Though the work of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and James Ellroy may have given our culture immortal crime stories, no author has yet written any plot as twisting and bizarre as the grim saga of The California Peacock Hit—a tale of escalating avian drama that’s currently being played out in a McKinleyville neighborhood called Azalea Heights.
This story, which has wound its way through numerous publications before being contained in a recent Vice article, begins with the discovery of a roving peacock’s corpse, “dead of a gunshot wound to its brightly feathered chest,” last week. The bird was known to Azalea Heights residents by various names. “Azul” to Melissa and Mike Glass, “Peony” by another family, “Mr. P” to others.
What could have been dismissed as straightforward birdslaughter—a crime of passion by an angry passerby jealous of the peacock’s carefree lifestyle and beautiful feathers—was complicated by the fact that a hit had been put out on the bird in a Craigslist post published “several weeks” before Mr. P met his untimely end.
Though the post is now gone, it reportedly read: “The job is simple... get rid of a wild peacock that is disrupting our lives.” The contract explained that Mr. P had to go because it had been calling at daybreak every morning, continuing “for about three hours.” (For reference, and not to condone bird hits, Mr. P probably sounded like this.) The post supplied a Google Maps address and promised that “locating the bird is easy as it roosts in the trees near my house every evening about 8-8:30 P.M.” The author also offered to help “form a strategy to eliminate this bird” with the killer while “[agreeing] on how much you will be compensated.”
The Glass couple told press that they knew, based on the Google Maps listing, who put the hit out on Mr. P, adding that the man responsible had “previously asked them about ushering the peacock out of the neighborhood” and suggested to other residents that the bird be moved “to some other street, or some other subdivision.” His ideas were dismissed. Mr. P cried on. A bloody plan was set in motion.
When he was contacted by journalists, the man in question simply wanted to know if The Lost Coast Outpost could “confirm that the peacock was indeed dead” before refusing to discuss the matter further. This suspect is now under investigation by local police, who are looking into the matter as a crime of “Animal Cruelty And Conspiracy To Commit A Crime.”
As far as we know, the triggerman has yet to be identified. The case continues and, if fictional precedent bears out, this whole thing is going to rope in not just petty criminals, but mob plots and political conspiracies before it’s over.
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