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Chest of Hope Ch.5

Mister Odie stood and waited until Jim, Willie, and Adam were about ten feet away. "Good mornin Mister Odie. I hope you didn't have much trouble with that Mister Johnson.” Willie said as he approached. "Mister Johnson, saw the worth of his errors in judgement." "I reckon he, or for that matter, nobody ever seen a thousand-dollar axe, Mista Odie.” Jim said. "Well Jim, if that's true,” Mister Odie replied, as he produced his grand creation into view, "it might be time for one to be observed." Jim, Willie, and Adam saw the three-foot wide, twin-bladed battleaxe appear. Mister Odie stood and with a short twirl held the axe across his chest. Jim and Willie ogled this wonder with its gleaming metal head shinning in the new days dawn. They cast their eyes to the handle and both saw the size and thickness. No other man could grip this thing, much less be able to use it. Jim thought to himself. Jim also thought about its purpose. "I know who you are!" Adam cried out. Mister Odie's smile disappeared as his eyes narrowed. He stared down at the boy and asked, "Do you now?" Adam with a broad smile on his face, suddenly stopped and gazed very strangely at the big man. "But, where's Babe?" "Where's Babe?" Mister Odie parroted Adam's question to himself and Jim. "Babe! Your blue ox!” Adam said. At that, Willie caught himself from laughing harder and regarded Mister Odie. “You know Jim, he does favor the picture a bit at that." Willie said. “Blue what?” Mister Odie eyed the three and tried to make sense of any of this. “You're Paul Bunyan." Adam said. Jim and Willie began to snicker and look at Adam. “Paul, Who?” Mister Odie was not liking the feeling that he was being played the fool, and Jim saw irritation in the big man's eyes. “Adam,” Jim said, "you'd best tell Mista Odie what you're goin on about. And you'd best be quick about it too." “I know all about you,” Adam said coming closer, “but I didn't think you would ever come this far south.” “Speak not in riddles any longer.” Mister Odie glared down at Adam. Adam was startled at Mister Odie's tone. However, he was sure this was a test of his knowledge, and he planned to pass this victoriously. Adam knew all there was to know of his hero. His great-grandfather had given him that knowledge, first by mouth, then in the book that he always kept by his bed. Adam stood up straight, took a deep breath, and began telling Mister Odie all he could of the beginnings of Paul Bunyan. Adam related each feat Paul had accomplished in the great forests of the North. By the end of the third tale Mister Odie was entranced. He lowered his giant frame to the ground and sat legs crossed as he gazed at the youth. Jim and Willie, were also caught up in the web that Adam wove of his hero and they remembered how Grandpa Green had told them as children these stories as well. When Adam finished his tale about the playing of Paul and Babe in the Arctic and how all the ice and snow were thrown into the sun light, which they call the Aurora Borealis, he stopped. Adam was sure he had recalled everything to the man sitting in front of him. He was also sure he had passed this test. Then something happened that had Adam wonder if he had forgotten some part. “Go on . . . ” The giant beckoned. At this Adam looked at Jim and Willie and saw they too were wondering what was left. He turned to Mister Odie and softly said, “That's all there was in the book.” Too fast for any of the eyes to follow, Mister Odie sprung to his feet and yelled to the sky, “THE BOOK!” “I'm sorry, Mista Odie. We're all sorry. We just thought you knew it was story book tales, made up things and the like. We didn't think it would be of no harm.” Jim said with concern. “Yes, That's it! You didn't think!” Bellowed Mister Odhinnsunar's great voice in the morning's breeze.

