Street Child Part 1

Rose digs through the dumpster looking for cans and scrap metal. She hated digging through the trash, but if she wanted to eat for the week she needed to do this. Also, Roger would tan her ass if she didn’t go through the trash. They have been at it, since four in the morning. So, far they had four bags of crashed cans. They needed more and Roger would keep her at it. By the time eight o’clock rolled around, they had nine bags of cans and several shopping carts of scrap metal. It would be a good haul for them. She goes with Roger to get the money for the cans. Roger was like a big brother to her. Ever since her parents died last year from a drug overdose, he has been taking care of her. She knew how to read simple words and how to spell as well.

When Rose wasn’t helping Roger, she would go to one of the private schools and climb in through a hidden way she had found and listen to the lessons for the day. She followed along with the lessons with books the other children threw away or she took from them. The janitors of the place would check her work to see if it was right. They liked having her around and she helped them out, when no one was looking. In exchange for helping them, she was permitted to get books from the library or choose from the lost and found items everyone forgot about.

Brenda had taught her how to stock up on items she would need and how to store them, so no one could steal them from her. She had a place that she slept at that Roger knew about, but he didn’t know about her other hiding place. Brenda told her to always have a secret place she could go to. She learned how to steal from a couple of people. She only took what she needed, never more than that. She was told to always avoid the cops, but there was one police woman she liked. She always brought her candy or gave her stuff animal and clothes or even food sometimes. She would play tag with her and her partner. The police woman was Irish and came from a catholic family. She went to church with her and her family several times. They didn’t know she lived on the streets. She always ran off or told a lie about her family. She knew the streets well, since she’s basically grew-up here. Her mother gave birth to her on the streets. No one knew who her father was, but it didn’t bother Rose. She really didn’t want to know who he might be, since he was one of her mother’s tricks. Rose stops at Paddy O’s to see if the manager there had any work he would be willing to let her do. She and the manager always got along and the staff there didn’t mind her stopping and helping. They normally gave her a few dollars and a lunch or dinner.

Rose walks up to the tavern door and knocks. She presses her angelic face against the glass looking for Enda. He was the newest manager of Paddy O’s. She watches as he comes walking out from behind the bar towards her. A smile appears on her face as she spots him. She watches as he stops and opens the door for her.

“So what mischief are you up too, today little Rose?” He steps aside so she could come in.

“Nothing, I thought I would come by and see if you had any work for me.” Rose steps in, so he could shut the door.

“We’re going to be busy all day today. I could use an extra hand down in the kitchen helping Molly today. If you’re willing to stay and help today,
I’ll double your pay and give you two free meals, how’s that?”

Enda looks down at Rose and wonders who her parents are. There were rumors she didn’t have any parents and lived on the streets, but she would never admit it to anyone.

“Three free meals or no deal.”

Rose looks up at Enda and gives him one of her charming smiles.

“Alright, three meals, plus pay, now go and clean-up and change into your uniform. Your dress is in my closet, along with your shoes.” Enda
just smiles, because her uniform looked like something from the old country. His customers thought she looked cute in it and it helped business. Molly would do her hair, so to make her look better.

Enda couldn’t, but wonder if she had some Irish in her. She had the deep red hair color and freckles splatter across her nose and under her eyes. She also had them on both of her arms. Her emerald green eyes were the pretties’ green eyes he has ever seen. They were so deep in color and held mischief in them.

“Yes sir.”

She gives him a smile and skips off towards his office. She knew the routine about what they expected of her here. She takes a sponge bath in the lady’s restroom and goes into his office and locks the door and changes out of her street clothes and into the uniform he always made her wear when she worked here.

She heads out of his office and goes downstairs to find Molly. She was an older woman who has worked here at the bar since she was in her twenties. She took care of the bar and its order. Enda may be the manager, but everyone knew Molly ran the place. She was also the head chef here.

Molly had her back to Rose when she came in.

“Hi Molly, could you do my hair please?” Rose giggles when she notices Molly jumps some.

Molly turns around and notices her favorite little munchkin giggling at her.

“Young lady, what have I said about you sneaking up on me?” Molly couldn’t be mad at Rose.

“You said to whistle or cough.” Rose just smiled at Molly.

“I see you’re working today. Come here and I’ll fix your hair, my little pretty.”

Molly says the last word in the wicked witch tone of voice from The Wizard of Oz movie.

