• Solomon and the corpse – conclusion


    Solomon Goldstein and the Missing Corpse – Conclusion


    “They found finally it, the body from last year, the missing corpse,” said Norene.   “I’m more interested in the killer, maybe a prospective client,” said Jacob, looking up.


    “You know where Zerkil Mesa is, northeast of Superior?  There is a tar pit that was discovered around 1890 at the mesa’s base.  Not very wide, but always semi-liquid, because of the heat. No one knows how deep it is, but I know it’s swallowed a bunch of cars.  The pit was fenced a long time ago, and the road blocked; but since it’s on federal land no one pays much attention.  The kids break the fencing down as soon as it is put up.  I’ve been up there a few times in my younger years with my boyfriend, Jackhammer Johnson.”


    What did you and the “Jackhammer” do up there?” said Jacob.  “Throw rocks and other things in the tar, drink, sunbathe, and, you know, other things.”  “Spare me,” said Jacob, “So what does this have to do with me?”



    “That is the interesting part.  Yesterday, some kids who were up there found Still’s old plumbing van, sunk front first in the coal tar, apparently standing on top of other submerged vehicles, the rear end sticking out a couple of feet.  They were able to pull the back door open and there was a body.  They said it looked like a mummy – all dried up from the heat – but nothing but bone left on one arm.  Now maybe they can finally figure out who the poor soul was.  Sheriff called the Feds – they are already talking about a hate crime.”


    “Everything is a hate crime these days,” said Jacob.  “Noreen, If you were jailed for all of the people you despise and have threatened in this town, they’d lock you up for 20 lifetimes.”


    That same afternoon Jacob got two calls: one from Barney Stills, the plumber, and one from Swenson Hardy.  Barney needed representation since the sheriff wanted to interview him about how the body had ended up in his stolen van.  Swenson said they had a major disciplinary problem that he wanted to talk to Sol about, but not over the phone.  “I’ll fly over tomorrow.”


    Barney was afraid the Sheriff was going to arrest him, because he was the last one to see his truck and he didn’t have a good excuse for his whereabouts the night of the body abduction from the morgue. His wife and he got into a drunken argument, and she booted him out to go sleep it off.  He couldn’t remember where he had gone; just woke up the next morning in his shop.

    Sure enough Barney was arrested and charged with capital murder in the first degree before he could meet with Sol.  When Sol appeared with him the next morning, bail was set at one million dollars, regardless of Sol’s plea to Judge Tanner for a lesser amount. Nothing was to be done except for Barney to be incarcerated in the Sweetwater County Detention Center until the trial.

    We drew a bad judge,” Sol said to Barney – his honor George Tanner – he is completely irrational – I have appeals pending on two other decisions he handed down.  Judge Tanner also let Nic Gianette off the hook on a rape charge.  The girl he beat got nothing, certainly not justice.”


    Swenson Hardy flew in to talk to Sol.  They met at Sol’s modest home in Superior just north of Rock Springs.


    “We’ve got ourselves a dirty judge, Sol.  It’s Judge Tanner. You probably know that he is an alcoholic, just divorced his third wife, and is inconsistent in his judgments and personal life.  His rulings seem to favor certain groups and individuals.  The worse is John Gianette.  There have been several lawsuits filed against Gianette and also criminal complaints against his son Nic.  In one questionable case he directed a “Not Guilty” verdict to the jury for an assault charge against Nicolas.  He also bought a $600,000 home and 20-acre spread just north of Farson on highway 28, about half way up to the Gianette spread.  A new Mercedes to go along with it. Wyoming Judges don’t make that kind of money unless they are on the take.


    The money for the judge’s excesses is coming from somewhere; we think its Gianette.  There was that big dispute last year about a three-mile easement on the north side of the Big G. There was no logical reason for Gianette to prevail, but to everyone’s surprise he ended up with a favorable verdict and $550,000.  Our investigator Butch will be looking at bank and telephone records to see what he can come up with.”


    In the middle of all this, the FBI turned a long time criminal, Tony Russo, in South Carolina.  As part of the deal to spill his guts, he received immunity for two murders and entrance into a witness protection program.  The information he gave up were the details on murders that had been orchestrated by the Gianette Family.  When asked where the bodies were, Tony said he didn’t know, just that they were not buried anywhere in South Carolina.  Over an investigation lasting six months, the FBI finally realized that the bodies probably had been flown out on Gianette’s Learjet.