Mister Odie turned and saw that he had frightened the boy and he could see concern on Jim and Willie's faces as well. He stopped moving and thought of all the things that had just passed between them. As he looked at them he thought of the lesson they had just taught him. With his eyes starting to twinkle, he broke out into laughter that echoed off the barn and house. He peered down at Adam and could see the boy standing trying to smile, but not sure what was wrong. Jim and Willie came to stand next to Adam and waited for Mister Odie to say something. “Jim, what have you learned this morning?” Mister Odie, while wiping his eyes, asked softly. Jim looked at Adam and back up to Mister Odie. He was thinking of the time lost by the story, and how mad Mister Odie became. “Mister Odie, I learned that children should be seen, not heard.” Jim said sternly. “No Jim, that is wrong.” Mister Odie’s eyes narrowed at Jim. “What you should have learned is this. Stories are stories, to those who have the knowledge that a story is being told. If not, no matter if told by child or man, no matter how hard to believe, words will ring true, to the ear and to the soul. The listener begins to believe all that is being said.” “Well today is a good day to start changing things around here.” Mister Odie then continued, “First Jim, you will have to look at the barn and finish planning the repairs that are needed. Make sure you have Adam write down all the supplies. Oh yes, I want that roof repaired also.” “Mista Odie, me and Willie doan do so well out on roofs and all.” Jim said, looking at Willie for support. Willie nodded in agreement. “I see. Well, do you know anyone who does well on roofs?” “There should be someone on the east side that would want to work.” Jim said. “Willie, I have a job for you to start and be finished by sunset.” Mister Odie said. “I'll do any job you want sir. . . .” Willie began to say more, but Mister Odie held up his giant hand and pointed to the house. “Willie, I want you to take apart the house, board by board, and place it in the middle of the field.” “You must be telling us one of your stories now, Mista Odie.” Willie replied. Starting to smile at the big man, they could see he was not smiling in return. “This is not a story. The house comes down today. That's what I want.” Mister Odie said, watching their eyes. Jim and Willie looked toward the house that their grandfather had lived, all the years before his death. They could hardly believe they would have to tear it down. “Mista Odie,” Jim started, “me and Willie will do the work we said we would do. It will be hard to do what you want to the house we grew up in, but we gave our word, so we will do it.” “Mista Odie, that house is a big job for me and Jim, but we can do it. Only. . .” “Only what?” “Only, sir, if me and Jim starts right now. We couldn't get the job done by sunset today, not even sunset tomorrow.” Willie said and Jim nodded. “Well, it seems we need more people to be put to work around here.” Mister Odie said. “Me and Willie know many people who need to work, Mista Odie.” Jim said smiling. “I have to have the barn repaired. I need to have the house down and placed in the field and I have to start my work also. I want you to go and find enough hard workers to complete all the tasks.” Jim thought a moment and said, “Mista Odie, I know about six good men that will come and work, but I think we will need more for all of it to get finished.” “Jim, gather all the people who need to work.” “I'll see if I can find more than six that will work hard.” “You means just black men, doan ya Mista Odie.” Willie asked. Mister Odie regarded Willie and in a low tone, said words that had the brothers thinking hard. “If a man needs to feed himself, his family, his friends, what matter is the cut of his cloth, the size of his armor, or the color of his horse. What matters are his work and his word. If both are noble, then he is to be honored.” The brothers stayed silent for a moment. “What you say is the truth Mista Odie. Lots of folks doan do the right thing, even if they know better.” Jim said softly. Mister Odie drew up the large axe and placed it on his shoulder, scrutinizing the oak stand. “I have noticed,” he said, "that people are like sheep. If the rams lead well, the herd will follow. Now you have your jobs, and I have mine.” Mister Odie turned and started walking toward the field. “Well brother, I guess we is been made rams by the shepherd.” Jim said, and Willie grinned. “Mista Odie can sure get a thought in one's mind going round, doan he?” Willie asked. “Adam, come with us son.” Jim called, “We'll be back before Mista Odie is done with whatever he's fixin to do with that axe.”

