to voice over artist Tim George
the part of Hank Peabody
Tim George's website to learn more
about his work
The Final Reeducation
from The Reeducation
of a Turd Peddler
by John Henry Peabody
THE ARRESTING OFFICER SAID of local cable show practitioner White Elk,
of White Elk Speaks, Channel 17he whose typeface was
Zapf Chancery--Camping in the woods wearing a jock strap and smoking
dope is not a spiritual retreat, sir. Although, off the record, I admit
its got to have some kind of, fingers quoting, `transcendent
component to it.
White Elk, nee Robert Hasseldorf, got six months for conspiracy
and three-hundred hours of community service for his role in the Heart
in the Jar case, as the papers were calling it, not that they
cared in the beginning. The stipulation on the community service component
was that all three hundred hours need be performed under the name Robert
Hasseldorf and that within the county of El Fornio the name White
Elk was never to be used again, professionally, spiritually or delusionally.
To note, a few months after Bob Hasseldorfs release, a man calling
himself Dolphin Swimmer began hosting a show on community
access down in Santa Barbara and he looked suspiciously like White Elk,
pony tail, jock strap and all.
To fill the vacancy left by White Elk Speaks,
Elihu Targuman, on the recommendation of Peter Librado, Janet and myself,
was given the weekly time slot at Channel 17 for his new show, A
Shot of Reality. Part of the shows unexpected appeal were
the encoded credits that rolled by at the beginning and end of each
episode, challenging viewers to decipher their significance. A number
of blogs have opened discussing their meaning.
As for the shows theme song? The opening riff to Hearts
Magic Man, of course.
The week of Gerry Danksins arrest, Father Sandoval,
Ward Craven and his wife Ksen all formally resigned from SCOFS. The
organization then spent the next year cleaning house to see who the
loyal really were.
The same week, Father Sandoval accepted a check for twenty-five
thousand dollars from Peter Librado on behalf of the tribe to go into
the Mission Carmel Public Education Fund.
We dont want to destroy the California missions
as they currently are, Peter said upon handing the check over.
We want to use them to tell the real story of what happened here.
Father Sandoval accepted the check with great humility and
thanksthe recent damage to the tile work alone was about ten grand.
In kind, Ward Cravens doctor reported that, after
a battery of tests, Mr. Craven was completely cured of his
dementia. Ward was happy to make the rounds amongst old friends, play
bridge and, in his words, have complete and logical conversations.
Everyone loves that I dont talk like Yoda anymore.
Darby Hipper continued working for Delfina & Company,
giving people from all over the world the ability to swim withor
be attacked bythe local dolphins. In addition, Darby produced
a select line of limited edition Junipero Serra Hearts in a Jar.
Each beauty consisted of a human heart in a jar, with glass replicating
the jar containing the heart the day it was stolen. Each cost one hundred
dollars, came with a free t-shirt (I Saw Junipero Serras
Heart in a Jar), a handout discussing the history of the heart
and a signed certificate from Peter Librado, leader of the Fornay.
Sean Heaney a.k.a. Hew Saxlapush Yan, Pelican Man, North
High mascot, feathery maitre d at the Rusty Pelicanand my
paldutifully returned Father Serras heart the night of the
big hand-over by wrapping his wings around the fleshy grail and handing
it over to Myra Kisuna when he emerged from the tunnel.
Covered in formaldehyde, dude, he looked at
Peter, shaking the fluid, now an ether, from his costume. You
know how to say `dry cleaning bill in your language, right?
The Fornay were rightly impressed with Seans latest
addition to his Hew Saxlapush Yan act--he would be entered into the
narratve history of the tribe. His real moment, however, came with guest
appearances on Oprah, Good Morning America and a walk-on part in the
new Flipper movie.
I dont do Today, he let everyone know.
And I dont do Larry King. Ive always been a GMA kinda
guy, you know.
Youre the Pelican Man, I said.
