Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

High Sierra. Once, when my mom looked into the room, I leaped onto the living room chair with my arms straight up in the air and yelled “Made it, Ma. Top of the world!” just like Jimmy Cagney. The next time, I did Bogey.

“you’ll never take me alive, cop- per!” Mom laughed, and that was all the encouragement I needed. I kept it up the rest of the afternoon, and I could tell it drove her up the wall. When my father came home that night, I heard them whispering in their bedroom. When my father came out, he told me I could go out tomorrow. Maybe that tactic would work again. I took a big sigh and I climbed out of bed, opened the bed- room door, and saw my mother washing dishes in the sink.

“Mom, can I at least come out of the room??” I asked. “No. Get back in there until your father comes home.”

“Please, Mom. Just let me watch Tv.”

“No.” But she sighed, and I knew I had her.

“I’ll be good. The movies are on. Besides, top of the world, Mom!” She smiled and said okay. I went into the living room, turned on the Tv and switched to the channel that showed the afternoon movies. But the station was having Love Week, and all that was on were people kissing. The movie was about a couple who had fallen in love and had a baby. It was boring, but still better than being stuck in the bed- room. All of a sudden I remembered I needed to work on my mother so that all I got from my father was a spanking. I jumped out of the chair, flew into the kitchen, and hopped up onto the chair. My mother glared.

“Hey, mister, stop it.” I sat quietly for a few seconds and then started rustling in my chair. She didn’t notice the noise at first, but I kept it up. Finally she snapped,

“Stop that.”
I stopped immediately and waited maybe half a minute before reaching for the salt shaker and very slowly scraping it across the table. She ignored the noise for a while, then wheeled around.

“you better stop playing with that. Put it down.”

“Sure.” I waited a few more moments, then played my card.

“Mom?” I asked.


“I really like staying in with you! I’d rather be here with you than anywhere else, even outside.” I was just about to tell her that I was hoping my father would give me a good long grounding when we both heard footsteps coming up the wooden steps to the front door. She whispered,

“Go to your bedroom.” I ran to the bedroom and dove onto the bed. I waited for what seemed like forever and then heard my father’s heavy foot- steps coming down the hallway. The door flew open.

“you’ve had it, mister. you’re grounded for two weeks. you’re going to work around the house and clean and wash down the basement. No playing or watching television. you got it?” I nodded. “OK, take them down.” He hit me ten times with the long hair brush, and when I didn’t cry, gave five more. I was grounded but at least I had put a stop to the paper route—and my encounters with Larry the Monster.




LIFE TURNED TO NORMAL. I didn’t have to worry about Larry, the paper route, or the stolen rings for several weeks. Then, one Saturday evening when I was in the back yard raking up grass clippings a few feet behind Joe and the lawn mower, I heard the phone ring. A few minutes later, my father walked into the yard.

“Jimmy, a policeman just called, a Detective Ryan. He wants us to come down to the station tomorrow.” I flushed. I’d never seen my father afraid before.

“He says some rings were stolen over on Ninety-first Street and someone picked out your face from the St. Ailbe’s class pictures.” A burst of fear took my breath away. As my father studied my face, I heard John’s voice:

“WE stole them, Jimmy. You were here too. WE stole the rings, so you better not say anything!”

“I…I never…” I stammered.

“Tomorrow we’re going to the police station and we’re going to tell them someone has made a mistake,” my father said, and he walked back in the house.

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