one of my all-time favorite family stories
My dad has always been crafty and rather macabre. In his mid teens, he acquired a plastic Halloween prop of a human skull and repainted it to look more realistic, adding patches of leather and hair to look like scraps of flesh dangling off the bone. Years later, his mother told him to take all his old stuff out of the attic and put it in a trash bag out front for the garbage truck.
Their neighbor, Tiny, happened to be eavesdropping. For some reason, I imagine Tiny as a 1980′s version of Dennis Nedry from Jurassic Park. Tiny was a bit of a snoop and wound up digging through my dad’s trash… only to find a disgusting, gory, decomposing human skull.
Within the hour, every goddamn cop in the county was on the scene. Forty cop cars, up and down the street, gathered around my grandmother’s house. It was the most exciting thing anyone in the sleepy little neighborhood had seen in years. The coroner arrived - a man known then as Digger Jim, who also served as the mortician - and with gloves on, extracted the skull from the trashbag with a pair of surgical forceps. He placed it into an evidence bag, labeled and sealed, and this shitty plastic Halloween prop was taken back to forensics for investigation, while my dad was penciled in as a potential murder suspect.
Once the mortician took a good look at it, of course, it was obvious that it was only a cheap Halloween decoration, and everyone was a little bit sheepish over the whole ordeal. According to my great uncle, Digger Jim kept that skull on his desk for many years, up until he retired.