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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

April Fools' Day rumor
sends overflow crowds to ER

Wilma Whipstittle
Staff Writer/Photographer
An April Fools' Day rumor that the Tipple Time will go out of business has induced panic in Stray Lake and sent distraught crowds to the emergency room at Maid of Mercy Recuperation Clinic.

"I haven't handed out so many tranquilizers since May Sheets threatened to publish her diary of flagrant and numerous indiscretions," said Doc Pandemic. "In fact, we ran out of tranquilizers before lunch and I've been pouring people double shots since then."

The source of the rumor is hard to pin down, but the Gruntlick twins have not been seen since the false foreboding first surfaced, and more importantly have been noticeably absent from Maid of Mercy.

"They'd normally have been first in line for the pills or the booze, probably both," noted Doc. "I was just thinking the other day that they've been awfully well-behaved since they last went over the wall at the state asylum. I need a drink myself on that thought."

At the Tipple Time, Lou the bartender said he has been doing almost nothing but answering the phone to deny the ugly rumor.

"We're not even thinking about closing," said Lou. "How could we? The Tipple Time is to Stray Lake what the White House and the Capitol are to this country ... Oh gee, this whole thing has really unnerved me. I didn't mean to insult Stray Lake."

Chef Juan de Fuca poked his head from the kitchen and shouted, "Lou, what am I going to do with all these frozen buzzard parts when we close? Well, most of them are buzzards. It's hard to tell sometimes when you pick them up off ..."

"Juan, we are not closing," said Lou.

"That's not what I heard," said Juan. "Bobby Gruntlick told me ..."

"I guess 'Anatomy of a Rumor' will be a good title for my memoirs," mused Lou.

"Oh my God, you're not going to publish anything like that," said Doc as he strolled up to the bar. "I'm sending overflow from Maid of Mercy to Loomisville and other points right now. Your published memoir would induce medical problems enough to make the Obamacare startup look like a smooth operation. Please, don't bring the country to its knees. At least, not before I retire."

As Lou assured Doc he was not going to publish anything, waitress Dorothea Deluney deposited a tray of empty glasses on the bar and asked, "So Lou, how much severance pay am I going to get? Is there a platinum parachute in my future?"

Mayor Leroy Wertzbrimmer strolled in at this point and noted, "Dorothea, I suspect the only parachutes in your future might happen if you take skydiving lessons or visit Fort Bragg. And Lou, will you consider keeping your doors open if I declare the Tipple Time a National Birthmark?"

"Do you perhaps mean National Landmark?" said Dorothea. "Or have you had a look at the unpublished May Sheets diary?"

"One or the other," said Lou, "we are not closing. But if you want to do something positive for business, how about paying the town council's bar tab?"

"Unfortunately, we have re-channeled those funds for a summer retreat to the gambling casino in Loomisville," advised Leroy. "But what I can do is loan you my reelection van to broadcast the joyful news of your un-closing throughout the streets of our fair city."

"How about if we round up the Gruntlick twins and use the van to take them back to the state asylum for a couple of weeks?" said Doc.

"Give them half an hour," said sewer plant chief engineer Gilhooley Grammartripe. "They're sunbathing by the sewage lagoon."

"Oh, no," said Leroy. "My van is not insured against eau de sewage lagoon corrosion."

"In that case, Lou, send another six or eight cases of high-test over to the clinic," said Doc. "I suspect the panic will go into the evening before people see your sign is still alight and calm down."

"Juan, did you remember to pay the electric bill?" asked Lou.

"Just load a truck and keep it coming," said Doc as he downed his drink and strolled off.

"And send out for ice," said Juan, "or I'll have to dump what's in the freezer into the lagoon when the electric goes off."

"Oh jeez," said Gilhooley, "I'm not sure the plant can take that kind of overload. The lagoon will overflow into the lake, the lake will start to boil out onto the bypass ..."

"Anatomy of a Lot of Rumors," mused Lou as he poured himself a triple.

(Editor's note: Our readers may be aware of rumors concerning an atomic bomb buried deep in the mud beneath beautiful Stray Lake, the result of an accidental ejection of said bomb during a training flight in the Cold War period [our side, not theirs]. This is not a rumor, since we have confirmed the bomb is there, and it is certainly not an April Fools' prank, so we do not consider it newsworthy.)

Stray Lake

The barn raising at Bert Finster's place was a great success, despite the fact the barn fell in on itself the next morning. Bert says the building was insured and he had not yet herded his cows into the thing, largely because he has no cows; he sold them 12 years ago and became a gentleman farmer. Bert thinks that he will have to find another web site for Internet plans for his next project, which will be a windmill to take himself off the power grid. Bert's wife, Harriet, says she only hopes Bert does not take himself so far off the grid no one will be able to plug him in again.

The Stray Lake U Scum Beasts have a 3-0 record on the diamond. "We won them all by forfeit," explained baseball coach Scratcher Ellington. "We scheduled the games and didn't tell the other teams about it. I think we could have the first undefeated season in Stray Lake U baseball history if we hadn't had to actually schedule some teams from our new conference, the League of Women Voters, and then let them know about it. Bumbles Hatrack, the school's lawyer, kept mumbling about defamation or some such. It's awfully hard to understand him, even when he's sober. Anyway, most of those teams wrote us nasty letters and said they would show up with picket signs if we actually took the field for a game. You suppose those girls can hit anything with the signs they carry? Besides cops, I mean? If they can, our pitching staff is in trouble."

"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 romance of intrigue and spice, 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 Stray Lake Committee for the Betterment of Alvin Gotshoe will be accepting donations in the parking lot of the Tipple Time next week. If people are generous, Alvin might be able to stand a round for the house in addition to buying his own. Before you get too generous, though, we might mention that Lou the bartender says he will stand a round for the house if Alvin actually pays for even one drink, just on the novelty of the thing.

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.