Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

I sat there watching. After a few minutes, a light on the top floor went on and BINGO! I saw Nick standing in the window with a pair of binoculars, scanning the street and office.
I got out of the car and hurried across the street. I stopped outside the office door, turned to face him, and waved the envelope with the five thousand. I could see the binoculars lurch and then drop to his chest as he stared at me. When he raised them again, I mouthed, “I quit. I quit.”
He disappeared from the window. I heard the phone ring inside the office. I went in just in time to hear Alex say, “Here he is now.”
I walked up to his desk and dropped the envelope of cash.
“I had a change of heart. Here’s your money back. I’m not interested,” I said.
“Kid, what’s up? I thought we had a deal.”
“Deal’s off. I’m giving you back your dough.”
He handed me the phone. “It’s Nick.”
“What’s wrong, kid? Was the envelope light or what?”
“Nope, it’s all there. It’s over for me, Nick. Alex has the full five thousand. Don’t let him tell you it’s short.”
“Did Alex spill the beans on where I was?”
“Nope. Not too hard to figure out, though.”
“I’m going to miss you, kid,” he said.
“The pleasure was all mine.”
There was a brief silence after he hung up, and then a click. This phone was tapped, too! As I replaced the receiver, I congratulated myself on once again getting out just in the nick of time.
From out in the hall I heard the faint swish of uniform pants rubbing against each other.
I scanned for an exit but there wasn’t one. I scooted across the floor to the door just as ten men dressed in blue U.S. Marshal jackets came flying through, pistols drawn.
“You’re all under arrest. Don’t move. Don’t anybody fucking move.”



I STARED AT THE MARSHALS in disbelief and then shook my head to clear it. The marshal on me put away his gun and started tightening my cuffs. I whispered, “Nick Sure is across the street, building at the end of the block, third floor, watching this whole thing. Hurry!”
The marshal ran over to his boss, who told him to check it out.
We lined up and the marshals read us our rights, then loaded us into a van and cuffed us to a overhead bar. I’d beat myself on this one. I’d only been in that office for five minutes. If I hadn’t had to wait for the elevator in the hotel, or had made it through a couple of extra stoplights, I’d have been gone before the marshals showed up. And then there was time I’d spent parked out in front, trying to figure out where Nick was. You could say it was meant to be, but I wasn’t buying. I figured I had only myself to blame; I was the one who’d dealt myself the losing hand.
When we got to the police station, a marshal led me away to questioning, fingerprinting, and a holding cell. Alex, Fat Petey, Bob, and I were separated, and the feds went to work asking questions about Nick. Where was he, when had I seen him last, etc.
I was truthful but it was obvious they didn’t want to believe he’d been just across the street. It was too embarrassing to have missed him by so little.
After they finished questioning me, I was fingerprinted and taken to a twenty-by-twenty holding cell. By my count there were fifty-eight guys in there with me. The female version right across the way was less crowded, holding only about twelve female inmates. A few were crying. I felt like crying too.
I asked Alex if Nick would make bail for us. He said yes, but first there’s have to be a bond hearing.
Eventually an officer came to say we would all be arraigned in the morning. It was a long night. A couple of times I dozed off, but between the cell doors clanging shut on new arrivals, and cops talking with their outdoor voices, I kept jolting awake. I had plenty of time to think about the mess I was in. Finally Angel slipped past the guards and whispered,
“Go to sleep, Jimmy.” I looked at my watch. It was eleven o’clock. I placed my head on the back wall, dozed off, and dreamed.
Two burly guards hustled me along a gray cinderblock hallway. We stopped at a door. The door opened and I was marched into an oak‑paneled courtroom and told to sit at a long table. I faced the judge’s bench, which seemed to be fifteen feet off the floor.
“You’ve been charged with one felony count of conspiracy to commit fraud,” my public defender said. “The federal prosecutor is asking that you all be held without bond pending reports from other government agencies.”
“Which agencies?”
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Chicago Police Department, the Illinois State Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, and the U.S. Marshal’s Office here in Washington. They’re having a round‑ table as we speak to decide additional charges and who’s going to prosecute your case, because there are jurisdictional questions.
“Today is a bond hearing. You will need to post bond in order to be released. Do you have any money?”
“Probably not enough,” I said. “Is it possible I will be let go?”
“I seriously doubt it,” he said.
“When do I get my day in court?”
“Hard to say. Conspiracy trials take time. In cases like this, there’s a pecking order.

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