Davey is the Boring Version of Skittery
When Race pointed out to Jack that the new kid was exactly like Skittery, but boring, Jack laughed casually. Anything about Skittery was a good joke, because the churlish newsboy was full of complaints, which made him deserving of ridicule. And the new kid? Well Jack didn’t know him well, but he had seemed pretty quiet, which could be taken as both moody and boring.
A few moments later, when the curly haired new kid walked up with his little brother, coincidentally standing right next to Skittery, Jack could get a better look. They were both doting older brothers, that much was clear. But where Skittery was snatching Tumbler’s hat off his head and holding it out of the kid’s reach with a lazy teasing grin, Davey just stood there with a protective hand on Les’s shoulder. Wow, maybe Race was right. Maybe Davey WAS the boring version of Skittery.
Jack sold with Davey and Les again that day, but instead of paying attention to Les and all the money he was raking in, Jack decided to focus on Race’s theory. Was Davey the boring version of Skittery? It would be a scientific process of sorts, like Davey had been explaining to him the other day. It was something they’d do at school when they had a guess about what would happen. They’d study it closely and—right! Take notes! Jack stopped for a moment and on a more crumbled newspaper that he probably wouldn’t sell, he jotted down the notes he had so far. “Skittery plays with his brother. Davey does not play.” And for fairness, he added “Davey sience nerd” because if Davey hadn’t been a science nerd, jack never would have thought to do this experiment.
It wasn’t long before Jack got his next bit of data. “These headlines are lousy,” Davey complained sullenly, when Les had scampered off to sell with his cute smile. “I’m never gonna sell all these today, and then Mama won’t be able to buy food for tomorrow. And when we don’t eat tomorrow, Les won’t grow and papa won’t get better and Sarah won’t get married and have healthy babies.” Jack turned around and sneakily wrote “glum and spirally” while Davey wasn’t looking. It was well-known that Skittery was glum, and that once in the dumps he’d just dig himself deeper and deeper. And here was Davey, showing evidence that he was the same way.
At noon, Jack was able to convince Davey to stop for lunch at Tibby’s, particularly because he knew Skittery would be there and Jack wanted to compare them better.
Perhaps not quite by coincidence Jack and Davey found Skittery and joined his booth. Les slid in across from Tumbler and the two of them got into loud raucous tales about their day so far, each one-upping the other, while Davey sat across from Kkittery. Perfect. Jack would have a chance to compare the two, neck in neck.
They were eerily similar in size, with similar curls, but whereas Skittery’s shirt was open at the chest in a careless manner, Davey was buttoned all the way up, complete with a tie. Did that make him boring, Jack wondered? Maybe a little. Though, if truth be told, Jack could appreciate the unwrapping of a gift. Would undoing Davey’s shirt and tie kind of be like opening a gift? THAT was an interesting thought.
Skittery was broad and rather fit (anyone who didn’t notice THAT was blind). What was Davey like under all those buttons and ties? Perhaps if he ever had the opportunity to open the gift that was Davey’s shirt, Jack would get a chance to know. Suddenly Jack realized four pairs of eyes were staring at him. The brown eyes of Tumbler and Les, the deep golden brown eyes of Skittery, and the shocking blue eyes of Davey. Those last eyes almost knocked him out of his chair.
“Wha… what did I miss?” Jack asked, realizing somehow he had gotten swept away in his... scientific studies.
“I told Davey it was about time you quieted down and stopped showin off all the time,” Skittery said, smacking Jack in the chest before crossing his arms over his own chest. “And when you didn’t pop up and defend yourself, this bum got worried.”
David’s eyes flashed warningly toward Skittery. Skittery frowned and shrugged, not affected by those eyes in the same way Jack was. “We’ve been talking about how quiet you’ve been today,” Davey explained, turning those eyes back to Jack, peering at him carefully, touching Jack’s arm in a way that could only be discribed as tenderly. Being looked at so closely by Davey, Jack shrank a little. Or maybe he melted. “Are you okay, Jack?”
Jack pushed back his chair. “Fine, Fine. I jus gotta go find Race. He was wrong about something, and I need to set him right.” He walked off, ignoring the conversation behind him. His arm still felt warm where Davey’s hand had been, and his face felt a little warm too.
No, Davey was not the boring version of Skittery. Davey was not boring at all. He wondered if Davey wasn’t bored by Jack, too. Jack’s cheeks pinkened with anticipation and excitement at getting to not be bored by Davey tomorrow. And the day after that, and hopefully the day after that, as well. He couldn’t wait to explain this all to Race. He had a feeling Race would understand.