Child Abandonment is the New Parental Empowerment

Shortly after graduating from high school, Angela Verlinde noticed that most of her friends were getting married and having children.  Or, as is more typical in Chrislip, having children and getting married.  Or, even more typically, having children.  And it seemed as if a great many of those children were arriving as sets of twins.

“Twins were everywhere!” remembers Angela.  “Gosh, it seemed like everybody had one!”

She also noticed that, while the parents were at first over the moon with their twins, the luster began to fade after a few years.  For one thing, there was the expense.  Caring for two children is roughly twice as expensive as caring for one.  Then there was the matter of aesthetics.

“I think the moms and dads began to wonder why they ever had twins in the first place,” Angela says.  “After all, you wouldn’t hang two identical paintings on your wall.  You wouldn’t buy two of the exact same dresses.  So why have the same kid twice?”

When she heard parents actually talking about ways to trim the herd, Angela decided to do something about it.  Securing a small-business loan, she opened Two’s-A-Crowd, Chrislip’s first twin exchange.  There, parents can drop off the twin of their choice and take home a child of a different age, size, sex, color, or religion.

Angela admits that people often skip that second step.  “The word ‘exchange’ is misleading,” she says with a laugh.  “Parents rarely take a new twin home after dropping off the old one.”

“MORE SOUP FOR ME!” this little fella seems to be shouting, after learning that his twin brother won't be coming home.

What happens to the twins who are left behind?

“Gosh, only good things, I’m sure,” says Angela.  “If you don’t have a little faith, than what have you got?”

Amen to that.

Angela plans to open a triplet exchange called Three’s-A-Crowd, and may even open a quadruplet exchange if she can think of a name for it.

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Cats Just Gay Dogs, Vet Claims

If you own a cat, chances are you’ve noticed that it shares a lot of character traits with homosexual men.  It’s neat, well-groomed, self-absorbed, walks funny, and spends a lot of time trying to lick its own cahooty.  Dogs, on the other hand, resemble heterosexual men:  loyal, friendly slobs who are not above making frantic love to inanimate objects.

Now a local vet, Fred Findlay, has put forth an interesting theory regarding dogs and cats.  He claims that there are no such things as “cats,” and that what we call cats are simply dogs that have, as he puts it, “went gay.”

“About two years ago I found a box with a couple of newborn puppies on my doorstep,” says Findlay.  “I kept one of the dogs and named him Petey.”


“I gave the other one to my cousin, who is a male nurse.  He named his dog Marcel.  Petey was exposed to beer and cage-fighting.  For Marcel it was all Lady Gaga and Sex and the City reruns.  Now Petey is a regular dog, and Marcel is a dog that looks and behaves just like that animal we used to think of as ‘cat’.”


Isn’t it possible that Marcel was simply a cat right from the start?

“That’s not what Gary said,” explains Findlay.  “Gary saw him and said he was a dog.”

It’s not clear who Gary is.  And it should be pointed out that when Fred Findlay identifies himself as a “vet,” he means he’s an Army veteran rather than a veterinarian.  He fought in the Gulf War and received a purple heart, which went back to its normal color after a week in the hospital.

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Teen Solves Hunger Problem in Chrislip

“Hey, that's not yours.”

Tyler Boden doesn’t consider himself a hero.  But then, heroes seldom do.

Growing up in Elsinore Heights, Chrislip’s ritziest neighborhood, 16-year-old Tyler never gave much thought to the plight of his fellow man.  Like most children of privilege, he didn’t think much beyond which video game to play next or which member of the household staff to hector.

That all changed a few months ago when Tyler looked out the front window on a cold autumn night and saw a homeless man rooting through the Boden family’s garbage can, looking for food.  It’s a sight familiar to most Elsinore residents, who like to brag that they throw out more food before 9 AM than most people eat all day.  But this time, something clicked inside Tyler.  He didn’t just want to do something, he had to do something.  From that point on he was a kid possessed.  He organized rummage sales and fun runs.  He sold raffle tickets.  And within two months, every household in his neighborhood had a state-of-the-art lock-top garbage receptacle.

The Garbage Can’t™ employs the same locking-screw technology that Eastern European asylums use to keep crazy orphans in their hidey-holes.  And if it can do that, it can most certainly keep the homeless and other raccoons out of our garbage.

Tyler hopes that other young people will follow his example.  “It’s not that hard to change the world,” he says.  “I mean, I saw a starving man scavenging in our garbage for a scrap of food, and four words popped into my head: ‘Hey, that’s not yours’.  And then I resolved to do something about it.  It was just that simple.”

