Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

“I’ll give a hoot and won’t pollute,” I said.
As I drove home, I realized I knew in a much deeper way that the human race is a body of one. We need one another as the arm needs the hand and the hand, its fingers. We are similar in every way, including our imperfections. Grace washed over me as I cherished this glimpse of the Creator’s plan.

DAYS LATER, I WAS SITTING in the yard writing in my journal when I saw two young boys scurry into the yard next door. “What are we going to do, Jason?” one of them asked urgently. I squinted through the hedge and saw two boys about the age of ten. Jason was about five feet four with a slender but strong body, deep brown skin, and had a full head of curly black hair. He wore a white T-shirt and blue jeans rolled up about three times at the cuffs, settling on white Converse gym shoes. He stood with one foot out from the other and when he spoke, he punctuated his words with his hands. The other boy, who was white, wore the same T-shirt and blue-jeans combo. His dark hair was slicked back and he sat on a red-and-silver bike. He wore his shirt sleeves rolled up to his shoulders to show off his wiry arms; I could see him sitting on a Harley in a few years. The problem they were discussing was just pulling up on the sidewalk outside the yard they were hiding in. Half a dozen neigh- borhood kids, all white, were skidding their bikes to a halt outside the shrubbery.
“I know what we’re not going to do, and that’s leave this yard,” Jason said to his companion.
“They’re out there just waiting to pulverize us.” Neither of them had noticed me through the fence. “We’d better stay right here till they’re gone,” the white boy said. “Can’t your dad do something about this?” Jason asked.
“He’s out of town working on some big case. But he told me before he left that if this happened again, you and I should stick together.”
“You better hide, nigger,” a voice shouted from the street.
“We’re going to get you and your nigger-loving friend.” WHOA! I moved quietly out of my yard and came up behind the boys on the bikes, grabbing the handlebars of the twelve-year-old potty mouth.
“My name is Jim. you are who? The one with the big mouth?” The kid started to stutter. I repeated my question, more slowly this time. He started to respond.
“Shhh! Don’t say a word.” I waved to the two boys inside the yard.
“C’mon out, kids.” They hesitated.
“Don’t be afraid.” The black boy and the white boy walked slowly out of the yard. I turned back to the kid who’d been yelling. “Which one of these two kids were you calling a nigger?”
The screamer looked bewildered at the question. He shifted uncomfortably on the bike seat.
“I asked you, which one of these kids did you call a nigger?” He shook his head sideways.
He looked scared.
“You’re crazy, mister,” called one of the kids in back of the bike pack.
“Good!” I said to the screamer.
“We’re making progress. Maybe I am crazy, but these two guys are friends of mine. Right, guys?”
The two kids looked at each other and then nodded in unison. I turned back to the screamer.
“If I ever hear you guys call these kids names again, or if anything happens to these kids, I’m going to find your parents. And if I do, and if they’re like you, anything could happen. Do you understand?”
The screamer, who by this time looked exceedingly pale, nodded. “Say it.” “I understand,” he stammered. I let go of his handle bars. The bikers tore off down the street. Not one of them looked back. The three of us stood watching them.
“you guys play basketball?” I finally asked. “Here on the corner. The owner lets us use his backyard. Do you want to take some shots with us?” Jason asked. “Sure.” We played for a while, then it was time for the boys to go. “you guys live close by?” I asked.
“Right around the corner,” the white boy said.
“Must be tough for you two, huh? I bet the neighborhood kids play the color card a lot. So you’re Jason,” I nodded to him. “And what’s your name?” I asked the other boy.
“We call him Webb Junior,” Jason teased.
“Say that again?”
“My father’s name is Dan Webb,” the white boy said.
“The U. S. Attorney?” “yes.” “And we’re neighbors?”
“yes.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“So why do you call him Webb Junior?” I asked Jason.
“Because his father fights bad guys, and he fights the bad guys for me just like his father would.” Webb Junior looked at me and nodded assuredly. Looking down at Webb Junior, I admired the boy’s kind nature and the trust he had placed in his father’s belief system. even though I didn’t have children, if I ever did, I wanted our relationship to be like the one Webb Junior obviously had with his father.

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