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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

Yak clogs drain, closes laundry

Wilma Whipstittle
Staff Writer/Photographer
The Jules Bender Hand and Gerbil-Powered Laundry and Illegal Gaming Room should be open again by the end of the week, according to manager Abilene Tester, "Unless it really was a yak that crawled into the quadruple overload machine. In that case, unclogging the drains could take ... gee, an act of Congress. Oh, gee, again."

The trouble began, according to Abilene, when Evelyn Carmichael noticed her poodle, Frenzy, didn't seem to be enjoying his monthly bath and spin in the Hydro-matic Pet Machine as much as he usually does.

"He normally grins when he comes up for air," Abilene explained over a drink and buzzard wings at the Tipple Time. "But this time, Evelyn said he had a panicked expression."

Overlooking the question of how a poodle's normal look varies from a panicked one, this reporter wondered what happened next. Abilene took a long draw at her glass and said, "Evelyn opened the door before the cycle was finished, and water poured all over the floor. Also, Frenzy poured all over the floor. And water poured all over the gerbils who were running in the little wheel that drives the Hydro-matic Pet Machine. Could we have a moment of silence for the gerbils?"

This proved entirely doable, since no one within earshot could think of anything to say, until Lou the bartender finally wiped his eyes on his towel and said, "I'll stand a round in honor of the gerbils."

"You are a true gentleman and I am feeling very lonely this evening if you want to comfort me," said Abilene.

"Perhaps if I drown my sorrows over the gerbils more severely," allowed Lou, "but otherwise I am not that much of a gentleman. But where does the yak enter the situation?"

"That is obscure," said Abilene. "But if you have a fondness for yaks, you had better start drowning more sorrows and perhaps be prepared to offer me ..."

"I'll stand another round, but that's it for now," said Lou. "Get back to the yak."

"Miss Matilda Chucker was passing the laundry and illegal game room on her way to the library as the water, the overly-watered gerbils, and Frenzy began to cascade from the front door, and she claims to have noted a stampeding yak bearing down on her," explained Abilene. "Miss Matilda of course retrieved her sidearm from her bag and began to fire randomly. Meanwhile, inside, Evelyn says she saw a yak limp through the carnage at the front door and dive into the quadruple overloader."

"That is worth two rounds," said Lou. "And I am mellowing. But how did the yak find its way into the drains?"

"Gilhooly Grammartripe was doing his laundry in the machine we reserve just for his sewage treatment plant uniforms," said Abilene. "That machine is next to the quadruple overloader. Gilhooly says he also observed the yak entering, took an extra-long pull at that bottle of undrinkable stuff he subsists upon, staggered over for a closer look, then tripped and closed the latch on the yak."

"This leaves the question of how the machine got started," said Lou. "When last I did my laundry, one had to insert a large number of quarters into even the smallest of those gerbil-powered contraptions."

"Prices have probably gone up since that occasion," surmised Abilene, "considering the looks of your clothing. But on the occasion of the yak, Bentley Forquat had entered the illegal gaming section of our establishment with hopes of becoming rich. Such hopes seem to have been uplifted by high-test spirits, so he staggered into the laundry and began to shove quarters into ..."

This reporter, unable to contain her question any longer, said, "But where did the yak come from?"

"They are native to the high plateaus of Asia," said Howard Rinaldo. "But I suspect the yak whereof we speak came from the Pippa Pulliam Pony Party Pharm. You know, Pippa rents those ponies for rides at carnivals and parties, and she plans to add a yak to this year's lineup. In fact, she brought the thing into my Small Animal Clinic and Home for Wayward Girls the other day for its shots."

"I thought it was a small animal clinic," observed Lou.

"Well, it was a small yak," said Howard. "Still, it made a big hole in the wall when I stuck that needle into its rump. Say, what's that odor I detect?"

"I dunno," said Pipes Flannigan as he walked up to the bar, "but I have just unclogged Abilene's drains and I need several very strong drinks. Have you ever tried to pull a yak out of ..."

"Hey Lou!" called Chef Juan de Fuca. "Update tomorrow's specials: yak burgers, yak Manhattans, pickled yak's feet, and yaktail soup, all with glazed gerbil appetizers."

Abilene wiped a tear from her eye and looked hopefully at Lou, who said, "Give it 'til closing time, but I will allow that I am going to need considerable fortification if Pipes stays that long with no appreciable dissipation of his odor."

"Well," observed Howard, "I suppose it's all for the best. Those ponies don't do near the damage the yak did."

Editorial policy clarified

The Signal-Gazette will not print unsubstantiated rumors. All rumors must be substantiated by at least two reasonably sober people before we will put headlines on them. Unless it's a particularly juicy rumor, then one sober and one not-so-much will do.

Stray Lake

Stray Lake Alternating Mayor Leroy Wertzbrimmer has announced that any moves by separatist groups to leave the town and join another municipality will be met with the strongest sanctions. "Such separatists will have their accounts frozen at Monopoly Bank and Trust of Stray Lake, or perhaps deposited in my account," the mayor threatened. "And if they persist in such tomfoolery, they will be banned from the Tipple Time."

Samuel Hudson would like to apologize to Lilly Farber for the remarks he made to her last week. The remarks were dead-on accurate, but he would also like to avoid the name-calling Lilly now subjects him to when he steps out onto his back porch and apologizing seems a lot simpler than moving.

The Stray Lake U Glee Club has received its new sweaters and is rethinking their design, the "U-Glee" emblem having been misinterpreted at several of the group's recent concerts. Stray Lake U President Dufoise Trolleyhauler is considering financing a new design from school coffers but says he must first ascertain the accuracy of the current emblem. "Those people sing so badly I always spend a few pleasant hours at the Tipple Time before I go to hear them," he explained, "and my vision is usually as fuzzy as my hearing by the time I sit down in one of those rickety folding chairs to fall asleep. I'll have to take a look at the group sometime when my faculties aren't numbed, and hopefully their vocal chords are."

"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 Brakethwait Corners Better Book Reading Club will meet next Friday to discuss "How to Win Friends & Influence People." Discussion leader Hortense Tolstoy says if more members don't start showing up on a regular basis she will be dropping around to influence them with recordings of certain telephone conversation she has collected over the years.

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.