Community Bulletin – Baring Witness

Howdy folks, this is your Community Bulletin for the week of October 1st, 2016.

First, Ms. Sixkiller wanted to thank everyone for the warm welcome you’ve all extended to her. She would also like to remind folks that New York state is a big place, so, she probably has not met your friend that lives there. She wasn’t too sure if she had made a good decision coming here after initially running afoul of Edna the other day, but after a short locking of horns, they discovered they had common ground in third-century Roman glassware. Not sure how they got around to that subject, but I’m glad they were able to smooth over a rough start, lest we lose another intern to The Wrath of Edna. No intern can live by toast alone, so they say. Although Ralph, bless his soul, sure did try, didn’t he?

What had initiated the mess was whether Edna was overstepping social mores by calling Ken an idiot. While he appreciated Sophia taking to his defense before the other diner patrons, calling out Edna within her own domain, Ken sided with Her Highness of Greasyspoons in that, yes, in this case, he in fact HAD been an idiot.

However, McKesey’s idiocy provided some valuable insight into recent events in the hills near our fair city.

Ken has been having a bit of a delayed mid-life crisis, as it were. At 57, he’s come to doubt some of the assumptions he has built his life on and the lessons that he himself has chosen to pass to others as wisdom. So naturally, the best way to challenge himself was to go out into the woods, stand under a crushing waterfall, then swallow some powdered concoction he bought from a holy man in Malaysia thirty years ago so that he could join with nature and meditate upon the turmoil of his mind. While he was getting himself right with Life, The Universe, and Everything, it appears a number of raccoons discovered his clothes and decided to make off with them. Ken did not witness this, but as he swears he knows exactly where he left them, raccoons are the only logical answer.

As he wandered naked through the sword ferns and underbrush, he heard what sounded like a cell phone and froze in this tracks. Ken’s a pretty pale guy, looking a little like Johnny Depp’s character from “The Ninth Gate.” Him standing around impersonating Adam in Eden is something nobody needed to see. However, he was too terrified to move, as only a few yards away¬† were a group of mushroom poachers he had nearly walked right into. He was surrounded by brittle sun-touched foliage and any move would give him away. He considered all his options, and his two best seemed to be either to lower himself as slowly as he could and wait for them to pass, or to clear his throat, excuse himself, and ask for directions. As these fellows were heavily armed, and seemed to be on edge, he opted for the third option of standing there like a deer caught in the headlights of a semi and hope to not die too horribly.

It seems that, like Ken, these fellows had also had some racoon troubles of their own. They had lost half their rations, their knives, some of their ammo, and the one hatchet they’d grabbed as they ran from their camp. They were tired, hungry, and being hunted. Ken listened in and from the half of the conversation he heard, the inner circle of the poachers had all eaten some local tuber or such and suffered a trip to whack-out city. The fellow on the phone had just a bite but that was still enough to cause him mild audial hallucinations that sounded like radio crackle or “hello” and “help” being spoken from over his shoulder.

“Armstrong,” the leader of the poachers, went full nutso, however. He started accusing everyone of turning against him, and weirder still, of hanging chickens in the woods. “Chickens! Hanging Chickens!” he started yelling as he began shooting up the camp, sending the poachers fleeing into the underbrush. Now this small band was all that remained, hunted by their crazed CO obsessed with avenging lynched poultry.

He hadn’t always been like that. Armstrong was the leader of a well funded operation that seeks out rare things and takes them at any cost. This lot had trotted all over the world with a shopping list of rare and exotic pharmaceutica to bring in for their patron. From the gall bladder of a Thylacine to the roots of a specific Ficus religiosa, they were to verify whether these rare ingredients still existed, and if so, to gather them “by any means necessary.”

Unfortunately, Armstrong had not shared what they were looking for here. Not exactly. Only that they would know it when they saw it, if it existed at all. Now, that knowledge was lost, and they were cornered between their crazed captain, rapacious raccoons, and “some [redacted] monster that stalks us just outside our firelight every night.”

Ken wasn’t clear how he escaped detection, or why he showed up at Ansari’s shop smeared with mud and wearing a strategically placed clump of moss. However, he was clear that authorities needed to be alerted immediately.

Sheila hit town today, but only long enough to drop off a few souvenirs at the museum before heading off to visit her Aunt and Uncle Jones. I am sure they will be excited to see her, and I am sure she will have some fascinating news to share with them.

Completely unrelated, it sounds like Hudson is about half done with his cabin. He had been keeping company with a particularly large racoon that shows up every couple of nights and sits on his front porch. However, night before last, it showed up with a bloody stump of a left arm. Hudson approached the animal cautiously, but it ran off, making a break for one of the capped vent shafts from the old 1913 dig. It hasn’t been seen since. Hudson says he is concerned, for a variety of reasons, but is worried for his little friend and that somehow this is his fault.

This issue of the Community Bulletin is brought to you thanks to a gift from Ken McKesey, who thanks us for not coining any humiliating nick-names for him following this incident.