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

Alex told them to take a break. When they’d gone to the back of the office, I pointed at the newspaper on the desk.
“Here’s your first problem. you should be advertising all these apartment listings under your company name.” Picking up the section, I showed him all the existing apartments and the way they were being advertised.
“These don’t give exact addresses, only vicinities, according to what city neighborhood or suburb they’re located in.”
“So?”
“It’s a matter of supply and demand. All these apartments are the supply and the people needing them are the demand.” Bob asked,
“you father a businessman, kid?” This was getting tedious, but I just shook my head and pointed at the Classified section. “you take the apartments advertised here and put them under your company name by vicinity only. And hike your fee to one hundred dollars. everyone will call you, because you advertise a company name in bold black print and because of your apart- ment supply! Then you pitch an apartment finding service. you say the apartment they’re calling about isn’t available any longer, but you have many more and your finder’s fee is only one hun- dred dollars.” Just then the phone rang. I walked over, punched the blink- ing button, and answered enthusiastically,
“Renters Assistance Center—may we help you? Hold on, please; I’ll check.” I punched the hold button. “He’s asking about the apartment in the vicinity of Sixty-third and Western.”
“It’s taken,” Alex said. I punched the phone button.
“It’s taken, but we have many more in your area. This is what we do at Renters Assistance Center. We supply you with a list of multiple apartments. We suggest that you look at several in your price range so that you can make a proper decision. Our fee is one hundred dollars and you pay prior to receiving your first list. Should we expect you to come in our office? Wonderful. Please ask for Chester Morgan. Thank you very much and see you soon. Good-bye.” I hung up the phone and announced.
“That’s it.”
“So what happens when we don’t have multiple listings. I picked up the paper and scanned. “you have at least five apartments being advertised in that area alone! Write these five ads down on a nice piece of paper, including the landlord’s num- ber, and give it to him, only change the vicinity by one street. you know, instead of Sixty-third and Western, make it Sixty-second and Western. Now everyone wins. you help the landlords rent their apartments, you make your fee, and the spender gets a home.” “And what happens when the landlords see us advertising their apartments?” Alex asked. “Change the vicinity by one street, and for a while you’ll get away with it. Also, keep switching phone numbers. Remember, you advertise your number in the paper. When the renters come in, give them a landlord’s number…after you get your hundred, of course.” I smiled.
“you’re also going to need offices around the city.” “Why?” he asked. “Well, this guy who’s coming in to see me has to come a long way. Open an office close to where he lives now; make it that much easier for him to sign up. In other words, put a spot on each side of town. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just big enough for one employee, a desk, chair, and phone. It will increase your sales volume.” “What college you graduate from, kid?” Bob asked. “The University of Stony Island,” I said. Alex broke into a huge smile.
“It’s beautiful, kid. It’s simple, a great plan. But it’s hard to believe you could see all this in just a few minutes. How do you do it?” “I was looking for a flat a while back and sat through a pitch. It was obvious what they were doing.” I waved the two hundred.
“Is this mine now?”
“yeah kid, it’s yours, only work the phones and let’s have us a big day.”

CHERISH, THE BEAUTY with the blond curls, hadn’t caught on to the scam. She honestly believed the apartments were legitimate. “I just love helping people find a new home,” she told me when I introduced myself. There were two phones on her desk and when things were quiet, she’d call landlords to help her clients get placed. On her desk were pictures of families in front of their new residences. It was obvious Alex was playing her but I wasn’t going to be around long and didn’t intend to rock the boat. By nightfall, ten people had dropped by asking for Chester Morgan. It amounted to one thousand dollars and the money made Alex very happy. He pulled me aside.
“How about coming in again tomorrow?” he said.
“What’s with Cherish?” I asked. “She doesn’t know it yet but we’re going out real soon to talk about her career. I have special plans for her, if you get my meaning,” he said with a wink. I took another look at Cherish as I walked out the door. Find someone to help in all situations. That damn list of Sister John’s. Cherish sure needed my help; she was a lamb among wolves. Don’t you just love finding people new homes? “All right, Angel,” I whispered. “Have it your way. But don’t complain about the methods I use. This is a rough crew and I’m going to need a lot of help to pull this off.” The next day the office was bustling with action. everyone greeted me like it was old home week, and Cherish was still okay. But there was a problem, and Alex was flustered. “Jimmy, we did exactly as you said and presto, big business. Only now they’re complaining because most of the apartments are rented.”

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