Okay, it would be cool if they made Newsies into a limited tv series (on Netflix or something) based on the 1992 film. And it would go the period drama angle overall (I think I’d cut out the musical numbers for this series), but it would have a modern feel and tone. You could deep dive into the struggles of societal norms, identity, and friendship from different perspectives of characters trying to find their place in that time. Combine real-life with fantasy by incorporating historical characters, like Teddy Roosevelt and Hearst & Pulitzer and some of the original newsies. And you could still have winks and nods to the songs by incorporating lyrics into dialogue.
And maybe look something like this:
1. I’ll Furnish the War: (1898) Pick up during end of Spanish-American War. Show how papers are selling like hot cakes during the war. Talk of paper’s price increased but not a problem because business is so good. Introduce the newspaper tycoons and their wealth, highlighting Hearst’s carefree, cynical persona and Pulitzer’s slight reluctance but eventual participation in yellow journalism. Both benefit from the gilded age, with Hearst coming from privilege, and Pulitzer coming from humble beginnings – a champion of the poor turned greedy. We follow all the newsies, getting brief introductions and glimpses into their personalities as they sell papers. We don’t learn everyone’s name quite yet. But we know Jack. And we’re introduced to the close-knit Jacobs’ family who are doing better than most, with the all the children in school. David is top of his class, Les is excited about entering what would be considered middle school back then, and Mrs. Jacobs is gritting her teeth and contending with the idea of Les sneaking home a kitten. She doesn’t want the damn thing, but she gives it a saucer of milk and finds a place for it to sleep. They have a piano in their apartment that Mr. Jacobs and Sarah play and sing together, and it’s just a sweet moment between father and daughter that they get to share. We meet Brian Denton at the New York Sun. He’s a trust-fund kid, but he wants to shed that image and is still riding the high of charging up San Juan Hill with Roosevelt in July. We find he’s tired of covering the society columns and wants to branch out into “award-winning” journalism like the war he’s been covering. He gets lunch with Nellie Bly, and it’s revealed they were childhood friends, and she gives him advice on how to find good, raw, human-interest stories. But his boss warns him not to go chasing leads that will tarnish the paper’s reputation. They must stay on par with competitors, but they will not stoop to sensationalism. Medda gets a quick introduction. Jack drops by her theater to deliver her paper in person, and we see a tableau with her painted portrait advertising a new show. She’s mid-anecdote with reporters and dance instructors, waxing poetic about her early days on the stage, which she has since shared with the likes of Lola Montez (out west), Jane Avril (Paris), Louise Henderson (London), Mabel Love (London), Lydia Thompson (in the Bowery), and Lola Yberri (Mexico). We don’t know if she’s exaggerating, but she’s so compelling, we believe her. She exchanges a wink with Jack, as if to confirm she’s teasing the reporters, and slips him a whole dollar. She also tells him to help himself to cake and refreshments on his way out as she subtly pulls his coat tighter, and we understand the maternal relationship. And then it’s back to entertaining her guests. We get a glimpse of the newsies’ hardships, the Delancey brothers’ antics as newsboys themselves, and Jack standing up for his friends and the younger kids. And we end with Jack running away from Snyder after a chance encounter – we establish stakes – but it’s played off as a light-hearted narrow escape. Jack, while running, bumps into David walking into a lecture hall and blends in, convincing David to play along and pretend he’s a student so he can hide from “a little trouble outside.” The Delancey’s get jobs as assistants for their Uncle Wiesel at the distribution center. Mr. Jacobs gets injured on the job and is fired. The family is now in financial trouble, and they must sell the piano.
2. Carpe Diem: (1899) Flash-forward in time. David and Les arrive on the scene. They must get jobs now that their father has been out of work for longer than expected, and they had to quit school. Jack recognizes David from that run-in almost a year ago and calls him “college boy” or some other academic nickname. Jack teaches them the ropes, and we flash cut to different newsies with Jack’s narration describing their selling spots and tactics. We get to know their personalities and names further here. Now we get into the strike. Prices have not been lowered since the war, and it’s taking a toll on the newsies. Stakes are high because several newsies have vacated the lodging house, not being able to pay rent. Kloppman (the landlord) mentions he heard one of their friends (who we don’t see) starved to death because he could no longer afford 60 cents per hundred and couldn’t find work anywhere else. This scares a lot of the newsies into doing something about the unfair prices. The guys are initially upset but split on the issue (because the alternative is to starve). David mentions off-handedly about his father’s work and if he had a union, he would have his job back. And Jack starts thinking about the trolley strike and asks David if it’s possible to pull off a newsboy strike. And David’s hesitant about the planning, and half the newsies are pro, and half are con to the idea. A few newsies quit on the spot and go take up other trades to make money, offering their “so-longs” and “good lucks.” Jack takes charge with David as a de facto second-in-command. The strikers start out as a small group of newsies, and he tries to talk to Pulitzer about the newsies’ demands but gets thrown out immediately. The Delancey brothers give him a hard time, and Jack takes both on by himself successfully and wins the respect of the other newsies. The idea of including Spot Conlon is introduced, and the others react with mixed feelings, shrouding mystery over the idea of an intimidating newsie over in Brooklyn. We get a flash cut to Spot soaking “intruders” on his territory, but we don’t see what he looks like. More of a silhouette, or we just see the reactions of the other newsies as he beats up rivals. We the audience assume he’s a big, imposing brawler.
