Wrappin’ it Up! With a Bow!‏

No waiting ‘til Monday!  How considerate of Mr. Elrod…

You know, without pictures, if one just had the dialogue, this gets even funnier… “Talk, Catfish!”  “Gurgle, glug, glug…” And apparently, the helicopter being employed in the take-down is of the stealth variety…  making only a whisper of  sound over which Mark can be heard to deal the verbal death knell to Ol’ Rod Bassy… “Your fishing days are OVER!”  Ha!  And Rod just stands there like a statue, the errors of his crooked life racing through his mind…


The fact that Rusty has been tied up and kept in the same position for well on 48 hours, the poor lad by now must have lost all feeling in his hands and his back side…  but then one gets the feeling that he likes it that way…  And Mark, oh Mark, thy Trail be done!  With your hair all mussed up , you almost look human.  What’s that again, Rusty? “MMMPHH!” And Really Mark? Does Cherry REALLY need to know what went down when Rusty was in your charge?  Stay tuned everyone!


Carl Lewis? Usain Bolt? They got nothin’ on me!‏

“Run,  Run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Catfish man!”

Ha!  Catfish is running the 200 meter high hurdles, wearing fins!  Little fins, to be sure, but fins nonetheless…  I really wanted to see an underwater chase and struggle, but alas, it wasn’t to be.  Mark hasn’t made a good open-field tackle in months!  That must feel really good!

And Rod’s posture is great!  You can almost see the look on his face!


And a helicopter?? That wasn’t part of the plan!  Whose side do we think it’s on?  Could be that Rod Bassy is being supported by Big Business, and they certainly won’t cotton to any meddling by a Nature Writer… Maybe this conglomerate is holding Rod Bassy’s family hostage, forcing him to go out and win tournament after tournament through these nefarious means, lest they do certain bodily harm to his precious wife and fair-haired children… Or it could be that Bluegill finally came to his senses and called in the real authorities- the kind that actually care if another human being is abducted and being held against his will…

Oh, Justice be done!!‏

What would we ever do, if in one of these protracted stories, Mark did not prevail?  What would that say about the order of things, the natural laws that we have come to rely upon? That Ice floats… rocks sink, and Thy Trail be Done!!


I am laughing at Catfish’s reaction- not the usual “What the ___?” but rather “Trail?”  As if he knew in his heart that the gig was up, that Mark was on the trail, and that it was only a matter of time before this whole “Rod Bassy Light up Lure” sham would be brought to an ignominious end!  Good thing Mark ditched his PFD… the kind that inflates upon contact with Water- otherwise he wouldn’t be descending to make sure Catfish meet his fate!

glug, glug…‏

Again, the plausibility of this entire scheme is being called into question…  the logistics alone are daunting- I mean where in the H*ll does Catfish keep these lunker bass?  And when they are hooked onto Rod’s line, do they show any signs of life?  We see only one bass in the second panel- does Catfish have a holding pen off camera?  At least we are seeing some bubbles coming off the respirator…  Clearly I am over-thinking this…


Don’t you love Mark’s expression in the first panel?  “Uh, OK, if you say so, Rod… but really, I am on to you.”  Does Mark dive in and tackle Catfish, tearing off his mask and breather?  Is it to be fisticuffs in the water? Sort of like when my mother tried to spank me in the tub? OOPS, TMI…  Wait and see!!

It’s only a matter of time now…

Sort of like watching the movie Argo or the Spirit of St Louis…  You KNOW how this is going to end, but the tension still mounts!!  And the thought balloons!  Amazing!  Mark is managing to hold dear his thoughts… his plan of attack!  “Heh, heh… this is a deep spot… better use my LIGHT UP LURE®…” Ol’ Rod thinks he’s so smart.  Little does he know that Mark is on the <ahem> Trail…


Still I ask, though, whither the bubbles?  A Scuba rig lets off scads of ‘em, and there’s nary a blip… I am picturing Catfish underwater, though, with a net-bag full of bass waiting to find the LIGHT UP LURE®…” This is so preposterous as to be amusing…  Let’s see, it’s only Tuesday.  We should have this wrapped up by Saturday, don’t you think?

Rusty? Rusty who?‏

Like he was “Tracking” him in the first place!  Ha!