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Cheerleaders Put On Their Big Girl Panties and Man Up

Most people in town aren’t old enough to remember the last time the Chrislip High football team had a winning season.  And those who are probably don’t remember because it had nothing to do with beer.

Traditionally, the Chrislip High Poets have played about as well as their namesakes:  poets.  And while the long history of failure has been tough for both players and fans, the team’s cheerleaders may be the ones it’s been most achingly hard on.

Angela Bergen rooted in the 1970s.  She remembers when the Poets began their long slide toward – and past – mediocrity.  “It happened during the Carter administration.  At first we thought the boys were just spending too much time in Chrislip’s boogie palaces, but the years passed, and lo and behold, we didn’t get any better.”

For a long time, the Chrislip cheerleaders kept up the same types of cheers common in every squad’s repertoire.  After a while, though, all that rah-rah-ing seemed to take on a mocking tone.  “When the Chrislip Poets are playing,” says current head cheerleader Babette Musger, “and you yell ‘Let’s win, boys!’, or ‘Let’s score a touchdown!’, it just comes out sounding sarcastic.”

Over the losing years, the cheers took on a different tone.  Often they proclaimed mundane facts:

“Chrislip Poets, that’s our name!

There’s 8:05 left in the game!”

Other cheers were genuinely aimed at helping the team:

“Referee, don’t be cruel,

Please invoke the mercy rule!”

Still others were meaningless, yet somehow strangely inspirational:

“Two bits, four bits,

six bits, a dollar,

eight bits, ten bits,

twelve bits, TWO DOLLARS!”

The cheer squad also used their skills as a form of public service; a kind of social grapevine to spread the latest in school news:

“Every tongue in school is buzzin’!

Jamie did it with her cousin!”

Now, the Chrislip Poets stand at the door of respectability, if not actual success.  As we reported earlier, all-state running back Marcellus Harper is slated to join the team next fall (See “Natural Gas Explosion Aids Football Team”).  The addition of such talent can only mean that the fortunes of all the Poets will turn.

This will be a big adjustment for the cheerleaders.  They will have to learn normal cheers, just like real girls at real high schools.

One middle-aged fan of the cheerleading team – who shows up for all their practices and asks that he not be identified – puts it this way:  “The girls have to be in lockstep with the football team.  If the players are successful, so must they be.  Sometimes girls at this age believe that the crowds are looking at them only to admire their figures.  They are mistaken.  The fans wants to hear capable and inspirational cheering.  They do not come to look at the girls, who merely flirt at womanhood as they cheer, their coltish limbs and voices paying artless homage to the season.  These are naught but girlchildren at play; little Degas ballerinas in the halflight of autumn’s e’en.”

He then excused himself to go to the market to buy red licorice and Ho-Ho’s for the team.

Two Chrislip High cheerleaders with unidentified 46-year-old admirer.

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Stars Change Position in Chrislip’s Night Sky

Chrislipians tend to be very old-fashioned when it comes to astrology.  We believe it to be the unerring word of God, and feel that it should be taken literally and not tampered with.  That’s why we were taken aback when it was announced that, due to the way the stars won’t stop moving around all the time, the previous zodiac signs had to be realigned.  It was a move that affected both those who regard astrology as a matter of life and death, and those who merely browse our horoscope over our morning coffee and then plan our day meticulously around it.

Whether man or nature is responsible for the change in the zodiac, believers in astrology can’t help but feel they’re getting screwed.  And when it comes to getting screwed, there’s one lady in town who won’t take it lying down.

Madam Lindsay is Chrislip’s leading astrologer.  She’s been reading our star charts since 2004.  When she heard that her beloved night sky had been rezoned, she went outside, gazed at the stars, and created her own version of the zodiac.

Ballglow ™ added by art department

Lindsay, who gained the “Madam” nickname years ago when she ran a whorehouse in Indianapolis, admits that she doesn’t have the same imagination as our ancestors when it comes to seeing patterns in the stars.  “My constellations are quite elementary, and I named them after friends and family,” she says.  Some of her constellations include Jerry the Stick, Kevin the Slightly Bigger Stick, and Nadine the Four-Sided Triangle.

She has yet to work out the characteristics for each sign based on their positional relationships to other stars.  So for the time being, she’s just assigning the characteristics of the person the the sign is named for.  She explains:  “Those born under the sign of Kevin are clever, ambitious, and have a wife with a Percodan addiction.  If you’re a Nadine, you owe me $58.  If you’re born under Jerry, you are ill-tempered and leave too many skidmarks in your shorts.”

