Roger Binsley was a happy man as he pushed the throttle forward on his 38 foot Viking yacht. This would be his one hundred and twentieth trip and his final one.
Roger’s primary business was an independent hardware store in Syosset, Long Island, New York and that business had supported him, his lovely wife Christine and three daughters for thirty years.
He had closed on the sale of the business the preceding Friday and put the proceeds into the bank for Christine’s and his retirement. They would close on the house, also in Syosset, tomorrow and by Friday be on their way to a new, happy and work free life in Palm Beach, Florida.
They had already bought their retirement home there and at a price tag of two million dollars, it was everything they had ever wanted. Over six thousand square feet, the house was on the inter-coastal waterway with a private dock and a heated pool.
That house and the half a million buck thirty-nine foot Grady White Express fishing boat were not paid for out of the earnings in the hardware business, they were paid for with the proceeds from Roger’s successful side business.
Thirty years earlier Roger was approached by a respected politician who made him a proposition. The politician, who we will call Mr. Smith, told Roger he was about to be indicted for making crooked deals while in the US House of Representatives for twenty-four years. He wanted to end his life before the scandal hit the public. But there were some complications. He had a considerable amount of insurance and since most of his assets would be seized in connection with his many acts of fraud he would die pretty much broke and leave his wife zero, a condition that made him happy. However he had a paid up, five million dollar life insurance policy on which she was the beneficiary, a condition he considered not so good. It seemed that the righteous Mrs. Smith had been the whistle-blower that brought his shady dealings to the attention of the US Attorney’s office. “Not because she was righteous,” Mr Smith pointed out to Roger, “but because she has a lover and wants me out of the way.
“So I’m going to get out of the way and leave her broke.”
Mr. Smith wanted Roger to kill him and dispose of his body in such a way that it would never be found and in return Mr. Smith would pay Roger one hundred thousand bucks!
Mr. Smith would leave a note stating he was leaving for points unknown because of the impending scandal. In that way, it would be years before the authorities would declare Mr. Smith dead and pay off on the insurance… years in which Mrs. Smith would have to get a job as a waitress to stave off starvation.
Roger thought about it and after working out the details agreed to the deal.
On a Friday evening that fall, after telling his wife he was going fishing off Montauk over night, Mr. Smith met Roger at the dock where he kept his twenty-five year old, thirty foot fishing boat (nothing like his current Viking yacht) and they left on the sixty-five mile journey to a point along the Hudson Canyon, a mile and one-half deep underwater canyon that runs four-hundred miles from the base of Manhattan along the eastern seaboard north to off the coast of Maine.
Along the way Roger collected his one-hundred grand and so the trip would not be a total waste Mr. Smith fished.
On reaching the destination over the very deep canyon, while Mr. Smith was distracted from the purpose of the trip with his fishing efforts, Roger crept up behind him quietly and not so quietly shot him in the back of the skull with a .22 caliber hollow nosed bullet with a charge calculated to only carry the deadly slug to the center of Mr. Smith’s skull.
Rogers’s strategy worked and Mr. Smith slumped forward with little blood flowing from the hole in the back of his head.
Roger then wrapped Mr. Smith’s dead body in a seven foot stainless steel mesh bag, with one-inch stainless steel chains welded for the full length. Roger bolted the chains tightly around the wrapped body with stainless steel bolts and attached a seventy-five pound weight to the end of each chain and slid Mr. Smith into his final resting place… the floor of the Atlantic Ocean a mile and a half below Roger’s boat.
Roger stayed in the area for about twenty minutes making sure that Mr. Smith stayed down while cleaning up any signs of Mr. Smith having been on board. He then made the sixty-five mile journey back to Montauk singing an old fishing ditty and periodically fondling the hundred grand.
Three months later, at a New Year’s Eve party another unhappy soul with a similar tale of woe approached Roger for the same service. It appeared that Mr. Smith had told of his solution to a long time colleague and fellow crook… who also didn’t like his heirs too well.
Roger couldn’t believe it, he hadn’t figured out what to do with Mr. Smith’s hundred grand and here he was about to make another hundred.
Two weeks later found Roger once again making a one hundred thirty mile round trip disposal run to the essentially bottomless Hudson Canyon, the perfect resting ground for the customers of his new and quite lucrative business.
By word of mouth Roger’s new sideline prospered, (It had to be word of mouth since Roger determined advertising was out). All told Roger made, on average, four trips a year for thirty years, bringing in a total of twelve million bucks, spending almost none of it.
