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The Stray Lake Signal-Gazette
"We print all the news that's fit for Stray Lake to know."
Horace Gumblat, editor emeritus
Beautiful Stray Lake

Mayoral race headed for 3-way runoff
as write-in candidate clutters field

Wilma Whipstittle
Staff Writer/Photographer
With no one, dead or alive, taking a majority of the votes for Mayor of Stray Lake a runoff election on Dec. 2 will decide the winner. Or not.

Joining the two announced candidates - incumbent alternating mayors Leroy Wertzbrimmer and Blue the dead dog - will be Tipple Time chef Juan de Fuca, a late-to-emerge write in choice. Chef Juan's surge at the polls sets up an unprecedented three-way runoff.

"Well, the law says the top two candidates have a runoff if no one gets a clear majority," explained Stray County Election Board Chairperson Dwight Flukehandle. "But all three candidates received exactly the same number of votes, so what are you gonna do?"

"Bury one of them?" suggested Leroy. "Maybe the dead dog?"

"Fair is fair," said Dwight. "You each got one vote, so you each get to run again."

"That's kind of a low turnout, even for Stray Lake," said Lou the bartender as he straightened the TV behind the bar. "I wonder who voted? Other than Leroy, I mean. I don't think Juan has enough sense to vote for himself ..."

"I promise, I didn't," said Juan. "Being mayor would probably cook my goose. Oh! I made a joke."

"That's a matter of opinion," said Leroy. "What I want to know is, who voted for Blue? I sent his owner, Ralph Gumstock, and Ralph's paramour, Lucrecia Borgia, to a paid vacation at the gambling casino in Loomisville, and Miss Matilda ..."

"There you are!" said Miss Matilda Chucker as she came through the door. "Brad Pitt was nowhere near Brakethwait Corners. I waited all through election day for him. Now let me insert my trusty sidearm into your nostril ... there we go ... and tell you that if you intend to keep using this particular body part Brad better show for my birthday party next week."

"He'll be there," Leroy assured her, nasally. "But who voted for Blue?"

Waitress Dorothea Deluney set down a tray of drinks, tossed one off, and said, "That would be me."

"You?" said Leroy.

"Blue always licked my feet," explained Dorothea.

"He peed on mine," said Leroy.

"That's another reason I voted for him," explained Dorothea.

"Well then who voted for Juan?" said Leroy.

"That would also be me," said Dorothea, tossing off another drink. "Maybe if we put him in the mayor's chair this place will stop smelling like dead buzzards."

"I love the smell of dead buzzards in the morning," said Juan.

"But that's fraud!" said Leroy. "Election fraud."

"No, it's more like rotting ..."

"Shut up, Juan," counseled Dorothea. "And it is no such a thing as fraud, because I voted the second time under an assumed name."

"Aha!" said election chair Dwight. "I wondered how Marie Antoinette had managed to register."

"This is an ... Miss Matilda, could you take that pistol out of my nostril?" said Leroy.

"Sure. You sound even more irritating with it up there."

" outrage! Ouch! Your gun sight just took off a chunk of my nose!"

"Don't worry," said Miss Matilda, "there's still enough to work with if Brad doesn't show."

"Dwight, what are you going to do about this?" demanded Leroy.

"What can I do?" asked Dwight. "She was registered. She had a picture ID, lovely oil painting. You look rather fetching in that old-fashioned sort of costume, Dorothea."

"Thanks," said Dorothea. "You kind of stood out in your Uncle Sam outfit yourself."

"What are you doing after work?" said Dwight.

"Something that doesn't involve you," said Dorothea.

"I'll call the state elections board," fumed Leroy.

"Tell Uncle Walt I said hey," said Dwight.

"Oh yeah, I forgot how you got your job here," said Leroy. "Well then, I'll file a complaint with the federal courts. Is Bumbles here?"

Attorney Bumbles Hatrack looked up from his crossword puzzle and said, "I'll check around ... oh yeah, that's me. Someone want to sue somebody?"

"I want to sue the county elections board, the state, the feds, and the United Nations!" said Leroy. "How can a dead dog and a buzzard-basting chef be on a ballot?"

"Oh, sorry, I'm already representing the dead dog," said Bumbles. "And Miss Matilda made me promise I would not represent any other side of the dispute at the same time. See where this big chunk of my nose used to be?"

"Looks like we're headed for a runoff," said Dwight. "I just hope it doesn't get ugly."

"Uglier," said Lou.

"You want ugly, check back if Brad doesn't show," said Miss Matilda.

