The Passion of Herky
It was just supposed to be like any other Sunday. After an incredible victory at the hands of the women Hawkeyes, our beloved mascot Herky entered Iowa City with the rest of the team. And what a sight it was! More than two-thirds of the student body took to the streets fanning Herky and his entourage with palm leaves, celebrating the return of the hawk that had stuck with us through it all. Little did he know, however, that the following week would be rife with controversy, betrayal, and heartbreak. The Passion of Herky is a well-known story, but stay tuned, dear reader, and I promise that there will be some reprieve to our suffering, as long as we have faith.
Herky’s arrival was indeed filled with much excitement and rejoicing. However, there were some who were not so entertained by him and his entourage. The Business Students, led by Dean Amy-Kristof Brown, were fearful of the hawk’s influence, as they believed that putting so much money into sports was a useless endeavor, as that money could instead be spent investing in hedge funds, thus making them more money. They were the outliers in the student body, though, so they sent Chadely Thomason to infiltrate Herky’s twelve beloved friends, a group of athletes, politicians, and poets who proudly proclaimed the hawk’s word with him, including Tennessee Williams, Gene Wilder, and Ashton Kutcher, the Apostle whom Herky loved. Caitlin Clark was another one of Herky’s most devoted followers, though she was a female basketball player, and was thus looked down upon by the rest of the entourage. Another member of the group, Richard J. Schneiders, was concerned at Herky’s flagrant spending of money for athletics; he was in charge of the finances, and thus he was inclined to side with the concerns of the Business Students.
The trouble really began when Herky visited the basement of the Iowa Memorial Union. What was once a sacred place filled to the brim with students eager to learn and study was now nothing more than a mall, filled with cheap restaurants, a coffee shop, a bank, and the worst desecration of all: a gaming lounge. Overcome with rage, Herky began flipping the tables in the coffee shop for all to see, driving the hippies and white women from the premises, declaring, “My union should be a house of studying, but you have made it into a den of gamers!”
This action, along with his prediction that Mayflower Hall would be demolished as an act of penance before biting a child, convinced Schneiders that Herky had to be put down for his own good, and so he met with the Business Students, agreeing to lead Campus Police to Hubbard Park on Thursday night; in exchange, Schneiders was given thirty Hawk Dollars.
Eerily, Herky seemed well-aware of his upcoming demise. The Thursday he was set to be arrested, he arranged a dinner for him and his entourage in the private room of the Catlett Dining Hall. Breaking a garlic knot, he began passing the pieces around, saying, “Eat this, for this is my body.” After the entourage finished eating, he then raised a glass of ice tea, saying, “Drink this, for this is my blood.” After the entourage had finished drinking, Herky dropped the biggest bombshell of all: one of the twelve chosen would betray him that night. Not only that, but Tennesse Williams, one of Herky’s closest friends, would deny him thrice. Schneider then rushed out of the room, spitting the half-eaten garlic knot from his mouth.
Herky then went to Hubbard Park, begging his remaining entourage to sit and pray with him; instead, they either left, or fell asleep. Beginning to sweat blood, Herky called out to the Heavens, “Lord, if you are willing, remove this cup from my hands. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” At that moment, Schneider arrived, flanked by Campus Police. As planned beforehand, Schneider walked up to Herky, kissing him on the cheek to signify who was to be arrested. As he did, Herky asked, “Schneider, do you betray the hawk of Iowa with a kiss?” Tennessee Williams then woke up, and in a panic, lobotomized a Campus officer to defend his friend. But Herky ordered Williams to drop his drill, and with the wave of his hand, healed the officer. Herky was then arrested and beaten by Campus Police.
As part of Tippie Business School customs, Herky was first required to face trial in front of Dean Brown, who held him on charges of mismanaging funds. In front of the rest of the Business Students, she asked Herky, “You say you can give more funds to sports, is this true?” To which Herky simply replied, “That’s what you say. You say that I can.” Enraged by this comment, Dean Brown ripped her expensive lapel in two. Now found guilty of mismanaging funds, they brought Herky to President Barbara Wilson the next morning, as they had no laws to put a hawk to death. Tennessee Williams was approached by a poet, who said, “I know you. You were with the hawk they just arrested.” Williams denied this. He was then approached by a nurse, who said “Were you not with the man facing trial?” Williams replied he had never met Herky. He was then approached by an RA, who said “I have seen you with the hawk. Are you not him?” Williams denied this as well.
Not concerned with the comings and goings of the Business Students, Wilson was annoyed with having to pass judgment so early on a Friday morning. She asked him, “Is it true that you say you have the right to fund sports?” To which Herky replied “That’s what you say. You say that I am.” Believing that Herky was nothing more than a lunatic, and also realizing he was well past undergraduate level, she sent him to Dean Uden-Holman, who had claim over all graduate students. Holman asked Herky to bring home a championship title, just to prove he had the right to fund sports. He said not a word. Annoyed, Holman returned Herky to Wilson, surmising that he posed no harm. Now pressured by most of the business students, Wilson provided the student body with a choice: pardon either Herky or DB Weiss, who had been arrested on charges of ruining the Game of Thrones finale. Spurred by the Business Students, the crowd called for Weiss’ pardoning, and for Herky to be crucified. Abiding by the crowd's wishes, Wilson released Weiss, allowing him to work on his Star Wars project. Herky was then lashed 39 times, as was custom at the time. The Campus Police then put a crown of thorns on his head, mocking him as the “King of the Sports,” before dividing up his jerseys. Grief-stricken by his betrayal, as well as the barbary Herky faced, many expected Schneider to commit suicide. Instead, he chose a worse fate: becoming CEO of Sysco.
Herky was then stripped and forced to carry his own cross to Hillcrest as the entire student body watched. After he fell the first time, the Campus police ordered athlete Jim Miller to help him carry the cross. After Herky fell the second time, Elizabeth Catlett, along with a group of women weeping for their fallen savior, wiped the blood from his face. After a third fall, Herky finally made it to the top of Hillcrest, where he was nailed to the cross and raised next to two other men, one who failed to pay his UBill and another who had too many parking tickets. The UBill fiend said to Herky, “Can you not control the funds? Pay off the police, and free yourself!” The Ticket Chump then said, “Herky, do you promise there’s a place where I can park freely on the other side?” Herky assured the Chump that he would be free to park wherever he wanted. The Chump and Fiend soon died, while Herky lived for several hours. The Campus Officers finally stabbed him in the side, and a mix of water and ice tea spilled from his body. At that moment, Herky muttered his last words: “It is finished.” A massive flood hit Iowa City, forcing Mayflower to be demolished.
At any other time, this would be the end of the story. Tennessee Williams and Gene Wilder paid to have Herky’s body embalmed, and he was sealed away in a tomb, guarded by two Officers to dissuade any attempts at vandalism. Three days after his death, however, things began to change. While walking to lay flowers at the tomb, Caitlin Clark, accompanied by Flannery O’Conner, were met by Herky, who asked them why they were weeping. That same day, he was met by Ashton Kutcher, whom Herky loved. Word soon spread, and once the tomb was opened, it was clear the body was gone. The truth was revealed: Herky has risen again, as was proclaimed in the Good Book. Rejoice, for Herky as all provided us with a chance at salvation! Amen amen, I say, and praise be to Herky the Hawk, our true lord and savior! And Happy Easter!