Now he was on his way back, not to Montauk but to Cape May, New Jersey where he would turn over the Viking yacht and title to the odd two men who offered him three-hundred-fifty thousand in cash if he would deliver the yacht to them that night by midnight. By his calculations he would get there about eleven-thirty.
But Roger was still troubled. His final customer had changed his mind at the last minute and wanted to cancel the contract. That was not what had bothered Roger, it had happened before but there was no turning back once you hired Roger for the ultimate solution to your problems. What bothered Roger was that when the guy realized there was no cancellation option he reached for his cell phone to call somebody and Roger had to shoot him immediately.
The guy had barely gotten the cell phone out of his pocket when Roger shot him, but the guy didn’t just slump over neatly, his arm flew out and he let go of the cell phone, an expensive smart phone model.
It skidded across the deck and Roger swore he saw it fall into the sea. Since they were over the ‘burial ground’ Roger figured it was gone forever as shortly thereafter his last customer was gone forever.
Periodically on the way to Cape May, Roger put the boat on auto-pilot and scoured the deck looking for any trace of the phone.
His concern was that if the phone was on, his final customer’s final location could easily be traced. If the phone was off and someone found it on the Viking and turned it on any one looking for its owner would trace the signal to the yacht and start asking a lot of questions.
He really wished he could find it but settled on the comforting conclusion it had gone overboard, at least for the time being.
As predicted by Roger he pulled into the public dock at Cape May at eleven thirty-five and by twelve-thirty he was on a train back to Penn Station in New York City where he would catch a Long Island Railroad train to Montauk, pick up his car and drive back to Syosset. He had three-hundred fifty thousand bucks in a duffle bag and in the morning he and his wife would close on the house and head for Palm Beach and a new life.
Arthur and Ralph were really pleased with their purchase of the Viking. It was big, powerful, luxurious, but most of all it was fast and stable at high speed.
The duo had a long night ahead of them. They had a million bucks in the two duffle bags remaining after handing the one with the money for the yacht over to Roger. Arthur and Ralph were on their way to a rendezvous with an oil tanker on its way from Venezuela to the coast of Maine.
They would be exchanging the duffle bags with the bucks for a similar sized pair containing not oil, the official cargo of this Columbia registered tanker, but fifty kilos of processed cocaine, direct from the Colombian factory, street value in New York, $3,300,000. Not bad profits for one night’s work, almost two million bucks even after the cost of the Viking and that yacht would be making many more similar trips.
As they raced toward the GPS coordinates of the pickup Arthur put on auto pilot and the two meandered about their new purchase admiring the appointments and sheer luxury of the vessel.
After several hours of very calm cruising the yacht encountered some minor swells in the ocean as it rolled down the back of a small wave Ralph, the brawn… definitely not the brains of the duo, shouted to Arthur, “Hey look what just slid out from under that fish cooler, a smart phone and it’s a newer version than ours.”
As he was examining it and preparing to turn it on, Arthur leaped forward and grabbed it from Ralph’s hands and checking to make sure that Ralph never turned it on flung it over the side.
A glance at the GPS at that moment would have revealed that the Viking was sixty-five miles off the coast of Montauk and five miles from their rendezvous, the point in the Atlantic where all of Roger’s customers rested.
The smart phone sunk ever deeper into the Hudson Canyon, at about one mile down the pressure of the water crushed the outer casing and at about one and a quarter mile depth the piece of high technology shattered into a hundred pieces and drifted down to join its recently demised owner.
“Hey,” said Ralph, “what the hell did you do that for, that was a three-hundred dollar phone?”
“You idiot,” retorted Arthur, “you turn it on and whoever is looking for it, pinpoints where it is and the questions start. You would blow two mil in profit for a three hundred buck phone, I’ll buy you one when we get back to Brooklyn, now start getting ready to meet our supplier we’re about four miles away.”
Eighteen months after that eventful evening Roger Binsley died suddenly of a massive coronary brought on by what his wife and doctors believed to be extreme stress. His wife Christine told the daughters that since leaving Syosset he had never been right. He was awake and pacing the floors almost every night and when he did get sleep, usually drugged, he would moan all night about some lost smart phone. He would never discuss it when he was awake and she had no idea what it was about.
Christine, after a short period of mourning, evolved into a free spending high living Palm Beach widow.