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Spot Conlon always knew he'd grow up to be powerful. It was the other people who doubted it. They certainly regret those judgements now.
Loaded God Complex
Spot Conlon knew what it took to be a leader. He knew it took more than friendship with fellow comrades, trust and interest for their well-being. He knew these things were actually a leader's weakness and downfall. The most common way great leaders had died was when their own men had turned against them. A real leader needed what resembled friendship to any outsider. He needed his own, however, to fear him right from the start. He needed to be the best fighter, the smartest, and the all-around best at everything from the get-go. His men could be nothing but the largest and the toughest, every one a prize-fighter in his own right. The bigger, brawnier, and bulkier the better. Only those in peak physical condition were allowed out to be seen by others. Any of those injured in fights or with the slightest signs of weakness were to be kept hidden. Spies needed not only to be among his enemies, but among his own men, and even among his spies. No one could be trusted, allowed to talk down to him in the least. He had to know everything about everyone, and how to handle it.
This was how it had all come to pass. Spot's knowledge and as he saw it, intelligence, had driven him forward. It was a mistake the teachers had made, teaching history so early. While most other students in his class were focused on the happy times of the pilgrims and the Mayflower coming to America he'd found his solace in the European History of the times. The American and French Revolutions consumed the unit for him.
Of course this was back when he'd been Ian Liam Conlon. Ian was not a bad name; it did not command respect but it did not exactly make him seem like a pushover either. It was the way the name rolled off the teachers' and the landlords' tongues that bothered him. Ian Conlon was some tiny, stupid mick that would never amount to anything.
As he grew older he spent afternoons away from home. Along with what they studied in school he studied historical leaders more in depth at a small public library. After hearing a story of Napoleon Bonaparte from a rambling, and often drunk, French neighbor Ian spent nearly three years intensely studying Napoleon. He had rare affairs with other countries and leaders but in his eyes Napoleon was gold. He was a perfect model. Robespierre was an idiot, and Frederick the Great too much of a pacifist.
He loathed his own heritage, for as he saw it, the Irish had done nothing worthwhile. Fighting the English could scarcely be counted for they had never won a decisive victory. However, he was also proud of his heritage. People everywhere expected the son of an Irishman to be tough and smug. Ian lived up to both. He lost only the first several fights in the yard of the elementary school. He learned quickly that in the real world no one fought fair. No matter how old he got he always remained smaller than the other boys. It was a disadvantage only to them. They expected him to be weak. 'Mick' they called him. Every year, never fail, there was some new boy thinking he was better than Ian or one of Ian's little brothers, Sean and Douglas. They learned quickly enough that he was not one to be messed with.
His family was wealthy enough to keep their small apartment for all the years they lived there. They kept food on the table, and everyone clothed in new things or hand-me-downs. His mother passed on too early to teach him compassion, taking a young daughter with her. A little sister would have done him well. Instead he was raised with two younger brothers who idolized him, and a father who fought a common and constant battle with whiskey. Brian Conlon was a horrid man with or without the alcohol. The only thing he was decent about was making sure his sons had an education so they would not end up like him. Ian loathed him. The older he got the more they fought.
Ian's incessant fighting, and studying of great warlords came to discovery when he was nine years old. One test had asked how they (the student) would have acted differently from one monarch or another to gain power over their people. Ian had used a sheet and a half of paper explaining what had been done wrong and going on and on about how one could gain power in vivid detail. He mentioned torture, manipulation and murder among his methods. Even years later that was all he could remember it including. It was more than enough to startle his teacher.
He was rather upset as the teacher had not handed his test back with the other students' that day. He was certain he'd gotten a perfect score. He noticed the principal enter during math and kept one ear on their conversation between his teacher and the principal. He became particularly interested once he heard his own name mentioned.
"Margaret, are you sure Ian knew what he meant by writing this?"
"I honestly don't know what to believe Mr. Peterson. The other students wrote at most six sentences, and Ian wrote almost two pages. Everything here is very vindictive and backed with so much evidence. I- I know he's gotten in fights before but I certainly did not see this coming."
Mr. Peterson sighed, "I'll have to call his father in. We need to take care of this problem as soon as possible. His fights have been very violent in the last year. I'm worried he'll hurt someone else too badly one of these days."