“Rose just giggles some more and walks over to Molly to let her fix her hair.” Molly never had any children of her own, but she has helped rise or baby sit a lot of the children of some of the waitresses here at the tavern.

She had a soft spot for Rose. Out of all the children she has ever encountered, she has never met one like Rose. Rose was more like an adult then a child. Most children would hate to have to work or wear a costume. Not Rose, she enjoyed wearing the costume and helping. It made her feel special. The police officers that came in didn’t mind her working. If she didn’t touch the alcoholic drinks she was permitted to work. She gets Rose hair the way Enda liked her to wear it.

“There, you are all done now. So, are you going to sing for us tonight?” Molly turns Rose around to look at her cute angelic face.

“If Enda wants me too, aren’t Celtic Angel’s playing tonight?” Rose thought she saw the flyer up in the window when she came in.

“I believe so, but you know as well as I do Rose, that the customers love it when you sing as well. I think you better think of a few songs to sing tonight, just in case. Now off you go my little leprechaun?” Molly sends Rose back upstairs to get ready to open.

Enda gets Rose to clean some glasses and fill up the snack bowls with peanuts and Chex party mix. Two of the morning waitresses Rose knows show up and help get the bar ready to open. Their morning customers show up and greet Rose as they come in. She cleans tables and wash dishes, while Enda runs the bar and Molly handles the food orders. Enda gets a few requests for Rose to sing some. So, Enda let’s Rose sing for a while. The Celtic Angel’s show up and listen to Rose as she sings. She was a little off sometimes, but overall she did extremely well.

Their business manager Shana stops Rose just before she disappears in the kitchen.

“Hey kid, would you like to sing with the group tonight?” Shana had heard how good Rose’s voice was and with a little training could improve her.

“I’ll have to ask Enda first. I’m working for him tonight.” Rose wouldn’t mind. It wasn’t the first time she’s been asked to sing with a group.

“Even if he doesn’t allow you, I want you to call me tomorrow. You have a beautiful voice and I think you could go far kiddo.” Shana hands a business card to Rose.

“Thank you. I’ll ask Enda if I can sing with you tonight.” Rose takes the dirty dishes she has into the kitchen to be washed.

When she is carrying a set of clean glasses out to the bar “Enda, can I have permission to sing with the Celtic Angel’s tonight? Their manager asks me if I would like to, but I told her I would need your permission, since I’m working for you tonight.”

Rose stacks the glasses where they needed to be.

Enda looks at Rose and could tell she wanted to do this.

“I’ll allow it just this once young lady. You go ahead and sing. Remember, no drinks other than tea and soda for you.” He points his finger at Rose.

“Yes sir.” She salutes him and takes her apron off to go find Shana.

“Shana, Enda said yes. He said I can sing with you.” Rose was beaming.

“Good, let’s introduce you to the group and they can tell you what they want you to do tonight.” Shana liked the costume Rose was wearing. It blended into the group well.

Rose was introduced to Patrick. He was the lead singer and leader of the group, and then there was Matt, Robert, Brenda, Caitlin, Owen.
Caitlin was the female lead singer with Robert and Brenda acting as back-up singers. Brenda played the guitar, Matt and Robert played the fiddles, Owen played the Bodhrán and flute. Patrick played the guitar as well. Rose was the only one who didn’t play any instrument. The way Rose looked in the dress Enda had her wear, blended in well with the way the others were dress. Patrick and Caitlin went over the music they were going to play tonight and had Rose listen to Caitlin and Brenda.

Patrick has them practice a few simple songs that Rose knew by heart, while Caitlin help ease Rose into where she should be voice wise with everyone else. Once that was done, they played a few simpler songs and then started in on what they were playing tonight. Rose sings all night with the group enjoying the applause they received from the customers. Rose notices her favorite female police officer visiting that night and spends some time with her and her friends during their breaks. As the bar was winding down for the night, Rose changes out of her costume and hangs it back up in Enda’s closet. She was extremely tired. She had been up since four in the morning and it was like one in the morning now.

She receives her pay and her share of the tips from Enda and catches the train back to where she was staying. By the time she makes her way through the maze that lead to an old forgotten Lays delivery van that she lived in. She was dragging her feet. The van was being supported by cinder blocks for support and the inside had been converted into a tiny apartment for living. No one knew about this place, because Rose kept it a secret. It had everything she needed to stay warm and dry. All her food and drinks and personal stuff was kept here, including what money she made at the bar. Since the weather was nice, she opens the sliding door and puts the custom screen she had a guy that she knew make for her to keep the bugs out. She strips out of her street clothes and slip into her nightshirt and climbs into a hammock she sleeps in suspended length wise in the van. Between the small window being open and the screen in the sliding door, she had a nice cool breeze blowing through the old van.

