Written by jumbach
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Tuesday, 11 July 2006

image for Attack ampersand ambushes alarm Reno residents
Umbach took this picture with his cell phone right after the attack.

This just in: Approximately 30 minutes ago, Reno resident James Umbach was suddenly and maliciously attacked by an ampersand. The attack occurred at the beginning of the lunch hour at the Safeway on Mae Anne Ave.

Umbach was walking out of Safeway with his cart full of groceries, he said, when suddenly "This giant ampersand came falling out of the sky, missing me by only a few feet."

Safeway employee Brian Davis, who was just inside the store at the time, came running out upon hearing the loud noise. After ensuing that Umbach was OK and unhurt, he returned to his checkstand.

Richard Shaw, President of the Reno area Chapter of Punctilous Punctuation, had heard rumors of surprise attacks by exclamation points, question marks, and even the occasional hyphen, but never an ampersand.

"This can only mean one thing," Shaw told reporters at a press conference held outside the Safeway. "And."

When asked if this could be the vanguard of an all-out war between humans and punctuation marks, Shaw replied that he didn't think so. There have been occasional sightings of those mischevious apostophes trying to show up where they shouldn't, like in plural's, but they don't attack. They just like to sneak into words for fun.

Nonetheless, police are asking residents to be alert for any strange grammatical activity, and to report suspicious mechanics to them at their non-emergency number. They also warn that, should anybody get hit by an ampersand from the sky--or any other grammar mark--the best defense is to immediately pretend you are in a comma.

The grammar police have cordoned off the area and are expected to remain on scene for the rest of the day. The Safeway, as well as the rest of the businesses in the Ridgeview Center, will operate as normal.

Throughout history, man and punctuation have always gotten along very well. Recently, though, that has begun to change. "It isn't just the sneaky commas--next it'll be tildes moving into English, umlauts sneaking out of German, even gutteral stops spreading from Danish. Who knows what will be next?" one witness speculated.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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