Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

“How about a game of pool, John?” I was in disbelief. They knew each other! We went down to basement. I watched Larry rack the balls. John picked out a pool stick, cool as a cucumber. They were a few minutes into the game when John made his move.
“I need to take a leak.” “It’s upstairs, between the bedrooms,” Larry said. John walked slowly up the stairs, never glancing back. Larry put down his pool cue and walked over to the couch where I was sitting. I sat paralyzed with fear as his big body leaned over me. He undid my pants and pulled them down. He was breathing quickly, his foul breath in my face. “I’ve missed you, Jimmy. I’ve waited for you to return. I was so happy you didn’t say anything. you know this is what you want. People just don’t understand. your father would only get angry and love your brothers more, Jimmy! Doesn’t this feel good? Now turn around.” His big hands grabbed my waist and turned me around, ram- ming my nose into the back of the couch. I heard him open his zipper. Upstairs, the toilet flushed. Larry hissed in frustration and hurried to raise my pants, whispering, “Come back later.” John bounded down the stairs, smiling from ear to ear.
“Thanks for the pool game, Larry. Jimmy, we have to go. It’s almost time for our ball game.” He grabbed my hand, pulled me up off the couch, guided me up the back stairs and yelled,
“Thanks again, Larry. We’ll see you soon.” Safely outside, John began to crow.
“That was perfect. Man, oh man, was it perfect!” He reached into his pants pocket and pulled something out. “What do you think?” he asked me, and before I could answer, he continued, “Do you think they’re worth a lot?”
“What was perfect?” I yelled.
“The bathroom being between the bedrooms. When we went downstairs to play pool, I looked for the bathroom and when I didn’t see one, I knew I was home free. I saw the way he was looking at you. So even though I didn’t have to go, I said I needed to use the bathroom. When I went upstairs, I slipped into one of the bedrooms and found these two rings in a drawer.” He had two diamond rings in his hand. They looked a lot like the rings my mother wore. I didn’t know what to say at first. Finally I asked what would happen when Larry found out he’d stolen the rings? “We stole the rings, Jimmy. you were there, too. And you’d better not say anything, or we’ll both go to jail. No matter what, we were never there. Besides, he’ll never say a word, because with what he did to you, they’d throw him in jail, too. It’s the perfect crime.” I was in the middle of a daytime nightmare. Larry had touched me again, and John had stolen his jewelry, and there was no point in telling anyone because nobody was going to help me. I was in this thing alone. And I was only ten years old.

THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY I ditched the whole paper route. Didn’t even try to hide it. Just walked outside, took the papers, and threw them into the alley. Then I walked back into the house and went back to sleep on the couch in the basement. A couple of hours later The Newspaper Inspector showed up and told my mother that all the papers had been thrown into the alley.

“He didn’t even try to hide them,” he said.

“He just threw them all over the place. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before with one of our carriers.”

“you’re a moron,” I muttered, using the new word in the neighborhood.

“Last week you didn’t even inspect the route.” “What did you call me?” “Nothing,” I said.

“Ma’am, we’re going to have to get someone else for the route. your son’s just not ready for a paper route yet.” I didn’t care about having to go to my room. I had been there before. I watched from the window as The Newspaper Inspector ran around the alley picking up the newspapers that the wind had blown. As he closed in on one, the wind picked it up and blew it away. I growled in a low voice,

“Ma’am, we’re going to have to get someone else for the route.”
“Oh no!” I countered in a high voice.
“Anything but that!” I smiled at the scene and shot him the finger. After he left, I climbed into bed and waited for my father to get home from work. There was a hyper nervous feeling inside of me because I knew something bad was going to happen. I thought over the different possibilities and decided my sentence would be a beating on the rear end with the hair brush, followed with one or two weeks in solitary confinement. I imagined my parents’ conversation, the footsteps coming down the hall, and the terrifying temper in his eyes. It would have been better if Mom was the one who did the hitting, but that was my father’s job and it definitely would hurt. But pain I could handle, and I was used to being grounded. The real punishment was waiting for the beating. Some inspector The Newspaper Inspector had turned out to be. He should have protected me from Larry. Maybe his inspector would catch him ditching his job. That would fix him. Possibly the inspector of The Newspaper Inspector also had an inspector. Somewhere there was a Main Inspector who… My father’s face shot through my mind. He was the Main Inspector in this house and soon he would be home. Maybe I’d get off with just the spank- ing. Maybe he wouldn’t ground me because Mom would have to listen to me moan and groan about wanting to go out. Maybe if he grounded me, it would be like sentencing her, too. That was the angle I needed to work in order to beat this rap, I realized. I needed to start working her right away. She had just come off a tough week of me hanging around the house. She was wavering toward the end, just about the time… I had it!
During the previous grounding, I’d watched a lot of Tv, especially at two o’clock in the afternoon when the old movies were on. Lately they’d been showing gangster films like White Heat and

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