The Adventures of Peter Gray Chapter 20: Helping Blink

Story by Domus Vocis on SoFurry

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Chapter 20 Helping Blink           Edward's cooking never disappointed me appetite in the past. This fox was a wizard with cooking, even by me low standards. If I ever became a rich gentlewolf with a mansion, a dozen pretty vixens by me side, and a backyard bigger than Five Points, I'd hire the fox as me personal chef. He'd bake me the best foods, cook the best grubs, and stir the best soups as he always does with that noggin' of his.           As me and Hansel sat at the lone table in their apartment, Edward wagged his bright tail behind him while pouring the soup he concocted. "Mmm, this is spectacular Edward," I spoke after swallowing a spoonful, and felt its taste run through me stomach. "What's in it?"           As I took another spoonful, the fox whispered something German in Hansel's ears, and the mouse grinned, explaining, "It's got chicken, potatoes, and..." he stopped, widening his eyes and struggling to not laugh, "...and olives, Peter."           I froze, and dropped the spoon into the bowl while looking at the fox and mouse nonchalantly. "So tell me about the past two days Hansel?" I asked, doing me best to rid the taste of the olives on me tongue.           Laughing shortly, Hansel ate his soup next to a sitting Edward while looking at me. In between taking a sip and looking to Edward solemnly, the mouse explained that since the raid on Irving Hall, the newsies haven't been the same. 'cause of the coppers, and the strikebreakers harassing them, there've been smaller and lesser strikes than before. Rumor even had it that the leaders considered quitting altogether.           That got me attention quickly, causing me fur to tense together and the bitter taste on me tongue to come back. "What?!" I gasped in disbelief. "B-But i-if they do that...they-they'd be in deeper mud than b-before!"             Hansel sighed, and I looked next to him to see Edward's foxish ears folded alongside his companion's. "That's life though, Peter. Those cubs have good intentions but..." Hansel slowed speaking and took a last spoonful of the olive soup. "It's gotten hectic at our job, and our boss says any striking with the newsies will get you fired." The mouse took hold of Edward's paw to his right and squeezed it tightly, and the fox squeezed it back. "It's even risky to have you here seeing how a...couple of people know you're for the newsie strike, and Mr. Habicht, our landlord, knows our boss." He paused. "I brought you up here cause the dog is out getting groceries and...we wanted to warn you since-"           I held me pw up, looking at Hansel in disbelief, and turned back to Edward's eyes. They weren't joking. "I understand, I won't talk to ya two until all this is over," I sighed sadly. I stood up and folded me ears as I walked over to the door. "Hansel? Eddie? If ya wanted a job, wouldn't ya want it to be fair?"           A shuffling behind me indicated they were listening, but a force inside me made me open the door and close it while running down the stairs. The whole while, I couldn't wrap me noggin' 'round the fact me fatherly figures weren't gonna risk their necks for a better cause. I couldn't blame them, since they had something while I had nothing though.           Although I wanted to be very angry at them, growl at the mere memory of their words to me, I couldn't make meself hate Hansel or Edward. The mouse and fox spend Lord-knows-what little they had to get me outta jail, and this was how I repaid them?!           Just as I turned a nearby street corner, something hit me muzzle, and I fell back on me tail with a soft crack. "Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!" I muttered while rubbing me rump and nose in pain. "Me nickers..."           "'ey! Boy!" a loud shout came from the broad-shouldered shouted down at me. "Watch it ya Brit!"           I lowly growled and stood to me footpaws while limping away. "I ain't talking Brit, ya Brit!" I shouted to him behind me sore tail. "Could this day get any worse?" I cut meself short when I got to Joseph Kinnick's Bakery, hoping to get meself some grub.           There, I found me beloved friends grinning ear to fluffy ear, waiting for me return. James struggled to keep a chuckle whilst setting down his drink at a nearby table. And sitting at the table next to James was Kid Blink, looking at me both amused and guilty. I hadn't seen them so worked up and loony since Gavin the 'yote honeyed me back in April.           "Thank you fer letting me hold the baby, Mrs. Kinnick!" and to add to me misery, there was the 'yote himself, turning down the stairs and immediately smiled at me like I were made of gold, running down the stairs and looking at me wide-eyed. "Peter yer back, ya crazy wolf. How was jail?"           I folded me ears and lowly yipped. "Shaddup Gavin," I said sitting down.           