Sean Heany as the Pelican Man, also known to
the Fornay as Hew Saxlapush Yan.

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read the part of Hank Peabody

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Milk Shakes for Dinner

from The Reeducation of a Turd Peddler
by John Henry Peabody

HALF A BLOCK FROM the mission, on Lasuen Drive which intersected Rio Road, we met back up with Peter and Targuman in the kitchen of another safe house. It was about a half hour after sundown. We were all having a bite to eat while Targuman, wearing two coats, a hat and rubber boots—less Aqualung and more Morton’s fisherman—worked the blender in the adjoining pantry. The doorbell rang.
   Janet got up and switched on the porch light. It was Ksen.
   “Hello,” Janet opened the door. Ksen came in quickly. “I’m sorry I didn’t put the light on,” Janet apologized. “We’ve been trying to figure out the lights and all the switches in the place.”
   “Myra and Boss have a little list and a how-to paper here under the sink,” Ksen opened the door and lifted a piece of paper.
   “Myra and Boss?” I asked. “The people we were supposed to see in the Hall of Jars?”
   “Yes,” Ksen said. “This is their summer house they own with his sister. It’s their anniversary. The Kisunas have been married for, I think, twenty-five years.”
   “So we’ve heard,” Janet smiled.
   “The never-ending story,” I said.
   “They went to Mexico on a cruise. Their kids got it for them.”
   Targuman hit the switch in the pantry and the blender ran. He looked at Peter who nodded back to him. Janet pulled out a set of white bags with Jamba Juice stickers. Next to them were empty Styrofoam cups with straws and lids. Targ switched off the blender.
   “Ward,” Ksen explained, “Has convinced Gerry that a green tea malt is the greatest thing for dinner any man could want.”
   “It is,” Targuman spoke. “Especially the Deluxe version. Divine” He leaned forward and filled the two cups before turning back to the blender, loading a measure of chopped greens. “Mr. Danskin is going to get a nice shot of reality,” Targuman assured, finger on the switch. ““All aboard . . . The Datura Express is leaving the station.” He flipped the switch, blended it, then poured the concoction into the second cup. With a black felt pen he put a small dot on the lid. “See the difference?” Targ said to Ksen. She nodded and Janet loaded them into the bag. “He’s got about forty-five minutes until lift off once he drinks it. You’ll want to time it.”
   “Good work, Mr. Targuman,” Pete let.
   “Thanks, Chief,” Targ nodded with a half salute, adjusting himself in his rubber boots.
   I wandered down the hallway. In a side room, Sean was nearly finished putting his pelican costume on. Under his eyes was a black kohl that made him look like he was about to run out to play right field on a sunny day at Chavez Ravine.
   “It’s supposed to be good luck Ksen said,” pointing to the black.
   “It drives away malevolent spirits.” Ksen was suddenly behind me, holding the white bag with two green tea malts. Peter, Janet and Targuman stood behind her, the lot of them looking at Sean.
   “This is one of the most exciting days of my life,” Ksen said. “And Ward is as nervous as a drama student before his first audition.”
   “Sean,” Targuman held up a short rocks glass he pushed towards the doorway.    “I have just the right amount left for you if you want it.”
   Sean smiled wide-eyed. “Targ, I would if I wasn’t such a professional. And I ain’t an Indian. I may be the Pelican Man to a lot of people—the “Sooshy Shaun,” over whatever it is—but I ain’t an Indian. My DNA alone could reject that toxic brew. But I wouldn’t mind a Heineken if you got one.”
   “Heineken?” Peter looked around. “That’s a beer, right?”

Returning the Heart


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