DIVINE CHILD
Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

“Penny! Where are you?” Penny was her dog. Mrs. Metovich looked up and down the alley one last time, then closed the gate and went back into her house. I took a deep breath and crawled from behind the garbage can. This was no good; I’d have to hide the rest of the papers in our basement.
Loading the rest of the papers in my bag, I left it outside and snuck back into the house to unlock the basement door. Then I brought the bag indoors and hid the load all over the basement in drawers, under shelves, in any dark space where it was unlikely anyone would see them. That part of the mission accomplished, I looked for a place to hide myself until it was time for my route to be over. The old brown couch we played on was no good; it was too much in the open. I looked inside the kneehole of an old wooden desk under a window. It was dark but I was used to it because I’d played in there when I was younger. I crawled underneath, right into a spider web. Since this was no time to be squeamish, I wiped the web from my face, dragged the desk chair up to the desk for additional cover, and crunched up against the wall.
After a while, I heard my brothers moving around upstairs. Joe was in the kitchen, feeding Johnny his cereal. I sat there wishing I was up there with them. I was so scared I started to cry. I stayed in the hole for what seemed like forever, measuring the time by the sounds of the television shows my brothers were watching. I was just about ready to “come home” from my route when I heard footsteps coming up the porch steps, followed by a knock on the door.
“Mom, there’s a man at the front door,” Joe yelled. As I heard my mother’s footsteps crossing the living room floor, I felt sick to my stomach. I knew this man had something to do with me.

CHAPTER 3

 

I HEARD MUFFLED CONVERSATION . I thought Larry the Monter had come to get me, and I decided it was time for me to run. Crawling out from underneath the desk, I flew up the stairs to the back door and ran through the back yard toward the alley. I made it as far as the gate when I heard,
“Jimmy, come here!”
I stopped dead in my tracks. When I turned around, I saw my mother walking down the back steps along with a man who was not Larry the Monster. Mom grabbed my arm.
“This man is an inspector from the newspaper. His job is to make sure that all the papers are being delivered.” He broke in.
“What did you with the newspapers?”
“I p-p-put them in the g-garbage cans. And in the basement.”
“Show me,” he ordered. The three of us walked down the alley pulling newspapers out of garbage cans.
“These are no good anymore. They’re all dirty,” The News- paper Inspector said. We discovered more strewn along the gangway. I’d been in such a panic to hide that I’d forgotten to come back for the last batch. They were in better shape than the ones in the garbage cans. “Can you get more, or can we still use these?” my mother asked. The Newspaper Inspector looked at his watch.
“I can’t get another delivery out here this late. Can I use your phone? I need to report this.” We walked back into the house and The Newspaper Inspector called his office. When he hung up, he turned to my mom, who was glaring at me.
“The boss says to salvage what we can and deliver them as far along the route as they’ll go. We’ll decide later in the week whether your son can keep the route.” After The Newspaper Inspector left, Joe and I delivered the papers, dirty ones and all. When we got to his house, Larry was nowhere to be seen. At one point on the route, Joe asked why I’d done it. I shrugged. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him the real reason. I felt bad enough without him pounding on me or making fun.
“I guess I don’t want to do a paper route.” When we returned from the belated delivery, my mother had somehow convinced The Newspaper Inspector’s boss that I would deliver the papers the right way from now on. She sent me to the bedroom until my father came home. While I waited, all I could think about were all the inspectors and monsters out there wait- ing to get me. I had a week to figure out another plan for ditching the route. Telling my parents what happened was out of the question. even though we lived under the same roof, my parents were off in their own world, preoccupied in the family business. My parents worked very hard at the family business. The family business was alcohol addiction. My mom drank every night after we went to bed. She told us she just wasn’t a morning person and that’s why she yelled
“leave me alone!” and let us get ourselves off to school, but we figured out pretty early that she was hung-over. I asked her once about why she drank so much. First she got angry, and then she told me,
“Drinking is my family tradition. I don’t stop for anyone.” “Anyone” included her children.

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