As I turned to the free bagels (hopefully weren't on me tab), an old wolf of forty walked outta the kitchen with a tray full of...bread or fancy bagels...and placed them in the oven behind the counter. His grayer fur shone from the oven's light, as well did his eyes when he turned to us.           "Well if it ain't the jailbird of the evening!" he laughed with the others with wagging tails. "I heard about yer arrest, and couldn't believe it, Peter."           I frowned. "And ya didn't help me outta jail and pay me bail because...?"           The old wolf shrugged. "I'd have to put it on yer tab, Peter," he said.           I lowly growled and took a bagel. Ha ha ha, I thought, staring at the crumbs on me piece. And if yer putting this on me bloody tab as well, I'll give ya the true meaning of jailbird. Kid Blink chuckled with him and smiled. "I think he's had enough, Joseph," the hybrid spoke up. He stood up and walked forward, giving me a meaningful hug before sitting down with Gavin and James at the wooden table. "I'm glad yer alright, but how did youse git outta jail Peter?"           "Yeah how did ya do it Peter?" Joseph called out from behind his counter.           "You sell your pocket watch?" James asked concerned. He gasped, and playfully turned to Gavin with wide eyes. "Or... did he-?"           "Escape?" Gavin looked at me curiously and wagged his 'yote tail with a wry smile. For being me newest friend close to James and Lance, the 'yote still acted like a jackass of a donkey sometimes. "Did ya escape from prison?"           I folded me ears and frowned sourly. "Of course I didn't ya darn cubs," I said while taking a bite of me bagel. As I started to explain it, this lump in me chest reminded me how cowardly me saviors were for not standing up with me in the strike. "H-Hansel and Eddie helped me out."           Gavin raised an eyebrow while taking a drink of water. "The mouse and fox yer friends with? They paid yer bail?" he asked.           "No they paid me wardrobe, of course they paid me bail ya 'yote," I chuckled outta nowhere. "They got me outta jail, and all 'cause me." I blushed at the last part, and grew annoyed by me friends' laughter. "Shaddup ya cubs." I turned to Blink curiously and took a last bite of the bagel in me paw. "So how's the strike going Kid? I heard yer thinking about quitting."           It was then that the room went silent, almost to the point of the only noise coming from flicking tails and outside ambience; even Joseph stopped with his job and looked at Kid Blink with incredulous shock. This was causing the hybrid to fold his ears and look at James, Gavin, then me in shame.           " ain't half true Peter," he said embarrassed and clearly disappointed. "Ever since de incident at Irving Hall, Dave and Boots 'ave considered giving up unless we's can gets enough of New York te join us." Kid lowly growled and took a sip, muttering, "The cowards dey are. We's gotten ourselves dis far, why back out now?"           A grin formed across me muzzle. "There's the speaker I know and love." I pointed one of me fingers at the hybrid and did a mocking laugh. "And meanwhile, I ain't the one that's shy about going on stage and pulling the strings Kid Blink," I said in equal disappointment. Blink looked at me in surprise along with everyone else. "I think yer a good voice for everyone, so why not be the voice Blink?"           "Yeah, why not Blink?" James asked. Me human friend set his cup down and looked at the fox/raccoon hybrid with an understanding face. "You're smart, well-known from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and are the best newsie all round."           "Yeah stop being such a coward Blink," Gavin said meaningfully (this was very odd). "I mean, I haven't been much of a supporter fer the newsies, but I can be there to help ya out."           I folded me ears and looked at Gavin like he were a loon; maybe he was. "Who are ya and where did the real Gavin go?" I asked the 'yote bluntly. This caused everyone to laugh, and in the midst of it all, a thought crossed me noggin' and it lit up like a fancy Edison light bulb.           "I got meself an idea," I said, tapping the table with a smile of brilliance. "We'll spread the word all 'round the city, and I'll help Blink with his stage fright." I looked at Blink and ignored the smell of fresh bread in the air. "Blink, when is the next rally?"           "Uh..." Blink paused, collecting his thoughts. "I think de next one's tomorrow, but why should I's git help frem ya Peter? And de rest of ya'all?"           I ignored the hybrid and turned me eyes to James, Gavin, and Joseph behind the counter of the bakery. I asked Gavin and James if they can get their parents to rally the other workers at the steel mill they worked at. While Henry would obviously say yes, and do his best, Gavin said he'd have to convince his 'yote father a bit to rally the other workers. With luck, since Francis Flint was well-known throughout the mill, he'd rally even the boss of the filthy place.           