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Bear closures, extended hibernation told

(Ouray) The Colorado Black Bear Coalition has announced the cancellation of its 45th Spring Bruin Tunes and extended the official dates for acceptable hibernation. The developments are expected to severely affect mammals all over the Rockies.

For the flatlander, Bruin Tunes is a popular three-day feast that focuses on the scat art and crafts of dumpster diving, berry picking and home invasions. It often attracts up to 600 bear to the surrounding region prior to tourist season.

In monkeying with longstanding hibernation time parameters, the bruin planners have gone out on a limb, journeying to locales unfamiliar to the cave dwelling caniforms. They have in fact messed with instinct and tradition and now they can never go back, although most don’t know it.

Whether these departures from the norm will deflate response times during the impending fall garbage strike was not discussed according to persons with no knowledge of these events.

-Tommy Middlefinger

Returnee Talks of Hereafter

(Banana Contento) A longtime shell shearer says he’s died and come back for another go round. The local man, whose name was not given, told stories of indirect lighting, great halls, boiling cauldrons of soup and cloud gatherings for tea at three (formal attire mandatory).

In addition he said the place was laid back and no one needed money. Beer was free and the first meal was beans and rice. People spent an hour a day engaged in chores such as pumping clouds and filling feather pillows, he said.

“We wanted to keep his identity secret until the story could be further investigated,’ said a local police spokesperson. “All we need is some pandemic over time travel or heaven’s gate and we’ll never again see a peaceful day.”

The returnee is being held at the Center for Diagnostic Space Dancing, according to an interview a local radio talk host Buster Rutledge of KRAT who was denied access to the facility Friday.

“The whole thing is a hoax. He’s some liberal,” claimed Rutledge, who recently won the Medal of Fodder for finally getting off drugs. “This guy has never been out of the county much less in the Great Beyond. This all reeks of another Democrat attempt to discredit the President.”

Readers may recall when a Colona man, Billy Blastoff returned from Great Beyond in 2018

“It’s a mirror of this world. An enchanted mirror, “ he had said. “Everything is the opposite — a perfectly reproduced reflection. The abyss rather ominous, no?  No more madness – No more sense.

“I came back on my bonus ticket*,” he continued “to pick up my fish-eye lens and some sox for all my new friends. It can get chilly in the Evermore.

After a bonafide Wizard of Oz exit in the presence of thousands of disturbed citizens his hot air balloon floated up into the sky and away. He hasn’t been seen for weeks.

*A Bonus Ticket appears to be a premium granted to people who were good on earth but have no desire to return and stay here. They get one quick visit to attend to unfinished business.

-Estelle Marmotbreath

The night the little people took over O’Leary’s

By Pat O’Neill

     Straight away let it be said that Irishmen are often prone to hallucinations of mind and spirit.

     I know that, for certain, great grandpa came from Kerry and was well acquainted with lots of leprechauns and many a mermaid.

But I’ll be swearin’ to this tale that I’m about to tell. For, it really did happen. And I’m not one to be makin’ up drivel.

     It was just a week ago tonight that I was rousted out from under the cozy confines of my electric blanket by the post midnight rattle of the telephone.

     On the other end, talkin’ a mile a minute and in all the official language he could muster, was none other than himself, our local police chief.

     “Mr. O’Neill,” he said. “Upon checking the latch of your bar this evenin’ we did notice that you went off and left the lights blazin’ and the jukebox blastin’ one of those Irish songs you insist on botherin’ yer customers with.”

     Well, this was unsettling news, for, although I didn’t dare tell the chief this, I knew as sure as Harp has bubbles that I had doused the lights and unplugged the box when closin’ the joint just a few hours previous. So, keeping my wits about me, I assured the concerned cop that everything was fine and dandy, but that I would drive down to O’Leary’s and check things out my own self.

     Which is what I did.

     And upon arriving at the outer limits of the snoring little town of Parachute, all muffled by a soft layer of new snow, I ascertained that, sure enough, my old brick and boards pub was twinkling wide awake like a tree on the courthouse lawn at Christmas time. A curious thing, in the least. For just hours ago the last whiskey had been spilt and the last human fixture removed from a barstool and sent home to his mad wife and happy dreams.

