The next day, Daniel awoke to find himself draped over his sister's old desk. An empty beer bottle was clasped in his hand and as he lifted his head, his neck twinged. Daniel rubbed his neck and sat up. He could hear the kids shouting upstairs, and in his irritated state bellowed 'Shut the Hell up!'
The crying and shouting stopped. Daniel walked into the kitchen.
"Ya really know how to treat kids, Rooster." Aggie Hannigan was sitting at the breakfast table, sipping coffee from a dirty mug.
"Aw what'cha has to 'rive this early for?" Daniel demanded lazily.
"Miss Sticky Fingers told me about ya little brawl last night. She's gone Rooster. Well done."
"Lily's gone?" Daniel repeated.
"Yes, my baby brother…she's packed her bags and left ya with the kids."
"No, I'm goin' after her. I know where she's gone. To New Jersey, this is where I'm headin'."
Daniel grabbed his jacket, hat and satchel and rushed to the port, where he took a boat to New Jersey.
New Jersey was a slightly less tall version of New York, and clutching the address of the boarding school tightly in his hand; Daniel hitched a ride to the village, Larentford. It was a 19th century pioneer-type town, with shuttered windows and quaint little signs advertising the stores. As they passed through Main Street, Daniel caught sight of a huge grand building on one side of the road. He pressed some folded paper into the cab driver's hand and hurried away before the cab driver could comment on its authenticity.
The building appeared large and majestic, set slightly back from the road, behind tall iron gates. A plaque next to them read:
The Larent Academy: Established 1815
Despite its grandeur, the building looked deserted. The grass forming a square in front was immaculately clipped and yet the fountain in the centre was lifeless.
Daniel tugged at the gate and to his surprise it swung back easily. He walked down the path toward the tall porch when without warning a hunched woman appeared.
"Who are you?" She asked in a typically New Jersey accent.
"Hannigan, Daniel Hannigan." Replied Daniel, nervously.
"What you here for, Mister?"
"I saw the advert in the newspaper…I came for the job."
"It's a joint job. I need a teacher for my pupils, and a handyman."
"Oh, I can do that." Agreed Daniel.
"Ok, but ya going to need a gal. No gal. No job."
Daniel was shocked, but didn't bother to argue.
"I need a gal to get this job?"
"That's the way I'm running it. Come back with your gal, and you got the job."
"Miss Farquis, the Headmaster's secretary."
Daniel tipped his hat and turned toward the gate.
Lily, why did you leave me?
A little later Daniel was sat in a bar in Main Street, drinking a floater coffee and twiddling his thumbs agitatedly.
"'scuse me? Ya refusin' ta soyve me? Cos o' what? Huh?" a Latin girl slammed her fist down onto the bar.
"Not havin' this place overrun with you scum." Retorted the barman's wife, crossly.
"Ya callin me scum?" Repeated the Latin girl, hotly.
"Get outta here!" The barman's wife ordered.
Daniel swivelled on his stool.
"It's ok, she's with me." He grabbed the girl's hand and pulled her in, kissing her.
"You! Get offa me!" The Latin girl protested.
"Just play along." Daniel hissed.
"She's with ya, ya say?" The barman queried.
"I ain't heard her say ya name, nor you hers either."
Daniel and the Latin girl looked at each other.
"So? What'cha got to prove?" he questioned.
"Both of ya, clear out. Pity ya, man, rollin' with a tramp like that."
The Latin girl leaned over the bar to protest, but Daniel restrained her.
They left the bar hand in hand.
"What's ya deal, buddy?" She demanded, crossly, throwing his hand away violently.
"I just tried to help ya. Standard procedure, ya know."
"Ya didn't help me. Ya got me barred ya crap shooter."
"I ain't a crap shooter. I'm from New York."
"Sure…what'cha doin 'ere then?"
"I came for a job."
"Oh right…not at Larent?"
"Ya can't be serious. No one gets a job there."
"But they advertise."
"Sure they does. But no one ever gets in. Cos o' that mule Farqarese."
"What's ya name, kid?"
"Gee thanks. I think so…they treat me like scum ya know. No one respects me."
"Jon the club. It ain't easy breakin' out o' prison and stepping straight onto the streets."
"You broke out of prison?!" Loretta's dark eyes were like saucers, "what did ya do?"
"I kidnapped a rich kid nearly killed her."
"Say, your name ain't Hannigan by any chance?"
Daniel stared at her.
"who wants to know?" He asked coolly.
"No reason, ya just got ya name in the paper. Warbucks, won'nit?"
"Yep. I changed though. Rehab in prison…brought me outta myself."
"I know…my parents back in Argentina…they tried to win that $50,ooo moolah. No luck though…s'curity wouldn't let 'em through the gates."
"What'cha doin' here then?"
"Well, ya know…I came for the job at Larent…but they said I has to have a partner…"
"I think ya found him."