3. Hell Époque: The strikers grow in number in Manhattan. They knock over delivery wagons and start small fights with local distribution center workers. Despite the growth in ranks, a few newsies give up and leave, unable to contend with the lack of work/money. Rumors start to circulate that Spot Conlon is soaking (and maybe killed) newsies that are striking or spreading the strike in Brooklyn, and therefore squashing any sort of hope for alliance with Manhattan newsies. It’s rumored he’s being paid to uphold order. This episode would focus on Crutchy Morris, who has a bad leg from a childhood accident, giving him a limp. He, like David, is hesitant to engage in the violence that inevitably erupts from the strike but is pressured to join in the fight. He puts aside his doubts and helps his friends during a heated scuffle, but he ends up getting knocked unconscious by one of the Delancey’s after throwing himself in front of a younger striker. Cops break up the fight, and he’s taken to the Refuge, along with a few others.
4. Cavalry: We’re introduced to new characters – garment workers – who join the more general strike in solidarity with the newsies, thanks to Sarah’s urging at her workplace. At first, the boys are reluctant to allow the young women to help. The girls struggle with being accepted by the newsies who don’t want outside help, especially from women. There’s talk of strikers needing help in Harlem because there isn’t as much support for the cause there, and the Manhattan newsies (and the garment strikers) decide to go over and act as reinforcements. During this bloody fight, the young garment workers (including Sarah) prove themselves to the newsies, but the fight does not go well in Harlem, and they’re all forced to return to Manhattan following the loss. Skittery is badly injured and must take time off from the strike to recover. This episode would focus on Sarah Jacobs, the garment strikers apparent spokesman, as she disguises herself as a guy to engage in the thick of the fight. She takes quite the beating, but manages to hold her own alongside the others, and she’s celebrated as a hero.
5. Go West Young Man: Jack keeps a journal, and he’s writing about how the strike is going so far. Almost as though he’s writing a letter to an unknown family member, like a memoir, as if he’ll see them soon. We assume his family really is out west, waiting for him. He’s detailing the fights with the distribution employees and the local enforcers. He’s deeply troubled by his sense of right and wrong after beating up a newsie about his age selling papers in Manhattan, blinded in the moment by rage. The guy had to be taken to a hospital, and Jack later learned the newsie’s little sister relied on him to make money. And he keeps flashing back to seeing her frightened face as she watched Jack beat him up. So, we see there’s two sides, and there are newsies who cannot afford to strike. And Jack is starting to see this, too, and losing his way in a crisis of “who are we fighting for, if not for them. Because they, too, are us.” Maybe he should just go west after all. Denton’s interest in the strike comes to fruition. The newsies are poised for an upcoming fight with grown strike breakers and cops, but they don’t know how bad it’ll be. By the end of the episode, Jack has gained infamy in the other newspapers, and this draws Snyder’s attention.
6. Muckrakers: We enter the hottest week on record, and the newsies risk heat stroke to demonstrate and protest. They face an uphill battle with more scabs, heartbreakingly recognizing some as their former comrades, and must hold strong while dangerously low on funds and morale. Denton continues conducting interviews and running stories in the Sun. And he catches the attention of powerful figures like former newsie and senator Big Tim Sullivan and Roosevelt. Pulitzer has a scene where he’s considering what to do in reaction to his circulation plummeting. He thinks this can’t go on forever and the boys will tire themselves out. His wife confronts him about the strike and tries to talk sense into him, saying they’re just children, but he’s too stubborn. The episode would focus on Mush and Kid Blink as the duo crack jokes and try to keep optimism up (which is falling fast), while acting as ambassadors for other boroughs to encourage them to join the strike. We flash cut to their visits in various parts of the city and how their meetings go, and overall, they are successful. They also convince Medda to hold a rally at Irving Hall in support of the strike, and she begins preparing, though she loses several of her performers who want nothing to do with the strike (afraid of the bad press their careers will receive in Hearst’s or Pulitzer’s papers).
7. Brooklyn: The newsies face off with the adult strike breakers – a brutal mob of armed men, paid to squash the rebellion – and the newsies take a rough beating. A good number of them are badly injured and out of the fight. This episode would examine and question the actions of Hearst, who orchestrated this ambush on the newsies. But he didn’t predict Spot Conlon would turn the whole thing on its head. Brooklyn newsies show up in the middle of the battle, wielding clubs and bats of their own (and of course, slingshots). Spot relieves Jack, and thanks to his help in pushing back the mob, he gets a leadership role within the strike committee. I think Racetrack Higgins should narrate this episode, as he seems to have a history with Spot that isn’t explained in the 1992 version. Racetrack, throughout the episode, could be shooting off quotable wisecracks, encouraging others to keep fighting via good speeches, and really being a force of positivity and confidence. And then he also gets an important role on the strike committee, at the recommendation of Spot.
8. Solitude: Alright, this is the rally episode. A bunch of newsies from other boroughs have joined the strike, and a lot of factory workers, garment workers, and other child laborers have also contributed. They are the biggest they’ve ever been. The rally is a dangerous undertaking, and though great speeches are made (including one by Mr. Jacobs) and everyone’s hope is renewed, the cops bust in and start making arrests and cracking heads. At the trial, most of the newsies are dismissed when Denton and Medda pay the fines. Medda converts her theater into an infirmary for injured strikers, and Mrs. Jacobs and Sarah and Medda’s dancers stitch wounds and attend to injuries. Denton’s story goes to print, and public opinion of the strike turns toward the newsies’ favor. This whole episode should be narrated by Skittery, who was recently healed from the beating he took in episode 4 and is back in the game. Though the others are jaded and cold to Skittery because he’s missed so much, and they suspected he might’ve been selling papers while he was gone. Jack is among those to be arrested and taken to the Refuge. There are two, treacherous rescue attempts made. Together with the recent scab-turned-striker Specs, Skittery finally wins back the trust and support of his friends. By the end of the episode, Jack is smuggled out of the Refuge, and Racetrack is promoted to spokesman of the strike committee due to his compelling speeches (which the real Racetrack was known for).
