Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

Intrigued, I watched the vacationer walk back down the beach, climb the sand and enter the Acapulco Plaza Hotel. I put the binoculars down on the window sill. Of all the tourists around, she was the only one who had stopped to help the child. And she was beautiful.
“Angel, I would like to have dinner with this woman.” Angel just snorted.

AS I WALKED BACK TO THE PLAZA, I came across the same group of boys playing with the same yellow cracked Frisbee. Once again, the same boy fell and held his ankle as vacationers walked by. I slipped into a café, ordered a water, and watched from a table near the street. eventually someone else stopped and gave the unsteady little boy some money. I looked at the scene with the eyes of Chester Morgan. The sidewalk was lined with booths where adult Mayans sold trinkets, silver jewelry, pottery, and blankets. In the middle of the market sat the kid holding his ankle. He seemed to be taking his cue from a man three booths down from where he sat. The man was the spotter, the one who sized up the vacationers. He kept one eye on the tourists, the other on the two men who were his own bosses. He’d signal the boy when an especially promising mark came along. It was a cute trick. Now that I was legit, I thought I’d have some fun with the crew. I strolled towards the boy, hands in my pockets. Sure enough, the spotter nodded towards the boy, who then sprawled on the ground in front of me.
“Señor, could you please help me? I fell and hurt my foot because I have no shoes.” Taking my hands out of my pockets, I placed them on my hips.
“Is your foot broken?” “No, only it is sprained. Could you please give me money for shoes?”
I put my hand in my pocket. His eyes shot to see what I was going to pull out. Next he glanced over to the booth and the man spread his fingers on his thigh. “Fifty American dollars, señor.” I pulled my hand out of my pocket and opened it to show I had nothing in it.
“Only fifty? They must be cheap shoes.” He grinned at my response but quickly continued. “They are, señor, but I could never ask for more.”
“you have a problem, amigo. A friend saw a piece of jewelry she loved and I would like to buy it for her, only I don’t know which booth she saw it at.” Puzzled, he asked what my friend looked like.
“She’s Italian. She was wearing a black-and-brown swimsuit when she walked through here about an hour ago.”
“Señor, you are in luck. I saw your friend and she stopped at my father’s booth right there.” He called out to the man in the booth.
“He is a friend of the woman in the black-and-brown bathing suit who saw your jewelry an hour ago.” The man nodded and waved me over. The merchandise was the usual tourist stuff, but some of it was nice. I decided the Italian woman probably just gave the boy a couple of dollars, but a piece of jewelry would make a nice dinner gift. And I always enjoyed stealing from thieves.

“A friend was here and liked a piece of jewelry. It was a roped bracelet about half an inch wide and cost one hundred dollars.” He brought out a tray and pointed to a small bracelet.
“This is this one she liked.” Reaching across the table, I scooped up a large bracelet.
“yes. This is the one she described.” I looped it in my hand to admire it.
“That one is two hundred dollars, señor, and you should not reach across my table.” I dismissed what he said.
“The bracelet is innocent, like my friend. Maybe I should bring her back. Would you like that?” He watched as my hand dug in my right pocket as if to come out with money. At the same time I slipped the bracelet in my left pocket and saw his puzzled look. I then brought both hands out my pockets, knuckles up, and slowly turned them over like a magi- cian, showing open palms which brought a quick gasp.
“you are not going to pay for that?”
“Nope. We’re even. you played that crippled game on my friend down on the beach and I can’t let you steal from her.”
“Amigo, your friend did not give anyone two hundred dollars. This is not fair. Now you steal from me?” He twisted and began to glance over my shoulder at the two bosses.
“Adios, amigo,” I said, and hurried down the aisle to blend in with all the other tourists. I whistled for a taxi when I reached the street. A yellow beat-up Dodge swung from the far lane and halted in front of the curb. I jumped in quickly and said
“vamos” somewhat urgently. The cabby got the message and hurried off. Through the rear window, I saw the two bosses, the kid, and the father all pointing toward the taxi as we bounced towards the strip that included the Acapulco Hotel. The taxi radio started screaming something about a norteamericano and the market. The cabby’s eyes darted back to me but I kept looking out the window. After we passed The Acapulco Plaza and turned out of sight of the market, I said to the driver,
“The Presidente Hotel.” About five minutes later, the cab pulled in front of The Presidente. I paid him, walked to my room, grabbed a change of clothes and my briefcase, and made my way back to the Acapulco Plaza. I checked in, then looked up the chief of valets.
“I’m looking for a woman who wore a black and brown bath- ing suit at the pool today,” I told him.
“She looks very Italian.” “Señor, you are in luck. She is in the Armani store as we speak.”

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