Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

“Jim, all the Masters had their moment of truth. They had to face their demons. Jesus, The Buddha, Mohammed—they would not bow to the evil in their minds. Luckily for humankind, they won their spiritual battles and became enlightened. If this is your path, the universe will lead you into the moment with your temptations.”
“And then?” “evil is real and strong. Human purpose is lost inside the powers of seduction.”
“Have you ever faced the evil you describe?” He spread his hands to frame the altar.
“One must seek evil. I prefer the sanctity of the temple. you are always welcome here with me.” I put my head in my hands. I saw Maria’s face and felt a great sense of sorrow over a lost life together. From the street where he was having a smoke, Luis whistled softly, breaking my concentration. When I glanced up, he had stepped in front of the window and pointed at his watch. I rose. Shen Wah and I bowed farewell.
“Thank you for your friendship. I will remember your wisdom,” I said. As I walked to the taxi, I glanced at my watch; it was already two o’clock. As we drove by the market, I saw the two market bosses smoking cigarettes near the curb. I felt a flash of anger as I thought about Maria and the way we used to be, the pilot’s laughing face, and those scumbags who stole her money. I felt a fit of rage coming on. “Jim, stay disciplined. Don’t let your mind wander,” Angel cautioned. “They didn’t steal her money, remember? you stole theirs.”
“Go screw yourself, Angel.” I must have said this out loud, because Luis asked if I was okay.
“No, I’m not. Turn this fucking cab around and take me back down to the market and pull up in front of those two bastards I’m running from.” “Si, Señor.” “And give me your steel bar.” “Señor, I don’t have a steel bar.” “Luis, every cabby in the world has a steel bar under the seat. Give it to me now.” He sighed, and reached under the driver’s seat for his tire iron.
“Si, Señor.” As we approached the market, I took two hundred dollars U.S. out of my pocket and waved it in front of the rearview mirror. “This is yours if you don’t move this fucking cab. This is going to be quick.” He circled wide in the street, pulled a U‑turn and stopped in front of them. They didn’t have time to be more than startled when I jumped out, because the next instant I hit one of them across his face with the tire iron. The blow pushed in his teeth. The other man turned and ran. I chased him down, whacking him on a shoulder blade. He jumped forward, then fell on a table sideways. He raised his hand to protect his face, so I hit the closest leg until his knee cracked. I then straightened and exhaled my rage. Vacationers and sellers alike stood dazed; the only motion was wind chimes tinkling in the ocean breeze. I bent over and stuck my hand in the victim’s pants and came out with his bankroll, then walked quickly back to my first victim, who was just getting to his knees. I kicked him in his gut and he collapsed again, coughing up blood and loose teeth. I relieved him of his money, too, and then yelled at him.
“Every time you comb your hair, you think of me, you mother‑ fucker. Remember who did this to you.”
I spit on him and backed towards the cab, keeping everybody at bay by extending the steel bar off my thigh (not that there was a rush to apprehend the yanqui‑gone‑loco). That all changed when I reached the taxi door and threw the money in the air. Chaos broke out as locals and tourists alike scrambled to get theirs.
Luis interrupted my fantasy to ask what airline I was flying. “Luis, turn your taxi around and take me back down to the market.” “Señor Jim, you will miss your flight!” I waved two hundred dollars in American bills at him. Luis turned the cab around and when we reached the market, I told him to pull up by the two guys smoking cigarettes.
“Pull up next to them and don’t move. I don’t think there will be any trouble, but keep the motor running just in case.” He circled wide in the street and stopped right beside them. I stepped out of the taxi and left the door open behind me.
“you’re looking for me?” One of them smiled pleasantly and asked who I was. I pointed to my chest.
“I’m the fucking guy from Chicago who stole your bracelet yesterday.” They were caught off guard and I waited about five seconds to see what would happen. They didn’t know what to do, so I laughed. I reached into my back pocket and acted like I had a gun. Terror filled their eyes as they realized the gravity of the situation. “No, no, please!” They warded me off with the palms of their hands.
“Is no problem. Don’t shoot us! We are sorry but that bracelet you took, we have to pay for it. We are responsible for everything here at the market.” Now, I was the bewildered one. I didn’t quite know what to do next, so I turned slightly to one side, thinking quickly, and nod- ded at the children watching from a distance.

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