9. One Voice: I think it would be more powerful and make more sense if David was the one considering scabbing to help feed his family. Les is worried the family kitten (that Mrs. Jacobs has come to love) will starve to death. So, while David struggles with the temptation of making money to put food on the table (and keep the cat for Les), the strikers clog the Brooklyn Bridge, halting city traffic for hours as part of their protest. Crutchy and the other imprisoned newsies, meanwhile, orchestrate interviews in the Refuge, writing down the kids’ stories and the detailing the conditions of the Refuge. Crutchy slips the notes and letters to Denton when he comes to visit on the pretense of doing a story on Snyder’s work with the city’s charities. Denton, with the help of his friend Nellie Bly, prints their stories of the conditions in an article, unleashing outrage and shock from the public, and this leads to the release of prisoners, including Crutchy and some other newsies.
10. The Power of the Press: The strikers manage to influence Hearst and Pulitzer’s circulation to a record low, and they also organize a meeting with the two newspaper giants. They reach a compromise that the company will buy back their unsold papers from now on, and an official newsboy union is formed, signaling the end of the strike. While a few move on to other professions, most of the strikers return to being newsies until they outgrow it. By the end, we see where each featured newsie ended up in life (both real and fictional), and the old lodging house where Jack and so many of the others lived still stands today. The Jacobs’ flat is now part of the tenement museum. Neither Hearst’s nor Pulitzer’s newspaper survives today. Fade to black.
We now accept Cashapp as a form of payment for whatever you are buying at Fanboys Marketplace. Just tell the associate that you want to pay by Cashapp. Easy Peasy. #fortworth #denton #fanboysmarketplace #cashapp @cashapp (at Fanboys Marketplace) https://www.instagram.com/p/CVvrkkdrSpu/?utm_medium=tumblr
The honey glaze is just perfect for this pattern. I love using honey in my cooking and I highly recommend sticking with local sources of honey and not questionable honey from large corps. Got to think of our bees. Check out local farmers' markets for honey! . . . .
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Sometimes I think about how different Newsies 1992 could’ve been if it had been cast differently. Like River Phoenix as Jack Kelly, Jared Leto as Spot Conlon, Brendan Fraser as David Jacobs, Jennifer Connelly as Sarah Jacobs, Patrick Swayze as Denton, Donna Summer as Medda, Johnny Depp as Racetrack Higgins, or Jonathon Brandis as Crutchy.
What The Fuck Am I Doing? (Spot Conlon & Dad!Bryan Denton)
Like any other college student, Spot is trying to figure out what his next steps in life will be. But to no avail, nothing seems to interest him despite being halfway done with his major. So he seeks for advice from someone he’s always seek comfort from.
Words : 3.8k
Part : -
Warnings : cursing
A/N : I am soooo sorry for being late with this gift for ya but i finally finished it! I had a lot of fun writing this one though so thanks to the folks at @newsiesgiftexchange for giving me this. happy holidays @maggs-is-a-muppet !! and again soooo sorry for being so late with this one. I really hope this will make it all up. enjoy:)
Things were supposed to get easier. The picture of a relaxing and stable life was right in front of him after he got accepted to his number one choice. He expected the workload would be heavy and adjusting to a solo life would be a challenge. But other than that? Spot would have thought he’d have his future figured out.
He remembered the time before he graduated high school, where child-like things are the next puzzles he must solve for the week. Making sense of his math homework. The signals his crush is sending him, or the lack thereof. Navigating complicated university admission websites. The inner workings of taxes. Actually, Spot still hasn’t fully grasped the concept of taxes. But neither does his sister or his friends anyways, so that’s a puzzle for another day.
Still, he’s finishing up his sophomore year at university and still doesn’t know what to do in his life. Spot was sure as time went on he’d find his calling. He thought he’d get inspired by his fellow psychology students. Or the experience and knowledge he gains from afternoon lectures would give him a spark of inspiration for what his next step in life would be. He didn’t expect any of that would give him a fully finished painting, but a small sketch is better than having no idea at all.
Spot didn’t get any of that like he hoped for. Surrounding himself with ambitious psychology students just made him feel more anxious and smaller. None of his professors’ experience sparked any interest in him. He’s left to a half finished degree with zero clue on what to do with it after it’s completed.
What the fuck am I doing?
He often finds those words ringing throughout his brain a lot of the times when he’s confused about this sort of stuff, which is almost at every waking moment. Spot hears those words right now as he’s walking back to his old apartment.
The hardwood floor in the hallway is still creaky. The lighting is botched as always, after several complaints by the residents which the landlord successfully ignores every year. Though, the building still stands proud and tall in the quieter parts of Brooklyn. Nothing about the building is illegal. Still, if it were up to him, he’d move outta there as quickly as possible.
Despite his bedroom being vacant for almost two years, he still has the key to unlock the front door. Before turning around the knob, he can hear some loud music from the other side of the door. Sounds like the voice of Freddy Mercury and the rest of the Queen band jamming out to their song ‘Don’t Stop me Now’. Spot faintly smiles at it, remembering the first time he learned it’d be a recurring thing the first he moved in here.
The creak of the door opening and slamming shut was drowned out by the spinning Queen record. Along with absolutely horrible vocals coming from the kitchen. Spot always finds new phrases to make fun of that singing.
He slowly walks towards the kitchen doorway and sees an almost-middle aged man pretending to play an electric guitar as if he’s Brian May of Queen himself. The dusty wooden flooring felt like a stage to him and the obviously grease soaked spatula is like an old timey electric guitar. Even his brightly pink apron is very Queen-esque.
