From start to finish, my investigation of Fiesta Doo-doo Man was a high-wire act between repugnance and fascination. I may not be unusual in this regard, but I do seem to have both a curiosity and a hyperphobic response to the whole thing.
Last October when a Dallas jury sentenced Behrouz Nahidmobarekeh to five years for sprinkling his own dried feces on pastries at the Fiesta Mart at Ross and Greenville avenues in East Dallas, the foreman of the jury told The Dallas Morning News that the jury had wanted to punish him especially severely because he "showed no remorse."
I remember reading that and wondering: What if he had shown remorse? Would that have helped?
The doo-doo man occupies a horrible sweet spot in the collective Jungian fabric. He is the primal demon who pops out of the doughnut display at us all. The shit trickster.
I don't know about you, but the whole thing undermines the hell out of my own confidence in modernity. If this is how it's going to be with the doughnuts, then I'd just as soon go back to a hunter-gatherer society.
Motivation. That's what I want. It's what I need him to have. If I knew what really drove him, I'd have a handle.
He said in a written statement to police that he sprinkled his own dried feces on the doughnuts at the Fiesta Mart as a kind of practical joke in retaliation for unfriendly treatment: "They made me very angry that they showed me no respect," he wrote. "I decided I would play a joke on them."
But I never got the joke. What was the punch line? And now especially, given what I know, I don't believe it was a joke. Or revenge either, exactly.
What I know now is that Nahidmobarekeh was a serial sprinkler. Years before he got caught at Fiesta, Nahidmobarekeh attacked a place that has always been dear to my own heart, the downtown Dallas Central Library. He may have done it several times. Who knows where else he has been? He was a cab driver.
Miriam Rodriguez, assistant director of the library, confirmed to me that when Nahidmobarekeh began to appear in news accounts about the Fiesta incident last year, library staffers recognized him as the same man they had dealt with three years earlier. In February, March and early April of 2002, the downtown Central Library suffered a spate of feces-smearing incidents, of which I have acquired official records through a request under the Texas Public Information Act.
Nahidmobarekeh's name appears on only one of 10 library security "incident reports" and on none of five related Dallas Police Department reports. Most of the attacks were discovered after the fact. If he was not the author of all of them, then...well, I just can't go there.
According to the library security incident report in which Nahidmobarekeh was named, a witness "observed Mr. Nahidmobarekeh in the stacks moving his hand among the shelves."
There's something so eerily metaphysical about that. Moving his hand among the shelves. An assault on knowledge?
The witness, according to the report, "moved away from where he was sitting and Mr. Nahidmobarekeh walked out of the stacks, passed him and went to sit at a table near the bibliographies. As he walked by, [the witness] noticed an offensive smell."
Hmmm. The bibliographies.
I took my stack of incident reports to the library and tried to see if I could detect a covert or unconscious pattern. The biggest concentration of attacks was in the Business and Technology Section, which is now undergoing massive remodeling. I had to look elsewhere in the library.
The reports are a tough read. "Smeared and left feces on eight shelves in rows 123 and 124." "Human feces smeared on several shelves in the 629.4 area of the division's circulating stacks." "CHS clerk found a dried turd on the bottom shelf of reference stack 35." I think we get the picture.
One area attacked by the smearer was a shelf given over to boxes of U.S. Department of Agriculture circulars--"Deciduous Fruits," "Nuts," "Livestock and Meat" and so on. Almost four years after the attack, I saw no sign of damage.
A feces attack on the History and Social Sciences reference section on March 27, 2002, was described in the incident report as "crime to building including graffiti." No illuminating details on the graffiti.