Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

Joe and Johnny were the only ones up and they were eating breakfast. Joe was eating toast. We all loved toast. I could literally eat it forever. When it came hot out of the toaster, we would smear butter all over it. My mouth started to water as I watched Joe. Johnny’s bread was still in the toaster so that made me next up. I walked out into the front room and looked through the window as the day’s activity began in the outside world. Three younger girls sat on a porch across the street. Mr. Swaney was working in his garden. God, if only I could go out. The remaining two weeks felt like an eternity. PING! Johnny’s toast popped up and I made a beeline for the kitchen. I grabbed two slices of bread and dropped them into the toaster. I hated the wait. My thoughts drifted to Bobbi and David. I hated that they were hanging out together. I hated that the summer was a month gone and I hadn’t been outside of the house, at least not to play. PING! My toast popped up. I felt a little better as I buttered the bread. While I ate the first slice, I decided that two more pieces would be necessary and so that I wouldn’t have to wait, I put them in the toaster right away. I ate the first two and just when I was finishing, the next two popped up. I took them out of the toaster and put two more in before I buttered the first ones. I continued the cycle until I noticed Joe staring at me. “you’ve eaten almost the whole loaf!” I looked at the plastic bag on the table. There were only two pieces left. embarrassed, I shot back, “Mind your own business and leave me alone.” Joe could be annoying, but when I had a certain look in my eyes, he’d leave me alone. I must have given him The Look then, because he walked away. I put the last two pieces of bread in the toaster, and as they baked, my thoughts drifted off to the beach and the thrill of diving into Lake Michigan off the rocks below Seventy-first Street.

THAT AFTERNOON I SAT ON THE COUCH, watching another cops and robbers movie. “Two weeks today and I will be walking out of here a free man,” the prisoner said. “you’ll be back,” the prison guard replied. “you can’t help yourself. you’re a born lifer.” “This time it’s going to be different. I’m going to be a model citizen.” “I’ll believe it when I see it,” the guard scoffed. Two weeks left for him, and two weeks for me! It was unbearable. Second by second, minute by minute, time didn’t seem to move. My mom came into the room. “I have to go out for a while. Watch everything for me.” I had overheard her talking on the phone with my Aunt Margaret the day before, saying how nice it was having a full-time baby sitter. My plan to be annoying enough to knock time off my sentence hadn’t worked. Instead, my long grounding freed her up to run errands without having to lug along Mary Kay and Steve. The movie showed the prisoner walking down a long hallway toward a gate that opened up to the outside world. “See you back soon, vince,” the guard said. The gates opened and the prisoner walked out to freedom. A car pulled up and two men got out and shook the prisoner’s hand. “Good to see you, vince.” All three got into the car and sped off. vince asked one of his pals, “How’s Mary?” “I’ve been wanting to talk to you about her. She’s taken up with another guy since you’ve been inside.” “That’s the first thing that’s gonna change,” vince muttered. “How was life on the inside, vince?” “Terrible. The guards never stop messing with you and all you can do is sit and watch the clock and time pass.”
“Well,” his pal continued, “there’s a party for you tonight, over at the club. We’ll have a few drinks and some laughs about the good old days.” “Sounds good to me,” vince replied.

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