Mush's New Goil (aka Finding Jonathan)
A giant salty tear blinked out of one of her big green eyes, and after that, dozens more followed suit. She
was very used to these tears though… she cried them every night. Stephanie pushed away a lock of her blonde curly hair
blown in front of her face by the cold night air, and wiped away her tears. “Why?” she asked. “Why me?”
Stephanie buried her face into her hands and began to sob again.
You see, Stephanie’s
life was far from perfect. Her mother was very sick had died on her 13th birthday, exactly 2 years ago from that
night. And as if that weren’t enough to handle, after her mother’s death her father became an alcoholic and went
out drinking every night. She had to learn to take care of herself at only 13, and had to drop out of school to take care
of the small apartment in Queens
she lived in.
The only person she could talk to about anything was her brother 4 years older than her, Jonathan. They
were best friends. They did everything together and could tell each other anything. They were always there for each other.
Also a blonde with his mother’s bright blue eyes, Jonathan had always been an outgoing, fun loving person, until that
one night when they’re father came home obviously very drunk and beat him, giving Jonathan a broken arm and a swollen
eye he couldn’t even open. That night Jonathan ran away, never to be seen again.
And now Stephanie was all alone in this apartment in Queens, with no one to
take care of her. No one to notice her. No one to love her. Every night she cried for her mother and Jonathan, and prayed
that one night he might come home. But it had been months and there was no sign of Jonathan.
Now on her 15th birthday Stephanie was sitting out on the fire escape sobbing and wondering why these
things had happened to her. She was a strong person and always overcame her sadness. She picked her head up, wiped away her
tears and climbed back through the window, following the same routine she had every night. But this night was different. She
felt different. This one night she felt angry. She felt angry that her father was never home. She felt angry at her mother
for leaving her, and she felt angry at Jonathan for never coming back.
“I’m done with this!” She yelled. “I’m through! I’m finished! I can’t
take it anymore! I want you back Mama! I need you Johnny!” she paused and suddenly an idea came into her mind that she
had never thought of before. “It’s so simple!” she whispered. “Of course!” And with those words
she found an empty potato sack, stuffed it with clothes, tied her hair back with a string, laced up her old shoes, jumped
back out the window, climbed down the fire escape, and ran. She ran as fast as she could. Away. As far away from that apartment,
that city, and that life as she could. She was going to find Jonathan. She was going to find him if it was the last thing
she would ever do.
After about 2 hours of straight running Stephanie began to slow down and think. Where was she going to look?
“New York City. That has to be where Johnny went. New York City. He always talked about going there. So that’s where
I’ll go.” And she continued on all through the night forgetting about how hungry, thirsty, and tired she was.
She was going to find Jonathan. She needed to.
was there. New York City. Finally. She had reached the city
just as the sun began to peek out from the horizon. And all of a sudden she felt pain in her feet and legs from running. She
was exhausted, starving, and thirsty. All she could do was collapse.
What seemed like an eternity
later, Stephanie heard a voice and began wake up. The voice grew louder and louder, and she finally realized what it was saying.
It was a boys voice. But she couldn’t figure out whose. Not Johnny. Definitely not Johnny. The voice seemed to be asking
her “Are you alright?” but she couldn’t figure out why. Where was she? Why was she in so much pain? And
then she remembered what she had done and began to slowly open her eyes. Sure enough there was a boy kneeling down next to
her. He was about her age, with big brown eyes and brown curly hair, half covered by a hat.
“You’re alive!” the boy said. “Yous alright, goil?”
“Uhm, yeah I’m fine…” Stephanie said timidly. “Where am I?”
“Yous are down in bottle alley,” the boy replied. “What’s your name?” he asked.
“Stephanie…” she said shyly.
“I’m Mush.” The boy said. “I’m a Manhattan Newsie. I sell down here and I saws
you laying here and yous looks like yous was hurt so I came to sees if yous was ok. Are you?”
“Yeah, I’m fine I’m just really exhausted.”
“Oh. Well… what’s yous laying ‘round here for? Where’d you come from?”
“I’m from Queens. I ran away last night looking for my brother.
He ran away a few months ago and I miss him so much, I had to come looking for him.”
“Ah! A runaway, huh? Yeah wells I’m a runaway too. I ran away a long time ago. Family stuff. Didn’t
want to deal, y’kno? So’s I came here to find a new family. And I did. The Newsies are my family. We’s a
close group. Listen… you hungry? I was just about to go back to Tibby’s to have some lunch, you can come meet
da Newsies if ya wanna. Then maybe I can help yous find your bruddah. I knows a lot of people.”
“Really?” Stephanie said excitedly. “You would do that?”
“Sure! Let’s go.”
Stephanie was too excited to say anything more. She was going to find Jonathan. She had met a boy. She liked
the boy. A lot. She thought he may like her too. Things were finally shaping up.
Mush helped her up, held onto her arm so she wouldn’t fall. She blushed and held onto him. “This
is unbelievable,” she thought. Stephanie and Mush walked to Tibby’s, talking the whole time. He was very funny
and sweet, and he seemed to be enjoying her company. The pair finally reached Tibby’s, only to find they were still
holding onto each other. Both of them turned bright red, let go and smiled.
