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

“See how we’re standing in this driveway talking right now?” I said.
“The people driving by in their cars are slowing down and looking at us. This is a small neighborhood; word will get out that we’re friends and our friendship will make a difference in how the other kids treat you. But you two have already figured that out, haven’t you?”
The two boys looked at each other and nodded. After they left, I returned to the yard and reflected on my encounter with Jason and Webb Junior. If Dan Webb’s office hadn’t signed off on my probation, I’d probably still be in jail. And if I’d been in jail, I wouldn’t have been available to help out two kids, including his. And I wouldn’t be sitting in my own garden overwhelmed with awe at the chain of events that put me in the right place at the right time to help two boys who were just about the same age I was when I’d met Larry The Monster. I was able to be for them what no one had been for me—a protector, a true friend—but only because of what Sister John had taught me: Find someone to help in all situations.

MUCH AS I LEARNED ABOUT MYSELF during the Beverly years, it wasn’t meant to last. eventually I sold the house and moved in with Tommy, running my business out of his apartment. I had a small efficient company and great craftsmen, and soon Angel and I were able to start traveling, mostly to the Caribbean and Mexico.

CHAPTER 27

 

FIESTA MEXICANA blared from the speakers at the Su Casa Grill in Acapulco. The beach was crowded that May morning in 1989. The air was thick with car fumes. Mayan children ran through the sand, working the sun-befuddled tourists for coins. Aquamarine waves ruffled the shore under a blue sky dotted with marshmallow-white clouds, a sky that would deepen toward evening into navy velvet set with twinkling stars. I scanned the beach, then closed my eyes and breathed in the warm, tropical air. Something about the marshmallow clouds reminded me of Stony Island. Tommy had moved to California to chase a movie career. Billy was a family man now, living in one of Chicago’s south suburbs; I hadn’t spoken to him in years but knew he was okay because if he wasn’t, somebody would have let me know. We’d managed to stay in touch even though our families had scattered. The good memories of Stony Island became fresh in my mind and the calming waters of the beach towns in the Caribbean and Mexico were slowly solving my fear issues. And I had fallen in love with Acapulco. “Diet Coke, Señor Jim?”
“No, thank you, Roberto. Just water, please.”
“Señor Jim, my sister Luisa, she likes you very much. Why don’t you ask her to lunch? I will cook for both of you.”
“My heart belongs to another and I’m waiting for her.” He looked around to see who was coming.
“I see no one. you sit like a person waiting for a bus. My sister likes you very much, and like you, she waits for a bus. She hopes you are the driver of her bus.” I glanced over at Luisa, who stood smiling in the kitchen door with her hands on the weathered wood. Her straight brown hair was parted in the middle. She had large blue eyes the color of her snug denim jeans. Her pink tank top revealed a tight midriff and nicely rounded breasts; a large silver crucifix snuggled in her cleavage. I pointed to the cross.
“Jesus is a lucky man to have such a comfortable bed to rest on.” Roberto immediately turned and translated what I’d said. I took my hands in front of my face as if to block Luisa’s fist but instead she patted the vicinity of her heart three times.
“I too am waiting, Señor Jim.” Alas, up the hill I saw Shen Wah, the local Buddhist monk, opening his temple doors. Gulping my drink, I placed ten pesos on the table.
“I’m sorry, señorita. your beauty is what I crave but I must go to pray at Shen Wah’s. Please forgive me, for I’m a determined traveler and cannot harm your soul in any way.” She smiled.
“Nonsense. you must like boys,” she said, and swayed back into the kitchen.

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