THE ONLY THING SHE LOVED more than a good fight was a grand spectacle—with herself at the center. And this was, as she might have put it, pretty gawddamn grand: an auction barn filled with three hundred bargain hunters and antique dealers, camera crews and cops and Christians. All trying to get a piece of Madalyn Murray O’Hair.
Lot number two—a box of foreign coins. What am I gonna get now? Start it out now! How much? Buyin’ ’em all for one money. Ten dollars. Now twenty. Ten dollars, now twenty. Now thirty.
It was surprising how bland and middle-American the famous atheist’s earthly possessions were: rows and rows of brown furniture, dull art, and tables heaped with bric-a-brac. In the jewelry case were silhouettes of Madalyn, her son Jon, and her granddaughter, Robin. A needlepoint read, “Time for kindness, and for giving, time for friendship and happy living.” The fancy Monopoly game went for $170, the crystal decanters for $35 each, the dollhouse for $65. Robin’s 1985 Porsche went for $2,750, a sweet deal considering its low mileage and good condition. Madalyn’s diaries were up for grabs too, but bidders had to go through a bankruptcy attorney. All the money would go to pay some $260,000 in back taxes.
A 1969 U.S. one-cent coin and the G-o out of “God” have been taken off the coin. I wonder who did that? Start it out now! How much? You tell me, boys.
The auctioneer’s tones sobered abruptly