Jerry the Stick

Kevin the Slightly Bigger Stick

Nadine the Four-Sided Triangle

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Mayor Reminds Potential Assassins That He’s Not Important Enough to Kill

If anything good came out of the recent shootings in Tucson, it’s the reminder to politicians that there are people out there who want them dead. Assassination isn’t just for presidents anymore. Even a low-level politico like our own mayor, Howard Presnell, has to be aware of the fact that one of Chrislip’s walking time bombs might mistake him for someone important enough to shoot.

Though he knows he might be a target, the mayor insists that he shouldn’t be. “Most people shoot politicians because they feel they’re either doing too much or too little,” explains Presnell. “Me, I’m right in the middle. I show up at the office every day, but I don’t knock myself out. If you look at my record, you’ll see that I’ve cut the ribbons at dozens of supermarket openings. I’ve never enacted a piece of legislation that could be remotely called important, though. So if you kill me, chances are you’ll get somebody who’ll be either a bigger slouch or a bigger go-getter. Chrislip can’t afford either.”

Mayor Presnell prepares to greet his constituents.

He suggests that there are mayors in nearby towns who need killing even worse than he does. “Some of them legislate everything that isn’t nailed down,” he says for the benefit of any crackpots who might be listening. “And I’m pretty sure I heard a couple of them say that they wouldn’t mind getting assassinated.”

But Mayor Presnell has been in politics long enough to know that you can’t always reason with crazy people. So in order to more fully ensure his safety, he’s pulling out the big guns. And in Chrislip, the biggest guns are psychologist Max Trask.

“Max taught me that you can always tell crazy people by the way they look,” says the Mayor. “They have go-funny eyes, and their hair sticks out at odd angles.”

Originally, Dr. Trask would circulate through the crowd and pick out those who looked crackerdog. He would then discreetly signal the mayor’s security staff by twirling his forefinger around his ear in a clockwise motion while shouting, “He’s cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!”

Later on they streamlined the process. “We realized that nobody looked crazier than Dr. Trask himself,” the mayor recalls. “So now we just station him in the doorway, and if anyone comes through who looks worse than he does, my boys put the cuffs on him.”

“Putting the cuffs on” is security slang for pistol-whipping.

You must be at least this sane to approach the mayor.

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Local Realtor Turns To Heavy Metal Feng Shui

In this real estate market, every town has homes that cannot be sold.  Perhaps the former owners left a bad vibe behind while trashing the place before turning the keys over to the bank.  Or the house may have a bad karma after some notorious crime was committed there.  Or, as is the case for the historic Chrislip Inn, it might be rumored to be inhabited by a ghostly presence that only haunts women whose cup size is D or larger.

All potential female buyers of the Chrislip Inn must be prequalified by a gynecologist

Properties like this can languish on the market for months, which can cost a fortune.  In Chrislip, whenever a house is too creepy to be sold, owners turn to Betty Lucifer, a realtor who specializes in selling haunted homes.

“Some houses are beyond a coat of paint and holy water,” admits Ms. Lucifer, no relation to the dark lord.  “I used to work with an exorcist, but they can be such expensive prima donnas.  Now I just call my son.  Funny, I used to be so angry that Lex turned to this Goth culture that glorifies death; now I just let him turn demonic lemons into lucrative lemonade.”

Betty Lucifer is the mother of local punk rock legend Lex Lucifer, whose band, the Groin Pulls, is back in Chrislip after a successful tour of Manitoba AND Saskatchewan.  Whenever Betty encounters a haunted home, she lets her son’s band practice there overnight.  Her experience has been that no spiritual presence can withstand an entire evening of heavy metal.

“We usually open with ‘Panhellenic Nun-Muncher’ and then segue into ‘Subliminal Genocide of the Apocalypse Dragon,” explains Lex.  “By the time we get to ‘Decaying Masochistic Pregnancy,’ the spirit has fled the premises.  I don’t know how it works, but, according to my mom, it’s like feng shui, only louder.”

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City Council Adopts Vulgar Phrase as Town Motto

Since riding the Republican groundswell to office in November, the eight members of the Chrislip City Council have heard whispers behind their backs. Whispers that they’re too stiff, too stodgy, too far behind the times. After all, each is a white, heterosexual, Protestant male between the ages of 50 and 51. They’ve tried several ways to shake their button-down perception, including trying to smile in public. But yesterday, in one fell swoop, they may have changed their image for good.

It started the night before, when Councilman Michael Randolph spotted a teenager spray-painting an obscenity on a town overpass. “I shouted at the beatnik, ‘Where’s your civic pride?’,” he remembers. “He yelled back a very rude reply.”

