Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

Placing twenty pesos in his hand, I said,
“I want to know where her dinner reservations are tonight, and the description of what she buys.” He nodded. Later that day I was told her name was Maria, that she was from Toronto, that she had purchased a certain pair of very upscale dress shoes, and that she had reservations at Su Casa Restaurant for eight o’clock. I made the same dinner arrangements for myself. By seven-thirty, I was sitting nonchalantly on a out-of-the-way couch in the lobby, hiding behind a newspaper. At fifteen minutes to eight, Maria walked past and waited at the door for a taxi. She wore a snug white mid-thigh skirt and a light blue sleeveless satin blouse with black buttons. Around her neck she wore a silver brooch outlined with coral. On her feet were a brand-new pair of shoes, and as she waited, she stretched out a foot to admire the lines of the shoe. The evening light defined her firm, tan calf. As she boarded her taxi, I rose up from the couch and walked toward the bell captain. He saw me, motioned, and another taxi appeared from the shadows. He spoke to me before I entered the cab.
“Señor, today two men from the market came here looking for you,” the bell captain said.
“It seems there was a problem at the market.” “Really?” I tried to look mildly interested.
“They say you stole jewelry from them.”
“What else did they say?”
“They wanted information. They will be back tomorrow. What should I say?”
I reached into my pocket and gave him a hundred pesos.
“Tell them I’m from Chicago, and I’m staying at The Presidente villas, Number 23.”
“I think they know already where you are staying. Acapulco taxis talk with one another.” I nodded toward the taxi waiting behind me.
“Tell them I will meet with them there tomorrow afternoon at three o’clock. And does this taxi talk?” “The driver is my cousin Luis. He can be trusted, but tip him well because it is all about the money, si? He will be your driver until you leave Acapulco.”

TEN MINUTES LATER I walked up behind Maria just outside Su Casa.
“Magnificent.” “Ay?” She turned and saw me. “Ay. you must be an artist, perhaps from somewhere in Can- ada? Don’t tell me—it must be Toronto from your accent—and they truly are wonderful.” I pointed down to her shoes. Assuming I was commenting on her legs, she gave me a frosty look. I plowed ahead.
“They truly are a magnificent pair of—are they Inez DeLiso?” She grinned.
“yes, but how would a man from New york know this?” “A man from New york wouldn’t, but I’m from Chicago and we know quality when we see it.”
“I saw a remarkable thing today on the beach. A small Mayan boy hurt his foot and no one stopped to help him but one woman.” She glared at me and then lowered her eyes. Just then the maitre d’ came out of the door. “Señorita, your reservation number?” “I don’t have one. I didn’t get a number when I made the reservation.”
“I’m sorry, Madam. How many are in your party?”
“Just one.”
“I’m sorry, but we only have tables for two or more.” “That’s impossible!” She was starting to sound annoyed. “I didn’t get a reservation number, either, but perhaps we could make a table for two,” I suggested.
“Sir, we really need a reservation number. I’m truly sorry—I’m sure you understand?” I showed him a twenty-dollar bill. “Is this the right reservation number?” He took the twenty.
“This way, please,” he said. I held it back.
“A table overlooking the mountainside, señor.”
“Of course, señor. This way, please.”
“I really hate Americans,” Maria growled.
“Because you believe you’re the center of the world. And don’t think that trick with the maitre d’ fooled me. It’s nauseating.”
“Hmmmmm,” I responded wittily. I took her gently by her elbow and nodded to the maitre d’, who led us up a flight of stairs to a mezzanine table. To my left sat the Acapulco mountain skyline, the twinkling lights of the city mirroring the moonlight flickering on the ocean. The restaurant was downwind of the Acapulco garbage dump, which burned off its debris nightly, but the odor faded from my consciousness as I watched the candlelight dance in Maria’s beautiful brown eyes. She was very quiet, obviously waiting for me to say something. I coughed slightly and swallowed.
“As I was saying, I saw a woman stop for a boy who was hurt on the beach today.” She leaned over the table, the candlelight in her eyes blazing into a bonfire.
“you’re a day late. I am leaving on the first flight in the morning.” “Technically, I’m not that late. I was due in at four Thursday morning but my flight was cancelled in Mexico City. I tried to call the hotel but the language was a problem. I’m sorry.” She remained silent. I knew there were a million inconsistencies in my story and for once I hoped she was so mad she wouldn’t be able to think clearly.

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