As she was still attempting to get her bearings back from the week on a crowded ship, someone brushed by. Had she been used to land, she wouldn't have noticed at all, but she was already dizzy enough. She tumbled to the ground.
"Oh, geez, 're ya awright?" asked a young man's voice.
"Yes, I'm sorry, I'm… I'm not used to being on land yet. I'm sorry." She bent her head down to hide her flushed face.
"Nah, it was my fault. I wasn't lookin' wheah I was goin'. Gotta bad habit a dat," the voice said with a slight chuckle. A hand was suddenly extended into her view. "Ya jist gonna sit dere all day?" the teen asked good-naturedly.
The young woman paused, then gently placed her hand in his, and let him pull her to her feet. She quickly busied herself with dusting off her skirt.
"Uh… I'm Dutchy." He raised a hand to his mouth, as if to spit, then seemed to think better of it and simply extended his hand.
"My name is Calista," she said quietly, barely brushing his hand.
"Calista? What kind of a name is that?" he asked without thinking. "Oh, geez, I didn't mean ta - what I meant was - I meant -"
She smiled briefly. "It's Greek, if that is what you meant."
"Yeah, dat's what I was gettin' at," he said wryly.
"This city is so big and crowded. Could you kindly point me in the direction of Manhattan?"
It took Dutchy a minute to comprehend the sentence. He wasn't used to anyone so well spoken. Obviously Calista was educated, which most likely meant she was rich.
"Yeah, dat's wheah I'se goin'. I live in Manhattan. I'll walk ya. Wouldn't want ya ta get lost. D'ya got anudda bag er sumpin'?"
"I have nothing but this bag," Calista said. She quickly added, "I apologize, I didn't mean to snap at you."
"It's awright," Dutchy said with a sincere smile. "Manhattan's dis way."
After the pair walked a block in utter silence, Calista said quietly, "So, do you live with your family?"
"Nah. My family's in da old country. Germany. Deutchland."
"Is that how you got the name 'Dutchy?'"
"Yep," he said with a grin. "Yer smaht."
"Thank you. So… you live alone?"
"Nah. I'm a newsie."
"I sell newspapers. I live in a lodgin' house fer newsies. Dere's about thoity a us er so. Dey're my family fer now."
"Do you know of any lodging houses that will accept me?"
"Most would. If not, ya can always join us at da lodgin' house."
"I wouldn't want to intrude."
"It ain't intrudin' if I'se askin' ya."
"It would be inappropriate for a girl of my age. Besides, I haven't had many good experiences with young men."
"It can be your first."
"I don't wish to discuss this right now."
"All right," Dutchy said with a shrug. "Dis is da edge a Manhattan."
"I believe I can find my way from here. Thank you, sir. I do appreciate it."
"Any time. Maybe I'll see ya again."
A faint smile flickered over Calista's lips before she turned and walked away down the street, leaving Dutchy staring after her and wondering…
Calista leaned against the door and stumbled into the room.
It's lonely, was her first thought. It was nothing like her former home in Greece, with big windows looking out onto the ocean, sunshine, and warmth.
But as quickly as those thoughts came, Calista pushed them away. She lit a fire in the stove with the bit of coal the landlords had provided and realized there wasn't much she could do in complete and utter darkness. She sat down on the bed and looked out the window, staring at nothing in particular and letting her thoughts drift to places previously forbidden by those in authority.
"You are never to go near a theater again!"
"Then I'll run away with Demetrius!"
"We will lock you in your room!"
"I'll break a window!"
"We'll catch you."
"I can outwit you and I intend to!"
Calista was slapped across the mouth. "Your mouth will do nothing but get you into trouble!"
"It's my one good quality, Demetrius said so!"
"It is your leading shortcoming!"
"What do you know about me, anyway? You're never here, never home, I'm always alone! You know nothing about me! You don't care about me at all!"
She sighed and leaned against the cool window. If only those memories would go away…
"She wasn't 'xactly da nicest poison in da woild, but she liked me, I know she did!"
"Yer full a yerself," Specs said.
Suddenly, Dutchy stopped and peered across the street. "Dat's her!" he hissed to Specs. They quickly crossed the street and Dutchy approached her, unsure of what to say.
Luckily, he didn't have to worry about that for long. She turned and recognized him. "Hello! Your name is Dutchy, correct?"
"Yeah. Calista, dis is a friend a mine, Specs. He's a newsie, too. Specs, dis is Calista."
"Nice ta meetcha," Specs said, shaking her hand.
"I'm sorry I was so rude yesterday. I do give you my sincerest apologies," she said, looking at the ground. Calista appeared to be blushing a bit, but her deep tan hid it.
"Don't worry 'bout it. Wheah ya headed?"