Im Sean Heaney, he remarked, arms out
like he was ready to take all comers. Oh, and Ive also decided
that Robin Roberts is going to have my children.
Junipero Serras heart finally arrived to the Hall
of Jarstwo-hundred and twenty-six years late. In keeping with
the Well work something out agreement between Peter
Librado and myself, the $99.99 heart that Gerry Danskin bought as a
decoy we decided would be used at the historical society.
No one will know the difference, I told Pete.
And I can still sell t-shirts. Lets be honestthe question
is not whether its really his heart, but why do we have his heart
at all? We could have anybodys heart there. People love an Oooh
You know, Hank, Peter nodded. The heart
is a special commodity to us. I just hope that someone pays the right
amount of respect to your coprolites. They look so great in those mahogany
Thanks, Pete, I replied, knowing that Janet
had told him to say that. Sometimes Peter was more canned than vintage
dolphin meat. I did, however, talk him into our first beer together.
How about one of those Heinz Cans? he suggested,
referring to Heaneys favorite beer.
A Heineken, you mean?
And so we drank a beer together, his first, my nine-thousandth,
and Peter turned red underneath the chestnut glow, laughing like a little
The morning Gerry Danskin awoke at Mission Carmel, he found
himself matted and damp, smelling of skunk, with formaldehyde and post
datura hallucinations clouding his eyes. He was cuffed to an iron ring
in the room Father Serra used back in the day, the bed of boards, a
wooden chair and rough desk supporting his back. Gerry was finally autêntico.
His sentence found him at the state prison at White Hills
on charges of grand theft, conspiracy and perjury. Catering to Gerrys
fondness for things historical, he was placed in a cell across from
the carcel that held Abraham Librado during the Mayors incarceration
in the 1930s. Janet remarked, That ought to be a good place for
a person to start their memoirs.
Last Fall, the September issue of National Geographic featured
a large article on the California Missions, complete with a fold-out
map. An entire section was devoted to misconceptions about the missions
and the prurient romanticization heaped upon them by tourists, photographers
and travel writers. To support the authors contentions, photos
by Gerry Danskin were included in the lay-out:
One of the
worst instigators of false missions history in the last quarter
of a century is Mr. Danskin, now currently serving a two year sentence
in state prison for the theft of Junipero Serras Heart. Note
the affected, whispy edges of the tiled roof of the mission in the
background. In the foreground, however, Mr. Danskin has nicely placed
what he has identified as a vintage hitching post (notice the orange
poppiesCalifornias state flower, the Qupegrowing
around them) when indeed it is what historians have identified as
a whipping post used by the padres and soldiers to punish recalcitrant
On a more clandestine
note, tribal members of a silent committee in the Pass voted to remove
Gerrys heart upon death and place it in the Hall of Jars (Father
Sandoval: . . . You have given your heart to us as well, Gerry,
whether you know it or not.).
To be positive, as people are akin to say, with
Gerry photos in National Geographic and his heart secured in a jar,
he will have finally accomplished two of his goals: visiting the Pass
and getting work in National Geographic.
Eventually, I discovered the reason for Janets foul
mood in the last days leading up to the retrieval of the heart: The
test results on the water coming out of the Pass were not good. She
would have to sue the tribe, which she did, essentially for compliance.
It wasnt like it was a surprise to anyone. You shit
that long in one spot and things are going to get foul. The upside of
the suit was that the Fornay and the county of El Fornio would be footing
the bill together to build a water treatment plant. The plant would
be situated on the site of the old mission, built in Mission Revival
Style, and employ a largely Fornay Indian workforce. From the highway,
passers-by will be able to see actual California Indians working at
a mission. No word on a potential salsa line produced at the plant.
As the weeks and months passed, I began to shift my compass
away from Janet. She was right--our love for one another was total,
but not the kind I thought it was.
