Last week's News

News article for the week of 3/26/05.


By, Carniverous Bean

Some of our readers may have wondered why our dashing and dubious correspondent, Carnivorous Bean, has not been keeping us up to the minute on the events in that strange island of tarpaper tranquility, the Northland. Some may have pined for his pithy observations, sighed for his searching analyses, and longed for his lengthy revelations about the ways of this fascinating region. Or not … some may have heaved a sigh of relief rather than regret, and many probably think – “who is this Bean? Never heard of him!” Regardless of the reaction, though, a message has finally reached us. It was brought by a wounded carrier leech, which immediately flopped over and perished after delivering its message. In the canister tied around it, we discovered the following message, which we reproduce here in full, leaving out only the shotgun-pellet holes which decorated the original piece of paper.

Strange to tell, the hills and valleys of the Northland no longer echo with only the sounds of peace. The tranquil roar of randomly-discharged shotguns and the shrieks of some old farmer being sucked into his malfunctioning pickup truck engine have been replaced by the noise of war. Yes, gentle readers – battle has come to the home of Lutefisk and boiled bears. It is for this reason that the reports have been scanty of late – it is always hard to get news out of a war zone.

A few mornings ago, the inhabitants of the small towns of the Northland awakened to a strange sound – silence. There was no sound of gunfire as helicopter-sized mosquitoes were fended off or tourists given a “shotgun welcome.” No rusty pickup trucks squeaked and coughed down the roads, with their loads of rusty chains, old empty oil drums, broken chainsaws, and assorted other items rattling and banging. A hush lay over the Northland – only the noise of birds singing and the breeze rustling in the branches was heard. “It was spooky,” confides Fred Lutefiskssen, who was not in on what was going on. “I mean, I let off my shotgun outta the front door, just to see if there was anybody around, and nobody took a shot in answer. It was like I had the last Remington left on Earth, and that’s enough to give anyone a chill.”

The silence didn’t last long, however. Three tremendous volleys of shotgun fire rolled out, the sound seemingly coming from the direction of the Temple of Lutefiskery. (Lutefisk, it will be recalled, is a fatally repulsive substance made out of rendered-down fish, resembling the boogers of C’Thulhu in appearance, taste, smell, and texture, which was once mistaken – somehow – for food). A huge crowd of at least a dozen soon converged on the Temple to see what was underway. They gaped, astonished, to see a phalanx of Northlanders emerge from the Temple and walk down to the shore. There were solemn faces under the baseball caps of that procession. But what really told the people something important was going on was that the procession was carrying a ceremonial six-pack of beer shoulder-high in an old pickup truck bed.

“When Northlanders sacrifice beer,” one old-timer said, “you can be sure they mean business. I mean, they’d rather cut off their own toes than puncture a full beer can, mosta the time.”

There was utter silence as the procession lined up the beer cans on a shoreline altar made out of the door from an old chicken coop balanced on some cinderblocks. There were tears in some eyes as they watched Squirrel Nutlund, High Priest of Lutefiskery, raise the Hallowed Shotgun and prepare to fire. That shotgun was the first to be purchased in the Northland, ye many years ago, and with it the first Minnesotan tourist was “greeted.” Of course, the years have taken their toll on this venerated cultural artifact. When Squirrel aimed at a beer can and pulled the trigger, the shotgun blast neatly flipped off the cap of John Jeeves Johnson, an old farmer who was standing directly behind the High Priest. Squirrel’s ear hair, which sticks out an impressive six inches, was blown off as well.

Squirrel, fired with holy zeal, let off another shot, this time striking a pile of discarded Lutefisk that was about 200 yards down the beach to the right. The stink that boiled up was fearful. Northlanders fled from the beach, although Squirrel ,right before he passed out from the Lutefisk fumes, was heard to shout, “A good omen!!!!!!!”

Three hours later, when the Lutefisk stink had finally wafted away on the Northland’s soothing gales, the Northlanders returned to finish the ceremony. This time they used the most modern shotgun available – one purchased back in 1947 by John “Jitters” Johnson. This time, Squirrel managed to hit the targets he was aiming at, and there was a solemn hush as the last fizzing, punctured can went flying out over the lake. Everyone waited with bated breath for Squirrel’s announcement , which was somewhat delayed when he almost choked to death on the piece of boiled bear meat he had been chewing to pass the time. The Heimlich maneuver was administered with a shotgun butt, however, and Squirrel was soon able to wheeze out his announcement.

“War!” he gasped. “We’re goin’ to war! We’ve got to take the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and make it part of Wisconsin, like it’s supposed to be! Get your shotguns and pickups ready!”

A rustle of excitement went through the crowd. Everyone knew that the U.P. was connected to Wisconsin by a whole lot of land, while only one lousy bridge linked it to the rest of Michigan. But this was heady stuff indeed – would the reign of tarpaper, the rule of baseball caps and mosquito-hide boots, finally be extended to its rightful limits? Would the Northland finally produce its conquering hero, a veritable Johnson Khan, whose name would ring down the annals of history along with those of Alexander and Caesar? Only time would tell, but preparations were begun at once, and it was generally agreed that the sacrifice of six cans of beer was not excessive if it brought victory, and the luxurious loot that surely awaited in the fleshpots of the Upper Peninsula.

“Why,” John John Johnson exclaimed, “they might even have enough beer there for us to each bring back two cases. But then again, it’s Outta State beer, so we may end up havin’ to feed it to the mosquitos.”

In the next installment, our leguminous correspondent says that he will detail the first phase of Operation Beercan. Stay tuned for the next development in this astounding backwoods drama!!!!

 Really Pathetic Productions 2005 ©