Of Human Bondage

I came across the following news story in the Moosehead Muckle.

A Dale and Dale Backsmear of Bingham, Maine, have been held hostage for the last hour of prime-time TV by an individual the National Weather Service has described as cloudy to partly sunny.

The authorities have refused to name the kidnapper at this time since his mother had just hours before baked blueberry muffins for the local sheriff. His height was released, though: 3 foot and a couple of two by fours.

The man in question has declared his ransom for the release of the Backsmears. The authorities have learnt that he wants the Backsmears’ son’s, Snuffalufagus Backsmear XVI, draft of his first book Apocalypse Whenever: Some Bastard has to Pay for the State of my Bottom Drawer.

He has also made it clear that he wants the ransom, and we quote — from a reliable source, a Mr. Buzzy Prude, proprietor of the mom and pop establishment Pap & Suckle — “ As soon as you possibly can. These two old gray hairs are driving me crazy!”

It appears that the hostages have been giving the kidnapper, who is an aspiring young writer, a hard time. An informer, whose name we cannot release until after his dry cleaning’s done, has been quoted as saying, “The poor hack’s down to two note pads.”

Information is sketchy at present as to the actual demands the hostages are making on the kidnapper, but we can report the following. (Although none of it has been checked for accuracy since our copy editor has been missing for the last 2 days and we presume him to be freelancing without permission.)

It appears that the Backsmears are still in a state of shock since “Snuff” moved from Bingham to New Hampshire so that he could be closer to Maine. They are fretting over the brain drain problem — which might explain why their sink is always clogged. And they’re very anxious that the Pentagon tries out its new secret weapon on their neighbors from New Jersey. And then there’s the lupine lady — why didn’t she plant a few horseradish. The development in the North Woods of a wooded enclosure for gambling environmentalists. And Hollywood Slots being built next to Sydney and Sydney Harem’s Hardcore Gardening Tools and Soft Porn Outdoor Furniture.

Police have also collaborated that the Backsmears were seen to be beating the young man and shouting at him in some kind of spud argot.

It was later confirmed that he had mentioned the war and the old couple had gone berserk. They wouldn’t believe him when he told them that some of the French collaborated with the Third Reich. They claimed they’d never even heard of the French or the British or the Poles or Canadians or any of the other Allies. They thought America, Custer, and Rockefeller won the war.

The police have informed the paper that they plan to use a copy of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry to assuage the kidnapper and tear gas to disperse the huge crowd of onlookers.

At one point, the kidnapper shouted from the ice-cream van, “Does anyone have change for a twenty?”

A sharpshooter got a sighting, but couldn’t remember if it was Lincoln or Jackson on the greenback and so stayed his trigger finger.

The young man’s father had this to say about his son: “Useless waster. I’ve told him, go into journalism if you must write, none of this namby-pamby fiction stuff. Who reads anymore? Nobody’s got the time now, not since additives and fructose corn syrup have been added. I told the loser, son, I said, get a cant hook and haul some logs like your Uncle Phyllis did. Jackass had the audacity to tell me to my face that Uncle Phyllis died from poison ivy and that the man was a cross-dresser. So what? I said. He couldn’t spell to save his life and that’s what caused the transgender thing.”

There has been no word yet from the ice-cream van driver as to whether the vehicle will be making its usual rounds today. (So Mrs. Basil Knickerbocker, could you please stop pestering this office with calls about whether you’re going to be able to get your Flayed Native on a Stick.)

The kidnapper’s threat to kill the cooling on the freezer was met with a hail of ribaldry. One of the police officers had to be physically restrained after he swore he’d charge the van single-handedly and save the soft scoop.

No further demands are being asked beside that the kidnapper be allowed to return his overdue book, Hostage Taking: The Postmodern Dos, Don’ts, and Deconstruction for the Modern Kidnapper, before the library closes.

Reported by Jackal Maughamy, graduate of Bedlam’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and Cosmology. His latest book is Darwin and God: The Two Heavyweights in the Universe.

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