Mister Odie walked across the field, his eyes steady on the large oaks standing above all the tangled underbrush and thorns. He was deep in the thought of his task. He did not even hear the sound of soft paws approaching. He also did not hear the rattling of the six-foot snake as it was coiling and beginning to strike. Mister Odie stepped forward with his right foot as the snake lunged forward. The snake had been in the woods and fields for nine years, ever since its birth. Throughout those years it had wandered over every inch of this property. Once, Matt Stone was forced into deep water by this snake, as it came upon him fishing. The snake had lived for a long time, learned the ways of the creators that walked. It knew the way they blindly came by where the snake laid. Sometimes the rattle would make these things go far from danger. The speed which the snake moved insured its long life. Yes, the snake's speed was fast, very fast. Its mouth was opening, the fangs were straightening for the strike, the eyes were locked on their target. Then the light grew dim. The fangs sank into the ground where the severed head landed. The snake never felt the razor sharp claws of the calico cat. Mister Odie was torn from his thoughts by a loud meow and several growls. He looked down and saw the snake's head twitching, its mouth open. He then noticed the calico cat licking its paw and looking at its handy work. Mister Odhinsunar surveyed the ground around his feet. The snake's body was rolling and twitching in the underbrush. As Mister Odie started to move forward the cat meowed again. Mister Odie stopped, turned and looked at the cat. “Oh yes, you are right. Thank you. Now go back to the farm and send Longing Horn and Swiften Hoof.” The cat sauntered in the general direction of the farmhouse. Mister Odie then started his approach to the oaks. With a flick of his wrist, the axe came from his shoulder and sailed down toward the underbrush. With the ease of waving a fly from his nose, the tangle of weeds, thorns, and saplings were flailed by the flashing blade. Two minutes later there was a path ten feet across cut to the edge of the great oak. If Adam had been present, there would be no one around to tell him, Paul Bunyan, was only a story. Mister Odie leveled the axe head against the tree trunk, he gauged the angle and speed that would be needed to fell this old one. As he was about to start the action, a movement to the side of the tree stopped him. The eight-point buck walked around the tree. It stood only a few feet away and looked at the giant man. Mister Odie gazed into the creatures eyes, then spoke to him. “Of course, I am saddened that I have forgotten to give thanks.” With that, Mister Odie turned away and headed back to the farm. When he returned, Longing Horn and Swiften Hoof were making short work of the tender shards of underbrush. The two rams had already mown the area cleared by the axe. As Mister Odie stood before the oak, the stag reappeared. It patiently stood by and waited as the big man knelt before the oak. Mister Odie produced two small jars from a sack he carried. From the first, he poured honey onto the trunk, over which he poured milk from the other jar. Mister Odie then spoke in a strange tongue, stood and looked at the stag. The buck lowered its head and walked away. Mister Odie watched until it was lost among the trees. Mister Odhinsunar picked up the axe and began his work. With the second stroke of the axe, the oak let out a screech. On the fifth hit, it fell to the ground. For the next several hours, the woods were echoing with the sounds of ringing steel and flying chunks of wood hitting the ground. Mister Odhinsunar was working up a fury. Upon his face was a broad smile, as his muscles were receiving the much needed exercise. He thought back to the last time he felt such surges of power flying about in directions under his control. This was completing two tasks equally well. The next oak to fall revealed something that caught Mister Odie's eye. There, not more than fifty feet away, was a stone wall, thickly overgrown with vines and mostly covered with dry leaves, but still visible, made of sturdy rock. Mister Odie was about to approach the mass when calls from the edge of the woods could be heard. The voices were Jim and Willie's, and they sounded upset. He stopped and turned as the brothers approached. “Mista Odie, we're awful sorry to bother you and your work.” Willie stared at all the trees that had been cut, and the rams as they cleaned up the debris in an eating frenzy, as Jim spoke. “What's the problem Jim?” Mister Odie asked, as he started walking toward the farm with the brothers. “Well Mista Odie, you will just have to see what your sermon got started.” Jim stated.