Spot was casually leaning on the doorframe, a black duffle bag slung over his shoulders with a firm hand grip holding the small handles, when the man spun around. He jumped back with a loud yelp at the sight of the surprise guest.
The man freezes in place to calm himself, wide eyeing at Spot giggling to himself. He tilts his head to the side along with his eyes squinting as he inspects the visitor. It only made Spot giggle even more. He pushes up from his casual stance and shakes his head.
“Okay, I haven’t changed that much!”
“Haven’t you?” The man shot back, “I could barely recognize you, kid!”
Spot has brown hair and in certain lighting it’d make his locks look black. For the most part people have always assumed he does have black hair. He decided to give the black hair look a chance. He thought his roommate fucked his hair then and there with a grocery store bought black hair dye, but he didn’t. He then grew to like it.
“Denton, most people think I have black hair anyways!” Spot countered.
“You actually think I wouldn’t recognize my own kid with a slightly different hair color?”
“I mean, you just did”
“You got more jacked than the last time I saw you”
“Oh, right! Yeah, that happened too!” Spot would consider his high school-self to be pretty fit. But he was never muscled as he is now. He’s pretty proud of that actually. So when Denton smiled back at him when he made a comment about that, he felt a little less stressed out than he secretly is.
The two embrace each other in a heartfelt hug. Spot didn’t mind being shorter than him. The hug to him felt a little bigger because of their height difference, which made him feel warm and loved. It’s a good change after being bombarded by university troubles for long, long months.
Denton was the first one to pull away from the hug. Spot saw puzzling lines all over his already lined-full face due to his old age. He has his hands firmly grasping Spot’s shoulders as he examines the boy.
“I also got a few tattoos under these clothes!”
Denton only shakes his head, taking a better look at Spot’s ear piercings and one nose ring hanging onto the side. His ears aren’t fully pierced but there are a few noticeable ones.
“You’ve always been oddly rebellious, huh”
“You wouldn’t have stopped me even if I still lived under your roof”
Denton pulls him in for another hug. He whispers, “Missed ya a bunch kid”
Spot smiles, “I missed you too”
Spot quickly made himself comfortable in the living room, snuggling himself into the corner of an L shaped couch in the middle of the living room. Denton’s attention was back to his mini Queen concert while cooking in the kitchen. Spot doesn’t linger at that sight any longer, as his attention is drawn to the dozens of framed pictures hung on the wall above the tv.
One was a picture of Denton all alone, posing in front of Spot’s old high school in Brooklyn. His first job was there and his last year of teaching was when he first met Spot. He was teaching his English class at the time before switching professions to become a reporter.
Denton didn’t pay too much mind to Spot back then. He gave as much attention as all the other students. Until he assigned the students to one creative English essay early on in the semester. Spot’s essay stood out to him the most and he wanted to talk about it more. After a good few years of teaching, he has never been so amazed by a student’s creative essay.
He could still remember all the praising comments Denton had told him. It brings a smile to his face now. Though, young Spot didn’t smile at his teacher back then. He was pretty closed off for the most part and slightly defensive. Denton wasn’t offended by it back then, and he still isn’t till this day. One of the few regrets Spot has.
He looks down then a little to the left and sees a picture of himself and his sister with Denton at a family courtroom. That was after they had lived with Denton as their new foster parents for a few months before legally adopting them.
Spot can vaguely remember what it was like for him and his sister in their old foster home. The foster parents were kind and loving people. The only fault that they have is biting more than they can chew. Twelve kids live under the same house, and more than half of them are still at the age of needing an adult’s full attention. The house was spacious but it’s always full and loud.
Spot learned early on that school is a place where he could shake away the full house stress. The school stress was something else. He handled it just fine on his own for the most part. Though, there are times where it did get on his nerves. Enter Bryan Denton, that one teacher he thought was a bit annoying that paid some attention to Spot who was doing schoolwork in the school library every day after school.
Any time Denton asked why he’s still at school, Spot only gave vague answers. It was short and a little defensive but it never phased him. Slowly, he lets his guard down and starts opening up. He even let Denton help with some of his schoolwork, as much as he can at least.
He never understood Denton’s motives, at the time at least. It was all cleared up when he one day saw his English teacher visiting his foster home with adoption guides given by the agency that assigned Spot and his sister to that one specific foster home. As it turns out, Denton was thinking of adopting him and his sister.
He assumes Denton found out about Spot being in foster care from other teachers. Still, it never made sense to him as to why he wanted to adopt in the first place. Why would someone randomly decide to be a single dad? And more specifically, Spot’s? There wasn’t much resentment because Spot’s sister was already over the moon about living with a potential adoptive parent. It pushed Spot to say yes because he didn’t want to be apart from his sister.
In the end he made the right choice. He wouldn’t have a comfy home and a great Dad if his stubbornness got in the way.
His eyes were pulled away from the framed pictures of their roadtrips to look back to the old man peeking from the kitchen. At this point, the record player stopped playing. It’s left the apartment with only static noises and it’s only a matter of time till Denton turns it off.
“With whipped cream?” Spot asked.
“Only a little bit”
Spot laughs at that, seeing his old quirks never faded despite the absence of his kids from the house. He goes back to letting his eyes wander at all the hanging pictures till Denton joins him in the living room with two mugs full of hot chocolate.
The mug was quickly snatched from the old man’s hand, inches away from being placed on the coffee table. Spot took a quick sip while Denton only watched and laughed.
“I take it your finals are done?” Denton assumed.
“No, it’s not until next week, actually”
“And you’re here? Instead of studying?”
