Make no secret, this is the strangest thing to happen at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade on Wednesday.
One skeleton went missing, and many people saw who took it: wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette.
Mallory Mong would like her dead friend back, please. But she is willing to trade. (Turns out it wasn’t actually hers, but we’ll get to that in a second.)
Mong, a University of Kansas student, comes from an Overland Park family of longtime Chiefs fans. He was at the parade with friends and family, including his father, Grant Mong, and younger brother, Dillon, who will play soccer for KU next year.
Mong’s father and his friends intentionally put on a show of themselves in costumes and hats – one was on stilts – to amplify the crowd and attract the players’ attention as they passed – by climbing double-decker buses or jumping off to walk and greet fans.
Mong’s group waited in the crush of people at 19th Street and Grand Boulevard, just in front of the Reactor Design Studio owned by family friend Clifton Alexander.
The missing skeleton belonged to him.
“He had it in the studio and so my dad grabbed it the night before and knew it was going to be part of our parade of shenanigans!” Mong told The Star on Thursday.
“The players loved the skeleton. We told them it was the skeleton of all the quarterbacks Mahomes buried en route to the Super Bowl.”
Smith-Marsette, drawn like his teammates by the strange sight of a skeleton in the crowd, walked over to see it. But he didn’t just watch.
“Ihmir told us he would bring it back, but he never had the chance,” he said.
He tweeted a video of the exchange that followed.
“Will you bring him back?” she asked him.
“Yes, we will bring it back!” he said.
Smith-Marsette ran away, holding the skeleton in the air as if it were the Lombardi Trophy.
“Didn’t bring it back,” Mong tweeted.
He tagged Smith-Marsette and asked, “Where’s my skeleton??”
He replied on Twitter: “He’s still somewhere celebrating the parade, he’s probably dead from all the holidays.”
Alexander also enlisted Twitter investigators. At first he didn’t recognize the departed player, a common observation among Wednesday fans who didn’t recognize many Chiefs without their jerseys.
“Hey Twitter, who is this @Chief? I have to reach out and see what happened to our skeleton. He borrowed the skeleton but he forgot to bring it back,” Alexander tweeted.
“We are not angry, it was funny to see him running down the street with the skeleton. I was just wondering what happened to him.
Smith-Marsette retweeted a photo someone posted of him running along Grand with the skeleton. “The funniest photo I received today but I don’t know I was kt but I’ll take it,” wrote the Chiefs player, suggesting the fan traded him for teammate Kadarius Toney.
The skeleton wasn’t the only thing lost in the frenzy of celebration, where fans pushed shirts and balls and other things for players to sign along the way.
After the parade, a mom launched a desperate social media search for her 12-year-old son’s signed Chiefs football. She wanted it signed, but instead some players threw it around and the ball disappeared into the crowd, never to be seen again.
The skeleton must have enjoyed his adventure.
Mong saw a video of a JuJu Smith-Schuster wide receiver “really wanting the skeleton on the bus, and there were a lot of videos of players with the skeleton on the buses,” he said.
By Thursday afternoon, Mong’s video of the playful robbery had been viewed nearly 17,000 times. He solved the mystery for a Chiefs fan: “Oh my god I was wondering where the skeleton came from / why they got it,” the person wrote.
Someone else tweeted to the Chiefs on his behalf, writing, “I think a fan has something to pick and choose.”
Make it a funny bone. The star caught up with Mong and her spirited dad at the 2020 Super Bowl parade, packed in much colder weather Wednesday, happily rooting for their team.
On Thursday, Mong tried to work out a deal between Smith and Marsette, tweeting, “I’ll grab the Prada glasses or a boss shirt and call it even.”
He’s also set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise $100, somewhat in jest, calling it “Missing Chiefs Skeleton.” One person quickly donated his entire $100 goal, then increased it to $200.
“Our leader’s parade skeleton was suddenly taken from us, he was promised to be brought back but is still missing,” he wrote. “Help us raise money for his memorial service or get him a new one, even if he’s irreplaceable.
“Anything helps, if you can’t donate contact @_ihmirr_ on Twitter and see what he can do as he is the person in the picture who promised the safe return of our dear skeleton.”
The Star’s skeleton crew will be keeping an eye out for updates.
The skeleton, before the abduction.