The men came up to the farm and Mister Odie stopped to look. At the farm, eight other black men, busily working on repairing the barn and taking the timbers from the house. These tasks were proceeding at a steady, but slow pace. Willie had gone on ahead and was now standing at the road watching a group of white men approach. Mister Odie went to Willie's side as the first man came up, stopped short and stared up at him. “I'm Bob Rogers. I heard there were jobs out here and came to see if I could get some work.” “Why?” Mister Odie asked. Bob Rogers looked around at the other ten men gathering behind him and said, “I, ah, we, have been out of work since the plant closed six months ago. All our savings are gone, or at least most of it. The bank made some adjustments or something and we have enough money for about two months. We're not asking for any hand outs. We just want honest pay for honest work.” “Will you work with blacks?” Mister Odie asked in a low tone. “Mister, I think we would work for the devil himself, if it means keeping food on the table.” “Where do you live?” Mister Odie asked. “We all live on the east end of town. Why?” Bob replied. “I've seen that side of town. Why is it so run down?” Mister Odie watched the men closely. “It takes money to keep things up, I guess.” Bob answered. “NO, it takes spirit.” Mister Odie said, raising his voice to be heard by all the men at the farm. The black workers stopped and came to see the gathering. When Mister Odie had all the men's attention, he asked, “Did Jim tell you all that is to be done? Did he tell you of the hours and days of work?” The group of men looked around and some repeated some things they remembered and some repeated others. They all agreed to when pay day was, Friday. When the men quieted down, Mister Odie told them all the terms of his employment. He waited to see if there was any objection. There were none. “On my land, all the workers do their best. They not only learn, they teach one another. If a man is a carpenter, another a mason, they talk together and produce the best job. If there is a problem, they come to the head man for guidance and for discussion. Now, all of you men join, tell your names and your trades to this young man.” Mister Odie said, pointing to Adam. Adam got his notebook and pencil out as the man gathered around him. All the men gave their names and skills. Adam wrote them down and handed them to Mister Odie. Mister Odie began reading then stopped. He studied the top of the pages, and saw Adam had written Black on page one, with White on page two. He called Jim over to read the pages. Waiting till Jim finished he asked, “See anything wrong?” “No sir Mister Odie, not a thing. I think we got enough men to do a good job.” Jim answered. Mister Odie's gaze narrowed. Then he studied the men around house and barn. What he saw made him shake his head in sorrow. Jim started looking around, also. On his second look, it finally dawned on him what he saw. Yes, the work was going on, but with groups of blacks here and groups of whites there. He turned to Mister Odie and said, “I see what you mean Mista Odie. Even, Adam didn't write them together.” “You are learning Jim. Now it's time for the head man to teach.” Mister Odie said and gave Jim a half smile. “With you telling them to get together, they will listen good, Mista Odie.” Jim said. Mister Odie, with a full smile on his face, bent down close to Jim's ear and whispered, “Jim, you are the head man.” Mister Odie could tell Jim was still letting the message get through, before he quickly stared up and croaked, “Me?” Mister Odie nodded and pointed to Jim's first hard work that he'd had to do on the farm. Compared to this, the rest had been easy. Jim thought about how he was going to start to put the men together. He saw Mister Odie was not going to do this for him. Jim had to do this for himself, for his family, and for this farm. “Stop what you're doing. Get over here. The foreman's got something to say.” Jim yelled as loud as he could. These men had worked at all types of jobs, and they knew something was going to happen as they gathered in front of the barn. Jim stood in front of Mister Odie as the last man came up. Jim turned to Mister Odie and acknowledged his nod toward the men at Jim's back. “You are working all wrong!” Jim stated, when he turned back. “Why doan the foreman tells us what we are doing wrong.” One black man said from the back of the crowd. “If'n you'd hush up, I will.” Jim replied, looking right at him. Willie stared hard at Jim and then over to Mister Odie. “Jim, are you saying you is the foreman, and Mista Odie ain't?” Willie demanded. “Mister Odie is the owner of this farm, and I'm the foreman. If any of you men have any words on this, I'm here to listen now.” Jim said looking at Willie, then at all who were standing there. There was talk among the men for a moment, then silence. “Like I said before, yo'se working all wrong. I have the list of names, and jobs that ya'll do. From now till the job's done, I wants ta see you all working together. If two blacks are on one side of a piece of timber, I wants ta see two whites on the other. On this farm when you comes to work, ya'll will leave that color thing at home. And I hope you will take it out to the trash and get rid of it back on the East Side too. Now, let's put you men together and make the best of what light we got left today.” Jim said. Jim called all the groups together by jobs. Then he started them on certain jobs that were to be done first. By five thirty, the farm was working together like an ant hill.