"What should I do, Sir?"
Mr. Peterson folded Ian's test to take with him, "I'll send someone to your room as soon as I can manage to find his father." He strode quickly out of the room.
Ian returned his attention to the nearly completed math sheet in front of him.
It was late that afternoon, school was nearly out, when Elizabeth Thatcher, a girl two years older than Ian came into the room. "Mr. Peterson wants to see Ian Conlon in his office," she said, "I'm to walk him there."
Ian followed her out of the room without a word to his teacher, a glare sufficed. As he walked down the school's long hallways he caught Elizabeth staring at him.
"What are you lookin' at?" he snapped.
"You're not so bad looking for a fifth grader. I bet you'll have all the girls after you before long."
"Who needs a fucking girl when they got themselves to watch out for?"
She shut up after that.
His father was waiting in Mr. Peterson's office. It seemed the two of them had been discussing something before Ian walked in, and his father did not look happy. Ian's test lay on the table between them. All he had done was answer the stupid question, and he didn't understand what had upset everyone so far.
"I'm certain you understand the problem, Mr. Conlon," Mr. Peterson finished, "This problem needs to be addressed."
"It'll be handled, don't worry about that."
Mr. Peterson just gave his father that knowing look adults give each other.
Ian left school early with his father and sat in his room all through the afternoon as his father went to fetch his brothers, as they played out on the sidewalk, and as the family ate dinner. After his brothers were both in bed his father called him into the living room. Brian Conlon sat in a chair holding Ian's test in his hand.
"What the hell possessed you to write this, you stupid little shit?"
"It was the right answer." Ian shrugged; there was no alcohol in the room so he was not terribly worried.
His father's hand slammed into the side of his head hard enough to knock him to the floor. He knew better than to stand up again.
"This," his father snapped, "is not acceptable at all. You want them to lock you up, Ian, huh? Your principal says I need to make sure you understand what's wrong with what you wrote. People don't like violence, Ian. It scares them, and makes them worry. They lock violent people up and keep them locked away until they die. You want that to happen to you? Do you understand what I am saying, Ian? You are a child, an Irishman, and a poor one at that. Power isn't something you'll ever grasp so don't bother with it now."
"Who the hell has power then?"
Another slap ensued at his cursing. "Your teachers and principal, the police, all them rich folks. Everyone has more power than you, Sport. You're not going to ever amount to anything." He used a pet nickname, usually reserved for Ian's brothers.
Ian received the beating of his life that night and his father never touched a drop of alcohol.
The idea that Ian, himself, did or did not have power had honestly never entered his mind until after that night. These men that he studied had been great generals, or monarchs. They had reason to be great and make their accomplishments known. Now he really thought about how all the people his father had mentioned had gained their power. They had made others smaller than them. If Ian could do that he would prove his father wrong.
He abandoned his fondness of history and any other school subject. He passed his classes and barely tried. Instead he harbored a growing need of power and strength. He got into even more fights these days, though he was often the one instigating them. His own classmates began to fear him. The girls paid him attention but he did not bother with them. He felt no pull toward the opposite sex. He was not a boy kisser, and had even beaten up his fair share of them, but felt no exceptional emotional pull toward anyone but his brothers. All he had was a growing need for power.
His father was getting even worse. He'd gotten a small promotion at work and seemed proud. They could easily afford their apartment on the lower east side and Ian was not allowed to try to find a job. He walked around until near dark every day and came home seemingly only to argue with his father. Then he hid in his room.
It all came to turning point just before he turned fourteen. There was an argument in the schoolyard one afternoon with a boy named Patrick. Patrick's family was poor, a lot poorer than Ian's, but he was bigger than Ian was. He also assumed himself to be tougher. He managed to give Ian a black eye and knock him down before Ian walked away. Schoolyard tussles were worth nothing.
The next morning Ian saw him on the way to school, with no cronies around to help him. He ran and shoved the boy to the filthy sidewalk. "Listen up, don't mess with me anymore 'cause I'm not gonna fight back. If you keep coming after me though, I'll make you wish you hadn't."
"Get away from me you stupid grafter." Patrick snapped.
