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City Boy Gumbo

Chapter Text

The next morning the rain had stopped, but the city was still covered in a thin layer of dirty water. It made Gotham look as clean and shiny as was possible for it to look. Gumbo Galahad peeked his head out from some old newspapers covering the cardboard box where he and his friend, Sheriff Crawfisher had slept all night and saw the sun rising over the gray skyscrapers.

"Wake up, Sheriff," Gumbo said, nudging the old man next to him awake. "We's got t' git t' th' bus station."

"Oh, Gumbo," the old man moaned. "We don't gots nothin' but six dollars betwixt us, an' thet ain't nearly enough fo' two bus tickets back south."

"Then we'll have t' ask folks fo' money ousside th' station til we do have enough," said Gumbo.

"City folks don't give nothin' away fo' free, 'specially money," said the sheriff. "Listen t' me, boy, ah been heah longer then yo'."

"We have t' try," said Gumbo. He stood up with a look of determination and certainty stretched across his face.

The sheriff looked at him for a moment, almost as if he were an idiot, and then finally threw off the old coat he was using as a blanket and said, "Fine!"

A short walk and many stares from passersby on the street later and the two hillbillies had made it to the station where they commenced pandhandling. No one so much as gave them the time of day, but the station's security guard did raise an eyebrow. He told them to stop and Sheriff Crawfisher called for his badge and he called for the police, so Gumbo dragged the little old man out to the curb rather than deal with anymore trouble. They sat there with their heads in their hands wondering if they'd ever see the hills again, when suddenly a mysterious stranger in a trench coat approached them. She had blonde pigtails, green eyes and a friendly smile on her face. in one hand she held a small carpet bag and in the other an old, but tuned banjo. Gumbo looked up at her and didn't know what to say except, "Harley?"

"Right-a-rooney," she said.

"Ah told yo' ah never wanted t' see yo' again," he said, but there wasn't much anger in his voice anymore.

"If I listened every time someone said that to me, I wouldn't have any friends," said Harley with a small laugh.

"Which reminds me," she said, reaching into the bag she held. She quickly pulled out the brown leather shoes she had given to Gumbo and handed them back to him. "Here," she said, "I want you to keep them. My friend won't be needing them since he got arrested last night and is now in Arkham Asylum again with Pam. Serves him right for ripping off game shows. Also, here's your luggage and banjo. I showed up bright and early at the station today to get them for you." She handed the things to Gumbo, who took them silently. He didn't know what to say.

"The banjo was missing at first, but I saw some street performer calling himself 'Mister Banjo' playing it over by the restrooms and got it back for you, no problem. All it took was a good left hook."

Gumbo smiled and began plucking the strings of his instrument.

"Thank yo'," he said.

"No probs," said Harley.

"Is this th' crazy woman yo' was tellin' me about all last night?" asked Sheriff Crawfisher, pointing at Harley.

"Thet's... never mind all thet, Sheriff," said Gumbo. He stood up and put his hand on Harley's shoulder. "Wit th' dawn comes a new day, as they say, an' yo' should never let someone's past color their future. Harley is a kind, generous soul an' thet's whut's important."

Harley smiled at Gumbo and Gumbo smiled back and gave her a wink.

"Thanks, Davy Crocket," she said to him.

"Well Ah'm glad yo' made a friend an' all thet, but now how we s'posed to get back home, did yo' forget?" said Sheriff Crawfisher in his ornery old man way.

"If it's just money for bus fare you need, I got ya covered," said Harley. She reached into a pocket of her coat and pulled out a wad of hundreds. "It's the lest I can do for you, Sheriff Crawfisher, is it?"

"Darn tootin'," said the sheriff.

"Hey, ya found him!" Harley said, excitedly.

"Yup," said Gumbo. "I guess my trip t' th' city wasn't all thet bad after all. At least ah survived."

"That's lookin' on the sunny side," said Harley.

"Hmph," said Sheriff Crawfisher.

"That reminds me of a song," said Gumbo, brightly. "I think we have time for that before we leave, right, sheriff?"

"I-" the sheriff started.

"Good," interrupted Gumbo. "Can yo' sing, Harley?"

"Can I? No. Am I gonna? Yes," she answered enthusiastically.

Gumbo began a-pickin' away at his banjo and Sheriff Crawfisher, in spite of himself, began a-stompin' his foot and when the time was right both of them as well as Harley began a-singin'...

"Well there's a dark and a troubled side of life.
There's a bright and a sunny side too.
If you meet with the darkness and striiife,
the sunny side we also may view.

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side.
Keep on the sunny side of life.
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way,
if we keep on the sunny side of life."

The End