A wise man once said, “Nothing stays nowhere.” So, it shouldn’t be a surprise when a problem in Gravity, Iowa, starting some months before, found its way to Chicago, got more complicated, then ended up back in Gravity.

First, there was the immediate situation in Chicago, involving two of life’s major food groups: money and a woman. Last night, a little after 4AM, Candy Delight, a stripper and late night entrepreneur who worked at Tassel Madness, a club frequented by Jimmy Passmore, was putting herself back together. Jimmy was sprawled out, naked on the bed, snoring. Since her work was done, she thought, If I wait for him to wake up, he’ll probably stiff me. Now, where’s his billfold?

As she looked around, she spied a large duffel bag sitting in the corner. Bending down to look in it, even in the dark; she could see it was full of cash. If she had just taken her money from Jimmy’s billfold and left, most of what follows wouldn’t have happened. Instead, she grabbed the strap, hoisted the bag up to her shoulder and, although heavy, managed to lift it and disappeared into the night.

Jimmy, a small time bookmaker in Mario ‘Junior’ Constantino’s crew, saw the bag gone when he woke up. Thinking he left it in the closet, when it wasn’t there, he realized, “That bimbo must’ve taken it.” He knew he had a real problem.

He needed to get that money back before Junior found out. Losing the money was bad enough, but the bag also contained accounting records tying his bookmaking operation to Junior. He knew he was never to keep proceeds and records together, let alone laying it out for some ditzy chick to lift. I’m screwed if I don’t get it back, he thought. This whole mess was because Jimmy was sloppy, but that was nothing new for him.

He figured he’d use his collectors, Louie Carriti and Dom Musto, two thugs specializing in “work-related injuries,”—their “work” being the victim’s “injuries”—to retrieve the bag. This was Jimmy’s second mistake.

Calling Dom, the smarter of the two, he said, “Hey, I need you to find somebody: a dancer from Tassel Madness, Candy Delight. She’s got something I need back: a duffel bag, belongs to Junior.”

“Where do I find her?” Dom said.

“Try the club, ask around; I don’t know. I shouldn’t have to tell you that. Just find her, get the bag, bring it back to me. Don’t tell anybody why you’re looking. When you find her, sideline the tramp.” Jimmy hung up.

Louie and Dom were not the best choice for this job. They were good at “knee breaking,” but not as “fixers” and certainly not doing things quietly. These two had probably killed before, but they were more the “pop ‘em in the alley and run away” types, not pros who would carefully cover their tracks, leaving no mess or drawing attention. For Jimmy, getting this right meant getting rid of this light fingered “ballerina of the prairie” and getting that bag back, quick and clean. This job was not Louie and Dom’s long suit, but he had to trust them with it.

Things started out well enough. Louie and Dom found Candy, the bag of money and records intact. It wasn’t that hard. “Sidelining” Candy was no problem. After they cuffed her around a little, two shots to the head finished her off. That part was easy; getting rid of Candy’s body proved more bothersome. They were used to beating a few dollars out of deadbeats, not hiding bodies. Why Louie or Dom thought a “water dump” in Little Cabin Lake State Park was the best place to get rid of the body is unclear, but that’s what they tried to do.

“I know this place, quiet after dark, nobody’s around. We could dump this skank in the water, watch her sink,” Louie said. Dom was all in, “Good, let’s go,” They headed to Little Cabin Lake, arriving just after dark. Driving in, Dom looked around; there was a lot of activity. Looking at Louie, he said, “This place ain’t quiet; there are people all over.”

Louie said, “Easy. I know a special place here. We go down a gravel road by the lake; there’s a sign that reads, ‘Road Ends in Water.’ Here’s the road now. We’ll be alone.”

Just like the sign said, they came to the water’s edge, popped the trunk lid, and got her body out. Dumping Candy in the water, neither of them thought to weigh the body down; she didn’t sink, she floated, a little bit out, then back to shore. They had to repeat the process. Each time, they made a racket splashing around in the water. With nothing to weigh the body down, after the fourth time, they were afraid they would get caught. Louie made a call.

Jimmy’s personal cell phone rang. “We can’t get this bimbo to sink.”

“Sink? What the hell you doing?  No, don’t tell me.” Assuming they were getting rid of Candy, he said, “Stop screwing around, put her back in your trunk, and meet me at Dom’s garage at midnight, and don’t ever call this number again.” Jimmy hung up. Later, at Dom’s, Jimmy got the keys to the car and the garage and told them to lay low; he’d handle things.

That night, Jimmy was restless. Realizing Louie and Dom were screwing this up and now he had a body to lose, he needed help but couldn’t tell Junior what had happened. To smooth this out, he called Tony Tomosino, one of Junior’s capos, a guy he knew for years and thought he could trust.

Using a burner phone, Jimmy made a call. “Tony, Jimmy, hey, I got a problem, I need to get rid of a thing and I don’t have anywhere I can put it.”

“Don’t say no more,” Tony said, “I’ll pick you up outside your place in 15.”

Knowing Jimmy wasn’t into that type of muscle work, Tony worried he had killed some “civilian,” which would draw heat.

When the car pulled up, Jimmy came out from between the buildings with the bag. Getting into the car, Tony asked, “Jimmy, what’s with that bag?”

“I was banging this dancer from Tassel Madness. She lifted this bag that had the collections and some records, too. I got everything back. It’s all there.”

Tony took the bag, looked in, then said, “How’s the dancer?”

“She won’t be dancing no more. I need some help cleaning up.”

Tony nodded. “Where’s she at?”

“Dom Musto’s garage, in his trunk. I got both sets of keys.” Tony took the keys and had his driver pull over. “Stay here.  I gotta make a call.” Tony got out of the car and stepped away. The driver kept his eyes on Jimmy using the rearview mirror. He said nothing.

When Tony got back in, he said, “Your two guys will meet with Irish Eddie tonight at Sacco’s junkyard on the Southside. They’ll be told what to do and where to go then. Make sure they get there at seven.”

Jimmy knew of Irish Eddie, Junior’s button man and cleaner. He wanted nothing to do with him. If he was getting involved, things must be bad. Now that the bag with its contents was back, it didn’t occur to Jimmy he might be part of the cleanup. He was glad he wasn’t going to Sacco’s with Louie and Dom. His relief was short-lived.

“Call your guys; tell them to be to Sacco’s at seven,” Tony said. Jimmy made the call. When he hung up, he thought he would be getting out of the car, but it started moving.

“Where are we headed?” He asked.

“The Monte Carlo. Junior wants to talk to you, now.” Jimmy said nothing; instead, he stared out the window.


For all installments of “A Problem in Gravity,” click here.