Ian gave him a swift kick to the ribs for that comment.
At school Patrick told everyone that he had been mugged on the way to school, making him look like a valiant hero. He stayed away from Ian, though his buddies urged him to start something else again. Ian laughed about it until it was the friends that started something a few days later. There was a bigger brawl, three on one. One of the boys was sent home with a broken nose, and the other two were expelled, unfortunately so was Ian. It was only for the next day, but it was no laughing matter.
Ian half expected someone to follow him home, and he was right. It was not one of the three he'd argued with, it was Patrick, who had skipped out on class. Ian wasn't stupid. He tried to lose Patrick by using back-alleys and shortcuts, but the other boy had lived in that part of town just as long as Ian had. Finally Ian stopped in the middle of an alley.
"What do you want Patrick?" He asked.
"You got all of my friends suspended."
"Yeah, well they jumped me so the way I see it is that they got themselves and me suspended."
"It was your fault."
"Of course it was." Ian rolled his eyes and turned around to find Patrick just behind him, in time to have another blow land on his still-healing black eye.
Ian took the blow and took a step away from Patrick. He looked back and just stared for a moment. He knew Patrick, knew more about him then his own parents and his own friends did. Patrick had been working in his uncle's shop since he was eight. He had perfect grades, took care of three sisters, and never had a moment to himself. He wanted a fight. The stress of never having a moment to himself had finally gotten to him. Here was what he wanted right in front of him. Ian did not work, except to keep his two brothers entertained and out of trouble. Ian was smart but did not try. His grades were neither brilliant nor horrible. He was relaxed and tough, everything Patrick wanted. Somehow, by beating Ian up he would gain that.
An idea slid into Ian's mind. Part of it was already planned, but Patrick was the missing piece.
"You really want to start something?" he asked.
"You're easy to hit, Conlon, you don't fight back much."
"Are you sure?"
Ian swung a punch that sent both boys careening to the ground, Patrick missing a tooth. The older boy cursed and tried to kick Ian as he rolled away. His foot caught Ian in the back. Before they could both regain their footing Ian's hand was on Patrick's shirt, holding him down. One fist raised and hit him again and again. Patrick landed a punch to Ian's stomach and the two rolled over a few times, coming to a stop with Patrick again on the bottom. Ian latched his hands around Patrick's throat and he pressed down hard. Patrick's eyes went wide with fear. This was far more than he had bargained for. Ian pressed down harder, ignoring any blows landed by Patrick's hands as he tried to push Ian off of him. Ian did not release the other boy's throat until he had been still for several minutes.
Luckily they were right behind his house. He dragged the body up under the back porch, and went quickly inside. His father was drinking; that fact alone chased him back outside. He sat and waited. His brothers came home an hour later to find him unmoved.
"Who's that?" Doug asked.
"His name is Patrick." Ian affirmed.
"Ian," Sean questioned, "Is he dead?"
Ian looked up at his younger brother, now nearly eleven. "Yes."
Sean wanted to ask another question, Ian could tell, but he did not.
"Listen to me," he said to them both, though mostly to Sean, "I want you both to go somewhere else to play this afternoon. Dad's inside, he's drunk. Stay out past dinner and use your spending money for the week to buy yourselves dinner. I don't want you to come back here until near eight, alright?"
"Don't you dare go inside the house when you get back. Trust me, when you get here you'll know why. Listen, Sean, if you see me again, you don't know me, okay? Don't even approach me or say anything. Do not, under any circumstances call me Ian."
Sean nodded again.
Ian handed him a baseball, "Get out of here then."
Sean took the baseball, gave Ian a quick hug and forcibly dragged their younger brother out of the lot.
Ian waited until it was dark to go inside. He went in to make sure his father was asleep. The old man was out cold in a chair, bottle of beer still in hand and another open on the floor next to him. Ian retreated inside and hoisted the body over his shoulder. He walked in and made his way as quietly as possible past his father's sleeping form, dumping the body on his own bed. He then fetched the open beer from the floor and emptied it over the body. Then he returned with the matches from the kitchen and lit it on fire. He backed away from the heat and went and stood near his sleeping father. He waited there; just to be sure he did not wake up.
