Hares: 8″ Crack and Pull The Plug
Pull the Plug = Green (HARE)
Blow Hole = Blue
Reverse Cowboy = Yellow
Krusty Kreme = Red
Click the red magnifying glass to full screen.
Click through the jump to read about how Hole in 1 found a human femur on trail!
So there we were, in shiggy up to here (for real this time, as 8″ Crack traditionally loves to lay a deep shiggy run on her birthday).(FORESHADOWING!)
At the start of the run, the parking lot of Burlington Coat Factory near I-90 and I-10, Crack mentions to me that as they were laying trail that morning they found construction workers clear-cutting trees towards the end of the run. “It wasn’t like that when we scouted,” she said. How funny, I reply, since that’s the exact same thing that happened to her birthday trail last year. (FORSHADOWING!)
The pack of about 60 takes off, through a dense bit of shiggy just northwest of the Burlington parking lot, on what should be a five mile trail. I set my sights on McPisser’s neon yellow tech shirt and zen behind him straight up a power easement and directly to the beer check. Awesome. After the beer check I follow true trail into what I later find out is Herman Brown Park (not to be confused with Hermann Park).
The second half of trail runs through a massively overgrown part of the park for about 2 miles before popping out on Maxey Road (this is where we see the Hermann Brown Park signs and the heavy machinery used for the clear cutting.) This portion of trail is pretty cool — marked with orange biodegradable flagging, with some small thorny vines, trees felled by the drought, and lots and lots of palmettos.
A few FRBs and short cutters pop out of the woods and follow trail north along Maxey, under I-90 and into a junk lot on the banks of Green’s Bayou where there are trash-filled shipping containers, hundreds of tires and the beat-up hammer board of an old piano. I conduct circle, we run out of beer (Bombshell Blonde) too early, and most of the pack goes home. Krusty and I get into the second-to-the-last carback, leaving only Twinkle Toes, Reverse Cowboy and their dogs behind, with promises that the hares are on their way back to pick them up. As we pull away, we spy a group of locals on four-wheelers making their way to the lot. (FORSHADOWING!)
But this hash trash really isn’t about trail. It’s about what Hole In 1 found on trail.
As the hash was just getting settled into the on home, changing clothes and checking for ticks (Heartache found one on his face!) Hole In 1 holds up a bone found in the deep undergrowth of the last part of trail. “Check it out!” she says.
“Oh wow,” I reply. “That is a human femur.”
Hole In 1 holds the bone up to her leg. “Looks like it!” she says. But other hashers are dismissive. “It’s too big.” “There’s no way.” “It looks like a cow bone.” For some reason, none of us thinks to call the cops. Well, I do, but a few things are flashing through my mind: tampering with a corpse, trespassing, public consumption. And also the seed of doubt that maybe it’s not a human femur, even though it really, REALLY looks like one.
For the record, here is what a cow femur looks like (right). And here is what a human femur looks like (left).
And here is the femur found on trail, with Snatcha’s size 10 foot in it for scale.
Anyway, we hold circle and run out of beer early. Most everybody gets a carback before the sun goes down. Hole In 1 leaves the yucky bone sitting in the middle of the dump.
Meanwhile, back at Casa KrustySnatch, I am troubled. I am convinced the bone was human remains, and I cannot sleep. At 11 p.m. I text Hole In 1. At 2 a.m. I still can’t sleep, so I wake up Krusty. That could be someone’s loved one, I thinks, remembering the incident just a few years back when Hooter Bill came across the body of a man’s brother in Memorial Park.
The next morning at work, I resolve to call the cops. The discussion with the dispatcher is awkward, to say the least. I try to explain the situation, how the bone was found and where it ended up. This is complicated by the fact that our ending spot had no street name. I give the dispatcher GPS coordinates. The dispatcher is clueless as to how GPS coordinates work. I give the dispatcher my nerd name and cell phone number, and Hole In 1’s name. The dispatcher apparently writes down my phone number incorrectly, because a few hours later Hole In 1 gets a call from a Detective French. So she calls me. So I call Det. French.
