I was conceived when a pretty waitress named Darla fell for the lies of a traveling shoe salesman on a warm July night at a watering hole called Hannigan’s. Oddly specific, right? Truth be told, most of us here could tell you the spot that our road to hardship began. We’re all fresh off the assembly line of Latchkey Inc. Premium products of one night stands. Dumpster dodgers with home lives that never quite let us forget this unfortunate fact.
See Lils over there? Her real name is Lilly. The girl’s got a heart of gold. Literally. Not sure who she swiped it from but she wears it on a knock-off chain around her neck. Then we got Skids. Cute name, I know. His mom ran out on him when he was six; left for greener pastures. Ironically, ‘Greener Pastures’ was the name of the trailer park where she left him and his Pops. Next up at bat, we got Donny. He doesn’t play much baseball anymore. Not after he got kicked off the team for what he did to that preened up pitcher from Uptown. Still dresses the part though, and never shy about swingin’ the bat. Topping off the roster we got Sammy. She’s a goddamn artist with a can of paint. The Da Vinci of the Eighth Street, with a cigarette hanging from her bruised lip. She’s got a gift for providing would-be interlopers with an eloquent warning to stay the fuck off our turf.
Eighth Street is for workers, scrappers, and grifters. People don’t call the police here. Everyone’s got something they’d rather not have looked at too closely. When push comes to shove, we shove hard, and when Jimmy ‘Blue Jay’ Stanton and his private school pretties from Uptown came to our neighborhood for a tutoring session, we were itching to give’em one.
Jimmy had a bone to pick with our Sammy after she turned him down for prom. Kids like Jimmy aren’t used to hearing the word, ‘No.’ He decided he’d ask a second time. He came down to Eighth Street with a handful of his boys. They were hoopin’ and hollerin’ as they went, passing a stolen bottle of his dad’s whiskey between themselves. They came down our alley. Our fuckin’ alley. With whiskey on his breath, that slimeball reached out to grab Sammy by the arm. Shouldn’ta done that. Sammy flicked her cigarette right in his face, and before the sparks even hit the ground, Donny was at the diamond. With a crack of the bat he clipped Blue Jay’s wing. The scene turned into a melee as Stanton rolled on the ground, bawlin’ like a newborn and clutching his pitching arm. I don’t need to tell you who won, but I will tell you that Jimmy’s Old Man has great taste in whiskey.
They never did prove that it was us that put Jimmy Stanton in the hospital, but everyone who matters knows. Papa Stanton pulled some strings to get us kicked outta school, but none of the gang seems to mind. Just more time for extracurriculars.