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CONTENTS

DRABBLE CHALLENGE
WHO IS BILLY BYRNE?
MILK BOTTLE THIEF
David Allen Smith
THE LITTLEST THIEF
Tangor
ROSSINI'S BAD DAY
Bridge
LEADER OF THE PACK
Tangor
BILLY MUCKS IT UP
Bridge
UNDERCOVER SCAMP
Tangor
THE STEALERS' CLUB
David Allen Smith

Billy Byrne Drabbles

A Collection of Stories
Which Have The Same Plot Elements
And Yet None Of Them Are The Same!

by Various Authors


DRABBLE CHALLENGE

Tangor issued a challenge on erb-list the listserver June 4, 2018 with the following email (edited):

* * * * *

DAS (David Allen Smith) and DBB (David Bruce Bozarth) have been having fun with a Billy Byrne drabble idea for the last week or so.

Drabbles are 100 words EXACT and encompass a complete "novel". This particular challenge was to tell the same story PLOT. Those who want to play need to keep seven specific plot points in mind.

The facts of the story are:

Billy is 7 years old.

He steals food (bottle of milk at the very least)

Flees the shop keeper.

Escapes.

Sees woman with three kids.

Gives them the food.

Leaves.

Can you do the "novel" in 100 words? Show heart, emotion, humor, action? Here are DAS and DBB's versions (note: Titles are not included in the word count).

End of email.

* * * * *

By June 5 another player emerged. If more appear, they will be added at the end of this page.

If you want to play and are not a member of erb-list, you can join here, or you can email tangor@erblist.com direct with BILLY DRABBLE in the subject line for submissions, or cries for help to condense an idea down to 100 words.

For this Drabble Challenge we are focused on young Billy, an urchin of the streets of Old Chicago, circa 1890s when the town was growing up from the mud along the shores of Lake Michigan, struggling to become the metropolis it is today.

All Drabbles are copyright by the individual authors.

Read the ERB Summary Project entry for The Mucker.

WHO IS BILLY BYRNE?

Billy Byrne is a character created by legendary American author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), who is more famous for Tarzan of the Apes or John Carter of Mars. Byrne's adventures are chronicled in two related short novels called The Mucker and Return of the Mucker (aka Man Without A Soul). These stories are usually published as a single volume titled The Mucker.

Burroughs used the more archaic meaning of "mucker"—one who is low-born, crass, not educated—and has nothing to do with the current "muck raker" meaning now associated with "mucker".

Bryne, through adventures that span the North American continent to the South Pacific and back to Mexico and the American Southwest, starts as a hooligan rough-edged youth and matures into a solid individual—who manages to win the hand of a fine lady along the way.

Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote The Mucker while residing in Chicago when it was first published in All-Story Cavalier Weekly in 1914.


MILK BOTTLE THIEF
David Allen Smith

Scruffy seven-year-old, Billy Byrne stalked south Chicago's back streets like an experienced tough.

He stole a bottle of milk from Rossini's Market and fled, the angry storekeeper in pursuit.

"Come git me!" Billy taunted.

"You robbin' rascal!" the outpaced pursuer growled then headed back.

Across the street a poor mother stood with three hungry little kids.

"Would youse like dis here milk?" Billy asked her.

"Well, I don't know..."

"Take it and no guff!"

"Bless you!" she wept.

"Ain't nuthin'!" Billy snarled, stomping down the street.

June 4, 2018

THE LITTLEST THIEF
Tangor

When unsupervised Billy Byrne was the accomplished thief, age seven! Foraging with deft hands and swift feet—used when Rossini saw him lift bread, cheese, and bottled milk; an alley, and two back fences, lost Rossini. Rounding a tenement's corner he stumbled over a satchel. She, in misery, sagged on the stoop with two urchins and an infant.

"Ain't you workin'?"

"I—" Tears.

"Take dis. No lip. I'll smack ya!"

The milk and bread went to the kids, the infant juggled the cheese.

"Haloran's, 1321. Needs a housekeeper."

"Bless you!"

"Bah!"

Billy's stomach wandered over to the fruit stand.

June 4, 2018

ROSSINI'S BAD DAY
Bridge

As Billy Byrne tore from the store with the last bottle of milk, Rossini screamed, "Bring 'dat back, you piece of horse pucky."

The cretin laughed with a taunt honed over his seven years. Rossini's quickly mounting angina pain forced him to stop the pursuit.

The last he saw of the milk was Billy passing it to Sally the whore and her three brats.

Tears flowing, Rossini locked up and shuffled home. Mary, his emaciated wife, cradled their starving baby.

"Where's the milk?" she wailed.

"Kid stole it."

Mary, though weak, decked him. "Baloney! You drank it, you fat hog."

June 4, 2018

LEADER OF THE PACK
Tangor

Billy Byrne, seven, led a pack of street kids the same age. Rossini's market was their target—with lunch in mind. The others exited with armloads, but Rossini spied Byrne with three bottles of milk.

"Stop! Thief!"

"Who me?" Billy ran.

The gang met minutes later under a veranda and feasted. Stuffed, Billy gathered the remains, quite considerable, into a sack.

"Scram," he bade goodbye, then knocked on the door.

Maggie, fostering three kids, took the pay off, slamming the door.

Billy's mother had lunch ready.

"Ate with the boys," he said, leaving via the back door for more mischief.

June 4, 2018

BILLY MUCKS IT UP
Bridge

Billy Byrne wanted seven bottles, one for each year of his life. Keeping both eyes on Rossini, who was weighing hamburger for a customer, Billy grabbed the bottles by touch, being careful to keep them from clinking together as he nestled them beneath one arm.

As he left, Rossini spotted him, grabbed his meat cleaver and came after him. Billy sped away but was halted by Rita, the meter maid, who was ticketing three kids riding bicycles on the sidewalk. "Give me that milk!" she ordered him.

"Milk?" gasped Billy. "You can have it! I thought I was grabbing beer!"

June 5, 2018

UNDERCOVER SCAMP
Tangor

Rossini bent heads with Billy Byrne in the hotel basement. He handed the seven year old a bottle of milk. "Know what to do?"

"Natch. I run, you chase, you slip, I'm up the stairs past the bouncer. Room 12. Grab the lady and three kids and down the back stair."

"Right."

The plan worked. An hour later Billy led Mrs. Rossini and bambinos to a vacant house where hubby, a bit battered, waited with other shopkeepers armed with pipes, picks and a few guns.

"Now we take back the block from those thugs!"

Billy backed away. "Count me out!"

June 5, 2018

THE STEALERS' CLUB
David Allen Smith

"Be quick like mudder says! Johnnie, git sum matches. Pete -- da candy," Billy commanded, then led his band of thieving first graders into Rossini's Market.

The proprietor suspected the boys' intentions -- but too late. They robbed the shelves and Billy stuffed a bottle of milk under his jacket. The little rascal made for the door.

"Hey, Billy Byrne! I seen you!" Joe Rossini yelled, raising his fist...

"I need dis!" Billy cried.

The boys vanished!

Down the block Billy found Ms. Sally on the curb with her dirty urchins. "Here's sumpin' fer yer mutts from The Stealers' Club!"

June 20, 2018

For more Drabbles, see Drabbles or Drabbles 2