“Well, here we’s are!” Mush proclaimed.
Stephanie was so excited. She could see a lot of boys through the window, all laughing and having a good time,
some peered out the window at her, some pointed.
“Ready to go in?” Mush asked.
“Yup!” Stephanie answered.
Mush opened the door and led her in. A tall boy with brown hair in a pink shirt immediately yelled “Hey
Mush! Who’s your new goil?”
Stephanie turned to Mush and saw him blushing. She gave him a quick smile almost saying “Don’t be
He smiled back and said: “This is Stephanie. Hey fellas! Fellas! This is Stephanie!” They all hooted
and hollered as a “Congratulations for finding a girl” to Mush. Not
embarrassed anymore Mush began to introduce them all.
He pointed to a tall boy with a red bandana and said “That there’s Jack.” Jack gave Stephanie
a head flick. She smiled and said Hi.
“And uh…” Mush said pointing to another boy with dark curly hair, “That there’s
Davey stuck out his hand for Stephanie to shake.
“And that little one there’s Les.” Mush continued.
“Hi Stephanie.” Les said.
“Hey Les.” She replied smiling.
“And this bonehead over here,” Mush said punching the tall boy in the pink’s arm “this
here’s Skittery. He can’t keep his mouth shut.”
Mush continued to introduce the boys. Racetrack, Specs, Bumlets, Boots, Crutchy, Itey, and many others when
all of a sudden Stephanie spotted a tall boy with blonde hair quite like Jonathan’s walking towards the restaurant.
He was looking down, so she couldn’t really see his face. Stephanie’s heart jumped.
“Could it be?” she wondered. “Hey Mush?” she asked.
She paused to smile. No one had called her “Steph” since she had last seen Jonathan. Mush smiled
“I was wondering…. You see that boy heading towards us? Outside?”
“Yeah.” He said disappointed, thinking Stephanie liked the boy.
“Uhm, do you know him?”
“Yeah, that’s Kid Blink.”
Stephanie frowned. “Oh.” She replied disappointed.
“Why?” Mush asked inquisitively. “You like ‘im or sumthin?”
“Oh. No! I just thought he was… I thought he was…”
“Who?” Mush asked, a lot happier now that he knew she didn’t like him.
“I thought he looked like my brother.”
“Yeah. But I guess it wouldn’t be that easy to find Jonathan would it?”
“You’re bruddah’s name is Jonathan?” Mush asked.
“Yeah, Jonathan Bennett,”
“That’s ‘im! That’s Blink!”
Stephanie looked confused.
“You sees we’s all gots nicknames. My real names Michael. Crutchy’s real names Trevor. Blink’s
real name is Jonathan. Jonathan Bennett! The runaway from Queens! He came a few months ago!
Oh god, you’re the Stephanie. His sister Stephanie… the one he always
talks about! I can’t believe I didn’t think of that before!”
Stephanie was so happy.
“Here! Go get ‘em!”
Mush opened the door for Stephanie. She kissed him on the cheek and gave him a huge hug. They both blushed and
smiled at each other when Mush reminded her “What’re you waiting for?” She gave him another huge hug and
ran out of Tibby’s.
“Johnny! Johnny!” She yelled running down the street.
The boy looked up, surprised, and sure enough, it was him. He now wore an eye patch, Stephanie figured it was
covering the injury he got from they’re dad. Jonathan couldn’t believe it. “Steph! Steph! What’re
you doin’ here?” he opened his arms wide and Stephanie jumped into them giving him the biggest hug of his life.
“Johnny I missed you so much,” she said crying with happiness.
“I missed you too Steph! How’d you get away? When did you get here? Y’kno nevamind. I’m
just so glad to see you.”
Mush stood in the doorway of Tibby’s smiling broadly, while the other’s stood confused. They were
all asking Mush for the story and he began to explain it to them while Jonathan and Stephanie continued to hug. Finally, they
let go. Stephanie wiped the tears from her eyes and Jonathan put his arm around her shoulder and they began to walk towards
“Thanks Mush,” Stephanie said as they walked back into the restaurant. She gave him another kiss
on the cheek. More hooting and hollering from the boys.
“So Mush, where’d you pick this goil up?” Blink said jokingly.
Mush chuckled and everyone sat down for drinks.
“To Blink and Steph… for finally finding each otha!” Mush toasted.
“To Blink and Steph,” everyone said. Steph leaned over and gave Blink another hug.
“Hey Mush I think she’s cheatin on ya!” Racetrack yelled, slapping him jokingly on the face.
Mush elbowed him in the ribs and everyone laughed.
“So’s Steph. yous gonna join us and be a Newsie?” Jack asked.
“Of course she will,” Blink answered for her. “and she can sell with Mush.”
Stephanie blushed and Blink whispered in her ear “It’s ok. I know you like ‘im. He’s
a good guy. Go get ‘em.” Steph kissed Blink on the cheek and went over to Mush and kissed him right on the lips.
The boys hooted and cheered them on. They both smiled broadly and Mush put an arm around Steph. She couldn’t believe
it. She had found Jonathan. She had a boyfriend. She had a new family of Newsies. For the first time in a long time she was
yous found yourself a good goil there,” Blink said.
“I sure did.”