Once he could feel the heat of the flames and hear people shouting as they saw flames he dropped another match in his father's bottle and turned away. He broke the other bottle over his father's head. He immediately awoke screaming. Ian was too quick for him. He snatched a decorative cane away from the wall and slammed it against his father's kneecaps. He lit another match and left the house, his father's screaming echoing behind him. Once he was outside he began to run still carrying the cane. He did not stop running until he was several bocks away. He took refuge in a small alley and listened for the sirens.
When his brothers returned home the police were there and the fire was being put out. They were taken by a police officer to the orphanage. Doug sobbed huge tears about 'Ian and Daddy' while Sean just watched with a grim frown set on his face.
Ian made himself disappear for several days. He resurfaced two days later in Harlem and bought a paper from a newsie there. He'd been waiting for the article, one about a father and son both lost in a fire in their tenement, and there were no possible leads. On the second page was a short article about a young man named Patrick Fitzgerald who was missing. Ian smiled.
The next day he succeeded in getting himself arrested. He made himself comfortable on one of the bunks and growled at any of the other boys who came near him. He hadn't slept in a bed in almost a week and would gladly have fought anyone who tried to take the luxury away.
"You'll probably get an extra month or two with an attitude like that," one boy told him.
"I got nowhere else to go."
The older boy looked him up and down, "What's your name?"
"Spot." He said. He'd meant to say 'Sport' as his father called him but nerves were getting to him. He did not dare to try and correct himself. It would have made him seem incompetent.
"Well, Spot, I'm out of here tomorrow morning, and take my advice, get out of here as soon as possible. And when you do get out, come to Brooklyn. We could use more boys like you."
"Brooklyn's known for its tough newsies. You'll fit right in." The boy climbed onto the bunk over his without another word, and when Ian awoke the next morning he was already gone.
Ian spent a week in the refuge before his sentencing for theft, vandalism, and loitering among other fabricated charges. They sentenced him to three months. He spent two days in solitary confinement before beating in the face of a police officer and stealing his father's cane on the way out the door.
He'd never run so fast in his life as the night he ran to Brooklyn.
That was when he became Spot. He was never Ian again. The boy he'd met in the refuge was the second in command to Brooklyn's leader, Rebel. He had been right; Brooklyn harbored and bred tough boys. It wasn't much but he had a bed and a blanket every night.
He wasn't much for selling papers, but was rather skilled at picking pockets and robbing people with a pocket knife he'd once lifted. Not many of the Brooklyn boys liked him. He was young, and cocky, and his fighting scared them. He'd been slapped for insolence in his first week and had the gall to go after the boys' leader who was known for his fighting ability.
A plan formed in Spot's mind, like they often did. The one thing he needed, and the one thing he lacked was power. He'd become leader, and he would exert power and anger over these boys like no leader ever had before.
A petty fight ended Rebel's life that year; he died at the end of Spot's knife surrounded by nearly a hundred witnesses who were frozen in shock. Spot took the occurrence in stride, just as he took everything else.
"What are the lot of you standing around here for? Scram or I'll beat your faces in." He yelled.
Most of them scattered, and only a few stayed behind to claim the remains of their fallen friend. Spot returned to the lodging house.
That was where he waited; his plan began tonight. They all returned, exhausted in the few hours immediately after the sun had set. They returned to their rooms, socialized, and ate what little food was available. Spot waited patiently until every single boy was there. He smiled to himself as he entered the first of the several bunk rooms that housed the boys. He looked them over. He'd known every boy by name or reputation for months now. He knew which boys to keep and which to force out.
Without a word he approached the lanky, smug, son of a bitch who had dared to insult him the previous day. It was no personal grudge; insults were thrown everywhere, but this boy's only fighting method was avoidance and trickery. He'd never win a fight on his own.
"Kelly." He snapped.
"Yeah Spot?" the boy turned around.
Spot threw a punch that landed across his eye and knocked him back into the bed frame. Jack Kelly, as the boy had been named, looked at Spot with shock as the bunk room fell silent. Spot smirked; the kid wasn't even as smart as he looked if he wasn't getting ready to fight now. Two more quick punches followed to Jack's gut, cracking a rib, before he gained the sense to fight back.