Mister Odie was walking toward the woods, when Paul Hart drove up. On his face, he wore a frown. Mister Odie went over to his car. “What brings you out today, woman trouble?” “I wish it was that simple,” Paul said intently. “Federal Agents came to town about an hour ago. I've been with them and the D.A. I was sent out to bring you to the court house. Mister Oh, this is not an interview. It's an interrogation. They want hard, straight answers. You, ah, we will have to be the best we can be, or there will be hell to pay. I'm supposed to bring you, as you are, but if you want to bring something that could help us, please get it.” Mister Odie nodded and went into the house. He reappeared with the chest on his shoulder. Paul studied all the men steadily working around the farm as they carried, cut, and hammered as they repaired the barn. Paul noticed a group of men removing boards and timbers from the house. As they worked, they carried the scraps out into the field, where a large pile was growing larger by the minute. Mister Oh came up and placed the chest in the back seat. As he entered the car, Paul started the engine, and loud music burst forth from the disc player. Mister Oh jerked around to see what and where, the noise came from. Paul started to back out of the drive and saw Mister Oh's face. “Do you want me to turn it off?” Paul asked, reaching for the dashboard while Mister Oh was getting accustomed to the sound. “No, it has the movement of men doing battle with the hoards of the Netherworld. What is it?” Mister Oh replied. “It's the new Van Halen disc I bought this morning.” Paul said. As they drove up to the courthouse, Mister Oh was slapping his leg to the beat when the disc stopped. Paul parked as the disc went silent, he turned to Mister Oh. “Mister Oh, the agents are here to find out everything there is to know about you and that gold. They will keep you here till they are completely satisfied. They have the law on their side in this matter.” “You still do not have any papers, and without a sponsor, I can't interfere. Even my father's hands are tied when it comes to a federal investigation.”

Mister Oh was deep in thought, with the words that Paul had placed in motion. He remembered when a strong right hand could decide any argument or discussion, fast and permanently. The word law now had the big man thinking, of the hardest battle, The Game. The Game was fought not with steel, strength, or might, but with words. The Game made the weak and strong equal. This was the greatest battle, to win or be lost. Yet, with defeat, came total loss. If he lost The Game, he would not be able to fight any other battles, for he was to be bound forever by the law. Winner takes all. He knew there were twists and turns in The Game. Things come and go, appear and disappear. The players of The Game must use finesse, cunning, tactics, moves, and counter moves. Even some amount of trickery can be employed, but only truth is allowed. A lie, if found, will disqualify the player, his part of The Game ending, forever.

