to voice over artist Tim George
the part of Hank Peabody
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If They Did It . . .
from The Reeducation of a Turd Peddler
by John Henry Peabody
I HAD BEEN AT THE RANGE for about twenty minutes, configuring the pigeons
and sighting in, when I realized that my going shooting that afternoon
was all a front.
I was aiming, calibrating and firing away but really what I was doing
was wondering who stole the heart?
I had a list of candidates. And to be fair, I was one of
But what motivation did I have? Heck, I wanted the heart
to stay at the historical society. We made money from it. We sold T-shirts
that said, I Saw Junipero Serras
Heart in a Jar. Tourists, school kids, out-of-towners, everybody
came to see the rubbery thing. We were busy.
I suppose I could have stolen the heart, hidden it somewhere
and then brought it back at just the right moment as the caper unwoundmy
ploy, the entire time, to douse Serras heart with more aura than
But I doubt it.
Particularly since I was pretty sure I didnt steal
it. I like to have a few drinks, and I am a dingaling on occasion, but
black out drunk?
The only way I may have been involved in the theft of the
heart was because I wasnt paying attention. As I told the sheriff
when she interviewed me, I cant say for certain the heart was
there when I left the building. Maybe the thief snuck in and wandered
off with it while I was upstairs trying to write a coherent sentence.
Maybe it wasnt even there in the morning when I arrived. It might
have been gone for a few days. Being the self-centered expert on Native
American coprolites than I was, I admit that I do on occasion glance
over at the mahogany cases to make sure they still look great. But the
heart? In its jar?
I looked right through it.
Janet could have stolen it.
Between the time I left the building and when I saw her, she couldve
come into the place, taken the jar and then stashed it in, say, the
trunk of her car. Hell, she could have stolen six packs of gum and a
red bic lighter from the local Walgreens in the same amount of time.
But Janet was not the thieving type. Her discipline was nearly exact.
Janet reported crime, she didnt make it.
There were elements of the Fornay who might take it. I had
heard of and listened to the occasional extremist amongst the lot of
Indians up the Pass. But those guys
were the angry, bored, jobless type of NA. They would perform a stunt
just to get noticed, act out. In that case, the heart would turn up
soonwithin the weekas the average rebellious Fornay, the
angry Fornay, was a fuck up. Eventually, theyd blow it, get drunk,
sell, leave it, drop it, break the glass, bounce the heart across the
carpet. They could make a mess of it.
The people from The Society to Canonize Father Serra
could have taken it. Gerry Danskin had
crossed my mind. The SCOFS people had a platform to reunite the heart
with Serras body, neatly tucked under the tile work at Mission
Carmel, to push the old boy towards sainthood. No heart, no saint.
But Danskin and his khaki slack friends didnt seem
the type to walk into a building and steal something. They were more
likely to use a lawyer to take it from you. Yeah, he was deluded, in
a professional sensethe way Michael Bolton was. But actually walking
in the back door and grabbing the heartDanksin? He might be the
person who dusted the space after the jar was taken, but the whole deal
done by Danskin?
It could be kids on a dare, some junior college idiots chugging
cheap beer and acting cool. Why not? Everyone at the festival was going
nuts, rolling in the street, poking each other in the ass with Popsicle
sticks like a Breughel paintingwhy not look at the heart like
some college boys look at the rival teams mascot? You get loaded,
have half a plan and steal it. In which case, the thing will turn up
within the next week as well. Theyll get bored, sober, and realize
mid-terms are a right around the corner.
Darby Hipper could have
done it. DH was a formaldehyde fetishist with a collection of things
pickled in jars. But he wasnt stupid and deluded. Darby was too
Sean the Pelican Man, my
pal, I could see him get into a desperate situation at some stage of
his life and do that. But he wasnt at that stage of his life.
He had the town dicked, in his way. No stealy no hearty for him.
Targuman, Mr. Elihuhe
was deranged, in a good way, but still derangedbut where the hell
would he put it? In the bushes? He lived in some pretty nice encampments,
sure, dry sewer vaults and tree houses, but where would he hide a thing
like Junipero Serras heart? Plus he never mentioned it to me.
I could go on and list everyone fool in the city. But then
Id have make a list of every fool in the county. You could make
a lot of lists of a lot of fools and never come up with the fool youre
I pulled the trigger and a hundred yards away the orange disk exploded
with a pound of dirt exalting around it.
I figured one way or another the heart would turn up