A Sicilian Message?

From the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

It wasn’t exactly a warning from Don Corleone, but a horse’s head found in a Washington alley has city officials wondering who put it there.

“I’ve been hearing ‘Godfather’ jokes all day today,” said Matt Staniszewski, a Washington councilman who runs the city’s public works department. “My first response was, ‘Who would do this?’ My second was, ‘We have to get this cleaned up.’ ”

Police said a passer-by called to report the decomposing head about 6:15 p.m. Monday along Alley C in a densely populated area of the Washington County town. Because it was Memorial Day, Staniszewski responded from home to help remove the head.

Staniszewski said people in the neighborhood nearby told him that they saw a white pickup circling that day.

“It’s not like we have horses wandering the city of Washington,” he said.

Police Chief James Blyth said he believes a child or a pet found the head somewhere and brought it home, where it was promptly placed on the curb for trash pickup.

“We have nothing to believe it was a satanic cult or anything like that,” Blyth said. “A dog probably pulled it out into the street.

“How this head wound up in Washington, I doubt we’ll ever know.”

The “Godfather” jokes relate to an iconic scene in the 1972 movie when a movie producer wakes up to find the head of his prized horse, Khartoum, next to him in bed — meant as a threat from Mafia boss Vito Corleone.

“Anytime you hear about a horse’s head, Khartoum comes up,” said Christopher Sepesy, a professor of film history and analysis at Point Park University. “Movies provide us with their own myths.”

Washington County veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Allison said sometimes people bury parts of a large pet if they can’t bury the whole thing — like a 1,000-pound horse.

“I don’t know of anyone who would be cutting up horses,” Allison said. “It’s probably a little less Hollywood than that.

“Besides, it seems like it would be so cliche, right? It’s been done.”

Published by Susanna Forrest

Writer Amazons of Paris, The Age of the Horse and If Wishes Were Horses.

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