Summer 2002

"I Know Nothing," Declares Flint
By Henrietta Potstocker, octogenarian scoop-seeker

Rattled by months of what he calls a "full-fledged non-scandal," Mayor Ronald S. Flint blasted reporters at his ranch Saturday and said that their focus on his alleged link to the bankruptcy of the Monet family "makes about as much sense as a wickless candle."

"Would you leave me alone to do my job?" the mayor pleaded, chewing on the stump of an unlit stogie and tilting back his hat. "I got real work to do."

The Monets declared bankruptcy in the spring after learning that their long-term investment in Marx Potatoes Limited had lost significant value. Reporters from the Gazette and elsewhere have made many attempts to link the new mayor to the failed finances of Crooked Corners' most wealthy family, but have clearly come up with nothing.

Regardless, impeachment is a word bandied about by the anti-Flint camp.

A lack of actual evidence does not make it any more difficult to speculate about wrongdoing, suggested one city council member on the condition of anonymity. "Is it possible Flint knew something of the downward spiral of potato futures and could have warned the Monets of their impending doom?" the council member asked. "His claim that he doesn't even know the family is ridiculously irrelevant, as he is the mayor, after all, and his assistant could have easily looked up their name in the phone book."

Confronted with implied calls of resignation over hints of impropriety, Flint tossed his cigar to the ground and pounded his fist on a stack of firewood. "I'm sorry I can't provide you with any real turpitude today," Flint shouted, as he hopped up and down avoiding the collapsing pile of logs. "But if I can find a sheep to fornicate with tonight, I promise to take pictures."

A reporter from the City Sentinel responded that such an image could easily be created in Photoshop(R) and sent around the Internet a million times and that actual bestiality would probably not be necessary.

Flint grabbed up a stick of kindling and shook it at the gathered crowd of journalists. "Get off my property!" he said. He then shouted some words never used by the former Mayor--the much-maligned (and sorely missed) Leonard Marx, who even as a ghost always refrained from profanity in public.

Mutants Rally For Representation
By Liza Rowls and Rockefeller Stone, special reports

Seeking local representation as well as influence on the policies of Crooked Corners, an organized group of Panoland immigrants marched back and forth in front of City Hall last week. They promised to continue a placard-waving vigil until their demands are met.

Although they weren't invited, have no money, insist on maintaining their divergent culture and beliefs and refuse to assimilate, Panolandian mutants by far make up the majority in the population of Crooked Corners County. Their superiority in numbers is not reflected in the government, however. Furthermore, many of the immigrants claim that their mutated condition makes them eligible for health and compensation benefits from the state.

The mutants also seek an undetermined amount of mashed potato flakes.

The leader of the mutant insurgency, Boohoomi Dal Jr., has not been seen for several months. His third hand, however, was found hanging from a power line outside Seedies, a local strip joint. It was first identified by a drunken patron relieving himself in the parking lot.

"Gruesome is not the word I would use," co-owner Bing Lamour said of the discovery behind his club. "I would probably say grotesque or blechy." Whether Lamour made his statement in reference to the shed tertiary appendage or the urinating alcoholic is unclear.

Subsequent searches for the mutant leader have proven unfruitful, and it is unknown whether or not mutant hands regrow after they fall off.

None of this has mattered to the mutant movement that has cycled through a variety of acronymic names including PLAGUED, or "Peoples for the Liberation of Anomalous Genetic Upheaval and Eating Disorders," and TUCKERED, or "Tripedal Ungulate Crustaceans, Knobby Eared Retards and Eyeless Dimwits."

Panolandian mutants crave starch in their diet and have a variety of cellular-level physical alterations that science has been mostly unable to correct. Many come from the once-crowded cities of Panoland where radiation leakage from rural areas affected everyone regardless of class--much to the chagrin of the wealthy.

Last winter a mutant drove his truck into a farm silo and caused minor havoc (about five or six people read the story in the Gazette, including the author). Subsequent fear of a full-fledged mutant uprising has compelled city council members to call on Mayor Ronald Flint to do something. Alas, he has been embroiled in a press-stoked controversy over the finances of a rich snob and her husband, and he has had little time to deal with upstart immigrants. More on this in our next report.

Early Teen Finds Use For "Harmless" Product
By Sinclair Growden, beat reporter

A girl in the midst of her adolescence has given the world another example of adult carelessness gone terribly wrong. She had been searching for a Frisbee Brand novelty flying disc last evening when she instead found a large sheet of pristine bubble wrap in the porch cupboard. The girl's parents had apparently stored the substance many weeks ago and forgotten about it.

"She was at first only mildly curious," said Officer Harold, first to arrive at the scene. "Then she found some sort of use for the bubble wrap--a terrible use."

Purportedly, the girl quickly learned that by applying pressure to the bubbles of the plastic packing material, a loud, alarming popping sound would ensue. As she ran around the house squeezing air out of the many bubbles and causing quite a repetitive cacophony, her elderly grandfather rose up from his rocker, declared war against Germany and suffered a mild stroke.

Waking in the hospital hours later, the WWII veteran asked if the Japs were in on the attack, too. When told that it was only his granddaughter, he laughed and said, "Ate too much macaroni."

He then had another stroke and went to sleep.

Neighbors reported that at the same time as the bubble wrap incident, their house cat looked around with a bewildered expression, turned down its ears and then ran under the bed. It has not come out since, even when offered tuna fish.

The name of the child has been kept anonymous to protect her from teasing.