Mark! It’s not like you are handcuffed to him!

So leave, already, you big galut!  You have no responsibility for Baldy’s safety, do you?

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And what the hell is Sheriff Stober doing off camera?  Guiding the plane in?  He probably has those magic flashlights that guide the plane into the gate, and waving them around!  A two-fer, he must be thinking- I will get the pilot and the robber too… not to mention the girl… who recently melted under the pressure and listened to reason…

Ya think?!

Sorry Campers… Needed a few days away from the woods to sharpen my axe a little…

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With a thud, the revolver falls to the ground.. and doesn’t go off!  I’m pretty sure that Mythbusters covered this topic years ago… dropped guns do NOT fire on their own…

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Meanwhile Meteorologist Mark (he so bad!) is giving the local forecast…  with “Backup” from Sheriff Stober… Man, this is really inane…

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..with Mr. Bad-guy-pony-tail-dyed-to-match-upholstery asking the question we have all been positing for months now…  there had to be an easier way to do this… like how about we all get on the plane at the airport and take off together, rather than adding kidnapping and false imprisonment to the rap sheet…

Yea, but you are the one with the unprotected flank…

The Wildcard in all of this (for now at least) is Johnny “with the six-shooters” Lone Elk…  he’s been off camera for a while now, ever since going after Blondie…

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Yea, shut up Trail, you are an annoyance, at best.  Learn some moves, man.  You’ve been a puppet for most of this engagement, with the exception of one spark of the Ol’ Mark… As the rain begins to fall again, we are left not with dialogue, but competing monologues- no one is interested in hearing what the other has to say.  Hmmm…  wait a minute, did I just land on something?  Did I not just sum up the state of the political world, with everyone talking past each other, trying to be heard above everyone and everything else that makes up the din?

Bad guy has time to get his pilot’s license?

Seems a bit improbable unless of course he had another life before “breaking bad” and hooking up with Baldy…  “Seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess…” he thought.

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I read somewhere that the coloring in of the dailies is done by off-shore artists…  which might explain why Bad-Guy-Flying-Plane’s pony tail matches the upholstery of the cockpit…

The more I look at panel one, the more it reminds me of a scene from Johnny Quest.  Remember how Race Bannon, Dr. Quest, Johnny and Haji (not to forget about Bandit…) would jet around, seemingly able to land where no plane had gone before?

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Not being an airplane aficionado, I attempted to determine the make and model of what is being piloted… and discovered that there are literally hundreds of manufacturers…  Wiki of course lists them all, and here is part of the listing, alphabetically of just B-Be…  If anyone can ID the plane, more power to you…

I… guess he… backed off?

The Sheriff, that is… There are times this strip doesn’t move and then there are times that it jump-cuts to another dimension…  such as today’s installment where there would seem to be no concerns over Sheriff Stober and his long-barreled peacemaker…

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This has to be the first time we ever saw Ol’ Baldy smile, too…  Fast forward to tomorrow’s (or next week’s) installment and we will see a rogue funnel cloud drop out of nowhere and take out the small plane… Whereupon Blondie races into Mark’s arms which gives him the opportunity to declare his happily married state… then onto the Ferret Fields?  One can only hope…

Oh, and on the topic of going nowhere fast, check out Judge Parker today…

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Can’t hardly wait ’til tomorrow!!

Nothing he hates more…

…than being called, “Cop…”  “That’s Sheriff to you, Mr. Clean…  I don’t stand for re-election every 4 years to be called Cop, thank you very much…”

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So with Mark held Hostage (Hey, that’s Rusty’s job!!) we are again left to ponder for a day or two how this will resolve… Hey, I know, Mark, why don’t you wheel around and take out Baldy at the knees?  Do you really think he’s going to shoot?  I don’t.  And what about you, Johnny?  You are chasing Blondie who has voluntarily taken herself out of the picture for now, posing no threat.  She can be mopped up later… You’d do better to get the drop on Baldy as his attention is now fully on Sheriff Stober.  But hey, what do I know??

Well… He does Have a Film Degree…

Which might account for Johnny’s actions and dialogue in the third panel.  As Blondie considers her options, she is surrounded by a miasma of despair and regret that blocks out all the natural and man-made surroundings…

For students of the Trailverse, let’s also consider how the universe has been reshaped… If the third panel was placed on a placard, without dialogue, presented and the question was posed, “good guy or bad guy?”  the obvious answer would be “bad.”  Look at the markers- long hair, unshaven face, brandishing weapons in an aggressive way… Even Sheriff Stober’s sideburns would have no place on the shiny side of the old coin…  I guess we live in a much different world now, don’t we??

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“Cover me!” Johnny says…  in directive fashion that may have the sheriff complying with his wish… or not… which means Johnny’s life as a “save-the-dayer” might be short lived… But boy he looks super cool brandishing  those six shooters that Sheriff Stober’s Grandfather used to use for evil purposes…  in a way faintly reminiscent of Butch and Sundance…  and don’t forget… Sheriff Stober carries a tomahawk!

Oh, he’s a dead-eye…

…that Sheriff…

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Calm and crouching, he puts a bullet right where he wants to- just above head level and into the building.  No sense in actually shooting anyone, right?   Just need to let them know who has the superior steel…

And now it’s Baldy telling people to stay clear of harm’s way?  Since when did he acquire an ounce of empathy?  Of course as Mark, invincible as ever, makes himself available for stray bullets, it’s Blondie that realizes that life is nothing but a series of choices… some good, some not so good, that land us where we happen to be at any given time.  And right now she’s wishing she’d finished Pre-Algebra in the 9th grade and didn’t leave school to wander west…

2, 3, 4…

I think Blondie wasted a round when Mark was getting his punch on

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And Baldy has now fired off 3 more in what appears to be a six-shooter…  Assuming that Blondie’s gun is fully loaded, that leaves 6-4+6=8 rounds left before reloading…

So now that we are all aware of of everyone else, what prevents a Mexican Standoff?  Am I still allowed to say that?  What does it even mean??

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Thank you, Google… and yes, completely on point.  I predict that the FBI will swoop in with Helicopter (maybe Cal from the Island “Adventure…”) and save the day.  Wouldn’t be the first time that the Feds have made an appearance in these “stories…”