughing so hard. He just kept tickling me. I was rolling around on the floor I was laughing so hard.
Just then Jack walked over, "Hey, hey, break it up. Mush let her breath." Mush helped me up and went to go get ready.
"Hey, Hush, here," he said tossing me a hat like the one most newsies had, "It's an extra, you can have it." I nodded my thanks. I went down stairs and worked on my hand signs. Suddenly the boys came storming down the stairs singing. I got pulled in to the crowd and danced and laughed with them all the way to the distribution office. We were there early so I figured that now was a good time to show them the rest of the names I came up with. I tapped Mush on the shoulder and pulled him and Jack next each other and put David on the other side of Jack.
"Ya want us to line up?" Mush asked. I nodded.
"Hey, everyone, line up, Hush's got something to say, err, show us." Everyone lined up and was as quiet as newsies get. I went up to David, because he was first. I pretended to walk with my first two fingers then tapped my mouth. Mush cracked up laughing and everyone looked at him like he was crazy. I pointed at David and touched the side of my head.
"Mush, ya mind telling everyone else what she is saying?" David asked.
"Well, that's her sign name for ya. Walking mouth, then when she points at ya and touches the side of her head or just touches the side of her head, she's asking ya what ya think," Mush said.
"Oh, well I think it'll work," David said reluctantly. I moved onto Jack. I grabbed the brim of my hat and tipped my head slightly. Then I pointed at my head. He nodded,
"Sure." Next was Mush. I pointed at myself and my mouth. I didn't need to point to my head anymore they all knew I would ask what they thought.
"Sure, but I don't get it." I pulled out my journal and flipped to the last page, I figured he wouldn't get it. It read:
You're my mouth. You can guess, or maybe understand,
What I am trying to say, usually.
"Oh, okay, sure why not." I smiled and moved on to the next newsie, Boots. I touched my foot and just looked at him.
"That's it? Okay easy to remember." Next was Snipeshooter, I pretended to shoot a slingshot.
"Well its close enough." Pie Eater was after him. I brushed a finger over my lips. Pie Eater nodded. Next came Tumbler, I made my hands into fists and rotated them around one another.
"Great." Les was next, he was so cute. I pretend to cough in my hand. Les laughed and nodded. Crutchy was after him, I pretended to use a crutch. He nodded. Next was Kid Blink, I brushed my finger over my eye.
"Okay why not." Specs was after that. I traced my finger under one eye over my nose and under my other eye. He nodded. I walked back to Mush and made the motion of a sling shot and then drew a bridge in the air.
"Snipeshooter go to Brooklyn?" I shook my head.
"Umm, oh! Spot?" I nodded, and then I hooked two fingers in my belt loop.
"That's Spot's sign?" he asked. I nodded. Just then two kids wearing bowler hats came over.
"Delancy brothers," Mush whispered. I nodded he had told me about them yesterday.
"Dear me what is that unpleasant aroma?" Race said, making everyone laugh. I clapped my hands everyone looked at me but the Delancy's. I held my nose, and then pointed to my head. Everyone laughed even harder.
"Hush I think that's your best so far," Jack said patting me on the back. Just then the circulation bell started ringing, the gates opened up and all the newsies poured into the distribution office. I walked in with Mush. I bought twenty papes and sold them off Mush yelling out headlines. When we got to Tibby's to eat I was very dejected. There was no way I was going to be able to pull this off. I couldn't make enough money to eat and have a place to stay off selling newspapers. I sighed and fell into a chair at an empty table. Jack, David, and Mush came and sat next to me.
"Not a good selling day?" Jack asked. I shrugged.
"Well, listen, we got an idea. Since you won't make enough money as a newsie what if you got and afternoon job," David said. I raised my eyebrows at him.
"We thought maybe you could work here, for Mr. Tibby." I thought about it for a second, and nodded.
"Great," Mush said. "We'll go introduce you." He grabbed my arm and pulled my over to the counter.
"Hey, Mr. Tibby, you need someone to help you out in the afternoon?" Mush yelled.
Mr. Tibby walked over, "Sorry, Mush I don't have a job for you. But this pretty young lady might get one." We smiled and Mush said, "Ya see she can't talk. So it's kinda hard for her to make a living as a newsie."
Mr. Tibby nodded, "I think we could make something work out." I smiled and gave Mush a hug. I realized what I was doing and quickly pulled away, blushing. Mush was blushing, too and Mr. Tibby must have noticed, "Well if you eat now you can start as soon as you done." I nodded my thanks and went and sat down just in time to catch the waitress before she left. I ordered a hot dog and a cola. I hoped that they hadn't seen me hug Mush, who was now talking to Kid Blink on the other side of the restaurant, no such luck.
"So, Ziva, what's going on with you and Mush, huh?" David asked. I shook my head.
"Oh, I don't think that hug was nothing," Jack said. I pulled my journal out of my pocket, grabbed my pencil and wrote:
I don't like like him.
He's a really good friend.
"Just a friend?" Jack asked. I grabbed my journal back.
Yeah, just a friend.
He's like the brother I never had.
So, lay off. So far he's the only one who doesn't
Avoid me because they don't want to figure out
What I am trying to say.
Other people are getting better at it but
So far he's the only newsie I would
Actually call family.
Guys haven't been the nicest to me
And since now I am surrounded by them,
Maybe it's because he seems so naïve
Or maybe it's cause he rescued me but
Well, I feel safe around him.
I handed him my journal. He read it slowly, then reread it again.
"Hush, I'm sorry if we've done something to hurt your feelings, it wasn't on purpose. And most the guys aren't avoidin ya cause youse don't talk. They's avoidin ya cause youse different then the other girls they know. They don't know how to act around ya. There's never been a girl in da lodging house before. All the girls this bunch knows are either for "fun" or rich hoity-toity girls. They's never seen a girl workin as a newsie. I'm sorry for talking like that about you and Mush. It's good to have someone you can trust. Hopefully, you'll be able to trust more of us soon." I nodded. Just then my food arrived, I dug in eating as fast as I could.
A little while later Jack said, "Well, judging by the way you are eating and the hug Mush received I'd guess you got the job." I chewed and swallowed the last of my hot dog and drank the last of my cola.
"So, did you?" David asked. In response I jumped up gave them both a hug and ran behind the counter to get ready. I grabbed an apron, put it on, and stood in front of Mr. Tibby.
"Well, you're ready quickly. Why don't you go clean up the empty plates from your friends?" I nodded and headed out from behind the counter. I went to Mush's table first, I picked up an empty plate and held out a hand for more. They piled their plates onto each other and I grabbed them.
As I was leaving Kid Blink yelled, "Hey who else gets a hug? We want to celebrate too." I gave Mush a questioning look. He shrugged.
Kid Blink laughed, "Look, what I'm trying to get across is I'm sorry. Jack isn't the quietest person when he talks. I think most of us heard him. But really, I'm sorry for ignoring you. Most of us, well, we've never had a girl like you in our lives. We started thinking of you as our sister. You only got here yesterday but I think if you got in any kind of trouble all of us would be there for you in a second." It looked like he was truly sorry and totally serious. I figured he was. These kids are newsies, they don't show emotion that often. I held up my finger, like one second. Quickly, I took the dishes behind the counter and set them by the sink. I ran back out and gave Kid Blink a hug. For the rest of the day every time I took dishes from a newsie, I gave them a hug. I smiled to myself as I continued to work after they left. They made me feel like one of them and I was happy to have a family that would watch out for me.
Is anyone reading this? I have more but this would be a good place to stop if no one is reading it. Plus, any ideas for a new title? I still need more hand signs too.
Read and Review,