We found a foot first. I think it was a right foot. I remember we found the foot and then found another right foot later and the coroner insisted that the second foot did not belong to the same body as the first foot. I remember I asked him if some individuals might not have two right feet or two left feet and he told me that no, they wouldn’t. I didn’t want to let it go even when he pointed out that the second right foot was from a female, whereas the first one was from a male. Don’t they say guys all have a little female in them, which explains why when you’re in the shower, you can’t help checking out another guy’s equipment?
Then we found a left foot that the corner said, due to its DNA, matched up with the first right foot. He also told me when I asked, that an individual with two male feet and one female foot would defy the laws of nature and would be ungodly. As a good Christian, I let the extra foot go at that point. We filed it away as Unidentified Body #2, Part #1.
Next we found the male individual’s coccyx. It wasn’t what it sounds like. At this point the coroner told me that this individual had experienced a grievous injury of some sort. You can lose both feet in a variety of ways. A train can run over them and chop them off. But then you go get some artificial feet and some crutches and life goes on. But if you lose your coccyx, it’s not like getting your boxer’s tail docked. You will be in a world of hurt. Hemorrhoids don’t compare.
This is the point at which we put that running checklist into the evening paper. This is the point at which Betty’s Doughnuts started offering $5 worth of crullers for each new body part found. And when the head became the only part left missing and unchecked in the list, Betty upped her award to $10 worth of glazed and House of Bamboo threw in an end table.
Lester Branchette the first-grade teacher contributed an artist’s sketch of the missing head – as seen from a rear view, hair color and curl based upon the found torso’s back hair.
Everyone in the community seems to agree that this thing – this search for the body parts and so on – has brought us all a little bit closer together and taught us all a little something about what the coroner likes to call “anatomy.”