The fight had truly been over before it began. In only a few short minutes Jack was laying on the floor, not even attempting to get up.
"You're leaving." Spot told him.
"Where the hell am I supposed to go!?" His voice cracked.
"I don't give a rat's ass. Manhattan. Queens. Brooklyn is mine and I'm not going to jeopardize it by letting weaklings like you stay here. If you ain't gone by morning you'll be meeting up with Rebel to tell him how much the other guys miss him already."
Spot spat on the battered boy and moved on.
Word spread quickly about what Spot was doing. Over the next few days there were dozens of fights, all ending in the same manner that Jack's had. Some of the boys wised up and left on their own. The majority stayed and watched the brutal beatings with no pity.
The last newsie Spot approached was the first of the Brooklyn newsies he has met, the boy from the prison. He approached him in the middle of the afternoon; both of them already back from selling in the lousy conditions. The bunk room was empty save for the two of them. Spot stopped in the doorway.
"Get out." He said plainly.
The other boy rolled over, not having heard Spot's approach, "Excuse me?"
"You heard me, I want you to leave."
"I can hold my own in a fight longer than half the guys here. What the hell do I need to leave for?"
"I don't care if you can fucking fight Racetrack, you were Rebel's second in command. That makes you a fine candidate to take over for him."
"You took that position fine. I don't want it."
"That makes you the prime candidate to stage a coup."
"Spot, that is ridiculous. I don't-" he paused, "You know what? Fine. I'll leave. I ain't scared of you, but I'll go."
The young Italian grabbed what few belongings he had and marched toward the doorway where Spot still stood. Spot stepped aside to let him pass. This was one confrontation he didn't deem necessary. Without any warning Racetrack lashed out and struck him in the face. It wasn't a particularly damaging punch though it did blur Spot's vision long enough to keep him from chasing Racetrack down and beating the living daylights out of him.
The next day Spot began preaching to his boys. A new Brooklyn order was beginning. There were new standards and new rules. Brooklyn was going to rule the city. No other borough would ever dare to cross them.
"People don't like violence," Spot told them as his father had once told him, "It scares them and makes them worry. They lock violent people up and keep them locked away until they die." He smirked, "but that changes now. We are going to beat the others down until they respect us. We are going to build Brooklyn up until the respect equals that the Greeks had for Sparta. We have the power now, not them, not anyone else. And if any of you screw this up, you are going to answer to me."
Things changed rapidly. Spot sent his spies to the other boroughs. He learned quickly that some of the boys he had kicked out of Brooklyn had found new homes already. Mayhem Boyle was in Harlem, Pyro Foster in Queens, and both Jack Kelly and Racetrack had found a new home in Manhattan.
There were only a few scuffles. Mostly they were with the Bronx who questioned the ability of such a small boy to lead the army that was Brooklyn. They all learned quickly and soon enough there were murmurs of Spot's leadership all over the city.
Spot still wanted power. That was his only goal in life. The other boys played their card games, drank their liquor and slept with their women. Spot ignored all of it. None but the card games went on under his roof. He had no desire to join them. He never touched a drop of alcohol, and had only an occasional cigarette to steady his nerves. He never looked twice at any of the girls around the city, and ignored the approaches of those who sought him out.
He arrived home from selling one day in the early spring the year he turned seventeen. There were several boys already at the lodging house. Bottles and cards littered the table and laughter echoed throughout the room. Spot ignored them and passed them to go upstairs. He stopped only when he heard the laugh of a girl. He stopped in his tracks and turned to find a common looking girl sitting between two of his boys nursing a hand of cards.
"Boxer, what'd I tell you about bringing whores into my lodging house?" he snapped.
Boxer did not get a chance to reply. The girl threw her cards down on the table and stood up, "What did you call me? I ain't no whore."
"Maggie," Boxer stood up as she pushed her chair back. "Maggie, don't say anything. That's Spot, c'mon." Then he addressed Spot, "Sorry, she was just leaving."
