Last week's News

News article for the week of 5/31/05.


By, Carniverous Bean

O readers who relish knowledge of doings in the strange backwaters of the world, rejoice! For that intrepid herb, that bold legume, Carnivorous Bean, has risked both life and vine to bring news to a public panting for tidings of the war which has recently erupted in the Northland. All he has asked in return in a large keg of Miracle-Gro to sustain him during his labors, and for a few cuttings of his vines to be planted just in case he is blown to smithereens during his investigations. His report arrived crumpled in the shoe of a traveling clown, where it was smuggled past the sentinels guarding the three or four potholed tracks leading into the nether reaches of Wisconsin. We can understand why the pickets didn’t find it – the unspeakable aroma clinging to the paper has delayed our publication of the story by a full month. Clown toes do not give an odor of roses to documents which are scrunched up under them, and we had to hang the report out to air before anyone could get near it with their sanity intact. Even now, we must use binoculars to read it – but, without further ado, here is the tale it tells.

(It will be remembered that the inhabitants of the Northland decided, after a solemn sacrifice of beer to the obscure gods of Lutefisk, to invade the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. After all, that region is attached to Wisconsin by a long area of land, while only one lousy bridge across the Mackinac Straits connects it to the rest of Michigan.)

After the momentous decision to invade the Yoo Pee (Upper Peninsula) had been made, the tranquil glades of the Northland rang with the sound of preparations for war. The mines were busy – which means that the ravines in the woods, filled to the brim with empty beer cans and discarded refrigerators, were cleared out. Troop transports were needed; and after a lengthy search, no less than seventeen pickup trucks that actually started when the key was turned in the ignition were found. The Northlanders stood amazed at this vast assemblage of military hardware.

“It’s the first time I seen more than three vehicles in one place,” confided John Lutefiskssen, “and that one time before was when a Minnesotan tractor ran into a pickup truck full of beer, and I stopped to shoot the Minnesotan for killin’ all that beer.”

Under the direction of the local mechanical genius, Squirrel Nutlund, the pickup trucks were upgraded for battle. Flattened beer-cans were nailed onto their hulls to give extra armor, and the cardboard with vision slits that fills the windows was covered with some of the rubbery tarpaper which is the hallmark of Northland construction.

“’Course,” John John Johnson, leader of the expedition, said, “there’s no way that this kinda armor is going to stop good ol’ Wisconsin buckshot. But that weak, flabby stuff they make over in the Outta State areas – not goin’ to do a dang thing to good Northland beer cans. Why, I even heard they drink somethin’ called ‘latte’ over there in the Yoo Pee – and if any latte-drinkin’ Outta Stater’s gun is a match for beer can armor, then I’ll eat Lutefisk.”

A collective gasp went up from the assembled Northlanders. Many a baseball cap was tilted back in awe, and there was a mighty gurgling as several hundred sixpacks of Old Chickengasp beer were consumed in a reverent manner in response to this announcement. Even the inevitable chorus of belches was muted and restrained. John John’s statement showed how deep was his faith in a Northland victory. Not only would eating Lutefisk be fatal, but it would be fatal in an indescribably loathsome way as well. Consuming a “food” not unlike the boogers of Yog-Sothoth guarantees an unpleasant end. Surely, if John John was this confident of victory, then no Outta Stater could hope to stand before them!

Without further ado, the bold warriors of the Land of Tarpaper sprang into action. With a great shuffling and slouching noise, the eager fighters took their places in the pick-up beds. Marksmen manned the swivel-mounted shotguns on the pickup cab roofs. (The swivels, of course, had been scavenged from old washing machine turntables found in the depths of ravines.) A solemn beer-drinking occurred both among the bold conquerors and those who would be left behind. Overcome by emotion, John Jibbers Johnson caused the expedition’s first casualties when he let off his shotgun and hit two of the other soldiers sitting in the truck with him.

“Still, you’ve got to expect this when you’ve got a lot of shotguns and beer in the same spot,” John John Johnson, Generalissimo, noted. “We took the precaution of stuffing a smoked whitefish into Jibbers’ trigger guard [editor’s note: what is locally known as a Northland safety catch] and set off.”

With a grand rattle and wheeze of fifty-year-old engines, the fleet of Northland troop transports started up and rolled out. John John Johnson stood proudly in his command pickup, the wind ruffling his baseball cap, his shotgun slung under his arm, a can of Old Chickengasp clutched firmly in his left hand. His men, looking to him for leadership, found new resolve in the lines of his lordly figure – the image of the mighty conqueror, stubbled chin thrust out, cow-dung-spattered overalls akimbo. Using a camera he had scavenged from a tourist, John Jibbers snapped a picture of this martial display.

“Who knows,” he remarked to his fellow conquistadors, “we might even have enough beer cans and tarpaper left to make a statue of him – y’know, so that we can put up a memorial to our conquest in front of the bait shop.”

Did the Yoo Pee-ers tremble at the ominous rumble of pickup trucks approaching their borders, and the sound of the Chainsaw Military Band playing “Lutefisk Forever”? We will eagerly await the next report from our leguminous correspondent to find out!

 Really Pathetic Productions 2005 ©