    At the pretrial hearing for Barney, Sol argued that his client couldn’t account for his time that night because he was passed out drunk, but there was no motive anyway.  Why would he steal the body from the morgue?  How would he even know that it was there?  There was no relationship between the two men.  If he did drive up to the tar pits in the snow, and dumped the van, how did he get back?”  It made no sense. Judge Tanner barely listened to Sol’s arguments, and put the first day of the trial on his calendar for two months hence.  Still held Barney on the one million dollar bail.


    The DA came up to Sol after the hearing, and said,  “Does the judge have something against you.  I’d admit the state’s case is weak, but he seems to be hell bent for leather to convict Barney.  Looks like a rough ride for your client. I know Tanner has instructed the sheriff to close any further investigation.  Might as well start working on an appeal.”


    Norene came into Jacob’s office early the next day.  She looked sheepish and uneasy.  “Boss, I need to tell you something.”  “Go right ahead, I’m all ears,” thinking that this was another push for a higher salary.  It made him furious, after her commitment last time.  “I know where Barney was during the night the body disappeared in his truck.”

    Where would that be?” asked Jacob.


    “He was with me, but it’s not what you think.   We went to school together, and from time to time we have been drinking partners.  After his wife tossed him out that night, he called me to come and get him.  He was passed out in his van on the street, so I loaded him in my truck so he wouldn’t freeze to death, and took him over to my place to sleep it off.  He never knew what happened, and was surprised as anyone the next morning when the van was gone.”


    Early the next day, Sol made an appointment to see Judge Tanner.  Norene gave her story while the judge sat with an unbelieving look on his face.  “You know something Mr. Goldstein, this is a total cock and bull story.  You are having your notorious assistant come up with this cockamamie tale to cover your client.  I should put you in jail for a couple of days for being in contempt and make a formal complaint to the bar.  Now get out of here, all you have done is hurt your client’s case.”


    “But judge, Norene is telling the truth, she’ll even take a lie detector test.  The phone records show that Barney called her about midnight on the night the corpse was stolen from the morgue.”  “That’s the last straw, bailiff, put Mr. Solomon Goldstein in handcuffs and take him down to the jail, put him in a solitary cell that hasn’t been cleaned for a week or so with an overflowing toilet.  Maybe that will teach him he can’t play fast and loose with me.”


    When Sol was released from jail two days later, he was fuming, and while he was somewhat conservative in his attitude towards physical violence, he let Norene know that if she ever had a chance to savage the judge, he wouldn’t mind.  But during his time in jail, the world had turned twice, and the whole landscape changed.


    The DNA from the dried corpse was matched to a James Boggs from South Carolina, with a long criminal record.  His family had not seen him for over a year.  Rapidly the Feds found out that he had worked for the Gianette mob as a low level enforcer.  Their efforts to get an arrest warrant for John Gianette were initially blocked by the federal judge in Cheyenne.


    In the mean time another of Norene’s endless cousins, Darnell, had become close to a Cyrus Easterman, a freelance reporter working out of San Francisco.  Norene described the two, in her usual tactless manner, as being “Light in the Loafers”.  Cyrus had told Darnell that he was investigating John Gianette – but it had nothing to do with the body buried on his property.  The investigation involved some precious metals, but Cyrus wouldn’t say more until he was ready to confirm details and file his story.  Two days later, he disappeared.  He did not return to west coast, and nothing more was heard from him.  Darnell did tell Norene he and Cyrus had made a midnight trip to watch Gianette’s ranch, but he wouldn’t say any more, other than he found an ideal place to watch the ranch house through night vision binoculars.


    Right in the middle of all this, John Gianette called Sol and asked him to come out to the ranch – had some information that would clear Barney Stills – and he felt that they had gotten off on the wrong foot.  Said he admired Sol for sticking to his principals and wanted to show his appreciation.


    Of course Sol was not about to get anywhere near Gianette, preparing the excuse that Jeanie was ill. But to his surprise, Jeanie and Norene said they would like to see his spread.