Rose wakes to the sounds of rain as it hits against the metal roof of her home. She stands up and stretches and takes a bottle of orange juice mix down from the makeshift shelf and makes herself some orange juice and takes a pop tart out of its wrapper and eats it. She sits in the remains of the driver seat still in the van and wonders what she should do today. She could always go back to Paddy O’s and work today. The crowd would be as big as it was yesterday. She gets dress in a clean set of clothes. She’ll do laundry tomorrow after church. She gets her scooter out of its hiding spot and heads out. She had her rain jacket on and rain boots. The rain slacks off and clears up some.

Rose passes by an area she knows she needed to be careful in. The street gangs here aren’t nice to outsiders or cops. A lot of them knew her and knew she was friends with the police. She travels carefully through their neighborhood. Normally she took the bus, but today she wanted to enjoy the day and maybe stop and get some groceries on the way home. She drives by and finally arrives at Paddy O’s. Enda lets her park her scooter in the storage room.

While she is working, a couple of times she feels someone grope her on her butt, but can’t say who did it. The bar was crowded and since she is small, she is normally over looked at times. She just shrugs it off and continues with her job. She stays down in the kitchen mostly washing dishes and helping Molly. Some of the police men and women that know her come in and she sits and listens to their stories and such. Enda allows her to break ever so often, because how hard she works. Rose knew that Enda watched over her as she socialized with some of his customers. While Rose is enjoying her break, one of the police officers that knew Rose sit down at her table along with some of his friends.

“Watch you doing little Rose?” Officer Thomas smiles at his favorite singer. He loved the way Rose sung the other night.

“Taking a break” Rose lifts her burger up and takes a bite out of it.

“I can see. I was wondering if you would like to go horseback riding next weekend Rose. The department is sponsoring a two-day event for under privilege children. All your expenses will be paid for. You’ll get a chance to go camping as well. All we need is your parent’s permission and an emergency phone number where they can be reached if something happens.” Officer Thomas shows Rose the permission sheet.

Rose takes it and looks at it. She would like to go horseback riding and camping. She heard how much fun it was from other children she knew. She knew someone she could pay to sign their name on it as her parent. The emergency number she’ll just leave Molly’s number.

“When do I need to have it back to you?” Rose looks at Officer Thomas.

“By Wednesday, Little Rose. That way we will know how much food and supplies we’ll need. You think your parents will let you go?” Officer
Thomas wonders if she was going to go. He knows it would make the weekend, especially with her voice.

“I think I can talk my mother into it.” Rose just gives Officer Thomas a friendly smile.

“Well, we hope to see you then, Rose.” Officer Thomas smiles and then gets up and heads over to the bar with his co-workers and place their
orders to go.

Rose looks at the permission slip describing what they will be doing. She feels it is going to be fun to do a lot of these things.

The rest of the night, Rose stays busy and leaves early to do some grocery shopping. She drives her scooter to the nearest store near her place and buys everything she wanted to help her get by and what treats she might take with her on the overnight field trip. She notices as she heads home that the gang members were having a party tonight. That would mean they would be coming into the junkyard where her home was hidden and shoot at things. She better makes sure the shutters we’re down, so the glass in the front window didn’t get hit. She hides her scooter in its spot and locks it up. She moves quietly and secures her place. There was no way she was letting these guys know she lived here. She had traps all over the place to prevent them from coming near her. Rose secures her home for the night and tries to be quiet throughout the night as she listens to the gang doing just what she had guess they would do.

Throughout the night she stayed cringing in a corner as the bullets filled the night air. She hated the sound of guns. She was born on the street and during her time there, there had been guns being fired. She eventually falls asleep she had set her alarm clock to wake her up for church tomorrow. She gets up off the floor where she slept last night and notice a few bullets had hit her van, but didn’t pass through. She fingers the dimples and goes about getting ready for church. She takes a cold shower and cleans up. Everything she has was done by someone she knew or by herself. She was smart and could figure out most things. She dresses in her Sunday best and fixes her hair. She only had four dresses she normally wore to church. One was starting to become too small for her to wear. She’ll have to go by either the goodwill bin or the thrift store sometime this week. She wouldn’t mind a new dress, but she doesn’t, then she stops and checks how much money she does have. She has about six hundred dollars and could afford to buy herself a few new dresses. She takes some money out to give to the church and puts enough in her purse to stop and get the person she knew to sign her permission slip. She will go shopping for a few new dresses later today. She takes another route out of the junkyard and to the bus stop and catches the bus to where she is going to church at.