"I was just going to take a walk for a while. My apartment is quite empty and I need to buy some things. And I also need to get myself some lunch."
"We was jist headed fer Tibby's. Wanna come wid us?" offered Dutchy.
"Dey got great food," added Specs.
"I suppose I will. Is it very expensive?"
"Nah, it's cheap," replied Specs.
"As long as you don't mind me joining you, I will."
"It ain't intrudin' if I'se askin' ya," Dutchy said with a wry grin.
Calista smiled slightly. "All right then. So where is this place?"
"Jist a liddle bit dis way," said Specs. "So, ya new 'round heah?"
"Yes," she said softly. "Are the two of you brothers?"
Dutchy laughed. "Nope! Jest good friends."
"An' heah's Tibby's," said Specs, holding the door open.
"Heya fellas! Dis is Calista. C'mon, I'll intraduce ya ta dese bums. Dat's Jack, Davey, an' Crutchy. Dose t'ree ovah dere 're Kid Blink - Blink, fer short - an' Racetrack - we call 'im Race - an' Mush. Itey, Jake, an' Snitch 're ovah dere. Dis is Snipeshooter, Boots, Pie Eatah, Snoddy, an' Les. Dat's Skittery, dat's Bumlets, an' dat's Swifty."
Calista nodded shyly. "I will not remember all those names."
"Guess ya'll just have ta start hangin' out wit us, huh?" said Dutchy with a grin.
"You've all got such odd names," she said. Somehow, the friendly atmosphere of the restaurant and the way all the boys were so nice made her forget her past experiences with young men.
One of the boys laughed, while the others seemed slightly offended.
"It's ta keep da bulls off our tails," explained Jack.
"You have bulls here? Where is there room for them?"
The boys looked at each other. "Dey live in deir 'partments," said a smaller, round boy with curly brown hair.
"Some people must have very big apartments. I know mine is barely large enough for a cat, much less a bull."
The boy continued laughing. After a minute, he explained, "It's slang. 'The bulls' are what the policemen are called."
"Oh," said Calista, looking downward.
"Don't worry about it. It's a common mistake. Oh, I'm David. Nice to meet you."
"It is nice to meet you, also," she said. "I am Calista."
"C'mon, Calista, come sit wid us," said Dutchy, feeling slightly offended. Davey obviously liked Calista, but Dutchy had met her first! Some friend, thought Dutchy as he sat down. "I'll have, uh, whatevah soup ya got back dere. An' a sarsaparilla. What d'ya want, Calista?"
"Hmm… I think I will have a salad and… what is a sarsaparilla?"
"It's dat brown stuff dat Jack's drinkin'," said Dutchy, pointing to the leader of the Manhattan newsies.
"I suppose I will try a sarsaparilla." Calista leaned back and watched all the newsies. They seemed like one enormous family. Several of the younger newsies were having a conversation, and the older ones were gathered around another table. They all shared what they had without complaining. Calista had never seen such a thing. Where she came from…
She shook her head. Those thoughts were never happy, so why bother? For the first time in a long time, she was capable of being happy, so why not take advantage of it?
"Here ya go, miss, a salad an' a sarsaparilla."
"Thank you," Calista said as she began to carefully eat her salad.
A younger-looking newsie sat down next to Calista and casually plucked a tomato from her salad. "So, yer new 'round heah, huh?"
"Snipes!" said Dutchy, batting his hand away. "Don't, she ain't used ta ya takin' food from everybody's plate, ya nimrod!"
"But I'se hungry, an' I only sold a dozen papes dis mornin'!" the boy whimpered.
"No, it's all right, take it," said Calista. "You're hungry and I'm not."
"T'anks!" the boy said brightly. "Yer nice. I'se Snipeshootah!"
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Snipeshooter."
He looked slightly puzzled. "'Ey, Dutchy, ya outta invite 'er ta Medda's tonight!"
Dutchy grinned. "Ya wanna come?"
"What is Medda's?"
"Medda's da greatest singah in all ah Noo Yawk!" said Snipeshooter. "She's singin' tanight, at 'er place! Ya outta come!"
"Ya should, it's great," added Dutchy.
"Pleeeeeeeeeease?" begged Snipeshooter.
Calista grinned. "All right, I will come. What time does her act begin?"
"Six ah clock. I'll meetcha at yer apahtment, if ya don't mind."
"No, I do not mind. Do you know which building it is?"
"Yeah, I remembah. What's da numbah?"
"All right, I'll meetcha at six."
"All right." Calista nodded. "Goodbye, gentlemen, it was a pleasure meeting all of you." She left the restaurant, leaving behind a room full of puzzled boys.
Back to Spacey's Fanfic Page |
Back to Spaced Out!