Escape From New York
by Wendy R. Williams
Illustrated by Sophie Escabesse
The Big Apple Posse Trilogy for Kindle at Amazon.com
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Big Apple Posse
Tween Action Adventure Story
Copyright @ 2010 by Wendy R. Williams
First Kindle Original
Edition, February 2011
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce
or transmit this book or any part thereof by any
means whatsoever, without written permission of
the author, except where permitted by law.
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Wendy R. Williams
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It was bright and
beautiful that October day; the sky was clear, the
air was brisk but cold for a late October day in
New York City. Later, when people spoke about what
happened, they always began by saying what a beautiful
day it was.
But the atmosphere was barely tolerable inside the
Range Rover that was speeding down the FDR highway
on its way from Connecticut to Manhattan. Melanie
Wolinski was driving as fast as she could, hoping
not to get a traffic ticket, counting the minutes
until she could stop in front of the theater and
drop off her children, Amanda and Peter, who were
trying to kill each other in the backseat.
“Yes, I know you hate each other, but you
are making me hate you too,” she screamed
over her shoulder to the backseat. “Would
you please be quiet so I can concentrate on driving
and not kill us all?"
It did no good. Even bad parenting didn’t
Amanda pushed Peter. “Don’t you sit
next to me in the theater. If I have to listen to
that brat Cindy sing ‘Tomorrow’ you
are not going to touch me.”
Melanie spun around, almost losing control of the
wheel. “Your brother is ten years old and
he IS going to sit right next to you. And if I hear
that you did not sit next him, if I hear that you
or anyone even touched a hair on his head, I will
ground you and lock up your computer and your cell
phone for the rest of your life. He’s your
brother and he is your responsibility. When I am
not there, you are our family. Do you hear me?”
“You always…,” said Amanda.
“Do you hear me?” Melanie was speaking
in her best no nonsense voice.
“Yes.” Amanda knew when she had finally
pushed her mother too far.
Melanie pulled up in front of the theater in lower
Manhattan. “Don’t either of you talk.
I’m doing the talking. Amanda, here are the
tickets. You are going to march in there, hey, you
look at me when I’m talking to you. Right
here, eye to eye. Okay. You two are going to march
into the theater and take your seats. You are going
to sit in your seats without putting your feet up
on the seat in front of you or talking on your cell
phone and you are going to watch Annie
like good children who come from a good family.
And when Cindy sings ‘Tomorrow,’ you
are going to record it on the minicam so Aunt Janey
can watch it tonight at the restaurant. Now, Amanda,
what are you going to do if your brother needs to
go to the bathroom?"
ten, he can go by himself,” said Amanda.
“Wrong answer. You are twelve and your brother
is your responsibility. You are going to stand outside
the men’s room and wait for him with a no
nonsense look on your face. You hear anything that
sounds like trouble, you are going to scream your
head off,” said Melanie.
“Mom, I will look like a baby if she stands
outside,” said Peter.
Melanie spun around to look at Peter. “Oh,
I guess you don’t like your computer, either?
Maybe you would like it more if it got a chance
to take a nice long nap in my room….So what
do you two say?”
“And after the show, you stand up and clap
when Cindy comes out for her bow and then you walk
up to the stage and give her these flowers, here,
take them and don’t crush them, with a smile
on your faces. Afterwards, you go backstage and
wait with Cindy until Aunt Janey and I come to pick
you up. Our show is only about thirty minutes longer
than yours so we won’t be really late,”
“Why can’t you and Aunt Janey come with
us?” whined Amanda.
“Here we go again. I’m not going because
I saw the show when it opened Tuesday and Janey
has been here every night since then. So you two
will represent the family at the matinee and you
will represent us nicely, do you hear me?”
Amanda opened the door and she and Peter starte
to climb out.
“Did you forget something?” Melanie
handed the flowers to Amanda. “Look at me
young lady. One more time, when I’m not there,
you are me. You are twelve, your brother is ten
and your cousin is nine, so you are the oldest and
in charge. When the show is over, you two are to
wait until Aunt Janey and I come get you and take
you out to celebrate Cindy’s success as Annie,”
“You keep telling us,” said Peter.
“Success! She’s half Chinese and she’s
playing Annie. How dumb is that?” said Amanda.
“You say that again and I swear…Okay,
time out.” Melanie took two yoga breaths.
“Annie is an orphan so she can be anything
and Cindy is an amazing singer. And I don’t
ever want to hear you say Cindy’s Chinese
in that tone again. She’s my brother’s
baby, and your cousin and absolutely beautiful.
She is family. Oh just get out of the car,"
“Stop it Amanda, you are going to make Mom
“I’m sorry, Mom, it won’t happen
“Okay, okay. Just go into the theater and
please make me proud of you. I know you two are
terrific kids, so please be good.”
Amanda looked at her mother. “I’m sorry.
I know you miss your brother.”
