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Little Joe

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King Jessie looked up from his hand to ask one of the girls for another drink, but his eye was caught by movement at the door. A boy - an urchin - was peeking in through the doorway. Jessie contemplated him for a minute before dismissing him. If the boy wanted to come in, he would. The King didn't exactly allow underage boys into his bar, but he didn't exactly check IDs either. Dismissing the urchin, he flagged down Marie for that drink.

A few hours later King Jessie was counting his stacks of winnings as the losers stomped out the door. "Come again, gentlemen!" he called, waving after them. As they left, he saw a figure in the shadows behind them. Was the kid still hovering outside the door? Seriously, the boy needed to make up his mind. No one was going to go give him a personalized invitation.

The boy scooted closer, coming into the light, and King Jessie noticed something large clutched in his fist. No, wait, was that his fist? Jessie watched for another minute, trying to clarify what his mind was seeing. The kid had fists the size of his head! Why, he could be a champion fighter without even trying! Abandoning his winnings - one of the girls would get them - Jessie rose and walked over to the door.

The kid shrunk back into the shadows as he approached, and King Jessie smirked. "Hey kid," he growled, "you got a name?"

There was silence for a long minute but finally he whispered, "Joe."

"Well Joe, you wanna come in the bar?" King Jessie asked, knowing the answer. The kid had been hovering outside the door all day; of course he did.

"I wanted some food," Joe finally admitted.

"Well come on in then!" King Jessie threw the swinging doors open for him. "Millie, get this boy some food!" he yelled.

"Really?" Joe gaped.

"Sure!" As he came into the light, King Jessie studied the boy. He looked to be about a year or two older than Rae. Maybe all of ten years old. "Rae, get out here! Millie! Food!" He barked.

Joe tentatively walked into the bar, looking around with wide eyes. Rae emerged from the back, already tucked into her nightgown. "Is Millie-"

"Yes!" Rae snapped.

"Good, take this boy on back to the kitchen, baby."

Rae sniffed, but she turned and walked back the way she had come. Hesitantly, after a nod from the King, Joe followed her.

King Jessie watched them go for a few seconds and then headed back to his table. He had some more money to count, but Rae would take care of Joe for now. Hell, maybe he'd learn how to use those big mitts to help her. Jessie wasn't used to taking in children – though he didn't exactly have a choice with Rae – but when they had their uses… Jessie smirked. Tomorrow he'd start teaching that boy to box. And in a few years, he'd have the best bouncer in town.