Out On the Town

Started by Mary-Alice Whaley at Apr 09, 2020 6:19 PM
January 24, 1924
2249 Views
67 Posts

Tommy Kelso

Street Kid
652
?Years Young
33 Posts

"I'm older than I look."   


With a brief  "OK" the girl turned her back then and waited. Good ol' Alice, Tommy thought, liking how the girl seemed to trust him and was so easy to get along with. Not a lot of folks trusted Tommy or even gave him the time of day. Even a few of the boys he hung around with occasionally - they didn't necessarily trust each other.

Alice might possibly hear something but it was hard to make out just what that noise was? Scraping of wood or something being pried open? Barely a minute passed.

"OK, you can turn around now," Tommy announced in a chipper tone of voice.

By the time she turned around he already was sticking a key into the doorlock and turning it then giving a turn of the doorknob. The door opened.

"Come on in. Don't be scared. Gracie won't be mad," he assured her as he allowed her to enter first. That was a gentleman thing to do, right?

It wasn't a big apartment, the look said definitely working class at best. There was a kitchenette in sight with a small stove and a sink. A kitchen table with four chairs. An icebox. The biggest part was a living room with a sofa which looked pretty worn and two basic chairs. There was nothing on the walls except for a calendar, no paintings, no photos of a family nature. All very spartan. A door was open to a smaller room and a quick glimpse showed a bed, unmade.

The floor was wood though there was a large carpet in the middle of the living room, ancient by the looks of it and spotted with stains that never quite were removed.

But to Tommy it was the cat's pajamas,  "Pretty swell huh?"

 


Liked 1

Mary-Alice Whaley

90
?Years Young
53 Posts

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


When Tommy gave the go-ahead, she turned to see that he had mysteriously produced a key and was proceeding to unlock the door. Her face when the door opened, however, would have fooled one to think it was the opening to a deep and dark tunnel.

"Come on in. Don't be scared. Gracie won't be mad,"

Alice smiled nervously but trusted in what he said. "I think you're fixing to be the next Houdini!" She jovially commented, trying to appear in good spirits. She took a step or two into the apartment with a nod of thanks to the young gentleman.  

As she waited for Tommy to come inside, the girl took a brief glance around the modest dwelling. A recent memory of Evelyn, her father's new wife, suddenly played itself out in her mind. "Don't ever let me catch you being nosy!" The bearcat had warned… pushing her out the door before slamming it shut. Evelyn had taken over everything; her mother's things (which she had been looking at that day), their home, and her father. Later coming to Miami, she seemingly had lost that all.

His question brought her back to the present.

"Pretty swell huh?"

De facto, Gracie's place was probably the closest thing Tommy had to a home. Alice understood it to be important, even so. "It is swell," She affirmed the proud looking boy with a smile. However, she knew of others who wouldn't see it that way or share the same sentiment.  

"It would be swell to be grown and have a home of one's own," she mused looking around again.


Tommy Kelso

Street Kid
652
?Years Young
33 Posts

"I'm older than I look."   


"I think you're fixing to be the next Houdini!"

Tommy chuckled, "Oh please, I just knew where the key was hid. I've heard he does amazing escapes from death and such. Tie me up and throw me off a pier and I'd just drown."

She agreed with his assessment what a swell joint it was. Tommy wondered just how amazing her house must be, the girl was rich enough to go that fancy private school afterall. Although she was a perfect example of how money didn't always bring happiness, he felt bad for her.

"Maybe when I'm grown up, I will have a house. We'll see. That takes money and lots of it so I gotta make some first," was the way he saw it. How he was going to do that, he wasn't sure yet. His sort didn't have a lot of options. But the boy was not one to dwell on the future, he lived for the day. And this day was fun.

"Follow me," once more he waved her on and they both trooped into the small kitchen. He went straight for the icebox and opened it to peer inside.

"Aha! I knew it. She's got a couple of cokes in there. We can split one. She won't care, really. She gives me soda a lot, I don't even need to beg," he reached in for a bottle.

Then he noticed another bottle and smiled, he just had to show this off to her. Setting the coke down for a moment he extracted a bootleg bottle of some sort of whiskey or rum or whatever else it might be. If there ever had been a label, it had been removed. He held it up to Alice.

"Now this is Gracie's bootleg stuff. We can't have this without her permission though. Pretty jake though. She let me have a taste once and I thought it was terrible. But it leaves kind of nice warmth down your throat down to your tummy," he explained like a helpful tour guide or something.


