By on July 12, 2016

The dark side of real estate and wrongdoing in Jackson Hole.

160713RedneckJACKSON HOLE, WY – Sugar walks into my office, her eyes taking in the yellowed tile, the chipped paint, the empty bottle of cheap bourbon on my desk, and the can of Folgers instead of organic, fairly traded, Indonesian dark roast.

“It’s been a long time, Clyde,” she said, her voice like single-malt Scotch—expensive, smooth, smoky, burning on the throat, and chilling to the spine.

“It has, doll,” I agreed.

I had met Sugar while investigating a new strain of coffee bean that hit the street with caffeine levels so high it had ski bums looking for employment. Sugar worked as a barista, and like so many at the bagel shop, had lost her virtue to snowboarders, her self-esteem to a five-a-day latté addiction, and was selling herself as a nude model to the Art Association.

She wanted out of the downward spiral her life had become but she had no marketable skills. However, while obtaining a degree in women’s studies at Middlebury, she developed an ability to talk to rich people. I introduced her to Bill, a realtor whose wife I had investigated for infidelity. After being discovered, his wife’s boyfriend gave Bill an exclusive listing on his 10-million-dollar John Dodge home and Bill encouraged his wife to perform more indiscretions.

In less than a year, Sugar was a top sales producer for Sotheby’s. I bore her no ill will. She moved on with her life and I, well, let’s say she found me where she left me; the only thing different was stiffness in my knee and cynicism in my heart.   

“Can you help me, Clyde?” she purred. I felt heat all the way to my toes and I knew people would die—espresso could be spilled, sushi spoiled.

“What can I do for you, doll?”

“Ben Sellsoul, a realtor from Christie’s, has a photo of me from my snowboarding days. He has threatened to show it to potential clients just before ski season. No one from Connecticut will ever list with me again!” Sugar said.

“I’ll talk to Sellsoul,” I told her.

I called a couple realtors I know and told them to meet me at the Teton Pines Club House. I found Sellsoul at a back table munching on a grilled salmon salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

He took in my cheap suit and said, “Since you are plainly not in search of a one-of-a kind, unique property with outstanding views, I assume Sugar sent you. Well I got news for you.”

I jammed my .45 against his skull.

“See if you can get a listing on the pearly gates,” I said, and pulled the trigger. Immediately, five Realtors grabbed his body and dragged him off.

“As we agreed, you get to split his listings,” I told them.

They nodded in agreement. One of them spoke up.

“Let us know when you want to shoot another one,” he said.

They looked at each other, suspicion eating at them like a Teton property with no golf course.

I nodded. “But next time I want a referral fee.” PJH

About Clyde Thornhill

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