I then asked Jospeh behind the counter if he and the other bakers of New York could be at the next rally, but the old wolf didn't listen to me and went back to cooking his precious bread.           "I'll let ya double me tab?" I asked with a grin.           That caught Joseph's attention, and he said, "I'll ask George and Mrs. Jarvis if they'd be willing to help the newsies then." This was gonna put a large dent in me tab with Joseph, but it would be worth it.           "Blink, when's the next newsie rally?" I asked, finally turning to the impatient hybrid.           "Uh...two days from now, on the Brooklyn Bridge again at noon, Peter," he said in sudden surprise. "Why are ya asking me dis?"           I smiled an innocent smile and said, "I'll help ya be the best speaker since Abraham Lincoln at the Gettysburg Address." And I meant every word of it.           The next few days were a real blur. Everyone got busy doing their part of telling everyone they could meet to protest at the next rally. Gavin told his father, James told his father, and Joseph advertised it to all his customers and rivals in Five Points. The old wolf looked so happy I swear he'd bust a gut.           Meanwhile, whenever Blink had the time, I'd find the hybrid and help him with his shyness. Blink told me how while he had no problem with talking in front of a few people or even ten, the idea of being in front of dozens of other fursons made his skin crawl like a hunter skinning deer.           A day from the rally, we were strolling along the bust afternoon a few blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge, reminiscing in the day and talking about the rally without a worry in the world. Still, I was the only worried one; Blink was still as shy as a showgirl and he'd be talking in front of hundreds of people without knowing what to do about his stage fright.           It's hopeless! I thought bitterly while kicking a nearby can across the street. Blink was busy talking about the steel mill workers finally agreeing to rally with us, but we still didn't know how to make Blink be confident. Unless...           As we turned a corner, I asked him, "Why not look at just me in the crowd? I'll be in the center of the crowd, ya look for me, and looked at solely me while making a speech onstage?" Blink stopped on the sidewalk and looked at me like I were the inventor of a flying machine.           "Dat's...a brilliant idea Peter!" Blink wagged his hybrid tail ferociously. While adjusting his newsie cap, Blink confidently looked forward. "While de rally's happening, do yer best te git me attention, and ill do de rest."           We shook paws, and agreed that was the plan.           At last, when the rally came the next day, I traveled to the Brooklyn Bridge. I had to go past Irving Hall, say hello to  few pretty vixens in dresses nearby, and get meself a breakfast after finding a nickel in a barrel the night before, but I made it as steel workers were seen stopping traffic.           "Strike! Strike! Strike!"           They looked really angry, and it was perfect. Automobiles and wagons stopped at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge while other workers, some from the docks, the cotton gins, the bakeries, and other businesses join the steel workers in strike. Fursons and humans alike carried signs of equal rights. By ten past noon, I swear that I saw Francis Flint himself shake paws and hands with Henry Lawton, James' father, near the edge of the crowd like they were friends for life. And next to them were their own sons, and among them protester as young as cubs all the way as old as ancient, wagging their tails and shouting with all their might. This is unbelievable! I thought gleefully. To me surprise, the crowd was moving onto the bridge, up it like an army of angry workers. Next thing I knew, I was on the footwalk watching the crowd occupy the entire metal bridge without worry or remorse, just pride and life amid the scenery of the Hudson, colorful Brooklyn, and smoggy Manhattan as far as me eyes could see. A while later, the newsies appeared in the crowd, much to me glee as I lean against the rails. There had to be at least a couple dozen of them, as compared to the near hundred from the last rallies. I saw Boots McAleenan, Dave Simmons, and more that swept the bridge's road, their furry muzzles and pink faces struck with awe at how many stood in support of them. I waved me arm once I spotted Blink's hybrid tail. "Blinkie!" I called out. The hybrid turned to me direction, tapped his friend's shoulders, and ran to gimme a smile so wide I thought it'd hurt him. When the newsie leaders looked at me with disbelief, I grinned and said, "Yer welcome."           A while later, after the crowd started to calm down, the newsie leaders started making their speeches. Dave stood on an empty, parked automobile on the Brooklyn Bridge (I hope the gentlewolf who owned that didn't mind), and shouted about Hearst and Pulitzers needing to know, along with the world, of their struggles.