"Well I guess I'll have to put another plank in my platform," said Leroy. "One to cover Juan."

"Plank?" said Juan. "Cover me? I'm not dead."

"That's a handicap in this race," admitted Lou. "But with Miss Matilda on the loose, you still might get something going for you there."

"Did I miss something?" said Doc Pandemic as he strolled into the Tipple Time on a break from his rounds at Maid of Mercy Recuperation Clinic.

"The mayor's race ended in a three-way tie," said Lou. "Blue, Leroy, and Juan are in a runoff."

"Oh, gee, the candidate I wrote in didn't win," said Doc. "But I'm still glad I voted. I mailed my absentee ballot before I went to the plantar wart seminar in Loomisville last week."

"Absentee ballot!" said Dwight. "I knew there was something I forgot. I'll have to open that first thing in the morning."

"Looks like we're in for a four-way," said Lou.

Stray Lake

The Stray County Public Library has announced it will initiate public whippings for patrons who fail to return overdue books. "People are just abusing the system," said library assistant shelver Dewey Malone. "People keep books for five, six days after they should be returned. If you can't read a book in the time allotted for you to keep it, you should cut down on your other activities and get your nose into some literature. And if you don't get it back on time, I have a cat 'o nines waiting for you. By God, we'll show people what happens when they don't return books!"

Stray Lake health inspector Bernice Contagium says she has just given the lowest score of her career to the Paul Burney Roach Farm and Walk-in Teeth-Cleaning Clinic. "This was not a good idea to begin with," said Bernice. "And the voluntary confinement for the roaches when the teeth clinic is open only compounded it. I really think a limited nuclear strike is about the only solution to this mess."

Bailey Biffle acknowledges that some of the pizzas delivered from his restaurant last week may have had dog hair strewn upon them. "Some of the dogs we keep in the puppy mill out back got loose and started to romp around in the kitchen," Bailey said. "Then one of our delivery people got overrun by a dog fight, and by the time she picked up what was left of the pizza from the ground, blew the hair off of it, and sort of parceled it out box for box so no one would feel shorted ... heck, what can you expect? But don't worry, we are offering a two for one coupon on the same deal as soon as we get the puppies corralled."

The Ladies Guild reenactment of the Battle of Trafalgar has been postponed until the ladies sober up from drinking the keg of rum Lord Nelson's body was to be pickled in.

Jersey City, NJ has politely declined Stray Lake's request to join a bond as sister cities. The New Jersey folks said they already have enough trouble, thanks.

The Julius Fencher Chorus has disrobed. No wait, disbanded. Oh hell, maybe both.

Sylvia Smith has traced her ancestry back to George Washington. He had her great-great-grandfather shot for desertion. "I've always wanted to visit Mount Vernon," allowed Sylvia. "And now I have a reason to trash the place while I'm there."

"It's okay, the reindeer are driving"

It's okay, the reindeer are driving
Holiday humor and more: Santa is stuck in the chimney, hitting the rum cookies, or jumping from an airplane. Bobby Lee parties, claim jumpers can't shoot straight, and two rats own a cheese factory. These short reads are guaranteed to give you a belly laugh, for $0.99 (that's ninety-nine cents for the numerically challenged).

It's okay, the reindeer are driving

"At Love's Crest"

At Love's Crest

A steamy romance, with twists and turns of menace and intrigue, set against the backdrop of a threatening flood. Can Allyson trust the man she has fallen in love with so suddenly? Is he part of the danger that threatens her, or the one who can save her from it? The waters rise and Allyson must decide, as her wild desires beat against the walls she has built around her once-shattered heart. This sort of thing will run you a little more, $2.99 to be factual about it; but then it's a lot longer.

At Love's Crest

Coming Events

The Harmon Settles Drive-Through Package Outlet is giving away a pumpkin with each purchase until the orange globes are gone. "We thought we could sell the things for Halloween," said Monty Harmon. "But I guess people who come in for a case of beer or a gallon of gin aren't figuring on carving pumpkins when they get home. Don't the underage kids who come through here have any respect for traditions? Anyway, if you buy something from us you're taking a pumpkin home with you, even if we have to glue it to your hood before you drive away."
It's always time at the Tipple Time

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Copyright 1996 - 2014, Robert A. Markwalter

Any resemblance to any person or persons in this material should give same strong impetus to seek medical help and, coincidentally,
is coincidental, unintended, accidental, and all those other disclaimers people make when they shove knives into your back.