My sister-in-law chose our writing topic this week. A story about Frankie, a 14 year old, female, street gang leader in the 1920’s. Perhaps I am over thinking this but I am pretty much sure that I will totally suck. Ah well, it is probably my compulsion to research that is wigging me out. She did say here not to do, well…exactly what I am doing and perhaps that is a good clue that although she appears to be speaking to all of her blog readers, she is in actuality admonishing me not to freak out in any epic fashion. So here goes nothing. And if you would care to read her version of our exercise, by all means please click here.
Frankie vs. The Meanest Dog in Manhattan
Frankie kicked pebble number 922 into the grate outside Gertrude’s German Bakery, and stuck her tongue out at officer O’Shea’s back as he pushed open the heavy oak door. The motion released a warm rush of yeast and butter, soft white sugar, and the gut clenching scent of baked apples. If only the cop were entering the bakery to arrest fat Gertrude with her flour covered apron and butter smooth hands. But no, he would do as he did every morning. Buy a danish, wink at the girl behind the counter and stump back next door where the police station sat, glowering with thick dark windows at any lass foolish enough to slide her skinny rear through the oak door and into Miss Gertrude’s sugar scented domain.
Someday, when she made her fortune, Frankie would eat one pastry for every pebble she’d kicked down that dirty drain, and the way things were going she’d put Miss Gertrude to shame by the time she polished them all off.
Frankie set her chin, jumped to catch the edge of the fire escape, and clambered up the red flaking rungs. Sam should be back with their dog and she needed to inspect the creature. She needed something truly vicious if they wanted any hope of sleep so close to the police station. Frankie had moved the gang twice in the last month. A dog would warn her and slow the cops down. They’d had less than a minute to run last time and O’Shea had actually snagged the cap off Sam’s head as he ducked past. She lowered her lashes and let a smirk touch her mouth. Officer O’Shea was about to meet the meanest dog in all of Manhattan.
She pushed an old wharf tarp aside but stopped when she heard scuffling feet and a terrible growling. Not the low rolling snarl of the beast she had imagined, but the sick sound of a rabid raccoon tied in a gunnysack. Missie let out a quick curse but Sam pushed her back before she could boot the little dog that crouched, ears flat back, teeth bared to create a horrid sound that simply could not be labeled a growl.
“I wanted the meanest dog in Manhattan, not a prissy pile of fluff.”
“Look at my arm Frankie, none of the others even came close. The little weasel drew blood a dozen times if she did once.”
Sam held up the bloodied limb, and Frankie paused to consider the little dog’s obvious success. It was loud, but O’Shea might just kick the thing though the wall and keep coming…
Then Molly burst through the tarp, cheeks flushed and eyes bright. She opened her mouth to say something but Frankie held up her hand. The critter was silent. Then it let out a piercing bark, wagged it’s puffy tail and leaped, wriggling and licking, into Molly’s arms.
Frankie’s eyes turned to slits as she observed the scene.
“Where did you pick up the mutt Sam.”
“O’Shea’s house, belongs to his daughter.”
“Frankie, I just found a new hide out and was about to come clean. I swear it. It’s the perfect place and you would have figured out who I was once we got to the hideout anyway.”
“You’re O’Shea’s rich little girl and you want to take us to a hideout?”
“Hey I was bored ok? And get this. My Da just showed me this boarded up cell in the station basement. No one goes there cause someone tried to tunnel out maybe 10 years ago and it would cost to much to repair. It’s warm enough and big and the cops are too close to consider it a threat. But best of all the tunnel actually goes somewhere.”
Frankie was still scowling but she looked at Molly and raised a brow.
“The thing burrows right into Miss Gertrude’s Bakery. There’s a few blankets stuffing up the hole and a pile of crates stacked in that corner. You can have your pastry Frankie, you can have all 922.”
Slowly Frankie began to smile.
This assignment was much too hard, o lovely sister-in-law. I can’t think of any conceivable way to shrink this down to 500 words. Please forgive me! Here are some pics of scenes from the 1920’s. Of course they’re not from the correct country…or even the correct continent, but I thought they were interesting nonetheless.
Street urchins at drinking fountain here
Older girls cleaning a barge here
Boys eating bread and jam on a doorstep here
2 young women walking on the beach here
Organ grinder and his monkey here