Yakkity -Yak…

So very glad Mark continues to keep us apprised of his every thought and notion!!  And good for you Mark! as oblivious as you can sometimes be, you realize that following Marlin might be “too obvious…”  Even if you changed the expression on your face from time to time he would still think it  was you!! As Marlin throws the stern drive into overdrive and waits for his boat to plane out, Mark is now back in trespassing mode…  Probable cause?  Illegal search and seizure?  The constitution and Bill of Rights mean nothing in the trailverse!!

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A lesson for us all, though… A poacher’s work is never done… lest we think this is an easy life, it’s up early and out the door every  day looking for more poachable stuff…  remember Big Mike and his band had to add trespassing to their rap sheet in order to keep their clients happy…  at some point you poach yourself out of business!

…and stop calling me Shirley!

Poor Mark.  His Trail-brain is in overdrive, trying to reconcile the inputs being presented… Pretty girl who helps damaged wildlife recover = GOOD.  Shifty, mysterious man coming and going at all hours mailing packages to Atlanta and points further off with impeccably kept files with pictures revealing poaching activities = BAD.  Yet they are together = ???

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But Mark, things are not always as they seem.  Sometimes people maintain double lives, hiding in plain sight… Until they get a little cocky, thinking that their cover is perfect, that no one will ever suspect.  Of course Jessica is in on the Turtle Egg and other wildlife poaching…  She’s the one that keeps the halo burning bright over the island.  She’s the one that keeps people away, that is unless it’s a person with a perverse need to write stories and barge in unannounced…  Remember, this story could have been over before it started if Jessica and Marlin had simply said “no thank you” to Mark’s desire to write an article on them… But what’s the fun in that?

Where are you going, Mark?

As Mark Trail ponders the deep and thorny questions posed by his latest encounter with evil, it appears that he has his open-bowed, outboard powered boat pointed out to open seas…  Speaking aloud, as usual, to no one but himself and the wind and waves and a random bottlenose, his thoughts turn to the lovely Jessica Canupp, who clearly stirred something in the cold dark recesses of his chamberless heart.  What are those? Feelings?  Well, don’t worry Mark, they too shall pass.

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But seriously, running out of gas on the open seas without a paddle is worse than being up the proverbial creek…  turn around Mark!  Oh I know, it’s like worrying over the Millenium Falcon as it navigates the asteroid field…  Every major character is on board, so it’s very unlikely that anything bad will happen…

uh, define “soon…”

Great plan, Mark…  Tell Jason Smith all about it, call Doc and tell him nothing, head out to get “more information” and leave instructions to call the police if… if Jason Smith doesn’t hear from you soon??  Poor Jason Smith.  Probably had other visions, other plans in store, when he was in Journalism school- maybe even had thoughts of getting in front of the camera, that is until his hair started leaving him and his incredibly large, round, bald dome made that all but impossible…

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I still have to chuckle over the ham-handed way these characters hold a cell phone…  still more like a walkie talkie than a phone…  And Mark looks so pleased with himself in Panel three.  He’s in the zone, on the case, away from his dreaded family.  It’s a minor miracle that he remembered to check in with Doc at all… Rusty?  Rusty who??

The return of Jason Smith, Newspaper Man…

Recycled and re-purposed plot-line, characters and artwork.  That’s the way of the Trail.  By today’s strip it’s apparent that Ol’ Jason Smith still doesn’t know how to use a phone…  Although he did change his shirt and get his desk chair recovered…  And Mark, sensing that he is clearly in over his head, calls in the… authorities?  No, the PRESS…  makes perfect sense.  Having done the legwork, complete with trespassing and obtaining sensitive personal information, feels like his work is done here…

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Must be the ATLANTA address that Mark wants Jason to follow up on…  since the newspaper budget would never allow him to start making international calls or flight arrangements… Assuming this leads to another byline and a hard hitting, investigative piece, Jason Smith could be in line for a Pulitzer, or at least the equivalent coming from the Field and Forest community… But does Mark take any credit?  Of course not.  That’s not his thing.  Making others look good and saving the environment, that’s what Mark is all about…

Catching up!!! and the NSA has NOTHING on Mark Trail!!

OK…  we are back… and the abuses to privacy in the next three strips stagger the imagination.  It’s a damn good thing Mark isn’t nosey about Marlin’s prostate, otherwise the local doctor would no doubt be spilling his guts on that topic… “Marlin? Sure I know him… but you should see his prostate… looks like an angry ugly-fruit…”

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But where are we anyway?  A branch of the USPS?  A local shipping agent?  And how does Mark “know” that Marlin is shipping turtle eggs?  And to what end?  Is this a racket where Marlin is filling the coolers and pantries of the world’s top chefs?  “What will he do with the turtle eggs, Dave?”  “Looks like he’s starting to separate them… Turtle egg white soufflé??”

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As we continue to advance the story line by introducing all manner of loose-lipped extras, it would seem that Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Jedi powers (“These aren’t the droids you are looking for…”) has nothing on Mark, as he now has moved away from the dock and into the Post Office to piece his story together…

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And of course, why not, here’s a list of all the people he ships his packages to…  “Can’t see the harm, you look honest enough, and quite frankly, it never occurred to me that I might be forfeiting sensitive, personal information about a US citizen which has been entrusted to me…”  I guess there is a lesson in this for all of us… JUST ASK… even if, unlike Mark Trail, you might suspect you have no right to the information…  JUST ASK.  That’ll be my new motto…

Big Mike, meet Marlin; Marlin, Big Mike…

Greeeeaaaat…. more poaching action…  As usual it makes no sense.  It would seem that Marlin has a penchant for record keeping… since he feels compelled to keep complete files on all of his illegal activities.  I can only imagine the picture he has of one of his clients holding a basket full of ill-gotten Sea Turtle eggs- caption: “24 June 2013- What a Haul!”  Turtle egg envy all around…

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Meanwhile the Pelicans gather in the shallows around the island rooting Mark on, knowing that their benefactor Jessica can’t hold on much longer, that they will be next…