zoom zoom…

With Apologies to Mazda, and with Mark using the back half of his commercial round-trip ticket, we find the political elite taking wing in the wild blue, off to the land of Lost Forest, the “Sanctuary,” the “Nature Preserve, the “Game Preserve,” to appreciate what happens when man starts to drill holes into Mother Earth… Dead Cows?  Or Frightened Elk?

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But really… who owns this plane?  Who is piloting the Plane?  Wes?  BIG OIL?  The Senator?  Part of the congressional fleet on standby for junkets and fact-finding missions?  Meanwhile, Johnny continues to display his pissy attitude toward to whole thing.  Johnny, Honey, why don’t you shut your pie-hole and try to chill out for once in your life.  You can’t control everything, you know…”

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Sticks and Stones, Johnny. Sticks and Stones.

I bet Johnny Walker was a bully in grade school, or maybe, better yet, he was the one who was bullied…  that might explain his confrontational nature and his propensity to engage in name-calling… And don’t YOU understand, Johnny, that Anne Marie is (1) on to you (2) doesn’t love you anymore and (3) is hot for THE TRAIL??   Oh, poor girl…  soon to be another in the pantheon of broken hearts left behind by our intrepid outdoorsman…

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And how, pray tell, do you plan to “put a stop” to Mark Trail?  This I can’t wait to see!

And, oh, by the way, we have seen that ¾ close-up of Ann Marie before… why not pull out all the stops with the copy/ paste functionality?

Was Johnny listening to their conversation?

I mean, simple sequencing, right?  Anne Marie bids Johnny welcome and invites him to enter the Senator’s Chambers, and already he not only knows about the plans for a hunting trip, but has had time to form his typically negative opinion?  I don’t get it.

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And what exactly is the Lynx/ Ocelot doing in panel one?  Coiled up and ready to pounce?  Praying in the general direction of Mecca?  Sleeping?  Odd… Not to mention the lake, which is now a lovely color of I-don’t-know-what… not sure what color that would be from the 64 box of Crayola crayons Raw Sienna or just plain ol’ Tan?…  all I know is that’s one distressed body of water…

All I know is that Johnny is getting more angry by the day as he feels the encroachment of Mark Trail, as well he should, since faithful readers all know how this is going to turn out…

Mark and Anne Marie are in cahoots!

Not to be overly critical, but Anne Marie, in Panel two, could be an entirely different person…  The hair is the same (described by one as a ‘hot mess…’) but her face has completely changed, only to return to more familiar aspect in panel three.  So the plan is to get the Senator out into the Wilderness- what his lake home doesn’t qualify for that?  What if they were going to set up a drilling rig on the shores of whatever lake he calls his own?  Classic Liberal NIMBY behavior- oh, sure, wind farms are a great idea, just don’t put one off the coast of Hyannis Port

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Ever the practical one, Mark continues to sport the olive/ taupe suit that he wore to dinner the previous night, but changes out the shirt and tie in order that he doesn’t look that obvious about it…  Nice spread collar and silk rep tie.  I will give hive this much, his sartorial sense is refined and classic.  Probably shops at JoS. A. Bank…  And such a gentleman, pulling out the chair for Anne Marie!  He is at home anywhere he goes!  The most interesting man alive?  Probably not, but he will do in a pinch…

What makes the world go-round? Coffee!!!

I have to draw attention to the matronly waitress in panel two, wearing the Hazel (Baxter Family) maid uniform and toting the globe shaped coffee urn- the same kind that cherry uses at Lost Forest!

“But Mark, (my how familiar we are) my Dad has changed.  He is normally down with the tree hugging set, but ever since I began having relations with Johnny, he has started to agree with everything he says… and I am starting to regret having let Johnny into, umm err, my life…”

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But once again, Mark’s knowledge of the legislative process is a bit off… A single Senator cannot “pass a bill” (maybe a kidney stone, but not a whole bill…) without other members of congress going along and the President signing it into law… Unless of course we want to go down the Executive Order path, which would require Mark to get inside the head of the sitting president… might we go there?  Who knows?

And there’s that earring… pasted to of Ann Marie’s upper mandible…  Poor girl…

What the hell is that on the table ringing??

I swear, Elrod & Company needs to take a crash course in modern day telecommunications equipment, how to draw it and how to hold and use it…

Anyway, here’s the Trail in his natural habitat…  alone in a hotel room verbalizing his every thought for the benefit of you and me.  But soft! What brings the ring?  Why it’s Ann Marie Mason, Johnny Walker’s Sweetheart, calling Mark Trail.  Well this is highly irregular, what with all the gender role clarity at play…  So Anne Marie, raised by wolves (remember??) is going to venture into the steaming vat of our Nation’s Capital in search of the one man who cannot be bought, cannot be swayed, cannot be driven off course…  Mark Trail.  But why? Is she going to give up the goods on Johnny?  Is Johnny turning out to be a BAD BOYFRIEND?  Is he just using her to get to her father Senator Mason, Hudson? Oh the Cad!!

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… And I am not even going to comment on what it appears mark is getting ready to do with his left hand in panel three…

Mark Trail still figuring out how to use a smart phone…

Before we get back to our story, look at the way that Mark is holding his phone in panels one and two…  kind of ham-handed, don’t you think??  In fact, it’s a wonder he can here is “Ol’ Buddy” Bill, considering he is completely covering the speaker hole!  Looks more like he’s handling a Walkie-Talkie than a phone…

And does Mark’s Ol’ Buddy Bill have special powers?  How does he know that Mark is in DC?  Caller ID perhaps?

And heavens!  Look at the pillow in panel three…  it’s growing!  Seriously!

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But oh, that Johnny Walker…  It would seem that he and the Senator didn’t get the memo.  One cannot be a “right hand man” and a lobbyist at once, can one?  Unless I over-interpreted the title of “right hand man” as being on the Senator’s paid staff…  there are laws against that, supposedly!  And don’t lobbyists have to register?  Yup, I think they probably do.  So simply “hearing about” someone being a lobbyist would suggest that they can run around wearing more than one hat, slipping in and out of the shadows of the Senate chamber… ick.