A/N: This is a short story that I wrote for English class last year. I was going to post it back then but then I just never got around to doing that. Oh, and I don't own The Outsiders, or any of the characters, just the plot.

The Story of a Hood

I slowly climbed out the window, and jumped onto the fire escape right outside of my window. Why am I sneaking out of my own apartment? Well, I'm supposed to be meetin' Mikey outside the gas station down the street. But I'm sneaking out of the house so I don't get caught. Not sure why I'm botherin' to do this. It would be just as easy to go through the front door. My old man wouldn't even notice if I died or if came home hammered one night. Even if I'm only 10 and in year 5.

I didn't think 'bout it any longer and runned down the stairs of the fire escape. A minute or two later I was peerin' 'round the corner of the alley. Had to make sure that Mikey wasn't ditchin' me again. He'd done it before but this time he was true to his word.

Mikey was 12 and in year 6. Once in a while he'd tell me to meet him somewhere then not show up. He had dark red hair that he called auburn or some thin' like it. He was real cool too, always stealin' booze from his parents, stealin' money from strangers, never gonna school and just runnin' 'round New York. Most of all, he was my friend.

"Hey kid, come on out!" he called from 'round the corner.

I ran 'round the corner, actin' as if I had just got there. Sure enough though, Mikey was waving me over there. When I got closer to him I could he had that look in his eyes. There'd be trouble tonight. I didn't care.

"Where ya been?" Mikey asked me.

"It was a bit hard to get out tonight," I bluffed.

"'Kay then. Let's go, there's something I want to teach ya tonight," Mikey announced, crossing his arms.

He began to walk down the street, completely expectin' me to follow him. Which I did. I began to wonder what he was goin' to teach me but I couldn't question him. 'Round 5 minutes later, we stopped.

"Here ya go, kid," Mikey said, handin' me a switchblade.

"What am I to do with this?" I asked, quietly takin' the knife.

"Well, ya see that man walking our way? I want ya to push him into that alley there and then ya gotta put the knife up to his stomach or his throat if ya can reach it. Then I want ya to tell him to give ya some money. Ya are goin' to give that money to me, ya hear?" Mikey whispered into my ear.

He gave me a little shove towards the man and that was when I knew that I was gonna do. I started to run towards the man and then pushed him into the alley. I put the knife up to his heart. This was when I noticed that my hand was shaking.

"Gi-give me some money," I whispered.

I didn't really notice the stutter. Hopefully the man didn't notice either. Instead, he pushed my hand away from him and pulled something out of his back pocket.

"I am the police, and you're coming with me," the man said, showin' me that the thing he had pulled outa his pocket was a fuzz badge.

This is bad. If Mikey had complained 'bout anything it was the fuzz. I couldn't just run away either. The fuzz grabbed my wrist an' started to drag me off somewhere.

"What's yer name, boy?" a guy sitting across from me asked.

"I'm Dallas Winston, but call me Dally," I answered.

I was sittin' in the jail cell at the station. The man had dragged me here. They had tried to phone my old man but he didn't answer. I was to stay here until either my old man phones back or morning.

"Winston? Isn't that the last name of the guy who got Miss Connie pregnant a few years back? Would be 'bout the right timin' by the looks of it," the guy asked, looking at the other man in the cell.

"Yeah, it would be. Why don't you go and try to talk to her, kiddo?" the other guy asked me.

"Okay, I will," I answered.

I walked over to the lady sitting in the corner of the cell, smoking a cigarette. She had long blond hair and blue eyes, just as I did. Before I could say anything though, she saw I was walkin' towards her.

"Who are ya, kid?" she sneered at me.

"My name's Dally Winston," I said, bravely.

"Winston? Did he send you here to guilt me? Huh? 'Cause there's no way I'm comin' back, kid! So just leave me alone and never come back!" she shouted at me.

I walked back to where I had been sittin' before. I had been hopin' that she was different from the old man. But I was wrong.

"Don't worry 'bout that, kid. Miss Connie's like that to everyone. You've got to toughen up though if yer upset from something like that," the guy told me.

I nodded. Maybe that's what I needed to do. Toughen up. Then maybe Mikey wouldn't get me to jump someone 'gain. Maybe then Miss Connie would accept that I wasn't here 'cause of my old man.

Yeah, that's what I needed to do.

I needed to toughen up.