Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney



ON THE SATURDAY OF THE PARTY, at twenty minutes after five, I approached my mother in the kitchen. “Mom, I know dad said ‘No’ but can I please go to Little Frankie’s party? It’s right now!”
“I don’t think so. It would be—”
“Mom, I’m getting out on Monday. I’ve learned my lesson. I really have!” She took a sip from her glass as I continued.
“It’s only one day short of what it’s supposed to be! Please, Mom! I’ll be back before Dad gets home. He won’t find out!” She lowered her glass.
“Jimmy, I won’t go against your father. We are a team.”
“But you don’t correct and punish each other! Just me!” She glared. “You watch your mouth, mister, or you’ll never get out of here.”
“No! I’m not going to watch what I say! Why do you have to get drunk every night? Why don’t you be a good mother and protect me from Dad?” She moved across the room to hit me but I circled the table.
“It’s because he lets you get high, like a good teammate! So to thank him, you let him be who he is! I swear he’s not that smart, either! Soon I’ll be bigger than he is and we’ll see how tough he is then! He’s a bully with children.”
“You’re gonna get it, Jimmy!” she screamed.
“Why? So you can beat me like a good teammate? That’s great—I speak the truth and I get a beating!”
I used all my weight to push the table toward her. It wedged her against the sink. As she hit the counter, whiskey spilled out of her glass and splashed onto the table. There was still enough left for another long sip, though.
“You’re too weak to live right. How come your church can’t save you? Isn’t God powerful enough to help you?” I was really screaming now.
“I don’t need any help!!!” she screamed back.
“That’s right. God can’t help you because you’ve decided you don’t need any help.”
Suddenly her eyes filled with tears. Her lower lip shook as she said quietly, “you can’t go to the party.”
“I’m going. you can’t do anything to me, not really! If you ground me any longer, then we will be grounded in this house together! I promise I’ll be back before he gets home and if you say anything to him, I swear to you, I will kill him someday!” I raised my finger and shook it in her face.
“You remember that. Don’t you ever forget that! I will kill him. Now I’m going.” I released the table so she could move away from the sink and I walked out the back door. She was still holding onto the glass. I hustled down the alley toward Ninety-third Street, feeling raw, scared, and guilty over what I’d said. I stopped and leaned against a garage, closing my eyes and trying to gather myself.
“What a mess,” I muttered.
“It’s time you ask for some help. I don’t like what you’re about to do!” a voice said. I opened my eyes and looked around. No one there. It seemed as if the voice had come from inside; in fact, it had sounded a lot like me. But only crazy people heard voices. Great, just great. As if I didn’t have enough to worry about, now I was going crazy.
“Ask for some help,” the voice repeated.
“Everyone has to ask for help in order to receive it. you just told your mother the same thing, and it was the truth. But don’t forget, it also applies to you!” As I continued toward Little Frankie’s, I muttered, “Fine! So help me.”
“It won’t work if you’re sarcastic. you have to be sincere!” the voice said.
“Help me! Help me! Help me!” I said in a high pitched exaggeration of the voice. The voice said, “God wants you to know that He understands your struggles. God loves you, but you have to ask for help before you’ll receive it.”
“Tell God children shouldn’t have to ask for help! They should be just given it!”
“You are being helped,” the voice said. “I’ve been guarding you!” “Do you go to some kind of school for that, because if you did…”
“As a matter of fact, I’ve been trained and specifically assigned as your Guardian Angel.” I got it then. It was Father Chez’s story come back to haunt me. I decided to play along, on my own terms.
“If I was God, I’d have flunked you. Tell God children should be protected. They shouldn’t get stuck with bullies and drunks for parents.” “Sometimes it doesn’t work out right away. Out of difficulty comes great blessings. Trust God; God knows best.” “That sounds familiar. God knows best. Parents know best. Sister John knows best. Father Knows Best starring Robert young, and I’ll play Beaver Cleaver and you will be—Angel.”
“I’ll tell God what you think. But you’re not helping yourself by going to Little Frankie’s.” But it was too late.
I was already there. Little Frankie, Billy, and Tommy were sitting on the front steps eating cake.

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