Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

“I found out from Detective Spears that Larry had been arrested before and that he was believed to be a child molester.” My heart was racing and I must have been white as a ghost. I looked over at my father. His face was pale.
“Larry has admitted to having molested you, Jimmy,” Detective Ryan continued.
“Is it true?” I knew what to say. I told the detective “No.” “It’s all right to admit it,” Spears said.
“There’s no way!” Dad broke in.
“No way, man.” Spears turned to Larry and said,
“Is it true? Did you touch him?”
“yes,” Larry replied.
My father kept saying over and over,
“No way. No way.”
The older detective turned to Ryan.
“you should have waited for me. Jimmy has already said he wasn’t there. He has already lied.” He turned back to my father and me.
“Jimmy, please tell us the truth. Don’t worry about the rings. Mr. Heaney, please listen. your son has been molested, and if he admits it, we can lock up Larry and get some help for your son.”
“My son doesn’t need help.”
“We can give him a lie detector test, with your consent, of course, and we will find out.” My father began to stutter.
I couldn’t bear this. I shouted, “Why don’t you leave my dad alone and do something for the Sis- ters at the convent on Harper Avenue? They can’t garden because of the pimp at the Castaways Motel.” The room suddenly became hushed. everyone was staring at me.
After a few seconds my father broke the silence. “A lie test won’t be necessary, detective. May we leave now?”
“yes, Mr. Heaney, but here is my card if you change your mind. Thank you for coming in.”

AS SOON AS WE GOT IN THE CAR , my father said, “That’s it, Jimmy. We’re through.” He was looking straight ahead, not at me.
“I knew a guy…” his voice trailed off, then he cleared his throat “…and he ended up a queer. you’ve always reminded me of him.” I nodded, relieved that we were through at the police station and happy that the detectives would help Sister John. It wasn’t until we were almost home that I realized that what he meant by “we’re through” was not the visit to the police station. I felt a nuclear eruption of anger and a desire to torture him and then kill him.



EVEN THOUGH MY HOME LIFE had pretty much fallen apart, there were things outside that kept me going. After the awful sum- mer came September, and that meant the start of football season. Since I was now officially in fifth grade, I had hopes of making the junior varsity starting line-up, because when we played on the street, I always played end, I rarely dropped a ball, and I was the one who scored most of the touchdowns. The only problem I had with September was school. I told Tommy one day how it nice it would be if we could play football without having to have to go to school. There was always a hook, always some condition, attached to anything you really liked. If you didn’t do well in school, the teachers wouldn’t let you play. Tommy, being the older, wiser member of my crowd, had a different point of view. “School has girls, too, and that’s not such a bad trade-off. Someday you’ll understand. Now go out for a pass.” I ran deep down the street, just short of a blue Impala, turned, and stopped on a dime. Tommy threw a perfect pass that looped into my gut. “Touchdown!” I yelled. I trotted back toward Tommy and heard the sounds of the cheerleaders practicing over in St. Ailbe’s parking lot. Tommy heard them too.
“C’mon,” he yelled, and he ran to the lot. I trotted after him, reluctantly. When we got there, the girls were still going through their cheers.
“Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? St. Ailbe’s! St. Ailbe’s!” The girls jumped up and down, then went into a huddle, stepped out into a new formation, and began a different chant. This one was about all the players on the team. Tommy whispered,
“I like this one.”
“Why?” I asked. “Because you find out which girl likes you.” I didn’t catch on and began to asked another question.
“Shhh! Listen,” he said sharply. The sixth grade girls started first, screaming, “Tommy, Tommy, he’s our man! If he can’t do it, no one can!” They repeated the chant twice more. On the third, one girl would jump out in front and do a solo. Tommy explained that whoever did the solo had picked the boy’s name because she liked him. I rolled my eyes. “yuk. Let’s go play some catch.” But Tommy wanted to find out who liked him. It turned out to be Marsha Riley. That was the end of the sixth-grade names, so the cheer- leaders they started on the fifth-grader players. That meant me. Tommy nudged me, laughing. I said “Oh, brother,” I moaned, but I stayed because I was interested to find out who’d picked my name. Bobbi Sawicki was the one who finally jumped out of the for- mation to chant “Jimmy, Jimmy, he’s our man! If he can’t do it, no one can!” I turned around. I couldn’t bear to watch. “C’mon,” I said, tugging on Tommy’s arm. He didn’t budge, so I had to stand there, embarrassed, waiting for all the cheers to end. Finally all the girls huddled together, each giggling over the guy whose name she had chanted. In the right corner of the lot stood Bobbi Sawicki, surrounded by all her girlfriends. She was laughing and staring at me. I could have died.

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