Zorro Was Here

The template for scatological terror

Like most boys, certainly Brooklyn stoop-boys, I had an early fascination with excrement. I especially loved poo jokes – most boys do. It’s not pathological and it passes. (See, I’m an adult now and didn’t draw your attention to that cheap pun.) But, there are male children, mercifully few in number, who display early signs of an unhealthy fixation with the natural, nay, essential bodily function of evacuation. As example, allow me to present –  

The Case of the Catholic Coprophile

The Adventures of Zorro is the big TV hit of 1957-59. Zorro is the Robin Hood of Old California. Our hero uses his glistening rapier to carve his calling card – a large Z– into the bark of trees, the walls of haciendas and the bellies of his enemies. Every Brooklyn kid wants a Zorro mask, cape and sword. Spoiled kids have all three. The rest of us improvise or beat up the spoiled kids for their Zorro booty. 

One boy in St. John the Pederast Primary School is painting large Zs all over the school walls – with his excrement. (It must be a boy because girls and nuns would not do this.) When I say all over, I mean, all over. The young defacer is a genius of product placement. You cannot miss his mark. “Mr. Maximum Visibility.” On some walls, he writes a simple Z; on other walls ZORRO. But, time and quantity of material permitting, he writes Zorro Was Here adding a large, insouciant Z under that for good measure.

But, why? When? How? We students are almost never allowed out of our classrooms alone. Could the demented graffiti artist be our hunchback janitor who looks like Quasimodo and wears an immense, Johnny-Ray-style hearing aid? (Several years later, he is caught spying on little girls in the toilet – echoes of Quasimodo and Esmeralda.) Is he a secret coprophile using the Zorro brand as clever cover for his twisted desire to take revenge on the world by smearing his hunchback dung on school walls? Does he derive still more perverse pleasure from having to remove his own caked-on filth?  

Johnnie Ray aka The Prince of Wails
Charles Laughton as Quasimodo
Quasimodo wore his hearing aid in his right ear.
Boy Outa Brooklyn a murder-memoir by Jack Antonio
Image: the smiling face of Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn
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