“I'll call your cell phone when I am in front
of the theater.” Melanie blew a kiss at her
children. “Amanda, please make me proud of
you. Be the wonderful girl I know you are.”
Amanda and Peter
got out of the car.
“Take your jackets,” said Melanie.
“I don’t need a jacket. It’s warm,”
“It will be cold tonight. Take the jackets.”
Amanda took the jackets, threw Peter’s on
his head, waved the flowers at her mother, yanked
her brother’s hand and walked into the theater.
Peter turned to look at his mother as she drove
away, “We really made her mad.”
Amanda shrugged. “It doesn’t matter.
She never locks up the computer and cell phones.
She just likes to scare us... like we believe her.”
The play was long, but Cindy really could sing.
Amanda sat in her seat with her feet on the flowers,
recording the brat singing “Tomorrow.”
She thought about Cindy and Peter and about how
it was so unfair that she always had to hang around
with those two morons. She could not make up her
mind which one was more annoying — grubby
Peter who never showers after he plays soccer, but
everyone keeps talking about how brilliant he is
anyway, or Cindy who acts like she is so wonderful
because she lives in Manhattan and works as a model.
The first time Amanda saw Cindy on a Gap poster,
she wanted to vomit. Her own mother would never
let her be a model even though she was already five
foot six at the age of twelve. And now Cindy wanted
to be a singer and an actress and it looked like
she was going to do it. And no one could be mad
at Cindy about anything just because her father
was dumb enough to be in the Naval Reserve and get
sent to Iraq. At least Cindy still had a father.
Her own father ran off with his administrative assistant.
And now he was taking the administrative assistant
to Tahiti while they were stuck in a slummy theater.
When he was married to Mom, they all went on vacations
together. Just look at this place, it was all beat
up and looked like it could use a bulldozer. All
the seats had rips in the leather and they were
so slanted forward you could fall out if you didn’t
put your feet on the seat in front of you. If Cindy
was so talented, why couldn’t she be in a
play in a nice place? Connecticut theaters did not
look like this.
Amanda kicked Peter and motioned for him to get
his feet off the seat in front of him. “Get
them off or I’m telling.”
Peter reached across his seat and whacked Amanda
who whacked him back. Several people turned around;
they both froze. “Sorry,” Amanda whispered
as she pinched Peter.
Amanda looked around at the rest of the people in
the theater. They were all dressed in nasty dark
clothes. Almost all of them had dark dirty-looking
hair. Peter and Amanda were the only blondes in
the theater. And they were certainly the only kids
dressed in Abercrombie and Fitch. What a bunch of
losers. Finally it was time for the curtain call.
I guess it didn’t matter about Cindy being
half Chinese thought Amanda, Daddy Warbucks was
black and Mrs. Hannigan was Hispanic.
Amanda and Peter stood up and clapped. Amanda smiled
at the people who had given her nasty looks when
she socked her brother. A long time ago, she had
learned that charm will get you out of most anything.
The people had stopped clapping, but Cindy was still
standing in the middle of the stage like she wanted
them to continue. What a loser.
Peter nudged his sister, “Come on, we’re
supposed to be up there giving her the flowers.
Amanda and Peter rushed up to the stage and handed
the flowers to Cindy who snapped at them through
her smiling teeth. “What is the matter with
you? I have been standing up here forever.”
“Here are your flowers. You were wonderful.”
Amanda said in her best NOT voice.
Cindy started to walk off the stage. “Come
on. We are supposed to wait in the dressing room.
Don’t be mean to the actors and embarrass
Amanda and Peter climbed up on the stage and followed
Cindy behind the curtains. Cindy walked over to
the side stage and started to descend a stairway.
“The dressing room is downstairs.” Cindy
looked at them like they were three years old and
couldn’t figure out anything for themselves.
The children climbed down the stairs, down a long
dingy hall into a dirty old room with walls that
used to be white, but now were covered in smudges
and graffiti. Unpainted tables were nailed into
the wall and every inch of the surface was covered
with makeup, McDonald’s wrappers, coffee cups,
wigs, and mangy-looking boas. There were costumes
everywhere, some on hangers on a clothes rack and
some in heaps on the floor. The room reeked of cigarette
smoke. Amanda looked around and thought how hideous
this place was and how none of her friends would
ever be forced to wait in a room like this. The
room was filled with actors who were changing. Amanda
quickly turned around as some man started to take
off his pants.
“Stop that right now. Don’t you see
these children? Do you want to show your business
to little kids?” Mrs. Hannigan picked up a
straw hat and started swatting the man with it.
“This is my dressing room too,” yelled
Mrs. Hannigan picked up a wig stand.
“Okay, okay. I’ll go to the bathroom.”
The man ran from the room.
Peter looked at Amanda. “Maybe you do need
to stand outside when I go to the bathroom.”
“I will. He’s a nasty perv.”
“It's theater. You’ll get used to it,”
said Cindy in a bored, snotty voice.
“I will never get used to pervs. They don’t
have them in Connecticut,” replied Amanda.
