The combination of severe storms and abnormal tidal shifts and surges produces dramatic soil surface irregularity on Long Island. This phenomenon creates a need for a steady source of topsoil replacement, or at least additional earth, to maintain a smooth base for fertile lawns and gardens. Such an individual and ardent hauler of landfill was Maximillian Sphinx. Max’s landfill loads were always stolen.
Max owned a 1-ton Ford F-350 dump truck with a backhoe on a flatbed trailer. He frequented new solid fill areas after the usual 0700-1500 activities by the legitimate solid fill dumpers had ceased and no one else was around. Max appeared with sometimes up to 4-hours of daylight left. He looked for the softer consistency gravel-fill and avoided the hunks of old pieces of road or torn down buildings used to fill large voids on any given site. The backhoe filled his dump truck in under an hour. Another 15-minutes to pack up and Max was on his way to deliver a load or two to a private home. If he didn’t have a private domicile customer, max drove to another landfill site and would sell his load there on the next day. Sometimes he sold his solid fill back to the same site he originally stole it from. It was a wonderful situation. He was always working. A minimum-wage assistant was usually required and these were in ample supply from the ever-present illegal immigrant Ecuadorians seeping into the baseline indigent Long Island populace.
On this particular Thursday night, Max and his Ecuador assistant, Manuel, entered a large landfill site in Islip. They loaded the dump truck to near capacity and needed only three smaller additional backhoe shovel-fulls to top off their truck. Manuel sighted a perfect mound of gravel. After the first backhoe load was dumped onto the truck Manuel returned for another pass. He stopped the backhoe’s toothed scoop in mid air.
“Mr. Max.” Manuel shouted to his boss. Manuel saw the body before bringing down the arm of the shovel and locked it in high-arc position.
“Whatsa matter?” Max slowly got out of the truck.
“Issa arm.” Manuel pointed to a black plastic bag with a human arm piercing its synthetic skin.
Max and Manuel extended the opening of the trash bag and were shocked at finding a human body complementing the landfill.
“They’ss no eyes.” Manuel turned away and vomited Burger King remnants.
“Suki Mahito?” Max read the name written inside the collar of the dead lady’s smock. Max felt an immediate sense of duty to call the police and show them his find. However, he remembered he was there illegally.
Max gave Manuel some paper towels and some Windex to clean himself up and ordered Manuel to drive the truck with the backhoe out of the landfill area. Both he and Manuel then brushed away the tire tracks using tree branches as brooms. Max did not want any evidence of his presence traced back to his business. After driving 20-miles away, he stopped his Ford F-350 at a 7-Eleven store and used the outside payphone to dial 911. Three-hours later, the local Islip and New York State Police called the FBI.
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