Yet another American icon has tarnished his noble and commercially successful reputation-hurting the local tourist trade by anywhere from 12 to 39%, judging by newly purchased analytics used by the Uff-da Middle School Community Economics club, headed up by co-presidents Squirrel and Boogs.
According to unnamed sources close to the case, the monumental figure of Paul Bunyan-loved by many, touched affectionately and usually appropriately by sticky-fingered little kids, and photographed by awe-struck tourists from across this great land and around the world-will be charged in district court today on several counts of animal misconduct, behavior unbecoming of a tourist attraction, and general inappropriateness as they relate to his loyal sidekick and beast of burden Babe the Blue Ox.
In a telephone interview with local reporters, Bunyan stated, "I'm in shock. I never saw this coming. But if anyone's to blame, it's her-always trying to get me to go dancing and whatnot, not to mention the drinking. Did I mention she drinks a lot? An L-O-T."
When asked if he noticed any unusual behavior by his Ox, Bunyan commented, "All I can say is one night she starting getting--what's the word?--silly. After the tourists left. And then her getting silly got me getting silly and we were both getting silly getting each other silly. It was all perfectly innocent . . . and then things just got carried away. If I did anything wrong, how was I supposed to know? Am I supposed to read minds?"
A probing reporter, who horned in on the telephone interview, received an angry response when inquiring about Bunyan's personal proclivities. "How dare you!" he roared, slamming his axe into the ground. "Isn't it obvious I'm a man's man! I've got shoulders the size of Norway Pines and a plaid shirt, to boot."
Pushed also to comment on Babe the Blue Ox's bluish hue, which worsens as temperatures in the northland drop to well below zero, Bunyan dismissed the question: "I'm standing out here freezing my long johns off right alongside that critter, and do I say anything when she goes out prancing about with nary a thread between her soft . . . silky . . . voluptuous . . . hide and the frigid night air?" In a calmer voice, he then added, "My lawyer says I need to stop talking now."
Medical researchers, veterinarians, and a curious area farmer brought into the case noted that Babe the Blue Ox was not blue in all areas of her body. "It's the un-natural-est thing I ever seen," quoted Burt Clovers, local farmer, who went on to say, "Her nether regions, they're not blue in the least, more like red . . . a hot red poker."
"Like a horny baboon's butt," chimed in Clyde, his farm hand and part-time wort recycler, almost singularly known for interjecting inappropriate comments into serious situations.
Medical researchers and veterinarians concurred, putting out this formal statement: "These are not the markings and the color patterns of an uninvolved Ox, even if her name is Babe the Blue Ox. With time, a lot of time, years most likely, and a good therapist, she should be back to her old self-her old blue self."
The tri-county Medical Examiner and part-time metallurgist, also assigned to the case, exclaimed, "DNA is going to be hard to get. For one thing, our equipment, due to budget cuts and other issues I can't get into here, does not record non-human DNA. And for another thing, trying to get a sample is durn-near impossible anyway. Whatever alloys they're made of, both Bunyan and the Ox break my needles when I try to get a blood sample." Releasing a long, disturbing sigh, he suggested, "Maybe it's best for the tourists, our local economy, and the little kids if we just sort of swept the whole thing under the carpet, so to speak. It's probably beyond human jurisprudence." Then he spit and headed for the local tavern.
The County Prosecutor could not be reached for comment. Overheard in Tootsie's Tavern, with comments later relayed by Ray the bartender, who can't keep a secret to save his life, the prosecutor quipped, "Where in hades are we going to find a facility big enough to house that big galoot? If Bunyan's guilty, we'll have to build a gull-durned wing just for him. What a mess . . . Taxpayers aren't going to be too happy about this . . . not to mention the loss of revenue from tourists and the little kids, and whatnot. And then I suppose we'll start getting another kind of tourist. Don't make me say it. You know what I mean. I'm telling ya, what an M-E-S-S!"