Human Life is not So Dear in the Trailverse…

“Hey Mister” he says, accusingly, “You aren’t allowed to do that.”  Sounds like a kid on the grade school playground pointing out to a classmate that hanging upside-down on the monkey bars is “against the rules.”  To which the spear-wielding scofflaw replies with a death threat.  Sure.  He’s so desperate to put food on his family’s table that he will not allow anything to come between him and tasty turtle tartar, not even a random guy who has promoted himself to Game Warden.  But who knew that Turtle Slaughter was a problem?

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As this story takes shape, or not, we now have any number of directions it could take… We have been teased by a pelican loving woman named Jessica and her Taxidermist boyfriend “Marlin,” and now we have a random poacher introduced.  It’s like poaching is the only truly indictable offense in this world…  and remember- it’s not like Ol’ Eddie who would do “a little poaching,” but rather like these brazen types that are out in broad daylight (or flashlight) breaking the law with impunity…

Boat and Motor? Check. PFD? Check. Faithful Canine Companion? Check.

Now we are back where everything makes sense.  When Mark is around his family you can just feel the tension…  The unspoken, “Don’t you have someplace you should be going?  Isn’t there a story out there you could be chasing?”  So into the transporter machine we go, conquering space and time, and we are back on the water looking for something to write about.  No phone calls to warn of his arrival, no permissions granted, just another, “Hi, I’m Mark Trail.  I write Stories.  I would like to get nosy about your business…”

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And of course he stumbles upon an act of violence against the animal kingdom, in violation of rule and section that he no doubt has memorized down to the state and county level, including bag, possession and slot limits.  Are we to understand that the bump sticking out of the water right off the bow is the back of a sea turtle?  That Mark can make that ID from 50 yards?  See the look of anger and anguish on Mark’s face as he witnesses this crime being perpetrated…  Will he confront?  Let’s stay tuned…

Cherry is so excited she is doing the robot dance…

According to the Wiki, Lost Forest is in Sandy Springs, GA.  Let’s assume for a moment that Mark and rusty headed to the coast, say Jacksonville, FL.  That’s a 5 hour drive.  Savannah, GA.  4 hours.  Charleston, SC.  5 hours.  Unless they have mastered space and time, it’s unlikely that they would be back at Lost Forest in time for dinner…  They would have had to leave at midnight, fished in the morning, off the water at noon and on the road…  Maybe I am just shocked, dismayed and disappointed (as I am sure they are) at having the family all back together again.  Bad things happen when they are all together…

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Nice job feigning interest, Cherry.  And Mark how about “I am going to go to Pelican Point to bother Jessica and her boyfriend and see what trouble I can get myself into…”  That is a much more declarative statement.  You don’t need anyone’s permission, if that’s what you are angling for… you are Mark Trail after all…

yup, and maybe someday…

Oh, I can’t go there, Rusty.  There are so many things a former orphan can dream about but will never happen, especially when you are locked in time and not allowed to mature…  even when you are allowed to wear the Junior Model Mark Trail canvas shirt with your dungarees…

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And of course Mark knows all about what a “good” business is vs. a “bad” business… A “bad” business would be like the one Big Mike ran shining and poaching deer for BIG MONEY which paid for BIG GLASSES OF WHISKEY… Or the one that Rod Bassey ran selling lures that light up in the water when it’s really your SCUBA-clad henchman putting half-dead trophies on your hook…

Ethan Fauscett.  Really.  Sounds like the plumbing apparatus but with a ‘c’ and an extra ‘t.’  And I am sure he enjoys the nickname.  Better than “Wahoo” or “Skipjack” or “Bluefin…”

 

A boyfriend, huh?

Well, well.  The plot thickens, or at least I will grasp at any straw in order to make that claim…

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But what else does this Boyfriend/ Taxidermist stuff?  Dogs?  Mothers-in-Law?  I think Taxidermy is a creepy business.  Whether it’s the Psycho reference or the scene in Arthur when he meets Susan’s father, it’s just not right in my book…

Another example, though, of a total stranger offering up all manner of random, unsolicited information.  It’s almost like Mark has Jedi powers over the population (you WILL tell me what you now about Jessica Canupp…)

Riveting

I mean who ever heard of such a thing??  A Human being nursing wildlife back to health?  This should make for a real page turner…

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And do you mind, really, going light on the constant reference to said Pelican’s age?  This is getting “old.”   Tedious even.  And I guess things are pretty slow around these parts if a banded Pelican is part of the local lore and lexicon…  “oh, do what you want to all the other Pelicans, but don’t touch that old one- that’s the one that Jessica Canupp nursed back to health and released back into the wild.  Made the local paper and everything…”

Trying to ID the birds in panel one…  I keep landing on a Crane of some sort…

You wear overalls, I have pockets…

Why else do people, mostly men I suppose, wear overalls?  So’s they can hook their thumbs in the straps while they shoot the breeze with strangers, of course… And Mark, having approached said overall-clad man, must immediately drop whatever is in his hands and listen carefully in panel two with his hands stuffed into his pockets…

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Rusty has a huge grin on his face watching Mark in action, approaching a “source,” (that’s what we call people in the Nature Writer business) and getting him to talk.  “Sure, I have no problem divulging information to this total stranger about someone I barely know, or only ‘know about…’”  But what else is there to “know” about Jessica (one n, two p’s) Canupp???  Mark will certainly find out…

I really must point out, though, the lack of diversity in this strip.  It’s as white as loaf of wonder bread!!  Why, there hasn’t been a person of color in this strip ever!  What?  Only white people hunt, fish, cheat steal, write stories and take pictures?  It’s not like the job description is overly taxing here…