Det. French wants to meet the two of us out at the on home. He says they’ve found the femur, and the cadaver dogs are on their way. “Man, what were you guys doing out here last night,” the detective asks. “It’s a long story,” I tell him. “I’ll explain when I get there.”
Neither one of us girls wants to go alone, so we decided to meet each other there. We arrive to find Det. French and his partner, about three other officers and two awesome-looking cadaver dogs at the dump. One is a bloodhound, which I thought was just a stereotype. Det. French tells us the ME has already been there and taken the bone away. “He took one look at it and said ‘Yep. Male. About 50 years old.'” (FORSHADOWING!)
We explain how the hash works to the cops, and Hole In 1 tries to explain where she found the bone. To be fair, it was actually Steps in Shit who found the bone, but Hole In 1 was the one who grabbed it. They are amused but dubious regarding the hash. I explain that due to the nature of where we like to run, the hash is no stranger to finding dead bodies in the wilds of Houston. We decide to carpool, Hole in 1 and I in the detectives’ car, the mile or so to the part of trail that popped out of the forest and do trail backwards. Until one of the officers starts shaking his head.
“I wouldn’t leave your cars here,” he says, looking around at hundreds of tires and other junk. “Not unless you want to come back to find them stripped.”
“You don’t have to tell me twice,” I say. Then I remember the two yokels on four-wheelers we spied as the final carbacks were leaving, and I am glad Twinkle and Reverse made it back to their cars safely. So instead we all caravan to the edge of Herman Brown Park. When we get out of the car one of the officers says, “I know this place. We found another body in here a few months ago.” (FORSHADOWING!)
Oh, AWESOME, I think to myself. The hash isn’t exactly known for hanging around the nicest parts of town, but here we are romping through a known disposal site.
Hole In 1 and I find the flour arrow and start leading the cops into trail, backwards. We show them the orange flagging and give them some background on the hash. They are downright floored that we do this every Sunday. Meanwhile, Det. French is on his cell phone to HQ, trying to get info on the body that was found in the park previously. We walk about a mile in, get as close to where Hole In 1 thinks she might have picked up the bone. It’s starting to get dark, so we decided to head back out. On the way, about 300 feet off of true trail, one of the officers spots yellow flagging to our right. Sure enough, it’s the old crime scene tape, from the previous body discovered. There are about 30 evidence flags and tape enclosing a wide swath of trees.
As a runner on true trail it would be fairly easy to miss, since the growth in that part of the park is so dense. But as hares scouting trail, I’m surprised 8″ Crack and Pull The Plug didn’t see it on any of their previous trips. I take a picture and send it to Krusty Kreme, who replies, “Oh yeah, I ran by that!” Apparently even he didn’t stop to read the words on the tape: CRIME SCENE. Oddly enough, the tape leads several hundred feet back out to the street, about a quarter mile south of Maxey from where our cars are parked. It’s now obvious that this “trail of tape” was stretched through the forest to help investigators find their way through the thick vegetation to crime scene. I even passed it on my way to meet the cadaver dogs, but seeing the clear-cutting going on near that part of the park, assumes it was construction flagging.
Back at the cars, Det. French confirms his hunch. The previous body discovered there in September was a male, roughly 50 years old. “Most likely a homeless man,” French says. “This was probably just an animal carry off.” He looks at the notes he’s taken from his various phone calls. He’s got an ME number and a case number, a date of birth. The guy was identified by some of the objects found with him. He rattles off a name that I don’t quite catch. But I feel good, knowing it is an already-dead person, not a new dead person. And I’m glad I called the cops.
The next morning, I google “body found Herman Brown Park”. Sure enough, here is the story, from September. It is weird to see the man’s face, which just a few days before I was looking at his decomposing leg. A few hours later, while I’m at work, it occurs to me to Google his full name, just to see what I can find. Maybe an obituary, I think. Instead, I come up with this link.
The really weird thing is that just a few days before the hash I had read this story. How could I not click on the headline that called him a cat-loving loner? And who knew that two weeks later the has would be running through the same park, blissfully ignorant.
So it was murder. Gunshot wound to the head. Only 80 percent of his body had been recovered. Well, now, 81%.