     Now, it is not that I place any stock those old tales about pukas and banshees or boogiemen, but I thought it’d be to my benefit and safety to approach the old building with a degree of caution. And I did. I sneaked up on the back door with the car lights off and cased the place before doin’ anything rash.

     Just as the chief had said, the lights inside were shinin’ full tilt and the box was blastin’ a reel to beat the band. Takin’ a quick peek through the crack in the door I could see that there wasn’t a soul inside and that all that electricity was goin’ to waste.

     Now it’s not a brave man that I am, but one concerned about hefty bills from Public Service. And so I fit the key in the lock and pushed my way inside.

     The place was empty, spooky almost. The bottles shined in the light and the ghosts of my customers in hard hats seemed to wave at me from their assigned perches along the bar. And then I shut the door behind me.

     Laughter and Irish curses rolled over me then. Pipe smoke hung around the lights and small figures began taking shape in every chair and on every stool. Gartered bartenders standing on empty beer kegs were pouring draws and sloshing pitchers about behind the battered mahogany bar. The Wolfe Tones reel that I had been hearing before had changed to enchanted flutes and fiddles, the likes of which my ears had never before been blessed with.

     And I stood there with my keys in my hand and began counting in my head the number of Murphy’s that I’d allowed myself before goin’ to bed and concluded there was only two and that on Grandma Maggie’s grave I wasn’t drunk. Yet, the little people partying there around me paid me not so much as a random glance.

     There were fat roast beefs and platters of fried cabbage soaking in butter and sprinkled with sugar all about and a bottle of my best Tyrconnell on every table. Guinness was running from every spigot like faucet water. Faery queens in crimson velvet and capes of ermine flitted about the dance floor enraptured by the Irish airs being woven from the flutes and strings and bones of a faery band.

     At the biggest table a group of little men refilled their glasses and clapped time to a newly uncorked jig. They were fun-faced little gentlemen, dressed not as pretentiously as the women; in velvet derbies with matching vests and silken knee stockings.

     And, sure as I can’t doubt my own two eyes, there was Liam O’Leary, my great grandfather’s own arrogant leprechaun, sittin’ at the head of the table. On his right sat a sparkle-eyed old man who looked, like me, to be of the mortal persuasion. By the devil, he was familiar to me, too.

     But just then O’Leary eyeballed me standin’ with my feet stuck to the floor by the back door and in an instant the music stopped and the tiny revelers all froze in their tracks.

     Should I not have been caught so dumbstruck, I might have asked to see all their I.D.s.

     “Well O Danny be the divil, if it isn’t the martal bahrkeep, himself,” O’Leary said winkin’ to the old man on his right. “And I see ya got the invitation we sent ya, Pathrick.”

     Beaming at his sawed off cohorts Liam bragged. “What a grand party it is, too, if I do say so meself! Come over here, laddie, and sit by me and your grandfaether. Have a tumbler full of this bad beer.”

     Sure enough, that old fellow was my great granddad, himself, who promptly poured me a glass o’ golden lager beer which, when tasted, kicked magically like stout. This being done the party resumed and from then hence no one paid me any never mind. Except my handsome, gray-headed great grandfather, “Big Pat.”

     For a long enough time he merely rubbed my already tousled head and stared at my soul with his old politician eyes. Family stories had always held that “Big Pat” had had a way with the little people, that his Democratic oratory in the Pendergast precincts had been blessed with the butter of blarney because of his being held in good stead with the magic folks.

     I guess I already knew, even then, that the old man from his place in Heaven — or the furnace room, as the case might be —  had been keepin’ a close eye on me, his namesake, because O’Leary had told me as much on a previous occasion.

     The first time the obnoxious little imp appeared in front of me– long ago in a dimly lit college newsroom — he had blasted me in the name of my departed namesake for bein’ “phony Irish.,” for thinking that my heritage was a pitcher of green beer, not in centuries of suffering and English spit.

     That night grandpa didn’t have to say anything. I knew this was just another small reminder. I knew why I had been summoned the night the little people took over O’Leary’s.