“Whatever. Go eat some cake. I can’t
have any because I am a model, but you don’t
have to care about how you look,” said Cindy.
Amanda and Peter walked over to a mangy looking
birthday cake that looked like someone had bought
it from a grocery store. Figures. No one in Connecticut
ate grocery store cakes; people bought expensive
cakes from bakeries that used organic flour. But
they were hungry so they grabbed a piece and sat
down to eat it.
Soon everyone had left except Amanda, Peter, Cindy,
and Mrs. Hannigan.
“Hey, kids. Is Janey coming to pick you up?”
said Mrs. Hannigan.
“My Mom and Aunt Janey will be here any minute,”
“Okay, I will tell the house manager that
you are still down here. Bye sweetie.”
Mrs. Hannigan hugged Cindy. “You were amazing
today, kiddo. You are going to be a star and I am
going to tell everyone I knew you when.”
Amanda looked at Peter and stuck her finger down
Mrs. Hannigan left the room and went up the stairs.
It was quiet in the dressing room. Amanda pulled
out her cell phone and tried to text one of her
friends, but she had no signal.
“Where is Mom? I’m so bored,”
“Oh, she’s always late,” said
“I want to eat Japanese.” Cindy was
standing by the door with her backpack.
“Won’t they get mad at you if you do?”
“Eat some Japanese,” said Peter.
“Whatever. You are so boring,” said
“We are really glad to see you too,”
Amanda sat slumped down on one of the old beat up
chairs. How much longer were they going to have
to wait? There was no computer in the dressing room,
no Wii's, nothing. What a dump.
Amanda tried her cell phone again. Peter was on
the floor, trying to get a connection from his netbook
when suddenly, there was a very loud sound, louder
than anything they had ever heard before. The children
fell to the floor as the building began to shake
and the lights flickered.
“What was that?” cried Peter and Cindy.
“Let’s get out of here.” Amanda,
Peter, and Cindy ran out into the hallway.
The children stood in the hall looking at the stairway
which had collapsed, leaving only a gaping hole
in the ceiling.
“No, no, get back. Don’t climb on it.
Is there a ladder down here?” Amanda
grabbed Cindy and Peter and pulled them away from
the collapsed stairway.
“I don’t know. Where’s my mother?”
and Mom will be here any time now. They know we
Amanda tried to sound brave. “But let’s
look for a ladder anyway.”
The children started to walk away from the collapsed
stairway when the stairway ceiling fell, closing
off the opening. They would not need a ladder.
Amanda grabbed Peter and Cindy and went back into
the dressing room. The lights were still flickering,
but it was quickly becoming dark. “Cindy,
is there a flash light down here?”
“I don’t know.” Cindy sounded
“Here’s some matches.” Peter had
gone back to the cake and pulled some candles from
“Give me those, and give me that box of birthday
candles too.” Not waiting for Peter to respond,
Amanda grabbed the box of matches and the box of
birthday candles and started pulling more candles
out of the birthday cake.
“What else do you have down here?” Amanda
“I don’t know.” Cindy sat down
on the floor..
“We have to know. Something really bad has
happened.” Amanda looked at Cindy, sat down
on the floor and put her arm around her. Peter walked
over to them. He looked like he was about to cry
“Hey, it's going to be okay. I’m here
and I’m going to take care of you two. I promised
Mom. I’m a Girl Scout.” Amanda pulled
Peter down to the floor and wrapped her arms around
both of them.
“A Girl Scout?” Cindy looked at Amanda
like she had said she was Santa Claus.
“You promise?” Peter asked.
“I promise.” Amanda hugged them both.
“But now, you have to help me. We need to
get out of here.”
“My Mom will come get us. Let me call her.”
Cindy opened her backpack and took out her phone
and dialed. “I don’t have any bars.”
Cindy sounded really upset.
“I don’t either. But we’ll get
out of here even if all we do is wait. Mom and Aunt
Janey know we are here and they will come get us,”
“Are you sure?” asked Peter.
“I’m thirsty.” Peter had eaten
a lot of birthday cake.
“There are bottles of water under the table.”
Cindy pointed to a flat of plastic water bottles.
“Well, that’s not very green!”
Amanda looked at Cindy's face. “Sorry. Hey,
grab as many of those bottles as you can carry and
put them in your backpacks.”
“Why?” Cindy was still crying.
“I don’t have a backpack. I just have
this computer case and I can't put water in it.”
Peter's netbook case was really small and his Mom
would be furious if he put water in his computer
“We need to be prepared. Girl Scouts take
action.” Amanda was grabbing water bottles
and stuffing them into her backpack.
“Girl Scouts!” Cindy started to say
something and then stopped. “Oh, whatever.
So we have water. Now what?” Cindy put a second
bottle into her back pack.
“We wait.” Amanda sat down and pulled
Cindy and Peter next to her. “Our mothers
know we are here; so we wait.
And so they did. They waited, sitting quietly in
the dark, illuminated only by occasional flickering