Frank froze on the ground, blood rushing to his head. Rolling over and leaping up, he scanned the environment for the speaker.
“Ar ye lookin’ for de market?” The voice asked again.
Frank heard a rustle of snow, and looked to the side of a closed meat store. A child, no older than he, stood up, and moved to face Frank. “How-how did you”—
“Everybody’s lookin’ for de market. Boyos like us all dripped out of school to help our par’ents who can’t walk no more. Some of ‘em can’t talk no more.” He stood, swaying on the spot, the look of a tired, strained little boy that had undergone more hardships than he could remember.
“D’you happen to know-know where”—
“It’s here. But it don’t open till eight…” The boy examined his fingers, counting. “Nine…I’m wait’in for gang to arrive. They ‘ave a job for me. I been workin’ for ‘em fer…fer…ele…eleven years.” He glared at Frank, apparently sizing him up. “You seem to be a smart boyo. They could get you a job. ‘Unner boyo, like. Dirstration…do it right, yeh get money. More den dose boyos down the road get shinnin’ shoes. 70 cents a two shoe, but ten, marby twenty-twenty-twenty five ‘ollars ‘ere.”