At the next Council meeting, Mr. Randolph told his fellow members about the incident. One member in particular, John Thomas, found it hilarious. Mr. Thomas, who turned 50 just last November, is the youngest member of the Council, and the resident scamp. He’s known for crazily-colored shirts and ties, and coffee mugs with madcap sayings.

Councilman John Thomas

He was the one who suggested making the beatnik’s rude reply the town’s official motto for the new year. It was an outrageous suggestion, but one whose time had come, Mr. Thomas insisted. It was edgy, it was hip, and far more “cool” than previous slogans, such as “Let’s make our town a slice of heaven in the coming year of 2007.”

At first the other Councilmen were appalled at the suggestion. “But the more we thought about it, the more sense it made,” says Mr. Randolph. “Every year we beg our citizens to take pride in their town, and to no avail. This year we’ll tell them not to take pride, and in the rudest way possible. Maybe reverse psychology will work.”

And so, after much debate, it was ruled that Chrislip’s official slogan will be: “Take your civic pride and shove it up your ass.”

Whether it works or not, Mr. Randolph admits that the slogan is intoxicatingly fun to say. “I really couldn’t stop saying it, in fact,” he admits sheepishly. “That evening when my wife asked if I wanted dessert, I told her to take her apple pan dowdy and shove it up her ass.” He turns serious. “I only wish my five-year-old hadn’t picked that night to ask me to help tuck in her Tickle-Me-Elmo. I’m sorry, sweetie. Daddy didn’t mean what he said.”

When the phone rings and he is told that a private citizen is circulating a petition to have the controversial slogan recalled, the mischievous twinkle returns to his eyes. “Tell him to take his petition,” he says, “and file it with the Chrislip town coordinator.”

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Tourette Syndrome Patients Attend Pricey Art Auction and Mayhem Follows

Over Your Head, by Yari (pronounced “vooch!”)

Local psychiatrist Max Trask is even more well-known for his love of fine art than he is for his ability to help his patients. So when he heard that a major art auction was to be held in nearby Gilder City, he thought it would make an excellent day trip for his Tourette Syndrome support group. An all-bids-final auction of millions of dollars worth of paintings combined with half a dozen people who twitch, jerk, and cry out uncontrollably seemed a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Dr. Trask and his group attended the auction, and it went off without a hitch. The doctor even bid successfully on a Yari reproduction, which he plans to give to his wife on their anniversary.

It was after they left the gallery that things went very wrong. Their van was broadsided in the parking lot by a circus wagon. There were no serious injuries, but several of the Tourette patients were left lying on the pavement as unicycling clowns and hopping, skirt-wearing poodles circled around them.

“I don’t think any of us saw that coming,” says Dr. Trask. “Considering how the day started, it was a surreal turn of events that came completely out of the blue.”

He said that he and his patients were very eager to get back to Chrislip. “It’s not perfect,” he says, “but it’s home, and the set-ups always match the endings.”

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Mayor Promotes Witness Protection Tourism

Tony Trevisano was like a lot of New Yorkers visiting Chrislip for the first time.  He was wowed by the lack of lights and the indifference of the people.  Whenever Trevisano bumped into a pedestrian while walking up and down the streets of our quiet, Midwestern town, they apologized to him without even knowing who he was or who he’d killed.

“The Federal witness protection program set me and my family up real nice in Arizona, but it just wasn’t the same,” said the former boss of the Gambino crime family.  “Watching MTV’s Jersey Shore reminds me of my crew back home.  That bitch Snooki would make one hell of an enforcer.  She’s like a cross between a drunken smurf and a tanned pit-bull.”

Mr. Trevisano’s relatives arrive from Sicily for a family reunion. His Godmother is second from left.

Against the wishes of the FBI, Chrislip Mayor Howard Presnell began marketing our fair city as a vacation destination for those in the Federal government’s witness protection program.  For security reasons, families left behind by witnesses can’t visit them in their new or old home towns.  So Mayor Presnell is flying them to Chrislip, where no one would look for them.

“I understand that we’re dealing with some pretty unsavory characters,” admitted the mayor.  “But they’re not going to kill anyone with their mother present.  Besides, I made the Mafia pinky-swear not to kill any one while they’re in Chrislip.”

This reporter pointed out to the mayor that recent cutbacks in the police department would make it nearly impossible to adequately protect our visitors.  They would be sitting ducks while in Chrislip.

“Hey, if that happens, it’s a win-win,” said the mayor.  “Now that we have the entire family in one place, it’s a perfect opportunity for a funeral.”

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