Crutchie frantically tried to pin all his papers down as he stood on possibly the windiest street corner in New York. It was his first day selling papers alone, and he wanted to do something to impress Jack. He really wasn't supposed to be out here alone, but he'd given Jack the slip and went off to explore by himself. Except for what Mr. Jordan had told him, Crutchie had never seen much of the city. That, and he had been bed-ridden for as long as he could remember. Crutchie looked up at the grey sky, wondering if it would rain. He hoped not. A rustle from behind made him turn around, trying to see what made that noise. His papers escaped his grasp, and he whirled his arms around, catching a few but not many. Crutchie sighed, frusterated, and leaned over farther to try and get more. He took one wrong step too many, and with an 'Oof!" he fell flat on his butt. Crutchie sat up, shaking his head. The papers made a desperate bid for freedom, flying farther and farther away from the boy. So much for trying to sell more than Jack.
He looked to the side as the rustling noise came again. A box shook slightly, abandoned by some person by the post. Crutchie got up carefully, taking back his crutch from the hard road. He advanced slowly, curiosity filling him as the box shook even more. What was in there? He peered over the top, and bent down to open the flaps.
Crutchie was knocked back again head over heels by a furry animal, which had jumped at him. The dog, with wide brown eyes and a slobbering face started licking Crutchie's face, making his hat fall off and his hair stick straight up on end. The boy giggled as the dog kept thwarting his every attempt to stand back up. Crutchie finally managed and the dog calmed down, sitting by Crutchie's feet. Crutchie bent down to pat the dog on the head, and tentatively petted his golden fur. The dog wagged his tail, enjoying the love. Crutchie straightened up, smiling. Maybe he hadn't sold all his papers, but he had managed to find a puppy.
"I'll call you…." Crutchie paused, unsure. He looked down at the excited dog, who kept shaking his tail back and forth. "Wags!" Crutchie laughed. "That's your name, ain't it, boy?"
Wags barked, even happier, and Crutchie grinned back in response. He started walking back to the Lodging House, glancing over his shoulder to see Wags following him. The dog's tongue hung out of his mouth. Crutchie turned his attention back to where he was going, remembering what Jack had told him to get back to the Lodging House. He rounded a corner, and looked back over his shoulder.
Crutchie stopped. Wags wasn't there. He tried to whistle, but gave up after the first try or so.
"Wags?" he called forlornly, disappointed that his new friend had left him after only a couple of blocks. Crutchie sighed, and continued on his way. He didn't know New York enough to go searching, yet. Maybe he could ask Jack later.
The boy plodded on, almost to the Lodging House. Jack had said it was just around the next bend or so, right? Or did he have to cross the street? Crutchie was distracted from his reasoning as a golden dog trotted out from next to him, holding something in his mouth.
"Wags!" Crutchie exclaimed delightedly, and bent down to pat the puppy's head. "You knew jus' where to find me, didn't you?"
Wags shook his tail happily, and Crutchie took the bundle from his mouth. It was his hat! Crutchie looked back over his shoulder. He had left it where he had fallen, he supposed. And now Wags had brought it back to him.
Crutchie grinned, securing the hat safely back on his head, and started limping on again, this time with Wags at his side. Boy and dog looked at each other, both happy at finding one another.
"You're a good dog," Crutchie said, bending down once more to scratch his new friend on the head. "Now come on, let's see Jack and ask Mistah Kloppman if you can stay."