Mary-Alice Whaley

90
?Years Young
53 Posts

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


Alice listened as Tommy spoke of maybe having a house one day but that it would require a lot of money. She nodded, knowing this to be true. Her father, being involved in real estate development, had allowed her to overhear a good deal on the subject. His plan was to purchase land and put up big fancy houses with a price tag to match. The lure of money was why the trio had come to Miami… though she didn't think they needed it.

Minus Evelyn and her father's growing distance, she liked her life back in New York. She attended a nice school there with girls she had always known. During the week, she was able to go home after class and over the weekend. When her mother was alive, the house was a lively place—often occupied by friends; her parents enjoyed entertaining.

The girl wished to go back in time but knew it was impossible. Change was difficult, but thanks to Tommy, more bearable. Heeding his cue, she followed him into the kitchen and watched with interest as he opened Gracie's icebox.

"Aha! I knew it. She's got a couple of cokes in there. We can split one. She won't care, really. She gives me soda a lot, I don't even need to beg,"

She had to admit that soda was an exciting thing. At Ms. Harris', boarding students didn't typically get spoiled with such lavishness, so this would be quite the treat. "That's really nice of Gracie and lucky for us," commented Alice with a big smile. 

Tommy showed off a second bottle then. Unmarked, it was obviously different from the coke bottle he previously held. Alice, unsure of what it contained, looked on with genuine curiosity. She didn't have to wait long for clarity. 

"Now this is Gracie's bootleg stuff. We can't have this without her permission though. Pretty jake though. She let me have a taste once and I thought it was terrible. But it leaves kind of nice warmth down your throat down to your tummy,"

Her smile faded, and her eyes grew large in surprise. Not because it was revealed to be a bottle of liquor but because the boy had tried it. She made a disapproving face at his throat to stomach description. "My parents wouldn't ever let me taste, but I wasn't allowed at those parties either," she surprisingly shared. When her parents hosted dinner parties, for example, drinks of such nature were offered. Nothing illegal about it, though, as the alcohol had been purchased and stored prior to the start of prohibition.


Liked 1

Tommy Kelso

Street Kid
652
?Years Young
33 Posts

"I'm older than I look."   


Maybe Tommy shouldn't have been surprised at Alice's less than enthusiastic reaction to his booze revelation but he was. He hadn't considered that people were anything other than the ones he knew, the sort of folks he knew were definitely not Temperance sorts. Like Gracie.

"My parents wouldn't ever let me taste, but I wasn't allowed at those parties either," she declared.

"Oh sure, that's fine. I get it. Your people got rules. Well, I wasn't going to ask you to try it anyhow. Sorry," Tommy backtracked... just a little.

He quickly replaced the bottle into the icebox once more, keeping out only a single coke bottle.

"I know where the opener is," he announced as he now proceeded to procure the girl a refreshing soda.

Once the bottle was opened he located two glasses from the kitchen cupboard and with real concentration and even a bit of intensity he oh so carefully measured out the coke so the glasses looked identically filled.

"There we go. Looks jake!" he grinned, then handed her one of the glasses.

"My advice is just sip it, cuz it'll last longer, " the boy stated the obvious.

Then he thought of something and held up his glass in front of her, "Let's make a toast. Like the adults do. Umm...."

"I know!   To us!"


Mary-Alice Whaley

90
?Years Young
53 Posts

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


"Oh sure, that's fine. I get it. Your people got rules. Well, I wasn't going to ask you to try it anyhow. Sorry,"

That wasn't the reaction Alice was expecting either. Sure, there had been rules, but her parents weren't around anymore. Current expectations were dictated by Miss. Harris and even those had now gone out the window.

The last thing she wanted was for Tommy to think of her as a wet blanket. 

However, she stayed silent... watching as he returned the bottle and set about serving the soda. Without issue, he found a bottle opener and glasses; it seemed as though he knew the place well. 

His focus and effort as he divvied the drink reminded her of a photo she saw once—an old photo of some scientist in a lab hovering over liquid-filled test tubes.  

"There we go. Looks jake!"

His grin and enthusiasm brought a smile back to her face. Giving an appreciative thank you, she carefully took the glass he offered. 

What happened next surprised the girl yet again. He proposed a toast to the two of them! "To us!" She happily echoed, raising her glass to meet and lightly clink against his. She took a small sip just as he had advised.

The carbonation of the cold drink caused her nose to wrinkle up. She laughed, thoughtfully glancing at Tommy before looking down into the glass to watch the bubbles rise. 