Paul Hart Jr. and the giant with long red hair and equally long beard entered the large office. Inside, Paul introduced the occupants. “May I present my father, Judge Hart. These are Federal Agents, Jones and Smith. You have already met the District Attorney, Mister Gentry. Gentlemen, this is Mister Odhinsunar.” Paul took a seat at a desk that contained his briefcase. Judge Hart and Mister Gentry sat at a desk across from Paul's. Mister Oh was shown to a chair in the center of the office. Agent Smith stood while Agent Jones took a seat behind a computer terminal. Paul wondered if it was connected to their network. He glanced around the floor and saw the black cables leading to the window and a small dish antenna, yes they were on line! Agent Smith picked up a folder, opened it and walked in front of the man, who watched him with narrow cold blue eyes. “Let's begin. Name?” “My name, is, was, and always will be, Thorran Odhinsunar." Mister Oh stated, in a low steady tone. Clicking was heard from Agent Jones, typing every word being said in the otherwise silent office. “Place of birth?” Smith asked. “Scandia.” “Age?” Smith read from the standard form on the cover page of the folder. Mister Oh regarded Paul. Then with his steady tone, he answered, “Some believe me to be of fifty years of age, give or take five years.” Mister Oh was thinking, this will be almost as good a game as he'd played before, but he would have to keep his wits as sharp as any weapon. “Date of birth.” Smith countered. “Does your mathematical skill elude you, Agent Smith?” Mister Oh replied, looking directly into his eyes. “Just answer the questions!” Came from the Agent holding the folder. “My client has answered the question as well as he can, without the aid of his birth certificate.” Paul interjected. “Counselor, this is an interview, not a trial.” Agent Smith turned and faced the young lawyer as he spoke, “Please, let this man answer for himself.” Paul regarded his father, who nodded, then whispered something to the D.A. Paul thought, Yes? Yes what? Defend my client, or follow the inquisitions’ orders. “How do you find yourself in possession of the gold you presented to the Barclay's Branch Bank?” Agent Smith asked as he closed the folder and leaned against a wall, waiting for what he thought would be a long answer. “I found it!” Was the only answer the man gave. “Sir, we have all the time in the world.” Agent Smith said with displeasure in his voice. He waiting for a reply for a full half a minute. “We will remain here until I hear the complete details of how you were able to first, find Nazi gold ingots, that have been lost for over fifty years. Second, how you were able to bring them from Europe to the U.S., and third, your intentions.” Mister Oh surveyed the room, then Agent Smith echoed, “All the time in the world?” Agent Smith remained silent, waiting, and staring into the man's face.

Sunset had come and gone on the farm, while Mister Odie was still being questioned by the Agents. The workers had all gone to their homes. The farm house was dark. Its west side was completely devoid of planks. The porch was a hollow shell, with only the corner posts left standing to keep the roof from toppling. That job would be done first thing in the morning. Most of the interior walls and doors had also been taken to the middle of the field. At night, without street lights to show that any work had occurred around the farm, all appeared the same as the past two nights that James 'Buddy' Taylor had driven by. Taylor had been at the Duck `N’ Buck Bar and Grill, when the owner, Mister Johnson, entered after closing the hardware store. The regulars heard the story of the giant and how he made Johnson pay for the axe he had sold the Price boys. Taylor listened to the men agreed that something had to be done about the outsider and his way of treating these blacks. Taylor had wanted to move up in this group. He had thought out his plan very carefully. He made sure the big man was always at the farm and no one else was ever there after sunset. Taylor peered about and listened, last night he had waited until one in the morning before he left. The noise from the barn told him he'd have to come back again. Now, everything was right. His truck was parked a half mile down the road. There was no moon. All was quiet, the house was dark, and Taylor assumed the guy must be asleep. Taylor had a bottle filled with gasoline in his right hand. He held his new Zippo lighter, with the embossed Flag on the sides, in his left hand. Taylor stealthily crept up within yards of his target. He had been a hunter for as long as he could remember and had stalked deer and rogue wild boars. He could remain steady for hours, when after turkey. He knew that after tonight, he'd be on everyone's minds. Only a select few would actually know that he was the man that got the job done. He was in position. The house was now only twenty feet away from where he stood. Taylor steadied himself. He readied the bottle, struck the lighter and brought it toward the rag wick. His eyes were fixed on the front door. If there had been moonlight, streetlight, or even a passing vehicle, Taylor might have stopped his left hand from moving. He might have another day to think over this mindless act of violence. But then, fate has its way with fools, and Taylor. If he had looked around, he might have seen the large black object coming at him in full run, with its front hoofs raising off the ground. Or if he'd turned to check behind him, he might have seen the cloudy white mist, also at full run toward him, on a collision coarse with its twin. When Taylor was found, nearly an hour later by Deputy Carter looking for the owner of the truck parked down the road, his face had a stunned look on it. No one would ever know what was on his mind, in the final moments of life. Deputy Carter went by the book, thinking he had a murder case to put into his arrest record. The fact that the body was on the property of a guy Sheriff Thomas tried to get in his jail because he had made the sheriff look bad, well, that didn't hurt a thing either. Soon other units arrived and the body was removed from the scene. Deputy Carter went back on patrol, after he placed a parking ticket on the abandoned truck.

