Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

“I’ll cover your loss. It sounds like were going to be splittin’ a million bucks real soon, right, Nick?” Nick smiled at me and nodded to Bob. “Screw it. Here’s your six and a thousand to you, Alex,” Bob said. Alex raised his hands to his head. A drop of sweat rolled down his temple before he got up the courage to match the grand. “What you guys got?” Nick asked. “Three aces,” Bob said sheepishly. Alex threw his cards face up and they bounced into the pot. Three sevens slid between the pile of cash. “That was my pot! I’m gonna kill you, kid!” he screamed. He lunged out of his chair. Nick grabbed his arm and sat him down. “No one gets killed around here unless I say so. you got that, Alex?” “Sure, boss, anything you say,” he said reluctantly. Bob was busy scraping the pile off the table. “At least now you got a reason to dislike Jimmy, Alex. Here’s your end, kid. It comes to twenty-three hundred.” “Do me a favor, Bob, could you hold it for me until I need it?” “Anything you say. Just let me know when you want it.” “How’d you know Alex couldn’t pull the straight?” Nick asked. Slowly I reached over and flipped the two cards Fat Petey was holding down, a pair of nines. I flipped my two cards, another pair of nines. Next, I flipped the deck over that Nick was dealing from. The bottom card was the ace of clubs.
“Son of a gun!” Fat Petey said, rearing back in his chair. “How’d you know that?” “you guys need to learn not to flash what you’re holding.” “So what do you think about the bank job?” Nick asked.
“I’d think you need a team of specialists: people familiar with vaults, security systems, how security personnel operate. It’s a huge task unless you just want to blast in and blast out, which possibly will happen if all the information isn’t accurate. “And it doesn’t seem like your line of work, Nick. Most people who do banks are desperate for a score and that doesn’t fit you. “What I would consider as an alternative is an expansion of this business. Open an office in another city, one with a housing shortage. Start out semi-legit, charge a small fee in the beginning until you get a feel for the town, then jack up your rates.” I had a sudden thought.
“you know what could be fun? Washington D.C.! ever been there?” “No,” Nick replied.
“Well, I have. you know the view of the White House you always see on Tv? If the camera did a 180, you’d see a war zone. With all D.C.’s problems, nobody’s going to have the time to go after you. you could lay down a game right under the President’s nose, blocks from the FBI, and nobody’d be the wiser.” I could tell Nick was interested, but all he said was,
“I’ll think it over. In the meantime, Bob, consider the twenty-three hundred a gift from Alex.”
“I need a drink,” Alex said. He reached in his pocket for his keys and headed for his office. I raised my index finger to my lips. everyone looked puzzled, but they hushed up. Alex took the turn to his office. I heard him slip his key into his office door. The hinges squeaked as the door opened. and I heard him click on his office lights. Holding up my hand, I extended my fingers wide and mouthed “Five.” I pulled my thumb in, leaving four fingers.
“Four.” everyone was captivated as I folded down one more finger. “Three.” I made a funny face as I folded down more finger.
I imagined Alex reaching over, opening his drawer and removing his bottle of scotch. I raised my fuck-you finger in the air. “Houston, we have lift-off.” From the next room came a loud moaning “Noooo! Shit! Help!” The boys scrambled to their feet and tore toward Alex’s office. There was huge roar of laughter. When I arrived, Alex had wedged himself between the desk and the wall, and we could only see him from the eyes up. On top of the desk was a half-grown cat, black with yellow eyes, stretching its paw toward Nick. Slipping by the boys, I said, “Speaking of gifts, Nick, I brought you one, too. This old lady down the street had a bunch of cats and I figured we should get one to take care of the mice we’ve been seeing.” I reached down and scooped up the cat and held it for Nick to see. His face was uncharacteristically pale.
“His name is Lucky. Isn’t he cute? Here, you can hold him.” Nick stumbled as he scrambled back from Alex’s door.
“Fuck you. Get that thing away from me. I ought to kill you for this.” “yeah, let’s kill him now,” Alex growled as he rose from behind his desk. Bob and Fat Petey were still howling. Lucky had flattened his ears and gone into a crouch himself when all the com- motion started, but when Bob picked him up and started stroking his back, the cat relaxed. Nick took a deep breath and composed himself. I made sure he saw that my feelings were hurt, so he said, “Thanks, Jimmy, for a creative solution to our rodent problem, but I hate cats, especially black ones. Give it back to the dame, fast.” As Bob and I walked to Stella’s, Bob couldn’t stop laughing. “Fucking Jimmy, you sure make things interesting,” he kept saying. I petted Lucky and thought about the upcoming barbecue date with Cherish.

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