          As soon as he was done, I tugged at Blink's shirt and said, "Time for yer debut Blink." I saw Blink's tail twitch and curl, and knew he was being stubborn.           "I c-can't Peter. Maybe de odders will's douse better d-den me," the hybrd whispered to me nervously, like he thought the crowd would hear us under the cheering and chanting.           Dave went down the automobile and gazed at the other newsie leaders with curiosity in his eyes. "Who's next?" the asked, his white teeth still standing out against his darker skin. "Boots? Ya willing to make anudder speech?" The raccoon shook his head as a reply, and Dave kept asking for other volunteers.           "'ey Davie!" I shouted.           Blink lowly growled under his breath, "No!"           "Kid Blink would like to make a speech!" I announced happily. "He's got himself good ideas in his noggin' of his, Dave. Don't ya Blinkie?"           All eyes among the leaders fell on Blink and I by the footwalk railing, and while the crowd were oblivious to what I said, Dave and Boots stared at Blink. "Kid, ya wanna go up dere and try to talk sense into dem?           Blink turned to me and frowned. "Reminds me to haunt ya when I die onstage up dere ya wolf," he said between his teeth.           I grinned. "Will do Blinkie," I said.           Blink looked to Dave and Boots with a nod. "I'll head up dere and...try," he simply stated while climbing up the automobile.           I grinned at the sight and perked me ears upon remembering. "I'll be back a moment boys," I quickly said before running off into the crowd. "Excuse me, pardon me. Nice shirt there. Oof!"           I accidentally stepped on an old wolf's footpaw, causing him to shout, "Watch it, Peter!"           "Sorry!" I shouted, momentarily turning to the wolf and smiled at him. "And thanks for coming Joseph!" I wondered if his wife was guarding the bakery or not, and if I could sneak in later for a loaf of bread or two. I ran deeper into the striker crowd until I was right in the middle, where it was the least crowded and me eyes could see Blink a stone's throw away.           The hybrid looked like a wreck, his eyes roaming through the vast amounts of fursons and humans. Even from a small distance, I saw his tail curling anxiously, like he were a thief caught by the coppers. When the crowd started to silence itself for him, his maw opened up several times, with barely a word coming outta his throat. I had to let him see me!           With desperation clouding me, I scanned around me for a way to get Blink's attention, otherwise he'd be the Clown of New York. Taking in me surroundings, I saw a honking automobile to me right in the middle of the crowd. Grinning to meself, I ran for it and jumped onto the silvery, shiny roof.           "Get off my roof, ya brat!" a gentlewolf shouted from in the driver's seat. "I'll call the police on ya lad! I will! I swear to God I will!" I doubt he was, but I felt kina sorry for scratching it up with me footpaw's claws.           I looked back to Blink, our eyes now at the same height, and he spotted me with a forming smile. I got his attention! Now he just needs to get theirs! I thought, looking down at the crowd on the bridge.           Clearing his throat with clear nervousness, Blink nodded at me slowly shouted, "Friens...if youse can hear me, ya know's why's we're here! We's here 'cause... here 'cause Pulitzer and Hearst thinks...thinks dey owns us like...cattle!" I took note to have the hybrid work on his pauses. The crowd whistled and hollers in (mostly) approval. There had to be about over a thousand cheering, maybe more. "Everyone, whether furson or human, counted more den de coins and cash in udder's pockets. Just de udder past days, de breakers and coppers hired by Pulitzer arrested me friens fer talking. T-Talking! Talking about rights! Talking about our place in de world! And 'cause dey thinks dey own us, dat we'll back down! Will's we?!" he shouted, his tail now open and wagging. "Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike!" they chanted like mockingbirds. "De fat cats and fat gentlewolves dat ignore's us are no better den de fursons who run de World and Journal. Now is de time to seize de day today! Frem Harlem, to Five Points, to Brooklyn, to de Upper Side, de Lower Side, and de world, we's gotta seize de day!" More shouts and more cheers made me deaf. Blink looked me in the eye, and smiled broadly before turning to the crowd. "F-Friens and feller workers, de time dat tries de heart of men! Dis is de time where's we's got to stick together like glue! We know wot we wants and we'll git it even if we's blind!"           