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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

Militia stands down after
zucchini invasion scare

Wilma Whipstittle
Staff Writer/Photographer
The Stray Lake Unregulated Volunteer Militia was in stand-down mode at the Tipple Time yesterday as Signal-Gazette Editor and Publisher Corp Rampmeter attempted to weasel out of the headline that caused the misguided warriors to lay waste to Ruth Hensley's vegetable garden.

"It was an innocent joke, 'County prepares for invasion of squash,' a little humor about a prolific garden plant. How was I to know it would trigger a panic?" moaned Corp as he ordered Ruth another libation.

"There is nothing humorous about an invasion," militia commandant Lt. General (Ret.) Droling Mudbinder fired back. "It could have been another Pearl Harbor, barrage balloons dropping green incendiary devices."

"I'd ask how many drinks it takes to make you incoherent, but I think I'm already too late," said Corp.

Ruth raised her head and said, "Yep, I'm there, but keep 'em coming. Oh, my poor zucchini."

"Yet another example of the irresponsible, degenerate media causing pain and havoc. Just look at that poor woman," said Droling. "You still buying, Corp?"

"Do you still have that cannon parked outside?" wondered Corp.

"Howitzer, you spineless civilian," said Droling. "And you know we never go anywhere without it."

"Lou, why do suppose we don't have a practicing psychiatrist in Stray Lake?" wondered Corp.

"Probably work himself to death," said Lou the bartender.

"Or herself," said Dorothea Deluney as she passed with a tray of empty glasses.

"Or that," agreed Lou. "And Droling, I'll stand a round if you'll point that cannon away from the front door."

"Howitzer," said Droling. "Colonel Pottsnagel, reposition your field artillery."

"Huh?" said Harvey Pottsnagel as he munched on a vulture wing.

"Turn the damned cannon around," explained Droling.

"We gonna shoot some more vegetables?" said Harvey. "Elmer Dolby has a big tomato crop this year. I once saw a documentary about an invasion of killer tomatoes."

"You're probably right about the shrink working himself do death," Corp told Lou.

"Or herself," said Dorothea.

"Young lady, as I have said in the past, you have spunk," Droling observed. "Are you sure you would not like to organize a ladies auxiliary for the militia?"

"Only if we can mount a firing squad," said Dorothea.

"Ah, the fairer sex joining ceremonial occasions," said Droling.

"Not exactly what I was thinking," explained Dorothea.

"I believe I should stand another round," mused Corp, "lest Dorothea get specific."

"I'll have one," said Ruth, "but only if I don't have to stand."

Corp shook his head and said, "Look, zucchini stories are a newspaper tradition. Every year people plant squash. Then the squash go berserk and you've got these enormous tubular vegetables overwhelming everyone. If I had a nickel for every giant zucchini someone laid on my desk ..."

"You'd be in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service," said Dorothea.

"Are you an undercover agent?" said Droling. "Or maybe a fifth columnist?

Corp sighed and said, "So we have to have a photo and a zucchini story in the paper every summer."

"I'll stand up for that," said Ruth as she slipped under the table.

"I took a photo and I thought the headline ..."

"The press should be muzzled in times of crisis," said Droling. "Or shot. Young lady ..."

"Let's all calm down," said Lou.

"Hey, I've got a new bar snack for everyone," chef Juan de Fuca announced from the kitchen.

"Or not," said Corp.

"See, I've got these giant zucchini," said Juan as he emerged with a tray. "I've put wings and beaks on them, like buzzards, and even tomatoes like they're wearing little hats. Only it's a vegetarian snack. Except maybe for the beaks. Are lids from green bean cans eligible to be considered vegetables?"

"Oh my God, it's the killer tomatoes!" cried Harvey as he came back to the bar.

"They've made an unholy alliance with the squash," said Droling. "Colonel, reposition ... uh, turn that damn cannon back around. We have not yet begun to fight!"

"Free drinks for the rest of the night," said Lou.

"And so we might as well wait until tomorrow," said Droling.

"Are you sure the tomatoes won't get us?" said Harvey.

"No, but a couple more drinks and we won't care," said Droling.

"Make mine a double," said Ruth, sticking her hand above the table to wave.

"Maybe I'll just slip out at night next summer and spray weed killer on all the squash I can find," said Corp.

"You'd just have to run a story about a squash famine and bring the environmentalists out of the woodwork," observed Lou.

"Ruth, is there room enough under that table for me?" asked Corp.

Stray Lake

The Miles Standish Society of Stray Lake met last week to hold its annual spring planting commemoration, which had to be postponed from April because of Muade Heatley's untimely death. (Readers will recall that Maude died during a police assault on her Texas hideout after she absconded with the society's funds, then robbed several banks; actually, the bank things probably got her in more trouble than the society's treasury, but we'll let the society think what it will.) (Readers may also recall that, in a complete perversion of the actual legend, the society meets to have a fish fry and drink corn liquor, which usually lands most of them in jail overnight, the liquor not the fish.) (If readers really remember all this, they need to read less and drink more in their own right.)

The weather bureau has declined the town's invitation to place a radar tower atop the sewer plant. A weather bureau spokesperson was unable to explain the decision because he or she was laughing too hard (it is difficult to distinguish the gender of a single laugh when the whole room is whooping it up).

Slim Philbert has petitioned Judge Wimmer to have his first name changed to Fatty, on account of he gained 60 pounds when he married Glendora Fox, who has since left him for another lightweight. The judge told Slim to hold off for a few months to see if he loses the weight while he is cooking for himself. Slim said he might not live that long on his own cooking, but the judge assured him that if he didn't he'd make the name change posthumously.

"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

Daniel Heeter will celebrate his five years of sobriety next week with his 25th Annual Back to Inebriation Beer Bust and Hog Roast.

The Helen Compton Memorial Cat Shelter will be closed next week for vacation. Motorists are urged to be on the lookout for the cats and dog owners are forewarned to keep their beasts on a short leash. The shelter will reopen the following Monday and the staff would appreciate some help in rounding up the vacationing felines. If you have any questions, please call and leave a message. We'll listen to it if we decide to return from Cancun.

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.