    “Okay, no problem, even better,” Gianette said.


    When they got there in the early evening, John was waiting for them.  There was a formal dinner laid on, and the conversation was upscale and pleasant.  Gianette proved a very interesting and accommodating host.  After desert, John stood, raised his glass and proposed a toast.  “Here’s to the last day for all of us on the Big G.”  Puzzled, Jeanie, Norene and Sol looked at one another.  “Guess you’d like an explanation.  Well, lets start at the beginning of this fiasco.  The body found almost a year ago was the body of James Boggs, who worked for me in Charlotte, South Carolina.  He screwed up one to many times and shot a policeman.  Our organization is under surveillance day and night so after his demise he was put on our Jet to Wyoming.  The dunderheads that I used to bury the body only dug down only about two feet – if that lunkhead of a sheriff had any brains, he would have looked around to see if there were any other bodies in the area.  Counting the three grave diggers that were eliminated for their mistake, I think there is a nice round number of twelve in that area – the remaining ones are down closer to six feet where no molesting varmints can get to them.  All within a hundred yards of where Wesley Duggins found Boggs.”


    “I have elaborate surveillance cameras and laser beams along my entire property, so when the cowboy found the body two months later, I had to act.  We followed Case Warren to the morgue, then removed the body and hauled it away in Still’s plumbing van, which was empty and available – keys even in the ignition.  Figured the theft of the van would direct the blame to Barney Stills, just in case it was ever found.  We thought that we had sunk the van in the tar pit completely out of sight.  Judge Tanner, he’s been on our payroll ever since I arrived six years ago.  Too bad he’s about to go down in flames – and end up in jail.  We no longer need him.  And my son Nic – adopted – always a disappointment.  I know he finally turned on me and is part of the posse coming to get me in return for immunity.”


    “Tomorrow will be a bad day for a lot of people.  There will be a raid on this property at 4:00 AM by the FBI.  About that the same time a massive Federal net will cover our operations in South Carolina to put us out of business.  Am I concerned, not only no, but hell no.  I’ll be long gone.  The Lear is fueled up, including extra tanks.  A private plane doesn’t need to file a flight plan, so no one will have a clue until I’ve left US airspace.  Tomorrow I’ll be sitting on a veranda drinking scotch and waiting for an early evening shower to dust the ocean. I’ll give you a hint, the first letter of the place I’m going is S and the last is A.  Here is a picture of my estate. Since you were dumb enough to bring Jeanie and Norene with you, I’m going to take them on this little trip for protection.  I’m not a killer; other people do that for me.  Once we arrive in that country with it’s wide beaches, warm water, friendly people and no extradition treaty, I’ll probably release them.  Don’t worry about them one little bit.”


    “I can see that you think that I’m the typical hood – a Don in the mob and it fills you with dread and loathing.  All the stuff that we did back in the Carolina’s was just normal mob business. My grandfather was a fisherman off the Outer Banks, until he started smuggling.  Then he got into collections, gambling, prostitution, enforcement and drugs – with a normal return on investment – about equal to a good mutual fund.”


    “Do you know what the competition is like in those criminal enterprises? Very tough.  Plus there’s the chance of getting killed by your rivals – the Jamaicans, the Hondurans, the Mexicans, the Russians, the Nigerians – or your own people – it is astronomical.  I never started my own car in the last ten years.  Of course I’m surrounded by imbecile goomba’s who couldn’t cheat their way through the ninth grade.  Do you know how many homemade servings of Spaghetti and Meatballs I’ve had to down?  And the home made wine – decayed grapes stomped to death by grime covered rubber boots – the results would gag a maggot.  It was like eating and drinking with a bunch of baboons. I got a Business Degree from NYU, then headed for Wall Street, thought maybe I’d eventually get a law degree, but the family insisted I come aboard.  Then the old man died, and I had to take over. This will be the end of the Gianette organization. I’ve been planning my escape for a long time.”



