Clueless thy name is TRAIL!‏

Ol’ Rod has met his match!  His carefully orchestrated and scripted existence- Enter Tournament- trash talk the competition- catch most fish- trash talk some more- promote the Rod Bassy Killer®- move on to next tournament- repeat, is slowly being unraveled by this seemingly unflappable (some would say obtuse) nature writer named Trail.

“Oh, yeah…  I heard of you…”

You’ll wish you never had, Rod…

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INSIDE my VAN?  Are you SERIOUS?  The Rod Bassy PLEASURE MOBILE?  Do you think maybe he’s hiding something?  I am still betting on freeze-dried fish that he produces just in time for weigh-in…  But again, where’s RUSTY?  Must be with Bluegill.  And we’ve yet to meet Bassy’s Hench-man ‘Catfish…’  Do you suppose he’s called that because he lives underwater and chases fish into Rod’s boat?  The possibilities are endless!

Bring out the Extra Large Font!

Like I said before, the man has anger issues…  And apparently he’s never seen a camera before… Isn’t it rather obvious what “TRAIL <is> DOING?”

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That center frame says it all, though, the reason we read and care about this man and his exploits…

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After all, it’s the face, the face that haunts… and beckons us back to a by-gone era where diversity doesn’t have a toe-hold, where the world is inhabited and run by people of non-color…

Well, I think we all know the answer to THAT question…‏

Of course I am NOT a betting man, ROD… But that lure of yours is clearly landing you in the tall clover, considering we are being given another long-look at your penthouse crib… Again I am thinking that the tournament must be in the Central Park Reservoir…

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And considering that the “secret to his success” is out and has been for some time, what’s really the point of all this??  Oh that’s right, there’s still the fact that Ol’ Rod likes to talk about himself in the third person, which is a dead give-away that he’s the “bad guy.”  Don’t they all do that??  Or maybe this is all too reminiscent of the All Star Wrestling circuit, where men are larger than life and bring drama with them wherever they go!

Now BACK to THE FISHING HOLE!  And WHERE’S RUSTY?!?

I learned in Art History class…

…that holy figures were depicted (typically) with a circle or an aura around their heads…    jesus

And see how the “Rod Bassy Killer®” seems to not reflect, but emanate its own light!  So he’s either fishing with an illegal light-up lure, or this is truly the product a divine intervention…

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Love the sneer in the last panel.  Rod Bassy is just as smug as can be.  His Ass-holiness is complete!

And Mark is SOOOO pleased with himself, having cracked the case in less than three days…  This is lightening, deadline fueled journalism being witnessed here!!

OK, cue the manufactured tension…‏

Really?  And the speed with which Mr Bassy switches out moods is alarming, suggesting that he may be a talented fisher-person, but at the same time rather unbalanced and unhinged… anger issues, itching for a fight, one could say…  It would certainly explain that nose…

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But as always “Mark the unflappable” manages to fit in a life lesson or two without the unsuspecting reader even knowing it!  “Remember, Rod, it’s often times not WHAT you say, it’s HOW you say it…” “Oh, yeah, I guess you are right!”

Of course you do…‏

“I use the Rod Bassy Killer®…”  but what’s with Mark interviewing Rod in a high-rise penthouse?  Where is the fishing tournament anyway? The Central Park Reservoir?

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And what has been done with Rusty?  Left him in the care of ol’ Bluegill?  Who is no doubt filling his young mind with thoughts of fishing greatness, made more delicious by the impending disappointment when the tournament rules do not allow minors in the boats…

That’s right Mark…‏

…do what they taught you back in J-school (outdoor writing, 201) …play to your subject’s vanities, that’s the door to all intrigue… Get him to talk about himself, surely there will be a nugget you can capture and print out of context…

I still love that Mark throws the old Leica 35mm camera around his neck.  While Rusty has moved onto cameras that have “memory cards,” Mark is slowly but surely working down his inventory of carefully stored and maintained Kodachrome 64 film… but he will have to start developing the pictures himself, even manufacturing his own chemicals as the world moves on without him…

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I also love that “Mr. Bassy” resembles a prize-fighter.  That nose suggests that he has been in his share of scrapes- perhaps over right-to-fish altercations… note the sneer he offers up as he admits to having “heard about” Mark Trail…  As if his secret dream isn’t to actually be interviewed by the same and featured in “Woods and Wildlife” Magazine…

“Oh boy, you guys, we’re about to see a side of Mark we don’t usually see: Mark Trail, hard-hitting journalist! Rod Bassy is the king of the professional bass fishing circuit. Women want him; men want to be him. Mr Bassy, what’s the secret to your success? “Well, I’m a better fisherman than the others!” It seems that way! Well, I think I got what I came for, let me just take a few pictures of you in your stately home for the cover. This interview will appear in June’s Woods and Wildlife Magazine, and on our website at woodsandwildlifemagazine.biz just as soon as we can find someone who knows how to make a website.”

– it would seem that Josh (the Curmudgeon) and I are on the same page…

Ever noticed…‏

…how many plot lines involve FISHING???  I mean what the ___?  And if there are any people shooting animals they are poachers or otherwise evil?  What does Trail, Inc. have against fish?  That they are relatively non-sympathetic targets for man’s domination?  Or that without fish, there wouldn’t be anything to write about??? Or is this part of a subliminal plot by the Christian Right that says fishing is the only truly virtuous pastime (Fishermen Apostles turned fishers of men…) But maybe I over-think this whole thing…  Now back to the story…

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A smiling Bluegill (virtuous, remember) declares Rod Bassy a “Real Jerk.”  That’s fairly strong language, Mister… Especially in front of my impressionable Ward, Rusty.  So Rod Bassy is the “Fallen one” who has probably traded his soul for the life he now enjoys, giving him repeated opportunities to say, “In your face, Bluegill!” as he hoists another winning sack of fish…

And who knew that there was a fishing “community?”  Is this another special interest group that politicians will pander to? Boy this just keeps getting better and better!!