Left unanswered--although several tweeted the question to Heitner--was why it met "the quality of his work" for 48 hours, and only fell short of his lofty standards once Gov. Martin pulled out the story's guts, sat them on Heitner's front porch, and lit them on fire. This led to the incredibly satisfying image of Gov. Martin standing back with a thin smile, admiring his handiwork, and taking a long swig of Cheerwine while finishing off the last bite of his Bojangle's biscuit.
In theory, Heitner probably thought deleting the story would reduce the attention it received. In reality, it may have had the reverse effect. Readers correctly noted that instead of a retraction, the story simply disappeared--poof!--as if it had never been there. In the words of one Tar Heel wordsmith, that move seemed a little, well, "wussified."