"I was doing no such thing," the girl snapped. She approached Spot in a way none of his boys would have. "What gives you the right to call me a whore? I've heard of you, Spot Conlon, but then who hasn't. Your boys all talk about how you're power mad. And you ignore the girls when you could probably have anyone you want." She closed in on him until there was only a foot between them, "You do nothing. What, d'you prefer boys?"
Spot slapped her hard across the face. "I thought I told you to get out of my lodging house whore."
"You say one more word I'll kill you. I've got no problems hitting girls." When she only narrowed her eyes at him he continued, "Now get out."
"Bastard." She muttered as she turned to leave.
Spot's temper was boiling. He let her go. He watched a few of his boys follow her. They continued their poker game outside. Spot watched. There was no way any girl was going to get away with insulting Spot Conlon; none of his boys would have gotten away with that.
It was dark before she started home by herself. He followed her, and made sure she knew it. When she started to run he chased her. He grabbed her by her hair and hauled her into an alley. She was scared now that there were no other boys around to protect her. She had been under the illusion that Spot wouldn't have hurt her with his men present. They would have protected her instead. How naÃ¯ve this girl was. If Spot had stabbed her right there none of his boys would have even flinched, let alone try to stop him.
"Did you really think I'd let you get away with that?" he slapped her. "Is that it, you think because you're a woman you can get away with insulting Spot Conlon." He shoved her to the ground and kicked her. "You ain't nothing to any of them but a cheap whore. Don't think I'm so stupid that I don't see that." He kicked her again.
Spot continued his diatribe as he beat her until she cried. When he left the alley she had been raped and murdered. That was what one got for insulting Spot Conlon.
Spot had managed to locate his two brothers. They were living with a distant relative just outside of Brooklyn. He'd check in on them only occasionally, never allowing them to see him, or notice him as anything other than a passerby. He never spoke to them or their families. For all anyone knew he was dead. Sean knew the truth, but he wasn't sure if Doug did. He knew that his brothers would come looking for him. How could then not suspect that the elusive leader of Brooklyn was their brother.
Spot thought he had been prepared to deal with the situation when it came, privately and quietly. Unfortunately his brothers had other ideas.
He was conversing with Pockets and Roman near the Brooklyn Bridge when a small, skinny kid hurdled across the bridge at them. He stopped three feet away and stared at Spot. Spot didn't notice him but the other two boys did. They fell silent for a moment. Spot glanced back to see what they were staring at.
The second of his brothers was running across the bridge trying to stop their younger siblings from causing trouble.
"Ian?" The small boy ventured.
"Doug, don't!" his brother shouted at the same time.
Spot winced; he couldn't act like he knew them. It was for their own good.
"Who?" he looked around. "Are you talking to me, kid?"
"Ian." Doug said as Sean reached them.
"I don't know any Ian, kid. Why don't the two of you go back to your mother?"
"She's dead, you know that."
"Doug." Sean warned the boy. He looked up and caught Spot's eye.
Spot clenched his jaw. It was for their own good, their protection. They would have a better life without getting involved in his messes. Somehow, he must have displayed something like that through his stance. Sean understood.
"You're Spot Conlon, aren't you?" he asked, feigning awe. "We've heard a lot about you from all over the city."
"Really, like what?" Spot asked.
"Like that you killed Patrick Fitzgerald."
Spot smirked, "That was a long time ago."
"His mother's still looking for him. And did you really burn your house with your father still inside?"
The two other Brooklyn boys were losing interest now. They'd all heard these stories hundreds of times. Roman excused them and the two walked back in the direction of the distribution center for the afternoon edition.
Once they were out of sight Spot lowered his steely gaze to meet Doug's. He frowned and crossed his arms in front of him.
"What did I tell you before I left?"
Not saying a word Doug threw his arms around his older brother. Spot sighed and hugged him back. After a moment he raised his eyes to meet Sean's.
He realized that day that his brother had his eyes and his piercing glare down perfectly.
"You killed dad." He stated.
"We'd all be dead by now otherwise."
"But you left us. We're you brothers."
"And you better off with no one knowing that. It could get you hurt."
"It ain't fair, Ian. All these years we wondered what the hell happened to you. I'd just about given up and thought you were dead."
"Why would I be dead?"
"I don't know," Sean scratched his head and looked down at the ground, embarrassed, "I thought maybe you'd died in the fire along with Patrick and Dad."
