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¡Ay, Caramba! I’m Cursed!
By Tucker Burns
NEW YORK — All jobs come with their unique challenges. Test pilots must know how to eject from crashing airplanes; clerks at Banana Republic need to master the art of folding. Or take my job, for example. (Please.) Last week, in my capacity as a reporter for The Chronicle, I was almost killed by a cursed sombrero.
Known as the Cursed Sombrero of Izamal, this haunted hat resurfaced at a yard sale in Queens. The unfortunate buyer was Nancy Silva, a Miami native. “She basically stole it from me,” said Bridget Polland, the sombrero’s previous owner. “If you ask me, she got what was coming to her.”
What, in fact, came to Silva was a Mack truck that ran her down a few blocks away. Later, Cesar Echevarria, the tow-truck driver who acquired the sombrero when he hauled away Silva’s mangled car, burned to death in a grease fire. The next owner-cum-victim of the lethal chapeau was Terrance Mann, who died when a penny tossed off the Empire State Building sliced a gorge through his brain.
The only factor all three victims are known to have had in common is that they all donned the sombrero immediately prior to their untimely deaths.
“What we were dealing with was your standard homicidal accessory,” explained Sal, chief researcher of The World Chronicle. He went on to explain that the source of the curse was a series of stones adorning the sombrero. Originally created by evil Mayan priests, these stones contained the damned spirits of sacrificed humans. When the stones were excavated from the pyramid of Kinich Kak Moo in the early 1800s, a peasant stole them and strung them onto the sombrero. Since then, anyone who put the sombrero on his or her head wound up dead.
The sombrero eventually ended up in the hands of several fraternity brothers from Fordeast University who brought it to a Cinco de Mayo party at the Mu Delta sorority house. “We were filming a video for… uh… class, and using the sombrero as a prop,” said Brad, an aspiring, uh, filmmaker. “Luckily, I never put it on.”
Less fortunate was Brad’s frat brother, Sebastian, who was discovered dead in a bathtub, his head twisted 180 degrees away from its normal forward-facing position.
As Chronicle staffers Grace Hall and Wes Freewald tracked the path of the sinister sombrero, they learned that this reporter was the last to have worn it.
The curse hit me while I was dining at a fashionable downtown establishment. A fire broke out. Soon, foam from a fire extinguisher blinded me and knives pinned me to a table. Mere seconds before a glass wall exploded onto me, Hall and Freewald dragged me to safety.
“We brought him to the sorority house, put the sombrero back on him and performed an ancient ritual to break the curse,” said Chronicle Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Donald Stern. “Thank God I’m well versed in hexes and Mexican clothing. Otherwise, he would’ve been done for.”
After the ritual, the sombrero flew into the air and exploded into flames. The spirits inside escaped and the curse was broken.
“This whole experience really makes you think,” said Brad. “If a sombrero could be cursed, what’s next? Shoes? Pants? Bras? Just to be safe, everyone at next year’s Cinco de Mayo is going to be totally naked. Woo-hoo!”
“The Cursed Sombrero”
Written by Silvio Horta
Directed by Sanford Bookstaver