Passive Aggressive Mark Trail is really going for the throat with was passes for an accusation of Rod’s involvement in the “Rusty Kidnapping Caper, Bass Tournament” story.  Does Rusty have a last name? As an adoptee, is his full name now Rusty Trail?  If so that’s pretty funny.  They need to find a girl, “Sandy” or perhaps “Mossy.”

“Why you asking me trail?  You know how kids are…”  Well, actually he doesn’t have the slightest notion of “how kids are…”  Pronghorn sheep, the common salamander perhaps, but kids, no.  Mark is as baffled by Rusty as he is by Cherry’s advances…  He can only see Rusty in terms of a smaller version of himself- camera slung around his neck, getting “the story…”


Oh he’ll turn up all right… the question now is in what shape?  Am I really fearing for Rusty’s well-being?  Apparently I spend too much time on this…

Not to mention the “Bluegill,” turned a shade of steely gray by man’s assault on the environment, is joining the rainbow trout in a fly feasting frenzy, never mind that never in the history of that particular fish has one broken the water’s surface to get a meal…

Difficult to stay a-bed when Trail beckons…‏

“Meanwhile, back at the Bass Tourney… C’mon, let’s go, Trail, we’re burning daylight here!”  Oh, Mark how clever of you- “Didn’t think you would show since I didn’t see your van or your henchman here…” just the kind of obtuse, left-field comment that an experienced Nature Reporter would make when trying to uncover fraud and abuse in the watery realm…


And who are these nameless, faceless “Tournament Officials?”  I have a visual on them, sitting under a pop-up shelter, finishing off their first case of the day, breaking into their second…  All wearing bright colored arm bands just to make them look official…  You know the phrase- those who can’t do, officiate…

“I sent catfish to run a few errands for me- you know, laundry, dry cleaning, get the oil changed, snuff and chop up Rusty into little pieces… oops, did I just say that??”


Now there’s a plan…  Mark is going to dive off the boat and catch the mouth breather red-handed, or slimy finned, or something like that…  I am so glad they let us in on their scheme, I would hate to have been caught off guard as the Saturday strip ends with Mark going over-board (literally and figuratively…)  But if the concern is truly about Rusty (which it’s not) They could just wait for Bassy and catfish to abandon their van (which apparently has stealth/ cloaking capabilities) and knock on the window- “Rusty, lad, you in there?”  “Muff, muff,  mufff,” the bound boy would reply… The priority here is to catch Bassy doing something wrong (can we even say illegal?  Since I doubt that there are any actual laws being broken here… what, transporting large bass across state lines with the intent to marry them to illegal light up lures?)

03222013 color

But what hash has Bluegill pulled from the cook-top?  A steaming bowl of orange, nondescript something… mashed sweet potatoes?  Ground catfish?  The mind races!  And have we ever seen Mark cook, other than over an open fire whilst camping?  I suppose that fits with the Tralian Milieu…

Smug much?‏

Again, tortured logic in play!  Why in the world does the execution of Rod and Catfish’s evil plan hinge on their maintaining custody of Rusty, tied up, in the “Rod Bassy Stealth Van?”  Wouldn’t it be easier to just (perish the thought) snuff the life out of the little hell-boy and dump his body in a culvert?  And for use later if questioned, manufacture a plausible alibi (“I was with him- and oh yea, I was with him… we were polishing lures and sharpening hooks”)


The look on Trail’s face in the second panel is priceless.  Mark is so sure of himself, even though, again, his reasoning is without foundation.  Committing the classic “post-hoc, ergo propter hoc,” fallacy, mark is trying his best to put his powers of prefrontal cortex reasoning into play, only to embarrass himself…  The woodland creatures, in quiet rumination, mock his supposed mental acuity…

Tortured Logic…‏

“…tough to find a van with “Rod Bassy” emblazoned on the side?  Really?  Well, Mark agrees, so it must be so!  With all the fishermen in town? What, no women?  And the van was so difficult to find all the other days- “Oh, look, there’s Rod Bassy’s van…”  


But let us take stock of the situation…  a suspected kidnapping and never a mention of getting the local constable involved.  It’s like the only law enforcement that exists in the Trailian Universe are Park Rangers and Game Wardens, both of which care little about the welfare of humans or enforcing the laws designed to protect them…  “…fewer people the better,” they’d say…

See Mark gritting his teeth?  If the camera were allowed to pan down, we would see his fists-o-justice clenched for sure!  I trust that I am not just getting my hopes up only to have them dashed…

Too bad they aren’t fly fishing- looks like the hatch is on!