A non-Mary-Sue/girlie take on Racetrack's Story written by Half-Pint. I always wondered about Jewish people on the streets, so I decided to write about one….and since my favorite newsie happens to be Race…why not him?

As usual, I don't own newsies, blah blah blah.



I was born Yosef Abramowicz on July 4th, 1882 in a little shtetl (Yiddish word for home) in downtown New York City. Its ironic that I happen to have been born on Independence Day in the Land of the Free because to us, the orthodox Jews of Manhattan, we weren't free, nor were we independent.

My parents, Tziporah and Yitzchak were driven out of their Russian home as a young couple with my older sister, Tova, in tow. She was two years my senior and one of the most beautiful girls anyone had ever seen. Her long carmel colored hair was always in two braids running down her back and she had the most beautiful green eyes I had ever seen. As a child, I always felt as if my parents favored her, she was beautiful, smart, popular and born in the old country while I wasn't. Looking back, I see it is just a childish jealousy, but nevertheless, I felt it.

My story really begins when I was nine years old. Even though we were dreadfully poor and living in a disgusting tenement full to the brim of Jewish families from the old country, babbling off in Russian, Polish or Yiddish, my parents still dutifully sent me to Hebrew school where I sat with my head in my hand painfully reading over stories from the Bible. We always wore our yarmulkes when inside the temple and I often forgot to remove it after leaving, which is not a big deal as many men wear theirs at all times. My father never felt this was necessary as it caused problems with all the anti-Semites in New York City. That day, was the day I forgot.

As I exited shul (Jewish word for school/place of study), I whistled a tune and looked longingly in the direction of Sheepshead Bay. I reached in my pocket and discovered a shiny nickel. Smiling to myself, I would just tell them I had gotten caught up in talking to one of the boys and we got into a theological debate. Now I realize what a horrible excuse that was as I was never one to even care about theological debates.

I balanced my books in my arms as I ran excitedly passed the ragged beggers and rich members of society taking their strolls in the nice spring weather. My parents had taught me gambling was a sin and G-d frowned upon it. I asked the Rabbi one day after a friend's father had taken the two of us to watch the horses at the racetrack, and he agreed with my mother and father, but that didn't stop me. I loved seeing the horses whiz around the track and the thrill when the horse I had bet on won. Even if it didn't win, it was that pure adrenaline of not knowing what was going to happen next.

I got to Sheepshead Bay in record time, slammed down my nickel and pulled my books tightly in my lap as I watched the race begin. Sadly, my horse lost that round and I did feel a little guilty as a nickel could have bought something a little more practical like eggs for Mameh (Yiddish for mother) or a book for Tateh (Yiddish for father) or silk hair ribbons for Tova, but I shrugged it off. Knowing I was going to be late for dinner, I raced back home, hugging my books to my stomach. As I was about to turn the second to last corner, I ran into two tall boys. I barely came up to their shoulders as I was small and they were rather large. As I plowed into them, my books flew in every direction.

Embarrassed, I looked up at them, "Sorry."

The looked at each other and grinned. As I proceeded to pick up my things, one of them picked up one of the books that had been chucked the farthest.

"Is dis yours?" he asked. He had blonde hair, brown eyes and a freckled face. He sounded like some sort of immigrant…perhaps Irish.

I nodded and thanked him. As I reached for the book, he tossed it to the other boy…the one with dark brown hair and green eyes. They shook with laughter as I asked for it back. His only response was throwing it into the mud.

'Dat was Tateh's book, his own Tateh gave dat to 'im." I thought bitterly as I picked it up, knowing it was beyond repair and I was going to get it when I returned home.

"Wheah ya goin', kyke?" one asked, noticing my yarmulke.

I tried to silently leave. I wanted to become invisible, to sink into the ground. I felt lower than a rat.

When I didn't answer them, I felt one of them grab me by the collar and shove me into an alley. He pushed me against the wall with all of his might, crushing me. He dealt me a swift blow to the face while the other punched me in the stomach. As blood spurt out my nose and a newfound cut they had created, they laughed.

"Fucking Jews." The blonde said shaking his head. "Don' evah come back t'rough heah, yid. Nevah."

I nodded. They exited the scene, leaving a bloody child, a damn nine year old child in a bloody heap…all because I had forgotten to take off my yarmulke….



MORE TO COME.