Out On the Town

Started by Mary-Alice Whaley at Apr 09, 2020 6:19 PM
January 24, 1924
2243 Views
67 Posts

Mary-Alice Whaley

90
?Years Young
53 Posts

"Tell me everything that happened, tell me everything you saw."


“That sounds like a swell idea!” Replied Alice to Tommy’s suggestion. Having run off prior to the school’s lunch period she could go for something to eat. Hot dogs? She tried to remember the last time she had a hot dog. It had been a considerable amount of time ago… perhaps a vacation when her mother was still around? Yes, that was it.

The girl reached into the left pocket of her blue drop-waisted jumper dress. Beneath that she wore a ¾ sleeve blouse, the color reminiscent of golden marigolds. A ribbon of the same hue held back a portion of her long dark hair. She retracted her arm and opened her hand to reveal a peace dollar.

“Surely it’s enough?” Alice asked, extending her arm so Tommy could see the coin. It wasn’t typical for her to carry money (as there wasn’t reason to at the school), so, this was a fortuitous moment.


Tommy Kelso

Street Kid
652
?Years Young
33 Posts

"I'm older than I look."   


Well, she apparently liked hot dogs because she thought his suggestion a swell one. She also dug into her pocket and produced a shiny dollar coin. They called one of those a 'peace' dollar but Tommy had no idea why. He'd never heard of anyone refer to any coins as 'war' coins. Still, a buck was a buck.

"Oh wow. And yeah.....oh yeah, definitely. Hot dogs are a nickel. You could get a whole lotta hot dogs for that dollar," he informed her, he wasn't sure how many but a lot. Tommy had never went to school so things like arithmetic were beyond him. What numbers he did know and understand were learned by being out on the streets and experience. He might be uneducated but he wasn't stupid.

"Come on then!" he waved her on to stay with them then set a fast pace as he headed for the intersection he had mentioned a moment ago.

"It's not that long a walk. Lucky for us, sure is another muggy one," the boy declared.

"I figure once we eat, I can show you a couple places I hang out then. Oh, and we can drop by Gracie's place. Even if she ain't home, I can get us inside. I know how," he radiated confidence.


Mary-Alice Whaley

90
?Years Young
53 Posts

"Tell me everything that happened, tell me everything you saw."


"Oh wow. And yeah... oh yeah, definitely. Hot dogs are a nickel. You could get a whole lotta hot dogs for that dollar."

Upon hearing that the dollar would be enough a relieved expression crossed Alice’s face. In fact, it would be more than enough. “Twenty!” The girl added with a smile. Arithmetic was something she was adept at… her real-world experience, however, was lacking. The cosmic universe had to be at work with this yin-yang pair.

Alice shoved the coin back into her pocket for safekeeping and followed Tommy’s lead as he moved on.

"It's not that long a walk. Lucky for us, sure is another muggy one."

“I don’t mind.” She responded, simply happy to be away from the school and to spend time they usually didn’t have together. As they walked Alice admired the sights along this section of Brickell Avenue. There were fine homes and well-maintained yards between them. The latter being what caught her eye, she liked nature.

Her gaze turned back to Tommy as he detailed the day’s plan. It sounded like a good plan until he mentioned knowing how to get into Gracie’s home if she wasn’t there. He had told her before that Gracie would let him in or leave the door open when the need arose… but when it was shut? “Gracie wouldn't get upset?” She asked quizzically.


Tommy Kelso

Street Kid
652
?Years Young
33 Posts

"I'm older than I look."   


Bricknell Avenue was indeed a street in the better part of town, where Tommy lived it wasn't like that. It was the toughest district in the city and the buildings showed it. Also the people were not the sort that the girl was used to. Fortunately Tommy was good at survival even at his young age. He'd be careful not to put her into a bad spot.

When he mentioned his ability to get into his lady friend's place, that seemed to merit a concern.

"Gracie wouldn't get upset?"

"Nah, she trusts me. I never stole nothin' from her. Why would I? She's a nice lady, like I told ya. In fact she probably saved my life, that's how we met. So I owe her. Big time," he explained almost matter of fact.

The pair turned off Brickell then and headed east. Gradually the neighborhoods started looking...well normal enough to the boy but probably shabbier to the young miss.

 

 


Mary-Alice Whaley

90
?Years Young
53 Posts

"Tell me everything that happened, tell me everything you saw."


“Saved your life? Tommy, you don’t mean the knife?” The last question came whispered under her breath. The girl was attempting to piece together the bits of information he had given on himself. Was her assumption correct? In any case, it was a shocking thought and caused worry to build up within her.

As they distanced from Brickell the sights noticeably morphed. Buildings stood closer together, streets began to bustle, and foot traffic increased. Alice inched closer to Tommy so as not to lose him in the crowd.

Farther up ahead she could see a sign announcing the five-cent hot dogs. 

 


Tommy Kelso

Street Kid
652
?Years Young
33 Posts

"I'm older than I look."   


Tommy nodded, "Yeah, when I got slashed. She stitched me up with a needle and thread even. Lemme tell you that HURT."

"I'll show ya later," actually Tommy was kind of proud of that wound or rather now a scar, it was almost like a badge of honor in his mind.

