Go ahead already!!

Shoot!!

“The girl” means about as much to me as that hare getting raptored in panel one…

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But what the heck, right?  Mr. Ponytail is still sitting in a plane at the airport?  While Baldy and “the girl” are driving to wherever Mark is going?  I am so confused.  No one ever said crooks are smart, but this guy is a real keeper…

Finally! Ferrets!

There they are!  Lower left!  Cute little guys, about to emerge from an “abandoned” prairie dog burrow, abandoned because they ate all the prairie dogs!!  Looking to wreak more havoc on the landscape!

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And what on earth is Mark hanging onto in the second panel?  That is the funniest looking steering wheel I have ever seen!  And all the shading drawn in around him?  Are we looking at Mark through Baldy’s eyes?  Does he have glaucoma?  I still don’t understand what Baldy’s strategy is here… there are probably 50  other ways to secure a getaway car that don’t involve brandishing a handgun and bringing other people into the situation, let alone Mark Trail…

Well, so much for the Water-World defense…

I thought for sure yesterday that Mark was trying to remind the counter agent that he wasn’t fit to rent anything…  based on his dubious record of returning items unscathed…  But here we find him behind the wheel of a lovely blue SUV, apparently being paid for by one Leslie Joyce.  Who is what? A benefactor? An investor? A Sugar-Mommy?

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But Mark, you are breaking with tradition!  Bad guys always call good guys by their surname- “Mr. Bond” or “Mr. Powers.”  “Nice try?”  How about, “Yea, right!”  Baldy probably has so many aliases he could tell you his name and it wouldn’t really be helpful!  And for love of Mike, that’s not a girl!  That’s a woman!  And doesn’t the kidnapper usually call the shots as far as where they go?  Are they going to drive to the Res and then what? Get introduced to Johnny Lone-Elk?

Going right to the black-list!

As Mark approaches the Rental Car Counter (which looks more like a makeshift lemonade stand…) we see the agent all hunched over with (as it turns out) her back to the world…  Maybe she just finished a sneeze, or is sneaking a drink of something…

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Gertz!  Ha!  I see what you did there Mr. Allen!  But wait there’s more!  The line that Mark dreamt up that will keep him from being able to rent a car at all…  He’s invoking the “Water-World” defense- one more thing in life that caused great tumult but was clearly not his fault… recall Cherry reminding Mark of the last time that he and Johnny Lone-Elk got together… And Leslie Joyce!  We met her a loooong time ago when we were fighting Terrorism, World Domination and Radiated Sharks with Mississippi Ken!  And even though she provided the protective suit, she reminded Mark of something, something that happened that required Mark to have “some nerve” to call her…  Yup, I’m seeing a large bulletin board with pins and yarn connecting all these people and events!

Let’s make this a little more obvious…

With Mark stroking his whiskerless chin he is rapidly giving himself away!  The fact that he is thinking, thinking of a way out of this!  One that will out Ol’ Baldy and not get him and “The Girl” shot…

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So it appears that he can’t walk and think at the same time, which is making everyone impatient.  “Give me a Minute- I’m working on it?”  That’s the best you got, Trail?! But with the knowing and cunning look, Mark clearly has something up his sleeve.  Why not a good old fashioned haymaker?  A roundhouse to Baldy’s jaw?  He’d never see it coming!  C’mon Mark, Just like in the old days…

This Olde Trope Never Works…

Guy has gun, other guy doesn’t have gun.  Guy with gun makes guy without gun drive.  Gun stays trained on guy driving.  Let’s think about what happens to both guys if guy with gun shoots guy driving.  Both guys die.  Or at least get maimed…  And as we recall from her single verbal offering, the “girl” doesn’t read, or at least attaches very little value to those who write, so very little lost there if Baldy shoots her…

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As has also been pointed out, cars are about the only form of rental in which Mark hasn’t been blacklisted…  so this is kind of funny.  He’ll end up doing something to hurt the car, and well, more paperwork.  But is he traveling on his own or on the Magazine’s dime?  I think we all know the answer to that one…

Nary a thought of, “What the…?”

I mean, seriously.  Mark has to wonder why this is “normal” for him- no matter where he goes, he runs into trouble, or trouble seems to find him… Of course without trouble, the strip would become an impossible snooze… But lately the trouble is always directed at him… not around him… Cases in Point:  Rod Bassey wasn’t out to hurt Mark, just win fishing tournaments by cheating; Big Mike didn’t want to hurt Mark, he just ran a rigged hunting and expedition operation, and so on…

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Yet here we are, again, with Mark’s life being threatened.  And he’s asking himself to THINK… Well, he’s not doing a very good job of that, as witnessed by this last week’s worth of installments.  And given the amount of traveling Mark does, wouldn’t he just be able to go out and pick his car, like in those commercials?  Why is he stopping at the desk?  His Name should already be on the board and the car waiting for him!  Maybe they don’t offer that service at the Rapid City Airport?  So many questions!