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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

Deceased Mayor Blue
will be New Year's Eve drop

by
Wilma Whipstittle
Staff Writer/Photographer
Town Council has decided that one of Stray Lake's alternating mayors, Blue the dead dog, will be dropped at midnight in the town square to commemorate the passing of the old year.

"I guess we'll also be commemorating Blue," said alternating mayor Leroy Wertzbrimmmer. "We never did get around to holding a service for him."

"We held a wake," pointed out Third District Councilperson Paul Boxtuttler.

"You brought his name up during a post-council drinking session," said Tipple Time waitress and alternating mayor Dorothea Deluney as she passed with a tray of drinks.

"It's the thought that counts," said Paul.

"Well I think we'd better be sure Blue doesn't get dropped too hard," mused Lou the bartender. "He might break, being held in the freezer as he is. Then again, if it's a warm evening, he might thaw, and that ..."

"It'll still be better than last year," said Dorothea.

"I resent that," said Tipple Time chef Juan de Fuca. "How did I know that one dead buzzard was going to attract a flock of live ones?"

"All I remember is the panic when the militia started shooting at the things," said Doc Pandemic.

"It's easy to second guess," said Stray Lake Unregulated Volunteer Militia Commandant Droling Mudbinder (Lt. Gen, Ret.). "But I was in charge of security, so the buck stops with me."

"I must have missed the deer," said chef Juan.

"Ignoring that, I just wish the buzzards had not taken flight," said Dorothea. "I can still remember the panic when they began to ..."

"But the town saved a bundle on fertilizer for the grass in the square last spring," said the Gen.

"And then there is the trauma the little children suffered when buzzards started dropping from the sky onto them," noted Dorothea.

"Well what were those kiddies doing awake at that time of night, anyway?" said the Gen.

"They'd come to see the militia's reenactment of Washington Crossing the Delaware, remember?" said Doc.

"That seemed like a good idea, too," said the Gen. "But who knew the water in the fountain was frozen. I mean, you can expect a few accidental discharges when a difficult winter river crossing is in the works."

"What are you going to reenact this year?" wondered Lou.

"The battle of Fallen Timbers," said the Gen. "We were going to do the Siege of Stalingrad, but then the Christmas tree in the square fell down and ... on the other hand, we might just fire a dignified volley or two in honor of Blue."

"Just be sure to point your guns away from him," said Dorothea. "Otherwise ... would the militia shooting a frozen dog be qualified as a coup?"

Lou shook his head and asked sewer plant chief engineer Gilhooley Grammartripe, "How are you going to drop Blue?"

"I'm going to get the fire department to hoist me in their bucket to the top of Colonel Richardson's statue," explained Gilhooley.

"And?" said Lou.

"And drop him."

Dorothea picked a drink off the tray she was carrying, downed it, and said, "Of course."

"Well," said Doc, "if he's still frozen and breaks, we can probably find most of the parts and glue them back together. And if he's thawed ... Randy, do you suppose you could have your fire people standing by with their net?"

"No can do," said Fire Chief Randy Mossbreath. "We lost the net last summer when we were trying to catch the main course for the annual department fish fry."

"That's why it was cancelled, huh?" said Lou.

"No, we caught enough fish before we lost the net," said Randy. "We just forgot to refrigerate them."

"I do that sometimes with my buzzard wings," said chef Juan.

"Thank you," said Doc. "It's good for business."

"Will there be entertainment?" wondered Lou.

"What more could you want?" asked Dorothea.

"I could sing," offered Paul's second wife, Ernina.

"Maybe you could go up in the bucket with Gilhooley and do 'Auld Lang Syne.' That ought to disperse the crowd," said Dorothea.

"I wouldn't get in a bucket with Gilhooley ..."

"Might be the safest place on the square if the militia can find anything but blanks to load with," said Dorothea.

"If Ernina goes, I go," said Paul.

"And if he goes, I go," said Leroy. "He can't get more crowd exposure than one of the mayors.

"I want to go, too," said Juan. "I'm an alternating mayor, I think."

"Therefore, you are," said Dorothea. "How big is that bucket, Randy?"

"Listen, maybe we just ought to haul Blue up the flagpole and let him slowly down," suggested Lou.

"If it's warm, those buzzards will be back," warned Doc. "I'm sure the militia didn't do them that much damage last year."

"How about if we just get one of those gizmos they use to throw clay pigeons, for skeet shooting, and toss him with that?" suggested Dorothea as she downed another drink.

"I'll bet those things would work for buzzards, too," said chef Juan.

"I'm going to have to call the state office and request more ammo," said the Gen.

"I'll need more bandages," said Doc.

Lou shook his head and said, "I'd better call my wholesalers."

"Good thinking," said Dorothea as she took another glass from her tray.




"The Tap Dancing Pig"

The Tap Dancing Pig
Yes, the pig dances in these laugh-out-loud stories, but he really wants to direct. There is also a cattle drive to make John Wayne cringe, a giant shrimp with an endless thirst, and a lighthouse keeper who has so many personalities he can't keep track of which one he's having a conversation with. Gleaned from over 20 years of humor columns, these 35 stories (and a couple of bonuses at the end) will keep you in good spirits. So settle back as the Lincolns and Grants play poker at the White House, Teddy Roosevelt hits himself with a big stick, and anarchists refuse to reset their clocks. Oh yes, there's a detective on the trail of the Fat Man, just so the suspense won't sneak up on you (the laughs will be out in the open). Read these tales one a day or gulp them in a sitting, it's your limit of laughter that sets the agenda. Available at the Amazon Kindle Store for $2.99, free download for

The Tap Dancing Pig


"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

Newly Holcomb's New Year's Eve party has been postponed for a week, after Newly ran off with an Uber driver from Loomisville.

"Either that, or he enlisted in the Foreign Legion," explained Newly's wife, Culberta. "He threatened to do that every time I made chicken and noodle casserole."

Culberta said she will be hosting the tardy New Year's bash at the Tipple Time.

"I've arranged to rent the deck overlooking the sewage lagoon and Chef Juan will be supplying the hors d'oeuvres. I'll bring chips and chicken casserole. And Harve Johnson, with whom I've been carrying on a torrid affair for some years. Come to think of it, that might have contributed to Newly's departure."








It's always time at the Tipple Time

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Copyright 1996 - 2015, 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.