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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

Melon handling safer than snakes,
but cleaves congregation

Wilma Whipstittle
Staff Writer/Photographer
"We figured it was a lot safer than snake-handling," said the Rev. Haskall as he downed a soothing libation at the Tipple Time while recalling last week's melon-handling service at the Candle Creek Church of the Freewheeling Apostles. "But then Phoebe Forecastle held her cantaloupe up above her head and started to speak in tongues, and Dottie Keppler interpreted Phoebe's tongues to mean, 'My melons are bigger than yours,' and that's when the melons hit the fans."

"Those stick and cardboard funeral home fans in the backs of the pews?" asked Lou the bartender as he poured the Rev. another.

"No," said the Rev., "this service was outdoors, and a good thing too, because cleaning up the church would have taken weeks. Although the good news is that my suit was also weeks overdue for a cleaning."

"Every cloud has a silver lining," agreed Lou.

"The clouds that hung over Candle Creek on the day under discussion are probably still lined with melon bits and pieces," said the Rev. "After Dottie yelled, 'Like hell yours are bigger,' and smashed her watermelon over Phoebe's head, Phoebe threw her 'lope at Dottie. But Dottie ducked and Ellington Hilker took it square in the side of the head. Of course, he didn't notice, since he has that steel plate there from when he ..."

"Let's not revisit that," urged Lou.

"Anyway," continued the Rev., "Phoebe's melon was particularly ripe, and its remains pretty well covered the entire Bagwell clan, who - despite my weekly reminders - have never been ones to turn the other cheek. Or the other melon, and that's when things really ..."

"Lou!" shouted chef Juan de Fuca from the kitchen, "The buzzard wings special today will include ripe melon balls with most of the dirt picked off of them."

"I believe I will stick with the bar nuts," said the Rev. "Our melon-handling service did not include a baptism and I doubt too many in attendance had been nearer water than cutting their whiskey with it in some time. Let's see, our last immersion was when Gottlieb Henry drifted off downstream. Has his wife heard from him since then?"

"Nope," replied Stray County Sheriff Legible Thomas as he strolled in for his afternoon patrol refresher. "I asked her last week if she wanted to file a missing person report, but she allowed she wasn't really missing him. She promised to get back to me if the itinerant farmhand she hired - the one who looks like that movie star - ever hears from his wife and moves on, but she cautioned me not to get encouraged. And Rev., it doesn't look like anyone is going to sue anyone else over that melon toss you had, because I have not been asked to serve any subpoenas."

"So what will you handle next?" asked Lou.

"The splintering in my congregation," said the Rev. "We now have a 'lope faction that wants to excommunicate the watermelon faction, and vice versa. Then there is a Catawba faction, which is growing daily, and a honeydew contingent which is demanding that the scriptures be interpreted in their way of seeing things, and a bunch that thinks hybridized seedless melons are contrary to the Good Book, and I half expect someone to nail thirty or forty theses to the church door any day."

"I nailed my thesis to the keg at my graduation party," noted Stray Lake U biology professor Darnell Amphib. "Then I pulled out the nail and put my mouth up to the hole in the keg. I don't recall much after that."

"I guess I'll take my blessings where I find them" said the Rev.

"I have always said that myself," agreed Darnell. "And just today a lady hired me to develop a genetically-engineered giant grapefruit that can be rolled down a hill to destroy church buildings of the dimensions such as yours on Candle Creek. What a coincidence."

"Like hell," said the Rev. "Julia Hartgrab at the Loomisville Church of the Citrus Fruits is behind this. Darnell, how much cash would it take to forget the grapefruit and develop a giant hockey puck?"

"Hockey puck?" said Lou.

"Our denomination has always favored watching sports on Sunday instead of going to church," explained the Rev.

"So, you're planning to have a service to handle hockey pucks?" asked Lou.

"Marshmallows, Darnell, I meant marshmallows," said the Rev.

"Thank God," said chef Juan. "I always wanted to roast a buzzard with a marshmallow in its mouth, but I could never find one big enough."

"I could engineer you a miniature buzzard," offered Darnell.

"Nah," said Juan. "The small ones dry out in the oven.

Stray Lake

The Hammerslammers Handyman Club will re-erect the flimsy scaffolding around the statue of Col. Richardson in the fountain on the square. Stray Lake Town Marshall Carmella Casey says the damage seems to have been caused by buffalo fleeing Yellowstone National Park in advance of a gigantic volcanic eruption that will destroy civilization as we know it. Stray Lake Alternating Mayor Leroy Wertzbrimmer says the town will sue Buffalo and anyone else in New York who seems to have a hand in the situation, immediately after the eruption.

Doc Pandemic is offering a two-for-one special on flu shots with the vaccine he has left from last fall.

Pagane Hulsworth III has announced plans to take off all his clothes in his front yard.

The fourth installment of Charley Dellman's six-volume autobiography, "Dellman: the Flatulence Years, Illustrated," will go on sale this week at the Tipple Time. Copies will be kept behind the bar in plain brown wrappers, and will probably ring up the same dismal sales the first three installments jetted to.

"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 all-lemming version of "The Last Days of Pompeii, the Musical" will debut next Friday on the Meyer Wolfsheim Memorial Stage at the gambling casino in Loomisville. "Last Days" will also end next Friday, given that almost all of the cast die in the eruption and recruiting even lemmings to work in Loomisville for an audience of drunken gamblers is a tough sell. Next up on the Wolfsheim stage "War and Peace, the Naked Morse Code Version."

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.