Spring 1999 Edition

No deal is good deal for forest fans
by Sinclair Growden, special reports

Attempts by an unusual cadre of radical environmentalists and mafia hit men to convince the county government that it would be much cheaper simply to whack the owners of Marx Lumber Company than come to an expensive settlement have failed. Berated as "far too logical" by opponents, the cost of executing the owners would have been $50 thousand a hit--roughly $300 thousand total--compared to the $40 million taxpayers must now dole out in order to save ten square miles of old-growth forest.

Commonly used by the rich as raw material for toothpicks, quercus azurus--the bluewood tree--grows only at the bottom of steep canyons in the central and northern sections of Crooked Corners County. Providing vast amounts of oxygen to the atmosphere as well as habitat for little bunnies and giant millipedes, the forest has been long threatened by greedy bastards who see a lucrative future market in mining the vast oxygen seas on the moons of Jupiter. Plans to fill up the atmosphere of earth with carbon dioxide have been temporarily abated by the enormous settlement, but sources close to the MLC have acknowledged that the owners are "intensely interested" in the bottled oxygen market and that the profits from lumber sales are not even a consideration at the company.

"This is a setback, not a success," said local business owner and ecoterrorist Ronald Flint. "Those buttheads basically bribed the forest commission, and a matter that should have been protected by common decency was treated like a hostage negotiation." He calls for the murder of the MLC owners anyway "for posterity and spite" and notes that the 1986 assassination of the original overseer of the company, Leonard Marx, caused no such moral quandary in public officials of the time.

Known primarily as a potato farmer, the obscenely wealthy Leonard Marx had ancillary holdings in lumber and borax among other natural resources. Marx died from a gunshot wound to the chest 13 years ago, and the City Council looked the other way when investigators determined that the poverty-ridden townspeople had funded a hit. Flint insists there is duplicity at work this time since suggestions of assassination were flatly rejected. "Obviously someone is getting paid under the table," he said.

Members of the City Council and County Forest Commission argue that Flint and other radicals simply want their names in the paper and that murder is now illegal in most states while bribery of the citizenry and rape of the environment are still widely accepted norms.

Wicker doomed, sources say
by world reporter Rockefeller Stone

As political differences continue to muck up relations between gnat-like Panoland and the brutish U.S., the fate of one woman has sunk into insignificance like a penny into a well. Numerous government sources concede to a stalemate "the flavor of last year's graham crackers," as this eloquent reporter described the situation in this article.

Millicent Wicker, 53, kidnapped several months ago by the conservative terrorist family of Boohoomi Dal and apparently forced to sanitize their toilets ever since, once wiped up the spills of local socialite Monica Monet.

Gazette reporter Liza Rowls relates that the Monets have opted against paying the absurd ransom of 5 1/3 billion in pennies and have hired a replacement maid at a much lower cost. When asked if she had lost all hope of rescuing her former employee, Mrs. Monet exclaimed, "I've grown tired of your insinuations," and slammed the window closed.

Newly elected Panoland president Sydney Hickey has made no public comment regarding the Wicker situation and instead has concentrated on the sudden and unexpected nuclear arms capability of the government's opposition forces. She recommends that citizens flee the countryside before the scientists at Bangboom Testing Ground attempt any more missile launches. Although the anti-giddy Panoland Liabilities Organization has learned how to explode atom bombs, it has yet to successfully launch one more than five feet into the air, and the resulting destruction has been apparently catastrophic. Reports of beautiful sunsets in nearby Farapay, however, have increased tourism in that country to an all-time high.

Word comes from deep in the Panoland jungle that many citizens have grown superfluous appendages and that pets have begun to emit a bright greenish glow that keeps children awake at night. These rumors have not been verified by this journalist.

More from Panoland in my next report.

Sue's Cafe to serve coffee
by Henrietta Potstocker, community beat reporter

In a desperate measure to avoid foreclosure, the management of Sue's Cafe in downtown Crooked Corners has decided to offer an exotic beverage known as "coffee." It is a brown-colored liquid of foreign origin usually served hot in a cup or mug.

Susan Haasch, proprietor of Sue's Cafe, explained that the introduction of coffee on the menu is a last-ditch effort to retain her dwindling customer base. "We're hoping its addictive properties will ensure repeat business," she said.

A popular hangout not long ago, Sue's Cafe has seen a severe downturn of business in recent months, and Haasch blames the new White Trash Mart on the edge of town. "People who go there to buy cheap underwear can also get a slice of pie," she explained.

Many downtown business owners have complained of decreased revenue since the White Trash Mart opened its doors. They fear that the once thriving center of Crooked Corners will become a distant memory as the "profit monster," which is the size of Rhode Island, devours all competition.

Darlene Podunk, general manager of cosmetics and firearms at the store, defends her place of work "Why fight for a parking space on Main Street when you can get your oil changed and your beard trimmed while you wait for your clothes to dry?"

Sue's Cafe plans to begin offering coffee as early as next fall.

Cartographers stand by their map
by senior correspondent John Tiddleson

Local mapmakers clashed with the Crooked Corners chapter of the Border Drawers Union yesterday in what was largely a semantic conflict. By one definition, the word "stand" means to position one's self upright in order to use the feet as the sole support of the rest of the body. By another definition, "stand" refers to the rigidity of one's mental state in relation to an opinion, comment or other matter.

"This war of words started because of a publicity photo in our brochure," said cartographer Hair Like Horse's Tail. In the photograph, she can be seen with her colleagues positioned in a vertical manner alongside a large map. "If the caption underneath the photo had said stand next to instead of stand by, none of this would have happened." Upon consideration, she suggested that the real problem was the Border Drawers' misinterpretation of the word "by."

The Border Drawers Union monitors social and political variances and determines the official lines drawn between peoples. Without the BDU, mapmakers would have no job, as old maps would never become obsolete.

The BDU has made no public comment.