Ah Yes… The Silver King

The Tarpon.  The fish that drove development to Southwest Florida.  The fish that, until the late 19th century, could not be conceived of being caught by rod and reel…  And so with the magic of the transitional / locational / time bending / plot moving box in panel one, Mark and Rusty are on the water…  fishing!  Remember the good old days, ladies and gents, when Mark would almost seemingly take fiendish delight in promising to take Rusty fishing, only to be called away on another “assignment?”  Well, that tension (alas) no longer exists and now he is not only wetting his line, he is traveling to fisheries that the common working man may never get to see in a lifetime… Do I sound jealous?  Maybe just a little…

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I guess I will stop asking about the whole space-time conundrum…  The authors clearly feel they can violate those laws with impunity.  So let’s revel in the fact that Mark is offering up a modest fist-pump at the sight of Rusty hooking a Tarpon  (which seems to have turned the boat, or at least Rusty, around…) and wait patiently for this story to reveal its evil side…

Well, where is Rusty? in the Trunk?

As I may have pointed out, Mark is a good 4.5 hours away from Lost Forest right now- to be anywhere near salt water and Pelican habitat- yet he’s going to “take Rusty fishing” today?  Totally don’t understand that one…  and are we inviting Rusty to dinner, or does he go back in the trunk with the catch of the day?  And besides, Rusty who?  It’s not like Jessica has been introduced to the entire trail clan…

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Oh, Marlin’s not going to be happy about supping with Trail.  Clearly Jessica has been drawn in by Mark’s outdoor nature writer wiles, and can barely resist him by standing there arms akimbo, chest thrust forward, asking him to dinner…  Rusty?  Rusty who??

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So endeth the lesson…  Really?  I mean who the heck doesn’t know, by now, that throwing trash into the water is a big non-no??  But then I am reminded of my own experiences… going out bluefishing off the Jersey shore and watching the crew of the boat tossing can, bottles, cardboard, anything and everything off the back of the boat as we headed back in to port…  And the island of trash in the Pacific that is the size of Texas

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Mark is truly in his element here, judging by the look on his face in panel one.  “This story ought to write itself!” he must be thinking… But what evil lurks behind this eco-façade??  There must be something, otherwise why would Marlin and Jessica have exhibited such caution, bordering on paranoia??  We should know in a couple of weeks…

Jessica Likes a big mounted fish…

Especially the sail variety… the look of awe and reverence in the last panel gives away her passions… unless she had a spicy rigatoni last night, she is breathless in the face of such stuffed and mounted natural beauty…

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But the phrase “work on Injured birds” leaves me a little cold… Minister to, nurse back to health, heal, anything but “work on…” Having your bird hospital share space with the tools of the taxidermy trade seems a little off-putting, unless of course one figures that whatever doesn’t get saved gets stuffed and sold.  I guess that’s what Henry Ford would call “vertical Integration,” like when he purchased rubber plantations on a distant continent so he could ensure the supply of rubber for the tires that went on his Model T…

Oh! so you are THAT Mark Trail…

And apparently you have hands made of asbestos or some other heat shielding material…  as Mark grabs the Ol’ #8 cast iron skillet by the bare handle…

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Jessica:  Mark Trail, impervious to time and space, has been writing stories since before you were a gleam in your father’s eye…  and will continue to do so as you pass into old age and beyond.  Anyone rooted in the trailverse does not age.  All casual characters come and go like regular folks- even do prison time when appropriate… right, Jeff?  right, Jared?  Have you met anyone interesting in stir??

Just a man and his dog…

Well, Mark, enjoying a cup-o-Joe, head resting in your free hand, talking to your faithful companion Andy, who listens to your every word with heartbreaking loyalty…  “Spoil his little island”  what a funny phrase…  Mark seems almost miffed by the idea…

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Meanwhile Marlin is putting finishing touches on… Oh My God, what IS that??  Looks like a fish, but it’s not anything that would look good hanging from a nail… We have yet to see anything that might be worth hiding from the outside world… but I need to be patient.  All will be revealed in the fullness of time.  We are barely into this story, I just need to let it unfold…

Andy looks Surprised!!

But what is he surprised about??  The fact that Marling does not like them, or the fact that Mark actually picked up on subtle, non-verbal cues???

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Nice that Mark’s “equipment included a full size AX…  good lord, where were you hiding that, Trail??  Never mind that you should probably hop on down to the farm and fleet and pick yourself up a propane stove and a canister or two…  that way you won’t be leaving the ugly fire scars everywhere you “camp…”

And shouldn’t you birds be a-roosting by now?  Don’t you normally take your cues from the sunlight, or lack thereof?  Something is certainly amiss on this island…  I could draw upon a LOST reference, but I will resist the temptation…