The interview was in its sixth hour, when a bailiff opened the door and said to the D.A., “Mister Gentry, Doc Holiday is at your office. He says it's really important. Judge Hart you best come too.” Agents Smith and Jones were showing signs of the ordeal. Every question they asked Mister Odhinsunar was bantered away, and the story of the man just finding the gold while swimming didn't wash at all with the higher ups. Judge Hart had heard the same story and was looking at his son when the door had opened. “Gentlemen, I think a rest is called for now.” Judge Hart said rising to follow the D.A. “There are coffee and doughnuts down the hall.” Agent Smith looked at Jones and nodded back to the Judge. Paul went to Mister Oh and asked if he needed anything. Mister Oh asked for water and Paul left the room. The D.A. and Judge Hart entered Gentry's office as Doc Holiday was pouring a cup of coffee. “Boy, do I have something to keep you two working for the next four months.” Doc Holiday said, as he finished fixing his drink. “Doc, it's half past midnight now. Don't you think we are working long enough already?” Gentry said, and offered the Judge a cup of coffee as the Judge shook his head. Both men took seats and made themselves as comfortable as possible given the late hour. “Okay, Doc, what do you have to get you out of the house this late?” The doctor opened a large envelope and brought out pictures of the body of James 'Buddy' Taylor, and gave copies to both men. The D.A. started looking at the on scene shots, then sat up straight in the chair when the autopsy shots appeared. “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.” Gentry said, under his breath. “What happened to this man, Doc?” Judge Hart asked. “As close as I can tell, this Taylor had every bone in his middle and lower chest crushed. All the organs went out the sides of his torso, under great pressure. If he'd been found anywhere else, I'd say he was placed in a hydraulic press.” Doc Holiday replied. “Where was the body found?” Gentry asked. “The victim was found at ten fifteen p.m., at the residence of a Mister Odhinsunar. I place his death around nine or nine thirty p.m. last night.” The D.A. checked his watch and said, “Wednesday or Thursday?” “Have it your way, three hours ago. I just picked up the pictures twenty minutes ago.” Doc said, contemplating the day chart on his own watch. “I heard how big this Odhinsunar is, and I think you just might have a case, Gentry.” Mister Gentry surveyed the photos again, and saw the impact areas, and he thought back to the man's huge, and he knew, strong hands, and thought of being hit by that guy, and three hours ago! “Three hours ago?” The D.A. asked, looking now at the Judge. “Yes, three or four hours ago. What's wrong with that?” Doc pondered. “Mister Odhinsunar has an air tight alibi for this case Doc!” Judge Hart said, as he placed the photos on the Gentry's desk and left the office. “Now who is coming up with this guy's alibi?” Doc asked. “You're looking at one of them, the other just left, and there’s three more down the hall with Mister Oh, as his lawyer calls him.” Gentry got up and poured more coffee. “Did you find a murder weapon or anything else?” “All we found by the body was a lighter and a very strong cocktail.” The Doc replied. “Cocktail?” “Yes, the kind that is made with moth balls and gasoline.” The Doc answered with a smile. “So, this was a social call that Taylor was making.” The D.A. asked, with a sick look on his face. “How do you want me to mark it, murder?” Doc asked. The D.A. thought a moment and said, “No suspects, no weapons, no evidence, sums up no case.” “Well, I guess I could write it up as Massive Heart Failure then.” Doc said, with a chuckle. The D.A. spit coffee over his desk and said, “You're sick Doc. Just put it down as unknown, for now.”

