Mixed up Mark!

Mark Trail, 2020 version… a man deeply aware of his own feelings, prone to brooding and introspection… and a wife who calls him Sugar, no less!

Cherry must really have the green thumb! Looks like she is able to grow plants in Portland cement!

Mark… C’mon now Mark… What aren’t you tell us?

On Brand? Whose Brand?

Sparkle Lip Gloss Girls? (Or whatever the magazine is called…)

or

Mark Trail, now a gigging eco-journalist?

As Amy Lee nearly pees herself with excitement, we learn something very important today… that this Mark Trail talks to animals!! Dr. Doolittle I presume!! This was promised earlier in the description of the Trail makeover, and well, here it is! Does Cherry know this? Or is this a deep secret? He certainly came clean with Amy and Bill, and they didn’t seem the slightest bit put off by it.

Today’s Nature lesson:

Rat Snakes, are members – along with kingsnakesmilk snakesvine snakes and indigo snakes – of the subfamily Colubrinae of the family Colubridae. They are medium to large constrictors and are found throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. They feed primarily on rodents. Many species make attractive and docile pets and one, the corn snake, is one of the most popular reptile pets in the world.  As with all snakes, they can be defensive when approached too closely, handled, or restrained, but bites are not serious. Like nearly all colubrids, rat snakes pose no threat to humans. Rat snakes were long believed to be completely nonvenomous, but recent studies have shown that some Old World species do possess small amounts of venom, though the amount is negligible relative to humans.

White guy looks like Mark Trail’s dad… so he must be the Villain…

This is really brain bending… when Mark meets the founder of “Happy Trails” he’s going to wonder what episode of the Twilight Zone he has stumbled into… OK, going to break that rule… ending the sentence with a preposition. “wonder into which episode he stumbled” just seems to be a bit much…

But here we are. A new day has dawned. Trust in our elders is at an all time low… and certainly anyone “making bank” has to have done something wrong or screwed someone else over… And what could be more fascinating than a boundary dispute?? Questioning Title to land has always been a great trigger for conflict and controversy! So Mark will play abstractor and hit the county land records? Have a survey done? Hire an attorney? Hmmm… Maybe he’ll just punch this guy and be done with it!

But has he heard of it??

Marks reaction is telling!

Whoa! But wait! A strangely meta-experience is about to unfold!

Is Mark looking in a mirror? Does he feel strangely connected to this story already? I can tell all of you now, I am just touch confused by it all. But then again, Mark can’t see what Amy “Foxy” Lee is imagining. It’s all being described and shown for the viewer’s benefit, but Mark is being left in the, how you say, dark… and goes back to a dark place.

What she got in that mug, anyway??

Welcome Amy Lee! We are continuing to round out the character roster in the new Mark Trail…

Of course Mark’s reputation precedes him! Even though he feels like he’s yesterday’s news and without prospects, apparently there is a quiet undercurrent of society that hasn’t quite forgotten him…

Appropriation! Ha! that’s a word that has never been used before in the Trailverse… Let’s unpack that, shall we?? …the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission. How, pray tell, does one go about getting a fox’s permission to use it as a spirit animal? Besides, in certain spiritual traditions or cultures, spirit animal refers to a spirit which helps guide or protect a person on a journey and whose characteristics that person shares or embodies. It is also metaphor, often humorous, for someone or something a person relates to or admires. Sense of humor much? Let’s see where this goes, but if we are asked to go too far down the PC path, this could get a little taxing… Or perhaps this is simply a window into Amy Lee’s world view.

I’m laughing… I am actually laughing…

In the old days, we never really had much to go on as it related to Mark’s psyche… In fact, it was always assumed that his brain consisted of a fairly shallow pool of emotional intelligence paired with a deep, endless reservoir of arcane and useless knowledge of the Natural world…

But now… oh my. We see his brain whip-sawing back and forth imagining all kinds of things. But with his square jaw firmly set, and in consideration of the fact that he’s got nothing else going on, and with his livelihood and self esteem on the line, Mark relents and dives in!

Something Old, Something New…

I normally don’t check the Sunday offering, but out of curiosity (and as pointed out by Faithful Reader George) I was wondering about what this part of the Trailverse would look like, and here we find Jack Elrod’s take on the common Chipmunk (part of the Squirrel family?) auditioning for a Lifetime special on hoarding.

For what it’s worth, I have personally witnessed a chipmunk make off with a dying Sunfish, left on the shore at the cabin. Gathering yes, but clearly something that would “go bad” if not consumed in real-time…

Speaking of something going bad in real time… we now go to Mark and Bill Ellis talking about potential assignments… with a nod to the age of COVID…

Ha ha! It’s funny because Mark has whiskers!

HA! I see what you did there, Julz… A little not-so-vague reference to (probably) the best known and hated offering of the Allen regime… OK, come out swinging, I guess, but that approach might not work out so well…

Perhaps maybe more important is the fact that Mark is now a verified member of the Gig Economy… Something that I have wondered about over the course of this blog- whether Mark was salaried or paid by the Article… Well, there’s no guessing about that now…

Uh oh… Mark NOT happy… and goes to a dark place… and a cautionary lesson in expectations, which drive satisfaction and (more often) disappointment. Best to keep them moderated…

Oh, I can’t wait to see Bill!

And one by one, we get to see who made the jump!

With the day’s shooting scuttled over an uncooperative snake, Mark and Cherry amble back to their little cabin in “The” Lost Forest. Like there’s another? I don’t think so… I see a greenhouse and Azaleas all abloom…

Mark, you got an email? Really?? The average person, with average on-line habits, probably receives 50 emails a day! Or maybe the excitement is over Bill Ellis reaching out. Let’s see what happens to him- Suit? Horn-rimmed glasses? Crazy slicked-back hair? Manhattan tower office? It is probably all up for grabs…

The Ol’ Mouse in the Milk Can?

I wonder why Mark is bereft of assignments… Could it be he’s a free-lance writer/blogger/vlogger in the new gig economy? Well, anyone reading this blog knows that monetizing this kind of activity isn’t as easy as the “experts” suggest… for every “influencer” out there making bank, there are literally millions not “making it.”

But good for you, Cherry. With your brains and Mark’s sweet back-side, how can you guys lose?

Boy, I am going to learn a lot reading this strip! That’s a euphemism unfamiliar to me… and apparently to Google, since the only results are related to milking mice