Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

“Jimmy, God does not want this. Go home, please!” Angel pleaded.
The guys saw me coming down the block.
“Jimmy! you made it!” Little Frankie yelled. I shook off Angel and ran the rest of the way.
“Hi guys!” I said.
“Happy birthday, Frankie. I don’t have a present for you and I have to get home before my dad gets off work, but I’d sure like a piece of cake.”
“Cake’s in the kitchen and don’t worry about the present. I’m just glad you came!”
“I’ll make it up to you, Frankie. I promise.”
“Frankie,” I whispered as we walked in the front door.
“Is your uncle here?” “That’s him sitting in the chair.” I saw a medium-built man in his fifties, wearing a black shirt, black slacks, and black suede shoes. His legs were crossed and his arms rested on the arms of the chair as if he were an emperor on his throne. To his right and left stood two men who seemed to be on alert, available for any duty that he might require.
“The cake is in here,” Frankie said, waving me toward the kitchen. I hung back. “I want to meet your uncle, Frankie. Introduce me.” As we walked across the room, Little Frankie moved aside so I could stand in front of his uncle.
“Uncle Frank, this is my friend Jimmy Heaney. He wanted to meet you.”
“Hello, Jimmy,” he said. He reached for my hand and shook it.
“Hello, sir. I would like to ask you to do me a favor.” Big Frank looked up at the bodyguards, then at Little Frankie. His eyes twinkled as he rested his chin in one hand and studied me.
“Frankie, your friend needs a piece of cake,” he said after a couple of moments. He waited until Little Frankie was out of the room.
“How old are you, Jimmy?”
“Going on twelve, sir.” He nodded.
“What favor would you like?” “I have a friend who can’t work in her garden because of a pimp at the Castaways motel. I would like you to put an end to his business.” He leaned back in his chair, smiled at his guys and asked, “Who is your friend?”
“Sister John Christian. She is a teacher at St. Ailbe’s.” He looked up at his bodyguards again, as if warning them not to chuckle.
“And how is this pimp bothering Sister John Christian?”
“Her convent is right across the alley from the Castaways. When the Sisters try to work in their garden, they can’t help but see what’s going on over there. Sister John had to give up growing her flowers on account of the pimp.”
“And this offends you, Jimmy?”
“It bothers her, so it bothers me because she is my friend. I would like you to get rid of this slimy pimp who doesn’t care about anything but money.”
“I don’t know about this,” he said.
“Have you talked to the police?”
“I have, but they haven’t done anything and it’s been going on for over a year. They don’t seem to care.”
“Well, maybe they know best.” He held his gaze on me. “What could be more important than protecting a person who teaches children? There have got to be some rules about where these people can work. They shouldn’t be allowed to do it right across from a convent!” I was getting desperate. I needed him on my side. I knew what would pull him over the line.
“Just a couple of weeks ago, this pimp threatened me and Frankie when we were helping the Sisters unload their groceries.”
“FRANKIE, DID AN EGGPLANT give you a problem over at the convent?” his uncle demanded when Frankie arrived with a big piece of birthday cake.
Frankie looked at me, decided there wasn’t much point in mentioning that I hadn’t been fully one-hundred-percent innocent in catching the pimp’s attention, and then nodded.
“Frankie, Nickels would also like a piece of cake,” his uncle said. After Frankie went back to the kitchen, Uncle Frank leaned back in his chair.
“If I grant your favor, what will you give me in return, Jimmy?” I thought for a second. “The most valuable thing I have, sir, is my friendship. I will give you that.” He nodded.
“A wise young man. I think I would like your friendship, Jimmy.” He motioned towards the bodyguard on his right.
“Jimmy, this is Nickels Prosciutto. He is an associate of mine. He is only ten years older than you, and also a friend.
“Nickels, take Jimmy and a few of the boys and pay a visit to this pimp. Let him know he can no longer operate his business from The Castaways. Send a strong message about what we believe to be right. And make sure he doesn’t know that our friend Jimmy has arranged his drop in income.”
“I want him to know, sir,” I said. Uncle Frank raised an eyebrow. “And what advantage does this give you?”
“Uncle Frank, the pimp and I might see each other again. I think it would be safer for all us kids if he knows that you and I are friends.”
“I see.” He thought for a few seconds, then smiled. “And I am expecting you will want to watch?” “yes.” He winked at Nickels.

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