Mister Gentry wiped off his desk and followed the doctor out of the office. He went to the office where the Agents were holding the big man and walked in, hearing numbers being recited to and written down by Paul Hart, as he took his seat. “Are you sure this number can help our case?” Paul asked. “Just have them place the call.” The big man replied. Paul walked over to both Agents and talked for a few moments. Agent Jones went to the terminal and typed a message. All three read the screen as the answer was received. Paul returned to Mister Oh. “They will make the call, but only if they can use speaker phones, so we all can listen in. Is that acceptable?” Paul asked. “Yes, just make the call.” Mister Oh lifted his eyes to Paul's and smiled. It took them two other calls to get the needed equipment in place before Agent Smith placed the call to the numbers Mister Odhinsunar had furnished. They all waited while the speaker phone made ringing noises. On the fourth ring, a man's voice answered. “Regents Suites. How may I help you?” “I would like to speak with Madam Showdanmäker, if you please.” Mister Odhinsunar replied politely. “Whom may I tell Madam is calling?” “Please tell Madam that a man with red hair and blue eyes.” “One moment please.” The phone went silent for some moments. “Do we have a copy on this number?” Agent Smith asked and Jones shook his head. “Still checking. Must be unlisted.” Paul was wondering how calling a hotel and talking with a prostitute was going to help his client. The Judge was whispering something to Gentry when the voice of a woman came from the speaker. “This is Madam Showdanmäker, to whom am I speaking?” Her cultured voice interrupting the groups. “This is Federal Agent Smith. You are speaking and being recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Present with me are Agent Jones, Judge Paul Hart Sr., Counselor Paul Hart Jr., District Attorney Gentry, and a man who claims to be one Thorran Odhinsunar. Do you have knowledge of this man?” The phone remained silent for a long moment, then the woman's voice spoke, “Before I answer your questions, I must speak with the man who placed this call to my private number.” Agent Smith regarded Jones as he looked up from his computer screen and nodded. Agent Smith then motioned for Mister Oh to speak. Mister Odhinsunar raised slowly from his chair and eyed Paul, then spoke into the phone. His first words were low toned and not in English. Agent Smith motioned for him to stop. He stopped, then in English he said, “Let me tell you of a little girl lost on a mountain many years ago.” Mister Oh spoke of things that had happened and a rescue from the cold of a girl who wandered off from her parents. At the end of the story he spoke of a promise made by the man and girl. “The man would always help the girl when called, and the girl would do the same.” He finished and walked back to the chair. “Federal Agent Smith of the United States of America. The man that spoke to me, has Diplomatic Status, from now until he is no more.” Agent Smith stared at the phone then at Agent Jones, who was shrugging his shoulders at the computer and spoke, “And just how can that be possible?” “This is Madam Showdanmäker, President of the Republic of Icelandia. If you would furnish my secretary with your fax numbers, I will send the letters of appointment. Your State Department will also be notified.” The Judge gave his fax number. The President talked with Mister Oh for a few more minutes in the tongue of Icelandia and then said in English, “If there is any more I can do for you, just ask. I hope I will be able to see my Ambassador at large, when you have the time. If you do not mind?” “It would be my pleasure to be with you again. I will make the time shortly.” The phone went dead as the connection ended. Agent Jones called Agent Smith to also read the message on the screen. Judge Hart went to his office and returned in two minutes with two documents. Paul looked on as the Agents read the one written in English. He glanced at the other and could see a language that had not been seen for a thousand years. Paul then saw the Presidential Seal of Iceland. The documents were handed to Mister Odhinsunar by Agent Smith. “This is finished.” Agent Jones said as he placed all the testimony, written and recorded, into a large envelope. From the Agent's briefcase, a roll of tape was used to seal the package. Another form was placed on the outside, written on this form was, ‘Closed-Of No Future Interest’. Paul watched both Agents sign the form. As they finished, a sharp look from Agent Smith kept Paul's emotions in check. When both Agents were out of the office, he observed Mister Oh and started laughing. Judge Hart came to him and wanted to know what it was all this about. “Agents Smith and Jones. Their names were Bert and Ernie.” Father and son between fits of laughter, explained this to Mister Oh, who showed he had a sense of humor also.