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

All I needed to heal from what had happened with Larry were hugs from my parents, for them to assure me that it wasn’t my fault. But they never did, and the anger I felt at this betrayal, although I didn’t have the words for it at the time, left an emptiness inside me.
And so I developed my own addiction.
I filled the void with food.
My ankle problem lasted more than the day or two my mom predicted. Between the ankle and my upcoming tests, I was stuck inside for days, and worse, forced to behave in class. Boy, how I missed the good old days when I could shoot rubber bands in class and play with the guys after lunch!
One afternoon I hobbled out to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. As usual, there was mainly bologna but—What’s this? Leftover chicken from last night’s dinner! I asked my mother if I could have it.
“We’re going to eat dinner soon. Have a piece of fruit.”
“I don’t want fruit. I want the chicken!”
“No. Go study.”
I limped through the house and out onto the front porch. It was a beautiful late afternoon in the middle of May. I could smell the beginning of summer in the scent of freshly cut grass. I loved that smell, which meant baseball season.
“Let’s play ball!” I yelled to some guys on the corner.
“Jimmy, you should keep studying. It’s almost exam time,” my mother called from the kitchen.
My heart sank as I thought about the weeks of grounding that were almost certainly in my future. I went back in the house and opened my math book.
“I have to go to the store to pick up a few things. Keep an eye on Steve,” Mom said.
I started reading about quarts and how many ounces in a pint and how they all added up to a gallon…like a gallon of milk or a gallon of ice cream.
I glanced over my shoulder at the refrigerator. Was there any ice cream in the freezer?
I looked at the front door and wondered how long my mother would be gone.
I looked back at the freezer and wondered if there would be enough time to have some of that ice cream.
I looked down at my book and saw that it said that there were 128 ounces in a gallon. Unless there were only a couple of scoops left, nobody would notice three or four ounces missing out of 128!
I hobbled to the kitchen and pulled out the ice cream car- ton of chocolate/vanilla that was a family favorite. There in small print, I read, “One Half Gallon/64 Ounces.”
This was not a gallon. If I ate two ounces of ice cream out of a half-gallon, I might get caught! But when I opened the carton and saw how much was left, I realized that nobody would notice an ounce or two one way or another.
I reached in with my fingers and took a swipe of chocolate. I didn’t like chocolate very much, but boy, did I like that vanilla. I started working on the vanilla until I noticed there was now more chocolate left, so I put a big scoop of chocolate in my mouth and decided this arithmetic homework wasn’t so bad after all. If I got caught, I’d just say I was doing a homework assignment that Miss Tormey gave us, then duck the swat that would certainly follow.
I looked around the refrigerator shelves for another way to tie food to math. What about that piece of chicken?
Let’s see, eggs came from a chicken and there were a dozen eggs in a container. A car door slammed and I knew my mother was on her way up the front steps, about to catch me ruining my dinner. I put the ice cream back in the freezer, then ripped the skin right off that chicken breast. I made a beeline for the bath- room and closed the door behind me in the nick of time. I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and swallowed the chicken skin.
“Jimmy, I’m home,” Mom called as she walked by the bathroom into the kitchen.
I leaned over the sink and took a drink from the faucet. I looked at myself in the mirror. My ankle was throbbing because I had moved too quickly, and I was still hungry.

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