It was no surprise the first thing Denton notes is the lack of studying despite his finals slowly creeping up on him. It’s endearing that he cares, but it’s only slightly annoying when the reason he’s here is to escape school stuff for a moment. He would never tell him that. Though, he has a feeling he doesn’t need to.
“Why are you here, anyways?” Denton went to the point.
“What do you mean?” Spot asked back, “It’s a weekend! I always come home on weekends. Don’t you miss having kids in the house?”
“Your sister would definitely drop in unannounced then hop on a plane back to London the next day if she’s feeling bored” Denton said, “You on the other hand, would always tell me first because you like to plan stuff out. You’d also tell me to cook some chicken soup”
Why did I bother… Denton always had a way in figuring people out quickly. This case in particular is most likely because Spot is his son. But it still freaks him out at times. Especially when he exposed him that quickly.
“Something’s wrong, isn’t there?” Denton said, putting his mug down on the coffee table.
Spot slouches into the fluffy cushions. He knows better that keeping things like this from Denton is just a waste of time, “I don’t know what to do…”
“Talk to me” Denton mirrors his son’s sitting position, dropping his back right next to Spot’s, “What’s wrong?”
“I’ve been studying for two years and right from the start I thought I’d at least have an idea what I’m gonna do with the rest of my life by now” Spot starts off. He moves his mug with both hands as it sits on top of the gap between his thighs. Then he continues on, “But if I’m being honest with you? I’ve never felt more lost”
“People constantly ask me what I’m gonna do after graduating, and I just grew to fucking hate that question” Spot explained, “In fact, I grew to fucking hate any conversation talking about that shit! It’s just really… stressful”
Spot sighs out loud and sinks himself deeper into the cushions. He’d say more if he knew how to form more words. But his brain couldn’t think of more so he sits still, looking solemnly towards his half full mug.
“First of all, watch that mouth of yours,” Denton said. Spot isn’t totally surprised that his father would say that but it still annoyed him.
“And don’t even think about rolling your eyes at me” Denton said right before Spot was about to do exactly that, “This is still my house and you’re still my kid”
“Well, I don’t think I need that kind of scolding right now” Spot half mumbled.
“I actually think you do. Being your own adult supervision can be tiresome for someone who cannot properly function without a clear and set in stone plan for every single thing” Denton plainly said, “Especially when you’re in a crazy college environment”
Spot only stares back at his father, wide eyed and speechless. After years of growing up with him, he still hasn’t gotten used to Denton being able to read people so easily. It actually freaks him out at times. Though there’s some good in it, because now that a lot of the things Spot is trying to say is already laid bare on the table.
“I assume that’s why you don’t really go to a lot of college parties”
“Okay, now that’s freaky. I never told you about college parties”
“You didn’t need to. Any time I call you, it’s usually on a weekend or at night and you’ll always be in your dorm. You’re not even studying half the time. Just chilling alone there” Denton laughed, “Now, your sister is a completely different story. I called her last Tuesday and she said she took a spontaneous train ride to Scotland despite having her finals the day after”
Spot chuckles at that, “You can’t actually be surprised Nora did something like that. She’s only discipline in high school because she lived under your roof”
“Guess I know why she was so keen on studying as far away from the states as possible,” Denton commented, “I could never imagine you even going to a wild college party. And from what Nora has said, there’s a lot of them in London”
“It looks fun! And I’ve actually been to a few. But it’s so loud, crowded, and just so crazy in general!”
“I’m not telling you to change your mind about parties. I understand that crazy stuff like that is not your thing” Denton said, “I just know it’s because you don’t like stuff that you have no control over”
“But that’s just what life is like, kid. It’s unpredictable and when you have a plan, you gotta anticipate it to go south” Denton said.
Now that the conversation is back to the main topic, Spot sighs out,“I know that much. But what if I don’t have a plan? What if I don’t know what to do?”
“Then that just means there’s a lot of opportunities for you to try out,” Denton replied.
Spot only tilted his head to the side while squinting his eyes at the old man. His answer didn’t make sense, but of course there’s going to be clarity to it. He has received a lot of wisdom from him and none of them disappointed him.
“Stop seeing the whole ‘unknown future’ as a curse and more of an opportunity to explore yourself” Denton explained, “You don’t have to always have a plan to live your life, Spot. Sometimes the fun in living is having absolutely no clue what could happen next, because that means there’s an unlimited number of things that could happen! ‘Not knowing’ can be exciting!”
Spot sighs looking down to his hands, “But everyone else just seems to know what they wanna do by now. And we haven’t even graduated”
“You think I knew what I wanted to do right after graduating?”
To that, Spot looks up with a quizzical look. His father simply chuckles and shrugs.
“Yeah, me. I was your English teacher because that was the only job position that was open for an English major that I could get” Denton explained with a warm smile, “I chose English because it was the only subject I enjoyed in school but I knew my job choices would be limited. I thought by the time I finished college, I’d figure it out too. I didn’t. For a long while, I worked as a McDonald’s manager and—“
“Wait, what? You’ve never told me this!” Spot’s nerves interjected.
“There’s never been a reason to bring it up” Denton casually replied, “I only worked there for four years till I became a teacher at your high school”
By then, Denton would’ve been 26 years old. Four years working in McDonald’s is quite a long time. Spot didn’t even know any McDonald’s employee would want to work that long in that God forsaken joint. Let alone Denton. Wise, smart, and proper Bryan Denton.
“I wasn’t sure if I was gonna like teaching, but surprisingly I did. I downsized my life to fit what little I have, and for the most part, I was okay with it” Denton added.
“Then, why did you end up becoming a reporter?”