"You're smarter than that." Spot looked back into Brooklyn. "Look, you two, I would love to come live with the two of you, or have you stay in Brooklyn, but you can't."
"Why not?" Sean asked, "I can fight."
Spot shook his head. "Not like my boys you can't. My boys and me, we might kill people on occasion. I don't want to see either of you turning into that. This is my world. I have the power he told me wasn't attainable for people like us. I love the two of you, but you wouldn't last a minute in Brooklyn."
"What about visiting you?" Doug asked.
"No." Spot said. "If anyone finds out about you two word is going to spread. I have enemies who would have no problem slitting either of your throats to teach me a lesson." He glanced around again, quickly.
"It's not fair Ian." Sean said.
"Life ain't fair. The sooner both of you learn that the better. You've got to make your own way. I told you before, things are different. Now don't you ever address me in public, especially not as Ian. If you see me just ignore me. If you run into me say 'Sorry Spot' and go."
"We promise." Sean agreed.
"Good, now get back home. And remember, if I hear either of you is making trouble I'll slit your throats." He hugged each of them and sent them running off.
He found Pockets and Roman playing poker that night. He was worried they would suspect something, or worse, say something.
"Don't worry," Roman said before Spot could ask anything, "The two of us take secrets to the grave."
Spot nodded in agreement. "That's good; otherwise I'd have to send you there before the night was out."
Any dispute of Spot's leadership had fallen by that summer. He was called Brooklyn by some now, the very archetype for what Brooklyn newsies should be. His name demanded respect, and he got it from everyone. His approval was needed for anything and the other newsies sought it.
That was why they came to him when the strike started in Manhattan. Jack came to him with a book worm of a partner. They sat in front of him at the lodging house and begged for his approval, for his leadership. Jack Kelly had not changed at all since the day Spot had thrown him out of the lodging house. He avoided fights and used trickery. This strike he suggested needed a real leader, needed Spot. But Spot knew Jack. Jack wouldn't stand and fight like the Brooklyn boys would. Chances were his boys wouldn't either. There was no point to the strike in their case. Without proper leadership the strike would fail.
And so Spot turned Jack down. He sent him back to Manhattan and let the talk of a strike crumble after him.
As soon as Jack left the matter was forgotten. Spot retreated inside to the bunk room as soon as it started to get dark, already on to bigger plans of his own. However, he reached his bunk to find a stranger sitting there.
The bunk Spot slept in was the very one Racetrack had slept in until Spot had told him to leave. There Racetrack sat again, a grim frown on his face. Spot hadn't seen Racetrack Higgins since the night Race had left and decked him on the way out.
"I've got half a mind to beat you half to death." He warned.
"We need your help, Spot." Race looked unconcerned with the threat of bodily harm.
"I said no. It's not a smart move for me. Manhattan won't hold up their side of it."
"I wouldn't be so sure of that."
"I'm a leader Racetrack. I'm respected, and I have power people like you and me aren't supposed to have. I am not going to lead my boys into something that is going to decrease that power. I'm not going to look weak against any enemy. If we join with the other boroughs and anyone looks week it's going to come back to me. I'm the one who's going to get cut. I've got all the power I need right here and right now, so you give me one good reason why I should help."
Racetrack looked Spot straight in the face as he spoke. His eyes were big and more expressive than Spot's could ever be.
"People like you Spot. You're a cocky son of a bitch who treats everyone like dirt but they still like you, and respect you. Hell, I respect you. You and I go back a long time, and I've seen you at your worst. You'll help us for one simple reason."
"What is that?"
"Because we're friends."
A/N: well, I finally finished one of the one shots I got bored with several times during the past school year. I think I'll post this one on both ffn and ficwad. I think this came out good, though it changed a lot from my original idea. The finished draft is decent but I'm not certain if I like the ending.
I love that it screws the idea of Spot being a ladies man and just makes him a leader though.
For anyone wondering, the title is indeed a reference to a Fall Out Boy song. My little sister is currently obsessed with them and this song has been stuck in my head for a week and I finally found something that fit as a decent title.
Anyway, here it is. Leave a review
~Hotshot ~ ~ ~