     St. Paddy’s Day was coming soon. The bar, of course, would be done up in banners and plastic party hats. The Jameson and Murphy’s and Harp and Guinness would run like the Shannon. We would surely wax phony Irish to beat the band.

     The old man was in my bar that night to make sure I could still see through the green costumes, the cardboard cutouts and crinkly St. Pat’s hats and know that to be Irish was to be rich. That the people strong enough to have stayed on the “ould sod,” deserved more than a toast on March 17. They deserved a piece of my Irish heart and soul.

     The following morning I woke up on my front porch sharin’ a blanket with the dog, sifting through various excuses (for my wife) and explanations (for myself).

Silicon Valley Cave Drawings Thwart Archaeologists

(San Andreas) Sources at Cal Amari Institute expressed grave disappointment this morning at the announcement that nearby carbon-dated cave sketches were of modern origin. Following surface analysis the doodling depicted on rocky walls had been mistakenly attributed to the Plasticine Era before the Giants moved to San Francisco.

As samples of the work surfaced and were examined by litmus tests and cross-referenced by comparative properties, it became clear that the cave drawings had been scratched in the rock about two weeks ago by unknown persons using tools not available to the ancient ones.

The drawings thought to reveal significant and provocative meaning were no more than crude graffiti explaining the validity of electoral colleges, confusion on gender issues and the shocking embrace of plastic packaging in level 6 nations.

Garbage company cans service till spring

(Montrose) A longtime waste management company has suspended service here until spring. Citing colder than average conditions and the rise in garbage identity theft, sources with Bella Trash Inc. (formerly of Gladstone) say working man’s comp claims and the threat of lawsuits over security have forced their hand in this matter.

“Our personnel have been tardy or absent altogether on colder days. Who could blame them?” said a prepared press release found under a box of Argentine merlot in our lovely yet pretentious brick courtyard this morning.

The news was a shock to the San Juan Horseshoe, which in one week generates more organic debris than Bedrock, Paradox, and the Twin Cities of Nucla and Naturita combined.

According to voiced concerns, criminal elements have been seizing garbage and selling data and addresses to solicitors even though they said they would not do so.

The action has no connection to a controlled sewage leak aimed at killing noxious weeds before summer, said the release.  

– Charles U. Farley

Cloning Batman Big Mistake Says Boy Wonder

(Red Mountain) Plans to clone super hero, Batman (no last name given) would be a mistake of grand proportions according to his longtime crime-fighting partner. Dressed in provocative tights and a tasteful black mask, Robin, who ran with Batman for decades, says his retired boss is a megalomaniac.

Citing episodes of power abuse and interference with the authorities, Robin says Batman harbors vendettas against several adversaries, specifically a man called The Joker and a former ally, named the Green Hornet. The Joker is reportedly living in a retirement community in Arizona while the Green Hornet is busy working on his memoirs at a secret location on Miller Mesa.

“Both of these now model citizens have complained of harassment and outright threats from Batman. Cloning him would only make matters twice as bad,” explained Robin tugging at his cape.    

The cave dwelling bounder, not to be confused with batman, an orderly of a British army officer, has agreed to the cloning operation in return for a general amnesty. Batman has been connected to violent vigilante action dating back to the Fifties. Case after case of documented evidence links the super hero with over-the-head obstruction of justice.

“He took matters into his own hands,” said Robin. “He often dispensed punishment on the spot with little consideration for the rights of the criminal element…Zap…Bam…Zow…Whack! I know. I was there.”

Robin, who is currently vice president of a Confront Range self-help company that manufactures MSG suppositories, admitted that he lives in fear of reprisals by his former partner.

“The man is out of control, prone to hallucinations and as hyper as a hummingbird,” continued the Boy Wonder. “You’d think he’d do something constructive in his golden years…like take up pickle ball or bingo, but he’s too arrogant.”

Offers to join both the Montrose and Gunnison police departments were rejected by the Winged Warrior on the grounds of uniform and transportation conflicts.

A local civic group, formed to reconsider the pros and cons of the proposed cloning will meet Tuesday to consider the question: Do we really need two Batmans? The session is open to the public. Bring a covered fish.

– Susie Compost