“Because I remembered I wanted bigger dreams than that”
He’s not following where his words are going, but he sits still to keep listening. Knowing Denton, it’s gonna be something he’d want to know.
“I used to live in a very small apartment. And for a while, I thought that would be enough” Denton explained, “Then I read your creative essay, and remembered what it felt like to have big dreams”
“My essay made you flip your life around?”
Spot couldn’t believe it. The Bryan Denton had a horrible life before he met Spot, and was inspired to want something better after he met him. That can’t be possible. Spot was a scared little kid back then. The previous life Denton said he had was the life Spot thought he might be living. Back before he was adopted and right now as a confused psychology student.
“I wanted to write for a living, so I got a job as a reporter. I have a passion for it and it pays relatively better. For family, I figured I wasn’t much of a husband but I still love kids and I could always adopt” Denton went on, “I found out you and your sister were in an overwhelmed foster home, so I thought I’d adopt you two. It was the best decision I’ve ever made”
It left him absolutely speechless to hear that. To think that if he hadn’t written that creative essay, he might’ve not have the life he has today. He scoffs his feelings out and his lips curl into a small smile.
“I wrote about the potential STEM and art students have if they collaborate with Queen being the main example” It was a stupid topic. Spot knows that, now and at the time of writing it. It still makes him laugh when he thinks back on what made him think of looking at every Queen member’s background and drawing that conclusion with a few strong but still well written arguments.
Denton only chuckles at that, slightly shaking his head, “The point is, you’ll figure it out eventually. Things that are meant for you will find their way to you. And till it does, you’ll be given other things while you make your way to that thing meant for you”
Spot only smiles. He feels like a little kid all over again. Asking for words of wisdom to an older person when he isn’t so sure about himself.
He looks down to his hands for a moment before looking back up to Denton. A more prominent smile etches his lips and his eyes brighten up at an instance, “Thank you”
It wasn’t just the advice he was thanking, but for everything. For saying nice things about his essay. For taking him and his sister in to have a better life. All the things he should’ve thanked before but haven’t for some reason. He ought to remember to say thank you to his own father more often.
“The only difference between you and me is that your major is more promising. I mean, I kinda had it coming for me when I first got accepted to my school” Denton added in between the silence.
It made Spot laugh as he watched him get up from the couch, leaving his mug on the coffee table to go to the kitchen.
“There are countless jobs you could choose from. And knowing you, you’ll figure out how to make it work” Denton said, peering from the kitchen, “You like kids, don’t you? You could be a child psychologist! Or do something in the business field like market researching!”
The excitement in the old man's veins never fails to brighten up the room. Spot can’t help but feel the excitement course through him as well.
He puts down his mug and gets up from the couch. He stalks towards the shelf where the record player sits idly to put something on. He ends up playing the same Queen record Denton was playing when he first got here. And just as he thought, the old man starts to get into the music. Grooving in the most dad-like dance moves on the kitchen floor.
Spot only stands by the shelf to admire his father. He looks like a little kid, which is ironic seeing that Spot is supposedly the little kid in the house. But it’s not a rare occurance to see him like this. In fact, he loves seeing his father and his kitchen singing antics. Especially when some good food is coming his way.
Denton stops his dancing when he sees his son only standing still, “The table’s not gonna set itself kid. And we are not eating lasagna on the couch”
Without any sarcasm laced on his lips, he laughs, “I’m coming, dad”
This superb dalle de verre stained glass by Carl Johannes Edwards at St Mary's Church, #Denton, #Manchester features in my recent limited edition #artwork. #art #architecture #heritage #buildings #modern #modernist #dalledeverre (at St Mary's Rc Church Denton Manchester) https://www.instagram.com/p/CSZfrePsrr-/?utm_medium=tumblr
This story is for @spinningyarns as part of the @newsiesgiftexchange. I hope you enjoy it and Happy Holidays!!!
December 13, 1899
Denton laid the letter he just finished reading on his desk and shook his head. The lady had written stating that she remembered his article from earlier that summer. Her friends and she had raised some money and included it in her letter. For that Kelly kid and his friends, she had written.
Twelve days before Christmas, he had to figure out how he was going to pull this out. Smiling at the generosity of Jacqueline and her friends, he pushed himself away from the desk, deciding to go for a walk.
Letting the office’s door slam shut behind him, he tugged on his coat, making sure his neck was protected from the falling snow.
Lost in thought, he let his feet lead him, not knowing where he was until he heard his name being called. Shaking his head, he smiled seeing David standing there giving him a look. “You alright, Denton? You look a little lost.”
“Hey David. More confused than anything.” Denton admitted. “Got a few minutes to talk?”
Nodding, David moved off to the side as the older man followed him. “What’s going on?”
“I received a letter from a reader who remembered the story from earlier this summer and sent in some money.” Denton started. “She wants to provide the Newsies with a real Christmas.”
David smiled brightly. “And you’re at a loss on how to do it?”
“Exactly.” Denton nodded. “What do you think?”
Looking around the quiet square, David thought for a moment. “Why don’t you come over tonight for dinner and we can hatch a plan?”
“None of the Newsies coming over tonight?” Denton countered, knowing the Newsies had a habit of randomly dropping by the Jacob’s household.
Shaking his head quickly, David smirked. “Tonight is the annual Newsies poker night so they’re all at the lodging house counting their coffers. Wild horses couldn’t drag that lot away.”
They quickly decided a time for Denton to be at dinner and went their separate ways, no one the wiser.
Later that night
“So you want to do what?” Esther gave Denton a look as she laid her napkin on the side of her plate.
