Life is not all fun and games and martinis, you know. Often I must do
some actual investigative work in my job as an Ace Reporter. Things can
get tough out here in the real camping world, and don’t I know it. I’ve
seen every crack in the fragile shell of the world in this occupation,
and speaking of cracks, let’s get right to…
THE CASE OF THE SMOKING TOILET
New campers and newlyweds Adam and Liz were enjoying their site. Her
parents were up to visit and to probably make sure Adam had made a wise
decision…about the trailer, I mean.
I had my feet up on the desk, hat tipped low, thinking about a
sloshed olive soaking up the neon in a tall martini glass, my mind
wondering when some blond bombshell might spend a dime, and there it
was: the phone call.
"Scoop Jackson," I said. "Whaddya got?"
A silky voice spoke through the cheap receiver. Angels sang, blood
vessels pumped. "I need a big favor," she said, purring.
I got erect, tilted the hat forward as if she could see me.
"Name it, Doll."
She got right to the point: "Dinner’s at 7. Bring home some
milk and dog food, OK?"
"Yeah, Doll," I said. The olive was still high in the glass
in my mind—Mrs. Scoop is kind to me. I packed the gat under my hat,
kicked the desk drawers shut, and headed out. The phone rang when I was
two steps from the door.
I should have let it ring. Office hours were over long ago. But the
long fingers of curiosity pulled me back like a Duncan Championship
Yo-Yo. I took the call.
It was Liz Ludwig, the newlywed wife. She sounded desperate.
"Scoop," she said, "I need help right now! My toilet is
smoking…is that normal?"
"No way normal," I said, slamming the phone down and
rushing out. Sometimes the martini must wait…duty calls in this line
of business I’m in.
They were all there—the In-Laws, and Adam and Liz. Adam and I went
to check out the ‘Smokin’ Toilet’. Smoke was indeed rising from
the bowl. It was a mystery, until Adam leaned a bit closer. "It’s
steam!" he said.
Yes, the hot water line had accidentally been hooked up to the
toilet. I turned and saw the Mother-In-Law breathe a sigh of relief.
"Thank Goodness!" she said. "I used that toilet a while
ago—I thought it was just me, having one of those hot flushes I’ve
Father-In-Law Rick seemed just as relieved, and the case was closed.
I hunted down some milk and some dog chow and hit the pavement. I
shouldn’t have worried about being late--the front door was open and
the Doll was waiting. She wet a finger and touched my nose. "Is
that a gat under your hat, or are you just glad to see me?" she
said. The she handed me a chilled martini dry enough to make my toes
curl. All was well in the world of Scoop.
AND NOW ON TO BREAKING NEWS…
NEW BREAKFAST RECIPE!
Tent campers discovered a new breakfast recipe recently when Mike
Vickery of Machesney Park attempted to cook up some AM eggs. He reached
for the can of PAM to coat the frying pan, as he is careful about his
"He’s really a good breakfast cook while we’re
camping," said wife Patty, "and he had some ham mixed in and
everything. So we each had a bite, and Mike said ‘something’s wrong’.
So we thought it was the ham—maybe it had gone bad.
"Then Mike said: ‘This tastes like bug spray!’ He spit it
out all over the ground. That’s when I noticed that there was a can of
RAID bug-spray right next to the PAM. I had just started to swallow and
I managed to spit it out, thank God!"
When asked for advice, Patty said this: "Always remove your bug
spray far away from the food items. But I must say, Mike and I didn’t
have another bug problem all day. Nothing came near us."
They were wrong. It rained that afternoon, and Mike got stuck in the
mud. Well, not him, but his truck. Helpful Tom Whitney of RV Sales came
and dragged him (the truck) out. Tom told this reporter later:
"Mike had a funny smell about him whenever he spoke, but I must
admit there wasn’t a single fly in the area."
NEW EXERCISE PLAN!
Lose all the weight you want using Hank Bormann’s new exercise
However, that’s not what Hank had in mind when he left his truck at
his campsite last week and drove back with his wife. "I figured
since I was coming up early the coming week without her, I’d still
have a vehicle here at the campground," said Hank.
However, Hank, who is a laid-back guy of above-average intelligence,
forgot one thing. He was dropped off at O’Hare and took the bus to
Janesville. The bus pulled away, and there stood Hank, 7 miles from his
"I guess I forgot about that part," he said later.
"And everyone camping around me has a cell phone, but I don’t
know the numbers."
And so Hank walked the seven miles to his site. When asked how it
was, he stated: "Invigorating, and introspective."
Which meant he had a lot of time to think about leaving his truck
behind next time.
ATTACK OF THE KILLER BIRDS!
Diane Briggs is fond of birds. She has cute birdhouses all about her
deck. Each weekend at her site she would peek in to see if she had any
new little friends. Alas, she found no new bird friends. She was sad.
That all changed this past weekend when Diane was viscously bombarded
by killer birds that relentlessly attacked her hairdo!
"I was carrying in groceries and yes, beer, and I was fumbling
for my keys when something swooped down and started pecking under my
hair!," a startled Diane said later. "I thought for a moment
it was Tim giving me a ‘love tap’ (Relax…Tim is her husband—Scoop),
but I instantly realized he would have just grabbed the beer from my
hands first. Instead, I saw a bird fly away. It had an evil little look
in its beady eyes, and its beak seemed to carry a smirking grin."
Diane quickly composed herself, fluffed up her hair, and started to
open the trailer door. Suddenly she was attacked from the other side,
this time the evil little aviator flying under her hair even deeper, as
if seeking nesting material. Diane managed to bat it away, and thinking
quickly on her feet, ran to the site of her neighbor, Lisa Laurich, who
had once worn a construction hard-hat in a posed picture for a past
Scoop column, which involved her falling off a pickup truck loaded with
lumber. "I needed protection!" said Diane.
Unfortunately, Lisa was not there, nor did she ever own a hard-hat.
In desperation, Diane wrapped her entire head in tinfoil.
OK, I made that last part up. But just the part about the tinfoil.
Diane made it safely inside, but she was quite shaken by the incident.
Asked how she felt, Diane said: "Bird-brained!"
Husband Tim had this to add: "That’s the last time she’s
gonna’ feed those !#*!@# birds! Every time we go to bed, there’s
twigs and feathers all over the pillows!"
In my last column I reported how Lori Dummer peed down a gopher hole,
and since then no gophers have been sighted near her campsite. This was
a mixed blessing.
While she is rodent-free, I must sadly report that her campsite is
now quarantined—Lori is suspected of having Gopherpox. Attorney
General Ashcroft has raised the Security Level to ‘Brilliant Crayola
Magenta-White’ and is ordering an investigation.
Another hard day as an Investigative Reporter was over. I came home
weary, slung my galoots on the den desk, and wished for something
wonderful to happen someday soon.
An angel appeared. It was Mrs. Scoop, bearing a dry martini and bad
news. "It’s shaken, but not stirred, Honey-Bunny."
"No problem, Angel," I said. "You stir me, and
And it was.