Watching her go through the machinations of suing the tribe,
her own people, literal blood, made me very proud of Janet. Indeed,
she was a kind of sister to meSister, cousin, cousin, sister,
face slapped back and forth like Chinatown. It would have to do. I had
no real blood in the world, much less someone sitting by my fireplace.
My reeducation went beyond the bearings of local history.
The wandering heart of the padre became nearly as important to me, a
common turd peddler, as it was to the Fornay. I just hadnt figured
how personal the reeducation would be. It was so much tighter, up and
insideright where my heart lielike the riser with junk on
it I tried nabbing as a kid catcher, shy of splitting my chest open.
Peter was right when he said that whoever controls the heart controls
history. But what of your own heart? How do you control that?
As you can see, The Reeducation of A Turd Peddler
was published this yearpart of which became a Fornay complete
history for the tribe. Paramount Pictures took a quick interestI
threw Paul Giamattis name out there portraying Yours Trulybut
it looks like they might be more interested in remaking Twains
The Trails of El Fornio with George Clooney playing the
Mitchum part, Julia Roberts in the Ava Gardner role and Antonio Banderas
and Penelope Cruz as Abraham and Maria Librado. You could do worse.
They even suggested I might get a cameo as old man Peabody had, standing
amongst the Indian extras, looking on. Would I appear as befuddled as
my father, I wondered?
Because of Turd Peddlers mild success,
Im in discussion with the publisher to write A Drive Up
101 as well as a biography of Francis Daddy-o Peabody. I toyed
with the idea of naming it Gone Native: The Story of Linguist
Francis Henry Peabody. I dont know if he would have been
proud of me, and I dont care, finally. I am just happy in life
to have landed on both feet with a dusty coprolite betwixt them. Thats
my job, after all, to look out for that stuff.
Which brings me to The International Coprolite Association
Conference. It turned out to be a hit. We had over a hundred coprolitist
colleagues attending with their wares. Heaney said to me quite ebulliently,
If you have ever thought this town was full of shit, dude, this
week it really is full of shit.
The amount and quality of specimens were amazing. We used
the historical society just for receipt of goods and the opening night
receptionyes, the mahogany cases were well regarded. Lo managed
to coax the high school into letting us use the basketball gym for the
main event. People came from all over, both aficionado and looky-loo,
to see this one-time collection of artifacts we had contrived from all
over the globe. Our T-shirt, I Saw A Lot of Shit at the El Fornio
Historical Society, outsold the Heart in the Jar T-shirts
My Siberian expert was a hit as well. Dimitri Vladeskiskykzy.
After he left town, we wondered if he was so well liked because people
just enjoyed calling someone Dimitri, or was it that his collection
was so outstanding (it was ancient and well catalogued)or was
it that he showed El Fornio, California how to drink vodka?
I never thought you could make a margarita with vodka,
I think its the fresh lime and salt.
Dolores can tell you why she liked Dimitri. When his initial
specimen shipment arrived, it was covered in English and Russian markings.
We immediately registered it, popped the lid, then sat and wondered.
Was this what Siberian coprolites were supposed to look
The container was full of brand new chairs and tables. Not
a coprolite in sight. Each piece had a sticker with a familiar logo
Dimitri explained over the phone that afternoon. I
loov Ikea. I found shipment of `dis stuff `dat somehow ended up
at University here and thought it vould be just `vight for the conference.
My actual specimens should `arrive in the dah next few dayz, yah?
Dolores wondered. You think he might be interested
in a collection of early 1960s, hardback English language electronic
I thought for a second. I think my fireplace would
be more interested.
Lo agreed. Youre right. It would. Ill
help you do it.
The day after the conference, Lo and I stood in the lobby
of the historical society. The place was empty. It had been such a good
time. But not a scrap of paper or lick of dust was left of our visitors.
We were on to new things.
The sun came in across the main hall, passing through the
jar with Serras heart in it. I put my hand on Dolores shoulder.
She turned to look at me and we fell into one anothers arms.