Copying her, Denton did the same. “These boys won’t be getting much, if anything at all. I was thinking with the money Jacqueline and her friends sent, I would get the boys one or two things. But what do they need most of all - many do not have shoes nor jackets nor gloves. What is the most essential thing they need to get through the tough winter weather?”
“Jack always mentions medicine.” Sarah mused, looking between her mother and Denton. “Some of that money might be saved so they can get medicine or a doctor when the sickness becomes too much.”
Denton nodded, agreeing with her. “That’s a good plan. I’ll put some aside. Now shoes, coats or gloves?”
“Shoes and maybe a long sleeve shirt for each boy - they’ll protest loudly if you dress them up so fancily.” David murmured, knowing Jack would throw a fit if he or his boys didn’t look like an orphan to sell his papes.
With a plan in place, Denton and Esther divided the boys between them before agreeing they would meet at the lodging house Christmas Eve at 10pm.
Christmas Eve 10:00pm
Wielding the key that he had gotten from Kloppman earlier in the day, David stuck it in the keyhole before turning it to the right to unlock the door. Stepping over the threshold, he listened for any noise or movement before motioning his mom, Denton and Sarah inside.
Denton dragged the small tree they had picked up along the way into the lodging house. Esther grinned at the three of them. “Now, how about you two set up the tree while Sarah and I take these things upstairs?”
Esther had spent the last few days baking the days away, wanting to give the Newsies a few home baked items along with the things they would find under the tree.
Denton and David both nodded, making quick work of setting the tree in the corner of the room. Once it was secured in the stand, they started decorating it with the off and end baubles the four had found amongst their old Christmas items.
Esther, satisfied with how the downstairs was looking, motioned Sarah to follow her upstairs, careful to avoid the steps David had told her about. The last thing she wanted to do was wake any of the boys.
Once the tree was set, Denton stood back, hands on hip as he nodded at the beautiful tree. “Not bad for a couple of chaps, huh?”
“Not bad at all.” David grinned, grabbing the presents they had brought along and stowing them under the tree.
“Not that the Newsies will even pay attention to it when they see the gifts!” Denton’s eyes lit up, knowing the boys weren’t even anticipating anything for the holiday.
Placing a few last presents, David pushed himself into a standing position, dusting off his hands as he looked over the tree and presents. He was sure he would hear the excitement from blocks away and somehow wished he could be there to see the look on the Newsies’ faces when they came downstairs tomorrow morning.
“We’re all set upstairs.” Esther’s voice broke his thoughts as he watched her come downstairs. “Shall we head home? I’m sure you’ll want to be here tomorrow morning, David?“
He shook his head, grinning. “I was planning on stopping by tomorrow afternoon. But you’re right mama, we should get home.”
With a quick goodbye and many thanks, Denton left them heading in the opposite direction as they did. David wrapped an arm around his sister and mama, grinning at what tomorrow would bring. “We did good tonight. Those boys will be so surprised.”
Christmas Morning - Newsies Lodging House
A scream was the first thing he heard as he lifted his head from the pillow. He was thrown from a good dream as he registered the activity around him. “Jack! Santa came!”
“There ain’t no thing as Santa.” Race cried from the bunk below Jack’s. “Go back to sleep.”
Boots stomped over to the bunk bed, hands on his hips. “Then why there a tree downstairs with presents?“
“Yous dreamin’ Boots.” Race bit back, falling back into his pillow. “Don’t wake me again.”
Mush laughed. “Then Is guess yous don’t get your presents.”
A cuss escaped his mouth as the bunk bed swayed with the movement. Jack chuckled, swinging his feet to the side of the bunk. More cussing escaped Race’s mouth as he grabbed his cigar and pushed himself off the bed. “Well, what are wes waiting for - Easter?”
With that, the littlest Newsies tore off, stomping down the stairs as the older ones, took a more leisurely pace, not wanting to get their hopes up.
As they made their way down the stairs, Race stopped suddenly, causing Jack to falter in his step. “Aye why yous stop?”
“Look!” Race pointed as Jack, Specs, Crutchie, Mush, and Blink all look around him.
Their eyes all widened at the sight in the room below. A decorated tree was in the corner with stacks of presents below it. “No one move. Is want to commit this to memory.”
Mush and Blink pushed past Race, skipping down the steps as they took in the sight. Jack sighed, shaking his head and followed the two down. Collapsing on the couch, he ran his hand over his eyes, thinking he might blink and it’ll all disappear. But when he opened his eyes, the scene was still there.
“Aye Crutchie, Specs, Race, get down here.” Jack looked over his shoulder to see the three still on the stairs. “Who wants to pass the gifts out?”
That broke the spell as they clambered down the stairs and joined Jack on the couch. Jack motioned Mush and Blink to hand out the presents. He relaxed against the couch as presents were less than gently passed between the Newsies.
As soon as the tree below was empty, Jack looked around. “Everyone got somethin’?”
Affirmative responses were said as Jack motioned them to go ahead and open their presents. A mixture of oohs and ahhs rang out as the Newsies realized what was within the gifts.
Nudging Jack, Race looked at him. “So where do yous think this stuff came from?”
“Is dunno but Is not letting no one know wes got it.” Jack’s eyes went wide at the thought. “Don’t wants no one in the refuge because of this.”
Race nodded his head, sticking his cigar in his mouth before tearing into his presents, Jack right behind him with his own.
Whistling at the pair of shoes in his hands, Jack shook his head. Shoes always went for a pretty penny and though these weren’t fresh off the line, these were better than the ones he had upstairs. “Nice shirt Race.”
Race grinned, holding up the green and white striped shirt and shook his head. “Yous think the nuns did this?“
“Nah theys don’t care about us that much.” Jack smirked. “Don’t worry about it too much. We ain’t gonna find out who did this.”