Me eyes and ears felt the cheers and jeers from everywhere, and the disbelief grew even more as the strikebreakers didn't break this strike at all. It went on through the day, and didn't stop the rally, like it were a gentlewolf presenting his mansion to the poor.           As the rally went uninterrupted, I froze in place when two familiar muzzles caught me attention in the middle of the crowd. I peered me sights closer, and me eyes widened when I saw they were a fox and mouse, wearing street sweeper clothes.           Hansel?! Edward?! I thought with a wagging tail. They both carried signs that read 'Strike!'. I knew they'd come! I quickly stepped offa the automobile soon as Blink's speeches were done, and ran for me friends. When they saw me, their muzzles lit up like mine, and I couldn't stop meself from hugging them.           When I asked about their jobs, Hansel told me bluntly, "We quit."           He and Eddie went on to explain that they prepared for another job, and knew a fellow German immigrant who worked in a blacksmith's shop. "The work will be harder, but the boss over there will pay us half a dollar more," Hansel said happily, momentarily holding paws with the red fox standing by his mousy side. " were right. If we want a job..." The mouse smiled at me and glanced to Edward, "...we'd want it to be fair." I told meself not to cry, 'cause I was around other men. "T-Thank ya two," I said. We hugged there, and watched the rest of the rally. I was so grateful for them coming. Like Blink said earlier, "Everyone, whether furson or human, counted more den de coins and cash in udder's pockets."           The rally the next day went spectacular, with Blink following me gaze and feeling more confident. I saw Mrs. Turner giving out treats with her friends to the others striking. We locked eyes for a moment, and I swear in the name of the Lord that I saw her smile at me like I were Lancie. In a twist of irony, I saw Lancie with her near the end of the rally.           Days passed, and no one knew the news for a while. Everyone in New York knew every whisper and shout involving the newsie strike, like a chain letter on a grand scale. Some cared badly about not knowing what was going on in the world, while more flocked in the newsie strike. Even newsies in New Jersy were riling up a bit. One reporter from a newspaper I couldn't remember came up to Blink while we were talking amidst the rally, and asked about the strike. Blink told the reporter with confidence, "Me men is nobul!"           At last, progress was made. The newsies who worked for The New York Journal were getting their money from unsold papers back, and prices would be lowered a dime, but Pulitzer's New York World didn't back down until three days later. After a rally on August 4th, me, Blink, Dave, Boots, and James were laughing about something unimportant when a black carriage stopped in front of us on the street. Its driver was a black wolf with fancy attire, but what caught me and the guys' attention were its two passengers. One of them was an older, graying gentlewolf with a black tuxedo and a brass walking stick by his lap, while the other was a younger tiger in a tan vest and black trousers. He was bigger than the ancient gentlewolf, almost to the point of his tail and legs folding up to his chin in the carriage's space. "Which one of you are the newsboys called..." the tiger read off a piece of paper, his voice beckoning in me deafened ear drums. "...'Kid Blink'... 'Boots McAllen'...and 'Dave Simmons'?" "That's 'McAleenan'," Boots muttered under his breath. The five of us held our breath, except for Blink, who stepped forward. "I...I ams Blink," he turned to Boots and Dave. "De human's Dave, and de raccoon's Boots. Who are ya?" The gentlewolf shifted himself forward to the carriage's window. His face creased a bit, maybe out of pride or embarrassment. "Between you three boys, I am Joseph Pulitzer, and...I'd like to...negotiate on the strike." 

The Adventures of Peter Gray Chapter 21: School

Chapter 21 School           As I slept peacefully as a newborn cub, I thought I fell into the Hudson.           Instead, I had a bucket of water thrown on me. "Git up ya mutt!" a gruff voice shot. I spat and grumbled while staggering offa the hay...

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The Adventures of Peter Gray Chapter 19: How I Got Meself in Jail

Chapter 19 How I Got Meself in Jail "Excuse me copper, but how long do I hafta stay in 'ere?" I whined while grabbing the round metal bars. All around me, other convicts with deep voices growled and yipped at me comment while banging the bars of their...

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