"You know, you don't have to be sorry," Alice finally said, looking up at him. "You can show or tell me anything!" The girl truthfully meant it.


Tommy Kelso

Street Kid
652
?Years Young
33 Posts

"I'm older than I look."   


They clinked glasses just like the adults did when they toasted and then both sipped the coke. Actually he  preferred the taste of the soda to the taste of liquor.  He didn't get what adults saw in that stuff.

"You know, you don't have to be sorry," Alice finally said, looking up at him. "You can show or tell me anything!"

That encouragement only spurred the boy on all the more as he nodded, took another gulp of soda then set the glass down on the kitchen table.

"OK dokey! Cuz I still got stuff ta show ya yet," he assured her as he now went right back to the cupboards, opening one then extracting a small box from it.

"See these?" he showed her the box up close and opened the top flap, it was about half filled with bullets for some sort of gun, they sure looked real too.

"They're for a pistol. I've seen it too, it's a beauty. The army uses 'em too but these are for Gracie's gun.," he revealed with a sense of almost wonder.

"I'm not kiddin'. She carries a gun. But, you know, for protection. Nothing we gotta worry about."


Mary-Alice Whaley

90
?Years Young
53 Posts

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


"OK dokey! Cuz I still got stuff ta show ya yet,"

Intrigued, Alice looked on as Tommy returned to the cabinet. She had to wonder just what other curious dwelled in Gracie's kitchen. Well, instead of something typical like Grape-Nuts, he pulled out a box of bullets! 

Upon first sight of the contents, the girl's mouth gaped open. She listened, though, as he explained what they were for—a pistol. He described it as being a beauty, but that seemed a strange thing to say about a gun.

A glimmer appeared in her eye then as he mentioned the army. Her father had been in the navy. Different, of course, but still relevant in her mind. 

Tommy went on to reveal that the bullets belonged to a pistol Gracie carried. She looked at him incredulously.

"I'm not kiddin'. She carries a gun. But, you know, for protection. Nothing we gotta worry about."

She had heard of men carrying guns but women too? Alice supposed the boy's reasoning made sense… maybe.

"Where are the rest of them?" she worriedly asked, gesturing to the half-empty box. "What if she mistakes us for burglars?" her voice barely above a whisper as she looked in the direction of the entrance.


Tommy Kelso

Street Kid
652
?Years Young
33 Posts

"I'm older than I look."   


As he expected, probably even hoped for, the girl did look surprised at first glimpse of the bullets but she seemed alright with it. Maybe her Pops owned guns? He was rich, rich people probably owned guns, he figured. While he knew he would never be rich, when he got old enough, Tommy was determined to own a gun.

"Where are the rest of them?" she worriedly asked, gesturing to the half-empty box.

"I don't know," Tommy hadn't even thought about that, "Maybe in the gun?"

"What if she mistakes us for burglars?" her voice barely above a whisper as she looked in the direction of the entrance.

"No, that ain't gonna happen. Besides she doesn't have it to shoot burglars. She has it to protect herself so she doesn't get shot herself. Her boyfriend got murdered, got all shot up. She is worried she might end up the same someday," he explained.

"He was a gangster you see and that kinda bad stuff happens to them sometimes."

He spoke in an almost matter of fact fashion, like it was all so normal. Hey these were rough neighborhoods the kid lived in.


Mary-Alice Whaley

90
?Years Young
53 Posts

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


 

Alice was growing increasingly nervous. His response that maybe the bullets were loaded in the gun didn't do a thing to ease her mind. Despite her trepidation, firearms were not a completely foreign thing to the girl. Her father did own a gun or two.

Perhaps it was the unfamiliar surroundings or looming uncertainty that had her on edge.

She contemplatively listened as Tommy explained just why Gracie carried the pistol. It sounded like a crime novel come to life. It was incredibly sad… tragic even. Alice could sympathize and understood very well what it was like to lose someone dearly loved.

Of course, losing someone to an illness (like her mother) was vastly different from murder. She couldn't imagine what all Gracie must be feeling.

"He was a gangster you see and that kinda bad stuff happens to them sometimes."

It still didn't seem right.

"Why would someone want to hurt Gracie or any person at all?" she questioned, bewildered by it all. On this day, Tommy was undoubtedly opening her eyes to very real dangers in the world... a wake-up call of sorts.

Full of thought, she looked back down at the glass of soda in her hands.