Easy there, Mark…

Shoulder’s still a little tender, you know?? Apparently their leisurely stroll took hours, from panel one where the sun appears to be quite high in the sky to panel two where it is setting gracefully over one of the many lakes adorning the Lost Forest acreage… And I wonder-  can Andy feel the Trailian vibe transmitted through Cherry?

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But really, as usual, can more stilted and awkward prose be committed to a comic strip ( or any media for that matter?)  What if “living in the outdoors” is really a metaphor for…  Oh, probably shouldn’t go there…  Like Jeff Spicoli in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” whose famous words, “All I need are some tasty waves and a cool buzz and I’m fine…” Mark probably derives joy and satisfaction from the less base instincts of man, centering himself on energies derived from world around him.  Hopefully cherry is down with that, as this is the man she chose and the man she loves…

Wes and Shelley, we hardly knew ya!

April 8 to May 31, 2013… Probably one of the shorter story arcs of all time!

Well, I guess at some point the writer(s) get tired of their own characters…  “Seemed like a good idea at the time… c’mon Jack, let’s put a bow on this one… not sure what the next ‘adventure’ or ‘assignment’ will be, but this story is a dog!!”  Oops, sorry Andy, no offense!  Apparently Ranger Wilson’s “travel arrangement” options include teleportation… we sure didn’t waste any time getting back to Lost Forest…  and since Cherry’s Father is ‘Doc’ does that mean he can also minister to bear bite??

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“After that camping trip with Wes and Shelley…”   Translation:  Don’t ever drag me out on another one of your “assignments,” that one almost (literally) killed me…

And so good to be back at Lost forest, where things are still green and not a scorched earth.  Do you suppose we will be getting served anytime soon regarding environmental impact and damage?

Rimshot!

Ba-boom, tshhhh… What amounts to a punch line, I guess…

And is that a tear rolling down her cheek?  I swear this lady needs to enroll in a 12-step program focused on device addiction… If she had meant that as a joke that would be one thing, but she is serious! Wes, dump her fast, this ship is going down!

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And with Wes’ foot wrapped properly, not picnic style, we also get another look at Cherry’s “shoulder.”  Faker!  Not so much as a tear to her blouse… Also looks like Mark and Wes were able to keep up with their hygiene, shaving anyway.  Wes is still a little bit rumpled, but Mark looks ready for his next assignment!

But, but…

That’s it?  They are at the Ranger Station?  Just like that?  No monsters lurking in the deep waters of Rhododendron Lake?  No rogue waves to capsize the canoe, no afternoon squall to swamp their craft?  Where’s Shelley’s Phone?  Cherry’s Gun?  The summons and complaint for all the damage they did to the wilderness- fighting the fire that is no doubt still raging out of control?!

What exactly is THE BEST YOU CAN?  With that laconic expression on your face, it would seem that you are called to minister to wayward campers with Bear bite quite often?  Any you clearly could not have done much, unless you had Mrs. Trail take her shirt off and put it back on, ravaged shoulder notwithstanding… We know she has shoulders, what with the Betty Page pose she struck over sandwiches at the end of the Rod Bassy epic…

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Ranger WILSON? Of course it is.  Again, little to no diversity in the Trailverse.  And where the heck is WES?  I mean he had a foot bound up like a lettuce wrap, and not a mention of that poor man and his travails?  And when Rangers aren’t putting people up in their makeshift field hospitals (note the portable screen right out of a 50’s hospital room…) they are doing what?  Making TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS of course…

I think Mr. Elrod was getting bored with this story.  No doubt the next scene will be with EDITOR BILL ELLIS, BACK IN HIS NEW YORK OFFICE… “Um, Bad news, boss… despite best efforts to charm Wes’ wife into loving the wild, he has been threatened with divorce if he doesn’t stop throwing money at the magazine….”

 

Please don’t make me spell…

…Rhododendron again…

…and apparently they were able to put the canoe into the magical stretching machine which allows all of them to fit… And it would seem that these plot lines are planned WELL in advance, written with forward hindsight, knowing that some vague throwaway reference to a RANGER STATION would be their way out of the wilderness…  Lesson here, intrepid campers- always know your way out whenever you venture in…

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Although I am happy that it appears they won’t be dogged by near starvation and be tempted by cannibalism, this story is wrapping up a little too quickly for me… I mean we only met Wes and Shelley in mid-April for crying out loud…  But what a scar they left on Mother Earth…  Will Mark write a story about this?  Lessons learned?  Good camping gone bad?  It will have to be part of his recompense… That, and forcing Doc to mortgage Lost Forest to pay for the damages incurred…

That’s right Mark, show a little tenderness…

The perfect Trailian response to a near-mauling… touch her in as patronizing and  condescending a way possible on the tip of the nose and inquire as to general well-being.  Perfect Tralian response to clumsy demonstrations of affection:  Inform life mate that you are OK, but that the bear might have done lasting damage to your shoulder…

Again, Mark is clearly quite a shot.  That’s two shots to graze in two attempts, kneeling in a wobbly canoe.

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Cherry’s shoulder may have taken a beating, but it’s clear her hair did not!  What DOES she use?  (She’ll never tell…) and how does she maintain that spunky look, even after a death defying, harrowing experience??  It’s all for her man, Mark…  She knew he’d come eventually…

But seriously, folks, let’s look at the collateral damage… A wildfire raging out of control, a plane leaking fuel and oil high above the tree-line, a Mother Bear so confused and humiliated she ran off without her cub…  I mean really, ever heard of “Leave no Trace??”  Apparently not… There will be Heck to pay once the Ranger finds out who started all of this!

So, I guess it’s going to be…

The Bear!  I mean Cherry!  I mean, I don’t even know who I am rooting for at this point! Comparing relative body position from yesterday it would appear that the bear is dragging Cherry off to her den!!  Grazing Mother Bear’s backside is probably only going to piss her off… but Cherry is doing a GOOD JOB of playing dead, so good in fact that report from a rifle doesn’t even cause her to flinch, or even look up in wonder?

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Good thing Cherry has her puffy jacket on!  One more layer to confuse Mother Bear as she looks to hit flesh and bone…  Has she a sense of/ a taste for human?  Is this all new to her?  And the sound and the sting of the bullet?  She must be thinking, “This started out like any other day, you know??”  Nice that the trace of the bullet can be seen going PAST the “Old Grizzly” because we only really want to scare her off and not leave her cub alone without her support…  what a dilemma THAT would be!!  We shall have to wait until Monday to see whether this shot across the stern had the intended effect!