Race nodded, grabbing his last present, jaw dropping when he saw a pair of shoes similar to Jack’s pair. Jack held up a solid navy blue shirt and smirked. “This compliments my eyes.”
Race threw his head back and laughed. “No one’s thinking that Jackie. Well maybe a certain Jacob sibling but definitely not anyone else.”
Shoving him, Jack shook his head, looking at the scattered paper littered around the room. “Alright Newsies, clean up then wes will figure out food.”
Pushing off the couch, Jack walked to where their mismatched table was and stopped in his tracks. Several trays of food were set up with a folded card. Snatching up the card, his eyes read over the scrawl.
Merry Christmas Newsies. Thank you for your fight this summer. With much appreciation, your guardian angels
Flipping over the card, he was looking for who could’ve left this for him and his boys but found nothing. He was baffled - no one had given the Newsies the time of day and now guardian angels had given them shoes, shirts, and food to eat.
Biting his lip, Jack was puzzled. The only people that had given the Newsies a passing glance were the Jacobs and Denton but neither of them could pull this off. They each had their own struggles and shoes and shirts and food weren’t exactly chum change.
Picking up a muffin, he stuffed half of it in his mouth. Well, he supposed, at least they had a Merry Christmas. The investigation could continue later. “Oh, this food ain’t going to eat itself.”
He smirked, watching all the Newsies descend upon the food. Crutchie surprised him, throwing an arm around his shoulder. “Don’t fret about it Jackie. Just enjoy your boys being fed, happy, and relaxed for a change.”
“When did yous grow up?” Jack inquired, raising an eyebrow at his longtime friend.
Crutchie laughed. “Being around yous for a minute, forces a guy to grow up. Merry Christmas, Jackie.”
“Merry Christmas, Crutchie.”
Later That Afternoon
It was a rare December afternoon where it wasn’t so blasted cold that Jack pushed all the Newsies out of the lodging house. Sitting on the step, he watched the boys play Jacks or cards while enjoying the rare December sunshine.
“Merry Christmas Jack!” He heard Les cry before the eight year old crashed into him.
Jack laughed, swinging Les around to sit on the step next to him. “Hiya Les. Good morning?”
“Not too bad. Mom made cinnamon rolls.” Les paused, giving Jack a look. “Mama and David were quiet this morning.”
That made Jack sit up, giving the kid a glance. “Anything wrong?”
“Don’t know. They just kept giving each other weird looks.” Les shrugged, pausing a moment before he sprung from the step to go bother Albert and Race.
Whistling distracted Jack as he watched David walk up the sidewalk, hands in his pocket and a red scarf looped around his head. “Hiya Jack.”
“Afternoon David.” Jack smirked, hearing Race cuss then slug Albert for something or another. “Good day so far?”
“Can’t complain. Family time was good before mama let us leave the house. Sarah went to meet up with friends while Les and I came here.” David mentioned, taking a seat on the steps. “Have you had a good day?”
“Yea, wes had guardian angels drop off shoes, shirts, and food.” Jack shook his head. “A tree was delivered as well, decorated and all.”
David chuckled, watching his friend puzzle over the thought of someone doing something nice for a bunch of kids who had next to nothing, but each other. “That’s awfully nice, Jack. Any idea who?”
“Nah, none. But it was great to see the looks on the boys' faces, yous know?” Jack smirked. “And the foods was really good.”
Nodding, David smiled. He was glad Jack was none the wiser and he hoped it would stay that way. “I’m glad to hear that Jack. You and the boys deserve so much after the year you’ve had.”
Jack took a long look at David. Something was off about his friend, yet Jack couldn’t place it. Something caught his eye as he looked at David’s scarf. Reaching over, he picked up a piece of pine needle, much like the pine needle from the tree in the house. The dots in Jack’s head started to connect.
Shoving David’s shoulder, Jack’s eyes went wide. Trying to keep his voice low so as not to let the Newsies’ in on the secret, he looked at David. “It was yous.”
“What was me?” David raised an eyebrow, glancing over at Jack.
Jack shook his head, not wanting to hear any excuses. “Don’t lie to me David but it was yous that brought the tree and the presents.”
“All because you found a piece of pine needle in my scarf?” David’s eyes went wide, trying to hide the smirk that threatened to break through.
Jack chuckled. “Yous don’t celebrate Christmas, so there's no need for a tree. There’s a tree in the house that somehow magically appeared last night. So fess up, David. Yous put the tree in the house. But how?”
“If I tell you, you promise you will take this to your grave. You tell no one.” David said, spitting in his hand before holding it out.
Jack copied him, spitting in his hand before shaking his hand with David’s. “Denton received a letter in the mail from a woman’s group who wanted to give you Newsies a Christmas. He roped me, mama, and Sarah into his plan. We snuck in last night and decorated while mama and Sarah put stuff upstairs.”
Jack was shocked and made a mental note to check for the items upstairs before shaking his head. “Is don’t know what to say.”
“Don’t say anything but thank you.” David countered, giving him a long look. “You do so much for your boys, just let us do something little for you all.”
Fiddling with his fingers, Jack didn’t know what to say. “Denton has some extra leftover that he’ll be giving you for medicine and doctors come this winter. We just wanted to give you a proper Christmas since you flipped this city on its head this summer.”
“Thank you, David.” Jack sniffled, trying to keep his emotions in check but failed to do so. “Yous made today pretty cool for the boys and me. Yous thank your mama and Sarah too?”
David shook his head. “Nah, you can do that when you come for dinner later this week. Mama insisted.”
“Can’t deny mama anything.” Jack smiled, throwing an arm around David’s shoulder. “Yous a good man David.”