She locates her police officer friend and asks if she can sit with them. She sings and listens and does communion with everyone else. While they are standing around after church talking with friends and family Cassidy looks down at Rose.

“Where’s your mother today? Doesn’t she come to church with you?” Cassidy was watching Rose.

“She had to work today. Her job keeps her busy and she allows me to come to church on my own.” Rose was acting cheerful. Any time anyone ever asked her about her parents, she always put up a front.

“But you’re too young to be running around all by yourself Rose. What would happen if something happens to you?” Cassidy wanted so much to know more about Rose. She was a very mature sweet girl. She had at times seen sadness in her eyes.

“She knows I have you and the Boston police department to look after me. What trouble could I get into, that you guys wouldn’t be able to pull me out of?” Rose looks down at the watch on her wrist.

“I better go or I’m going to be late. See you Officer O’Kelly.” Rose runs off.

Pastor O’Malley had listened to the conversion between Rose and Officer O’Kelly. He could see how much the Officer felt about Rose. He walks over towards her.

“She’s an amazing little girl, isn’t she?” He was watching as Rose boarded a bus.

“Yes, she is, Father, what do you know about Rose?” Cassidy turns around to face Father O’Malley.

“Only bits and pieces I’m afraid. I remember her mother when she was born. As a matter of fact, she was born right here in the shelter of this
church. Her mother had come in to get out of the cold weather and no sooner when she came in, she gave birth to Rose. I was taken when I first saw her. She was just a little bundle of God’s miracle. I saw her grow from an infant to a toddler and into a little girl. There was a time I didn’t see her for about a month, about two years ago. I think she would have been eight years old then. She had come in during a snow storm and sat here all-night praying. When I went over to check on her, she looked to have been crying the whole entire time. I’m not sure, but I think her mother died from a drug over dose.” Father O’Malley had done what he could to try and get her off the drugs.

“Her mother was a drug addict?” Cassidy turns to face Father O’Malley.

“Unfortunately, yes. Her mother was a drug addict and lived on the streets. Little Rose is the product of her mother and some guy she sold her body too for drugs.” Pastor O’Malley was hoping that maybe Cassidy might have a better time of convincing Rose to leave the street before something bad happens to her.

“So that’s why she always lies about her mother. She doesn’t want anyone to know she lives on the street except a few people she trusts. I know Molly knows she lives on the street. Molly has been like a grandmother to Rose and she thinks of Rose as her grandchild.” Cassidy watches as the bus drives off.

“Ah! There’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time. Molly O’Keefe. Is she still working over at Paddy O’s” Father O’Malley directs his question at Cassidy.

“Yes sir. She still works there. Let me guess, you and her use to be friends?” Cassidy adds a little bit more to the unasked question.
Father O’Malley just looks at Cassidy.

“She uses to want to be a nun. Just before she was to take her vows, she felt that her presence was needed out here instead. So, she left us to help people out here. It’s a good thing Molly is looking after Rose. Maybe between the two of you, you could convince her to leave the streets.” Father O’Malley looks at Cassidy.

“I’ll try father. Maybe after she goes on that camping trip the police department is sponsoring, she might be willing.” Cassidy had suggested to Officer Thomas to ask Rose to come.

“She might be willing if you ask her Cassidy. I’ve seen how she acts around you and your family. She looks to you like a mother.” Father O’Malley looks at Cassidy.

“I don’t know father. I do like her, but I’m a street cop. What type of mother would I be, being gone a lot?” Cassidy was thinking about it.

“I think you and your family would be a good influence on getting her off the streets. As for being a mother, I believe you already know the answer to that question. You would be a good mother to her. She needs you Cassidy; think about what I’m asking you.” Father O’Malley lays his hand on her shoulder.

“I will Father.” Cassidy stands there and thinks about Rose. She’ll need to talk with her folks to see what they think about Rose becoming her daughter.

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