A Flute Player's Story

Surprises and Birthdays

"How did you manage to do this?" Ally asked me. We were sitting at a table in Medda's theatre, drinking colas. I had surprised Ally by picking her up at her house in Queens and brought her to Manhattan, where the newsies had helped me plan a surprise party for her birthday.

"I'm the king of New York," I told her, wiggling my eyebrows. She giggled, shaking her head at me.

"You don't have enough money to do this. Do you?" She looked at me suspiciously, but I could see the twinkle in her eye. I pretended to be insulted before we both laughed. Just then, Denton came in to Medda's and walked over to us. I introduced Denton to Ally.

"Nice to meet you, young lady," he said. Denton shook her hand before pulling out a paper and placed it in front of us. "Have you seen this story? You're one famous girl."

I grabbed the paper out of Denton's hand and read through it quickly. It was about Ally and Rooster; how they had been captured by Snyder and Weasel but gotten away. There was even a section about how Ally had been very sick but survived. My name was mentioned and there was even a picture of the three of us-Rooster was making a face as Ally and I hugged outside their house.

"You really are the king of New York," Rooster commented as he read over my shoulder. "So what does having your picture in the paper get you around here?" I smiled at the boys as we began yelling out things at the same time.

"A pair of new shoes with matchin' laces," Mush yelled out.

"A permanent box at Sheepshead races," I said.

"A porcelain tub with boilin' water," Spot chimed in, grabbing a cola and facing Ally with a smile.

Blink jumped up on a table. "A Saturday night with the Mayor's daughter." He smiled at Laura as everyone laughed.

"Look at me; I'm the King of New York." I started singing, grabbing the paper and rolling it up. "Suddenly, I'm respectable, starin' right at 'cha lousy with stature." Rooster gave me a funny look and I swatted him with the rolled up paper.

"Nobbin' with all the muckety mucks, I'm blowin' my dough and goin' deluxe," Jack added.

"And there I be, ain't I pretty?" I sang. Jack slung his arm around my shoulders and we both said "It's my city; I'm the King of New York."

I smiled at Ally as she watched Race dancing across the tables at Medda's. We were in the middle of telling her and Rooster what we would get if we had enough money. Ally nodded when Boots said he wanted a corduroy suit, smiled when Les said he wanted s mezzanine seat to see the flickers, and wrinkled her nose when Snipeshooter told her he wanted Havana cigars that costed a quarter. Someone passed her the paper and she looked at it, Rooster leaning over her shoulder.

"I gotta be either dead or dreamin' 'cause look at that pape with my face beamin'," he said. Together, they said in unison "Tomorrow they may wrap fishes in it but I was a star for one whole minute."

Everyone started singing with them. "Don't ask me how fortune found me, fate just crowned me; now I'm King of New York. Look and see; once a piker, now a striker, I'm the King of New York. Front page story, guts and glory; I'm the King of New York!" We all started cheering and I walked over to Ally. She smiled at me and offered a piece of cake. I took it with a smile, giving her a wrapped present.

"Open it," I said in respond to her curious look. Tearing into the brown paper, she gasped when she saw the sheets of new music I had gotten her. Rooster had helped me pick it out and she gave both of us a big hug when we told her. Race walked over and wrapped his arms around Allegra's waist. She turned and did a little dance on the spot, showing Race her present. I was content to back away and let them be together. After watching them a bit longer and talking with the Manhattan newsies, I decided it was time to go. On the way out, Robin greeted me with a kiss on the cheek.

"Wat was dat for?" I asked.

"Dat was because Ise love youse," she told me. Taking her hand with a smile, we walked back to Brooklyn.

"Racetrack, this was wonderful," I said that night as we walked home. Castel had walked Maggie home and made Race promise to bring me home safely. "Thank you very much for planning it for me."

He placed his hands on my waist and gave me a gentle, lingering kiss. When we pulled apart, we just stood there looking at each other. I could see desire in his eyes and was sure he could see it in mine. Finally he broke the silence and whispered to me. "I want to be with you very much," he said, placing a hand on my cheek.

"I want very much to be with you also," I whispered, using English. I had secretly learning English from Castel and Maggie and had planned to surprise Race by using it one day. My plan had worked, judging by the very surprised look on his face. I giggled until tears came to my eyes.

"You…youse…Ally, youse know English! When did youse…?" he stuttered out.

"I work hard to learn English. I remember what you teach me while I visit Mama's people and speak English there. I do not want you always have to speak Italian to me."

"Ally, dat's wonderful!"

"Castel help me. He say he learn English at school and from newsies. He help teach me."

"Are dere any other surprises Ise should know about?" he asked with a raised eyebrow. I shook my head. "Den Ise going ta kiss youse again." He did and I smiled.

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