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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

High wire artist, motorcycle daredevil,
wing walker converge over sewage lagoon

Wilma Whipstittle
Staff Writer/Photographer
"It could have been worse, because if the skydiver hadn't drifted off course all four of them would have ended up on the wing and I don't think that old biplane could have stood the strain," concluded Stray Lake sewer plant chief engineer Gilhooley Grammartripe from the bar of the Tipple Time as he reviewed last week's mid-air menage.

"Well, the pilot tried to land on the lagoon as it was," noted Doc Pandemic. "No telling how long it would have taken those floats to dissolve if Miss Matilda Chucker hadn't spotted the whole bunch as she passed on her way to the library, yelled 'Remember the Maine,' started blasting away with that pistol she carries, and scared him off."

"She scared twenty years off the life of that jumper when she began to make Swiss cheese of his parachute," chimed in Howard Elkus. "And he sure made a mess when he veered off course. About the only thing that useless scaffolding the Hammer Slammers Handyman's Club erected around the fountain and statue of Col. Richardson on the square is good for now is kindling."

"It's a wonder they all didn't end up at the clinic," said Doc.

"Especially when that airplane driver started blasting away with the machine gun that shoots through the propeller," noted Lou the bartender. "It's amazing that weapon still works after all the years since that plane was built."

"It may fire, but it isn't exactly synchronized," noted county sheriff Legible Thomas. "That plane glided to a landing out on the bypass around the lagoon with its propeller blasted away. I ought to know, because I wrote the ticket for illegal parking and several other violations."

"Is that federal aviation fellow still in town?" asked Howard.

"He's in the back booth with the pilot, the chutist, the wing walker, the wire walker, and the motorcycle guy," said Lou.

"They're on speaking terms?" said Howard.

"I had to wire the wing walker's jaw shut after Lej sorted out the brawl on the bypass," said Doc. "But the rest of them can talk. Speaking terms is another matter."

"Doc," said waitress Dorthea Deluney, "I think you ought to have a look at that federal fellow in the back booth. I believe he has a terminal case of laughter. He hasn't stopped since that bunch started trying to explain what happened and now he's just kind of limp, propped up between the pilot and the wing walker. And when the wing walker starts to use his hands to make a point, the fed guy sort of flops around like a rag doll."

"Lou, set him up with a triple," said Doc. "He needs to stay loose. Let me know if he starts to turn blue, Dorothea, and I'll ventilate him."

"Don't say 'ventilate,' Miss Matilda might be passing," warned Lou.

"Well, I suppose I'm going to have to rethink the entertainment for the Mutant Firefly Festival," moaned Gilhooley. "That cable over the lagoon corroded through and broke just after the walker got swept onto the wing of the biplane, the daredevil rider didn't gain near the height he needed to actually clear the lagoon, and the skydiver swears he will never again set foot in Stray County if he ever gets out of here."

"This was just the dry run?" said Doc. "Oh, then please don't try it again. At least not until we can expand the clinic or it's time for me to take a vacation."

Just then Lt. General (Ret.) Droling Mudbinder walked up to the bar brandishing the pistol his grandfather reportedly used to wound Teddy Roosevelt in the buttocks at San Juan Hill and said, "We have reports of fifth column saboteurs parachuting into Stray Lake. The Unregulated Volunteer Militia has set up a perimeter, secured strong points, and bivouacked in the town square, where we found ample firewood."

"Have you notified the President?" asked Lou.

"No, but I'll get a wire off to T.R. as soon as it's safe to go back into the parking lot," said the general. "Miss Matilda should run out of ammunition before dark."

"Lou," called chef Juan DeFuca from the kitchen, "I think I just heard a buzzard hit the deck overlooking the sewage lagoon. Make the special two for one tonight."

"Right," said Lou, as several thuds resounded from the deck.

"Make it an all-you-can-eat night," called Juan.

"Say, maybe I could teach the buzzards to do formation flying for the festival," said Gilhooley.

"Or maybe you could organize a buffalo stampede," suggested Doc.

"I don't do buffalo wings," Juan called. "Buzzards, just buzzards."

"Doc, the federal guy heard that and he's starting to foam at the mouth," said Dorothea.

"I'm an M.D., not a vet," said Doc. "Howard Rinaldo is the vet."

"I am?" said Howard. "Oh yeah, I forget after four drinks."

"If only I could," said Lou.

Stray Lake

Lommel Lounder's plan to open an ant ranch in his back yard has drawn heated criticism from his neighbors.

The busload of gambling tourists on their way to the casino in Loomisville who were arrested last week for inquiring where they could drop their pants were quickly released after town marshal Carmella Casey determined they were looking for a dry cleaner. Carmella said she referred the pants-dropping enquirers to the Jules Bender Hand and Gerbil-powered Laundry and Illegal Gaming Room, "where Jules dry-cleaned their trousers while they lost a great deal of money in their skivvies." (Editor's note: We just report what people say, and the only interest we personally have in other folks' skivvies is what color they might be.)

Pharley Hill's commemorative painting of the Tipple Time will be unveiled at the library as soon as Pharley sobers up enough to finish it.

Gladys Ormphone urges her family, friends, and neighbors to have patience with her. The cabbage-throwing phase will give way to something more conventional, if not as nutritious, sometime in the near or far-distant future.

"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 Candle Creek Church of the Freewheeling Apostles will hold its annual Blessing of the Manure and Fertilizer Sale a week from Tuesday. Manure blessing candidates must bring a sample of their offerings to be inspected by the Rev. Haskall at least one day before the event, so he has time to shower and wash his sacred robes.

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.