That's One Way to Get A(head)

By Ben Johnson

 

For every zany local news story there’s an unreported human side. For example: when 18 improperly documented human heads arrived at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago in December, packed into blue coolers that had been a part of the cargo of a Lufthansa Airlines flight from Rome, it was somebody’s job to open the things up and make sure that there were in fact human heads in there. When something like this happens, all you want is for the reporters and the newscasters to go away, and you want to transport yourself to wherever that person is, and you want to be in that person’s closest circle of intimates while they are drunk enough to tell the story.

According to this report by the Tribune’s Carlos Sadovi, there was a bureaucrat down the line whose response to the 18 human heads was “Oh, boy. Here we go." And that is medium funny. What kind of person would you expect to have that response to 18 unexpected human heads of an indeterminate purpose showing up at your proverbial doorstep? How about Tony Brucci, chief of investigations for the Cook County medical examiner's office. And of course his name is “Tony Brucci.” And of course that is his response to 18 human heads. And of course the unspoken portion of that quote is roughly akin to “fuckin’ paperwork for a week on this one.” I’d love to hear a booze-soaked Brucci talk about his troubles for an hour or two. Naturally. That goes without saying.

But what about the actual person at the airport whose job it was to open one of the coolers up and confirm what the x-rays told them about the fact that there were some human heads in there? How did that go? Was it a “I’m not doin’ it, YOU do it” Abbott and Costello routine where two knuckleheads pass a crowbar back and forth until it drops on one of their feet? Or was it an extremely jaded employee who opened it up and had no reaction, like a bus driver whose nerves are so cauterized they actually hope somebody jumps in front of them so they can get the paid time off? “One two three four… [adjusts packaging] five six seven eight, eight heads in this one. Okay, so we got eight, eight, and two in this little guy right here for a total of 18 human heads [chews gum]. One a you guys call up Tony over at Cook County.”

Sure, the newspaper can tell you the actual news angle of something like this, but they always always whiff on the comedy angle. I know there’s something funny in there, guys.

How about this: is there a more suspicious place for 18 human heads to come from than Rome? Naples or Mexico City there’s no doubt those heads are bad news. Oslo or Zurich, those are science heads, no doubt about it. But Rome? If you’re looking at an incoming shipment of 18 improperly labeled human heads and it’s from Rome, that’s like 50/50 mafia hit heads or just improperly labeled regular science heads. Rome, huh? You can picture some guy filling out the paperwork and at the last possible instant where he’s supposed to fill out the address for the heads to go, his buddy rolls up in a Vespa talking about a party where there will be girls, and he’s like “fuck it, let the Americanos figure it out.” Maybe there’s a thing where he does a shush face to one of the heads and winks before packing it up. Is that a stereotype? Find me four Roman headpackers and prove to me that a majority are not interested in going to a party where there are girls. I’m on a roll here.

What about this: a company in nearby Schiller Park, Illinois announced that they’re the ones who ordered the Roman heads AFTER the proper authorities leaked the 18 human head story to the media. How did that work? Did Tony Brucci make like three phone calls, decide his Italian was a little rusty, and then just say fuck it and call his buddy Carlos at the Trib? “Fuggit, let’s see if anybody wants ‘em. No way I’m making an international murder out of this if I don’t have to.” Was there an actual conversation where somebody and another person were debating what to do with 18 human heads? Were there several? I want to know all of them.

I want to know everything. I want a Broadway Musical based on the incident. And I am serious. I haven’t been this serious since I demanded a Broadway Musical be based on the Florence, Oregon whale explosion of 1970. Somebody needs to get to work on that one. You could make it about Watergate.

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