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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

Tipple Time begins buzzard delivery flights

Wilma Whipstittle
Staff Writer/Photographer
Buzzards will soon be carrying delivery orders to Tipple Time patrons in Stray Lake, according to Lou the bartender.

"We've been experimenting with this for several months," said Lou, "and should have the bugs worked out shortly. That's a figure of speech, of course, but we do spray our buzzards thoroughly before we load them for takeoff."

Lou said the new program will speed delivery and cut costs.

"We've had Timmy Martin carrying stuff on his scooter," explained Lou, "but he can only deliver when he's not in school, and his bedtime is eight o'clock, so that cuts the service way down. The buzzards don't go to school. Flying in the dark ... well, that's one of those bugs."

"I guess that would explain why the buzzard that hit my windshield in the parking lot last night left a film of French fries and what looked to be the remnants of a daiquiri, in addition to feathers and other avian remains," said Doc Pandemic, who had stopped in for a quick one between rounds at Maid of Mercy Recuperation Clinic.

"Did I mention we have a special tonight on Chef Juan de Fuca's signature buzzard wings?" said Lou.

"I suppose recycled delivery buzzards are the part of this new service that cuts costs?" said Doc.

"Only partially, for it is time-consuming to train the buzzards to fly to where they are supposed to make a delivery," said Lou. "In fact, we have found it impossible to explain fully to them, so in our pilot program we have laid rotting dead things on the doorsteps of the delivery destinations."

"And that would explain the increase in the general odor hovering over our fair community," said Doc.

"Not entirely," observed Lou, "for we find that lots of places that have not called for delivery have rotting dead things on their doorsteps. Just last night, for example, one of our birds delivered four cases of beer and seventeen pounds of signature buzzard wings to the Candle Creek Church of the Freewheeling Apostles, who had not ordered such. Seems they have taken up ritual animal sacrifice again, and they also sacrificed the delivery before we could get it back."

"Out of curiosity, who was purposely going to take a chance on seventeen pounds of Juan's wings?" asked Doc.

"The town council," said Lou. "They were holding their annual planning retreat and Road Runner cartoon festival in the back room at Elkus's Hardware. But they moved it here when the buzzard didn't show. They're in our back room studying the cartoons for inspiration."

"And another thing, don't the buzzards have scruples about delivering buzzard wings?"

"Nope," said Lou. "Our problem there is that they want to eat the wings before they make the delivery. But we think we have that taken care of."

"Clamping their beaks shut before takeoff?" said Doc.

"That would be inhumane," said Lou. "We will implant our birds with microchips that can administer a stiff shock when one wants to eat a delivery or make a stop at the wrong rotting dead thing. We will set up a game room here and charge patrons for controlling the flights, like piloting eavesdropping drones. In fact, we sent out our first bird so-equipped just before you came in."

Howard Elkus came through the door and said, "Lou, one of your buzzards just crash-landed in the parking lot and it is not a pretty sight. Who ordered wings-stroganoff with champagne, why did the bird swoop down upon Miss Matilda Chucker as she was passing on her way to the library, where has she been taking target practice so she could actually hit something she was aiming at, who is going to pay for the damage the champagne did to the paint on my truck, and Doc, is there an open bed at Maid of Mercy?"

"Is Miss Matilda injured?" said Doc.

"Just the buzzard," said Howard, "and it looks a goner. But I thought I might check myself in for a rest until Lou gets over this bird delivery idea."

"Juan!" Lou called. "We're going to run the special on buzzard wings through tomorrow."

Did you spring forward?

Stray County is now on fast time. If you have not set your clocks ahead by an hour you are showing up late for everything. Or is it early? Come to think of it, if you think you're showing up on time you are probably late or early or both and everyone else has already been there and gone home or will be there in an hour, by which time you will have gone home, so why the hell did anyone call this meeting in the first place?

Stray Lake

The Stray County Unregulated Volunteer Militia will meet next Wednesday to clean their weapons. Residents are advised to remain in their basements between 4 and 6 p.m. Sheriff Legible Thomas urges that people who have to be out on the streets wear paper shooting targets over their clothing because, "Those militia volunteers never hit anything they're aiming at. But don't wear one of those targets that look like a deer. They're liable to run over you with that '49 Chevy pickup they spray painted gray and call their half-track."

The Hammer Slammers Handyman Club will temporarily dismantle its scaffold around the fountain and statue of Col. Richardson in the town square so the Stray Lake Society for Partying on Any Pretense can dye the fountain green for St. Patrick's Day. "We just don't want green dye on the scaffold," one of the Hammer Slammers said off-record. "We want to wait for the mold."

"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 Orpheum Society will present its spring sunrise concert at 8:00 p.m. on March 19 at the Tipple Time. "We know spring officially begins on the twentieth," society chairperson Gremal Furthermore admitted, "but we won't be awake by dawn, probably closer to noon in fact, let alone able to sing or play musical instruments."

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.