*Photo, so sure of the execution, this was published at the time the execution was halted
The time was 12:30 PM – September 26th, 2015. Calahan called, she told me of the impending execution of a man named Glossip, convicted of a 1997 murder in Oklahoma by the accomplice testimony of a man named Sneed who worked odd jobs for Glossip at the motel he managed for the now deceased proprietor, Mr. Vantreese.
I quickly put down the Dickens novel I was reading, as whoever was writing the story Calahan was telling, had picked the right names to pique my interest. Glossip and Sneed, and there many misdeeds.
Immediately I fantasized of an 18th century English countryside inn, in which everyone was doing just fine, until Sneed and Glossip showed up that is.
The setting though that Calahan was depicting, as she rattled off names and dates surrounding the demise of the motel owner, had a more modern seediness of a mid-western tale than a Dickens story. The murder scene being the dubiously named Best Budget Inn situated on the outskirts of Oklahoma city. Where a mix of residents, road warriors and sketchy back apartmented employees were caught up in bizarre love triangles, needle sharing meth deals and bike gang cross dressers. Those who may or may not be connected to the Aryan riding bank robbers once investigated for their potential role in the bombing of the State Building, just two years prior to this murderous event. And just down the road. Characters, though, who had all the potential to launch this into a good afternoon’s read by the fire, if we could learn what happened.
“You have to stop it,” she said.
“I did,” I responded.
“I mean the execution.”
“I was in the musical, if that helps.”
I launched into the opening number.
“Oklahoma, where the winds come sweeping down the plain.”
“Seriously,” Calahan demanded.
“When is he set to get it?” I asked
“In just four days. You have no time to waste.”
“I see, and how do you propose I do this?”
“I don’t know, you always seem to think of something, either that or you get lucky,”
She was talking about my track record for cases I’ve worked on, and I’ve been very lucky. Truthfully, I sometimes don’t know what happens, why judges change their mind or police find their man all of a sudden. It’s not like the Agathie Christie novels, where the detective makes the big announcement, gathers all around and points to the murderer.
My work involves the darker spaces that few see. Or should I say see clearly. As messages are often cloaked in stories like missiles searching for their targets — through the back channels. Not always knowing who the recipient is until it arrives. Like those who give out information anonymously, so it is with some who receive it, being so anonymous at times there can be few acknowledgments of receipt lest the world come to an end. In their minds that is. And in this case, it appears it will be whoever has control of the hand that hits whatever lever there is that kills a man. The one who signals the executioner. Or perhaps the executioner themselves, as it’s unusual what happens amidst a frenzy, how certain things happen which no one seems to be able to explain. CRS while CYA. Technical terms.
The air that surrounds an upcoming execution is ethereal. The world changes. Droves of people gather, coming out of their routines to see what’s happening. Writers writing, pundits pontificating, hordes of formerly silent folks who think they know or remember something start talking, now that there’s interest, clambering to inform the minds of anyone who will listen.
Then there are those who seem disturbed by the disruption, who seem like the excitement has triggered a mental illness causing an episode of madness. A schizophrenic outburst. One relating to their own fantasized emergency. And of which, I was now witnessing. A man in his late forties, I surmised, with a French name, which I thought was odd. Who, if I could see him yelling it all out, for sure I would see foam coming from his mouth.
“OIDS, OIDS OIDS” he explained. “You just don’t get it do you, none of you do.”
No Mr tin hat man we don’t, not really enough to go by unless those are the landing codes for the Alpha ship due to whisk Sneed to his new planetary dwelling. Lord knows what they’d do to a Glossip.
“Look, in Case No. CF 97-244, Oklahoma v Glossip you will see that…”
Oh no, does the mental institution have law books, they really should ban those, I can think of nothing more dangerous than a deranged lawyer. Oh wait, the world is made of them.
Seriously though, who is this guy?
“The money found in the trunk of Van Treese car, the 24 thousand dollars with the blue die, the judge wouldn’t let me enter that.”
“What was I supposed to do, if I couldn’t present the evidence?”
Uh oh, back on OIDS.
“Where the investigator was, at OIDS, who also worked at the Motel, why? and the money. The blue money. It showed all the connections. But I could bring in none of it in court. The judge wouldn’t allow it.”
Who the heck is Wayne Fournet?
Calahan called. “well? There are now four days until they kill Glossip. You going to stop it or what?”
“OIDS” I said to her.
“What?” she said, bewildered.
“OIDS OIDS OIDS.” I said.
“What the! Listen, I’ve always known you were half crazy. The question is whether the other half can be of any use to society.”
I waited until there was a good length of time gone by until I spoke.
“OIDS,” I said and hung up.
From upcoming book. Further information at https://www.facebook.com/glossip.sneed.execution/