They forged onward then, sometimes having to manuver among and thru growing pedestrian traffic. There was a constant chattering of voices and more than one language was being spoken too. Vendors were plying their wares loudly. Somewhere a baby was bawling very unhappy with it's present situation. But Tommy kept focused forward until he spotted his objective.

"There, there it is!" he flashed a huge grin at the girl, reached for her hand and pulled her past a beefy adult couple then made a beeline for the hot dog stand.

It was a small thing really, not much more than a gaudily painted wooden stand with a big sign above it announcing it's speciality HOT DOGS and then a few other signs advertising the price, one nickel. There was a short stocky mustachioed man manning the stand and he recognized the boy instantly.

"Hey there, Tomasino! You aina been by in a while. How ya bin?" he greeted the boy in a strong Italian accent.

"Good, Mr. Modesi. I brung ya another customer too. This is Alice. We'd like two hot dogs!" Tommy happily announced.

The man eyed the girl then said, "You donna look lika his sister." He was smiling though not serious.

 


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Mary-Alice Whaley

90
?Years Young
53 Posts

"Tell me everything that happened, tell me everything you saw."


 

Slashed? It sounded terrible and to top it off stitches! She shuddered at the thought and believed the boy without question when he said that it had hurt. He proudly stated that he would show her the time healed wound later. Yes, to have survived such an ordeal, she thought his feelings were, of course, merited.

"There, there it is!"

She heard Tommy say… having also spotted the stand. However, she was caught by surprise when he took her by the hand. Alice swiftly followed, but time and space momentarily seemed to slow down, at least in her mind. 

Her gaze focused on the link until they reached the stand, and she heard the exchange between the boy and the vendor, noting the latter's accent. It was familiar to the girl. Back at the school Italian was something she had rudimentarily been learning. 

"Good, Mr. Modesi. I brung ya another customer too. This is Alice. We'd like two hot dogs!"

She nodded her head in agreement with Tommy's request and again took the shiny coin from her pocket, placing it on the counter in front of Mr. Modesi. He appeared to be a kind older man who took a genuine interest in his customers. 

In response to his question, Alice smiled but shook her head. "No, signore, Tommy... eh, Tomasino... è il mio caro." She left it there, up for interpretation… dear friend or boyfriend?

 

Translation: "No, sir, Tommy… uh, Tomasino… he is my dear one."

 


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Tommy Kelso

Street Kid
652
?Years Young
33 Posts

"I'm older than I look."   


The vendor was just about to ask Tommy if he indeed had the necessary money for the hot dogs, one thin dime was all it would take. But he also was quite aware Tommy was a street kid and just maybe was playing him for a sucker. Wouldn't be the first time a customer ordered what they couldn't pay for. But the girl was the one who produced the money, a dollar coin. Well, it did make sense, she was much better dressed than the boy. He was convinced she was not one of those street kids. An unusual pairing, these two. But none of his business, his business was selling hot dogs.

Alice smiled but shook her head. "No, signore, Tommy... eh, Tomasino... è il mio caro."

Well now, another pleasant surprise, the child knew Italian! Modesi was openly gleeful as he replied to the girl in a sudden stream of Italian with a heavy Sicilian accent. 

"Bene, questa none e una piacevole surpresa. Quindi sei Italiana, signorina giovane?" *

Poor Tommy stood there, they might as well been speaking Bulgarian for all he knew. It sure weren't American!

*Well, is this not a pleasant surprise? So, are you Italian, young miss?"







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Mary-Alice Whaley

90
?Years Young
53 Posts

"Tell me everything that happened, tell me everything you saw."


Alice listened carefully as the man expressed himself in fluent Italian. Since she wasn't nearly as proficient, she had to briefly ponder her response. "Non sono Italiana, signore. A scuola, ho imparato un po 'della bella lingua." She explained in a conversant yet straightforward manner.

Whaley was an English surname, but from what she knew, both sides of her family had been in the United States for quite a few generations.

The girl then turned to look at Tommy, who seemed a tad bemused. She smiled, trying to be reassuring. She wondered if he had understood her declaration about him.

 

 

Translation: "I am not Italian, sir. At school, I have learned a little of the beautiful language."

 


Tommy Kelso

Street Kid
652
?Years Young
33 Posts

"I'm older than I look."   


Actually Tommy had no clue of course what the two were babbling on about, he had enough trouble just dealing with his grasp of English (or as he called it 'American'). But one thing he noticed, the words coming out of the girl's mouth sounded so much.... well, better than from the vendor. He could listen to her chatter all day regardless of the language he decided. However, it would be nicer if he could also actually understand what she said.

Modesi nodded, realizing then the girl had a fairly reasonable grasp of his native tongue but it was only from school not ancestry. He was still impressed though and complimented her for it even as he now placed two steaming hot dogs into their buns lying upon thin paper. He then handled them by the paper wrapping over to first the girl then Tommy.

"Here ya go then. You will like," he assured her mostly, he already knew the boy loved 'em.

He pointed to a couple jars on the small shelf built onto the cart, "You lika mustard or ketchup, it's a right there. Onions too."

Tommy eye's lit up as he took his meal then moved toward the condiments, "Gotta have mustard, ain't a hot dog without mustard."

Such was his sage advice from a hot dog gourmet.