    “So, are you wondering where the money comes from to buy a spread like this, if normal mob business is so competitive?  See here.  Looks like some polished rocks.  It’s rhodium – more expensive that gold; it’s a member of the platinum group.  And there is a worldwide market for the metal.  Every catalytic converter uses a small amount.  We pick the concentrate up from a private claim we own north of the Great Slave Lake in Canada, claiming it’s a low-grade nickel mine – rhodium is found in the nickel as a major by product.  Once we fly in the concentrated ore, we further refine it in a large barn about a mile from the ranch.  We did have a couple of inspections but they bought the idea it was nickel concentrates.  We only operate at night, and best of all, we pay no taxes.  I’ve already transported over $36,000,000 to the South Seas.  Another five million will go with me at 11:00 PM when I leave.  So I can’t come back to the US, so what?  If I get itchy I can apply for a pardon by making a few presidential political donations, or just travel to some of the eighty-three countries that don’t have extradition treaties.”


    “Boss, there is a phone call for you from the Judge.”


    “Really, that still gives us enough time to get away.  Yes, we’ll wait for you.”


    “That was good old Judge Tanner.  Where we’re going I have no use for him.  We’ll be long gone before he gets here.  It appears that the state, the feds and the FBI will be here in about two hours rather than in the morning, so it’s time to bail.  I can delay them a bit on the road, but it’s best we get going.”


    Sol stepped forward and said, “The girls are not going on the plane, period.”


    “What are you going to do, Sol, take a shoe off and whack me over the head?” laughed John.


    “I’ll do whatever I need to, but you are not taking them.”


    “You’re prepared to give your life to try and stop me?” said John.  “Yes I am.”


    “Well I’ll be damned, Sol, didn’t think you had it in you; you’re proven to be a man of exceptional determination, I admire that.”  Better to leave Norene for sure.  I’d have to watch her every minute or I’d find a stiletto heel sticking through my eardrum


    During the next half hour everything was loaded on the Lear.  “Adios, you losers, the posse will be here before long– think of me often with envy.  Everyone is gone now; go in the house and help yourself to the liquor cabinet.  I deeded the ranch to Barney Stills as a parting gift for his trouble.”


    “Damn,” said Jacob, “He is going to get away clean.”


    “We’ll see,” said Norene, I told my cousin Darnell to follow us out here.  He’s pretty resourceful.  Let’s watch the takeoff.  They could see the lights flashing and the engines running up.  Then there was a clashing noise, sparks and a big puff of smoke from the left engine. The fan blades stopped rotating.  Just then someone stepped through the door.  It was Norene’s cousin, Darnell.  “I heard some of what was going on, so I tossed a pipe wrench in the left engine before takeoff.  Sucked that chunk of iron right through the fan blades.  We might want to get away from here lickity split.  Gianette and his men are armed and won’t take this little interference lightly.  The lawmen are still about an hour away.”


    The four slipped out to Norene’s 4 X 4, slashed the tires of the remaining vehicles and headed at high speed away from the ranch towards Rock Springs.

    Jeanie turned to Jacob and Norene and asked, “What do you thing about the name Losefa for a child?  It means Joseph – from the Bible,  He was the son of Jacob, who was the son of Isaac and Rebecca.”  “What are you talking about?” said Jacob.

    “I thought our first child was going to be born in Samoa, so I started looking at Samoan names on my phone – Losefa is a popular name in the islands.”


    “I don’t understand what you are talking about,” said Jacob.


    “I think you will, I’m carrying our first child.  He will be born in July, six months from now – but not in Samoa, he’ll be born in the Rock Springs Memorial Hospital.  I kind of like Losefa, but I think we should use the English version – Joseph – the son of Solomon Goldstein, my Jacob.





    The treasury department seized Gianette’s real estate and bank accounts plus all the stockpiled rhodium.  Barney retained Jacob to see if he could keep the ranch away from the Feds.


    Nic Gianette turned state’s evidence against his dad.  Judge Tanner did the same.  Both went to jail for a minimum of seven years.


    John Gianette was extradited back to South Carolina  – tried to hire Sol as one of his lawyers.  He was convicted and sentenced to death (the state has executed 43 since 1985.)  He figures it will take 20 years for the Supreme Court to finally turn down his last appeal.  Now he spends his time studying for his on line degree at California’s Concord  Law School.



    Joe Ollivier


    March 2017

    Next Tale – Mutant Raccoons from the Black Lagoon


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