Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

“They shouldn’t be!” I walked to his desk and saw the newspaper he was working from. It was a week old.
“Here’s your problem,” I said, pointing to the date.
“The paper has to be today’s. Last week’s news is old, and so are last week’s apartments. Run new ads every three days and you’ll be fine.” “I don’t get it,” he said. “Come on, Alex. Last week’s apartments are rented. you need fresh listings. Today’s paper is fresh; the listings are brand new.” Suddenly the lights in the attic came on.
“Ahhh. Now I get it.”
“How’s Cherish doing?”
“I’m getting close and Friday we’re going out for a snack. Why don’t you start working, kid? I’ll pay you more. Tell me how much you want and you know, maybe I can keep improving.” Peering out between the blinds, I said all I wanted was two hundred a week. “Sure, kid. Whatever you want. you can start today.”



A FEW DAYS LATER, after my suggestions had dramatically improved our daily take, I got to the office to find Fat Petey and Bob waiting for me.
“Alex wants you to meet someone,” Fat Petey said.
Sizing up the two guys, I didn’t argue. On the way out, I passed Cherish. She cupped her phone and whispered,
“Want to have lunch?” That’s all it took. I was bitten and smitten. But I was also terrified. I knew I had to make friends with her so I could protect her from this mess, but I had no clue how. Due to the fact I was a misfit, I didn’t even know how to talk to a girl, let along help her out. What if she told me to go take a hike? I didn’t know how to handle rejection, and I was sloppy fat besides. I just knew I’d start to babble like a fool. Alex was waiting behind the wheel of the car when we came out. He lowered the front passenger window and looked up at me from behind his sunglasses.
“Jimmy, how ya been? I have a friend and I told him about your special talent.” “Special talent?” I asked. “Putting together scores.”
“Not interested.”
“Jimmy, this could be a good thing. At least hear him out.” “Sorry. Find someone else.” Finally Fat Petey spoke up.
“you got no choice, kid. He’s waiting down the street.” The rear door opened and Fat Petey gave me a push into the back seat and got in after me. I was wedged in the middle, the rear-view mirror directly in front of me. As we pulled out, I watched in the mirror as a brown sedan parked about fifty yards behind us pulled out into the traffic.
“That Cherish sure is a beauty, Alex,” Fat Petey said.
“Sweet, huh?”
“Too sweet for you,” I said.
“Why don’t you do your karma a favor and fire her. Tell her to move along.”
“Believe me, kid, my karma was shot a long time ago,” Alex said. “We’re going on our first date Friday—if it’s okay with you.” It was not okay with me, but I temporarily suspended the topic because we had another problem. As our car glided west on Irving Park Road and took a left on Cicero Avenue, I saw that the brown car was still behind us. It had to be a tail of some kind, maybe another hood, maybe the law. either way, it was bad news. While I pondered the implications, Bob asked what this karma thing was.
“The eastern religions believe your future is decided by how your live today,” I told him. “If you do something bad now, some- thing bad will happen to you in the future. The universe has a built-in measuring stick; whatever you do boomerangs back to you. So in Alex’s case, by planning to harm Cherish, he’s bringing harm on himself.” We rolled down Cicero past the used car lots as Bob mulled over what I said.
Finally he asked, “Really?” I nodded. “Many religions also believe that the earth and humans are meant to mirror heaven and God. It’s like the prayer Our Father. you know, ‘your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.’ It’s a spiritual promise.” “That’s interesting stuff, kid, but I still don’t get it,” Bob said.

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