by JR Nyquist, jrnyquistblog, ©2021 

(Jun. 29, 2021) — Look, Bullwinkle, a message in a bottle!ROCKET J. SQUIRREL

Once upon a time there was a swamp; and in this swamp was a toad named Dennis “the Kraken.” It is a curious thing for a small and grotesque amphibian to bear such an exalted nickname; yet this toad could bloat himself to several hundred times his normal size, taking the shape of a legendary cephalopod from Scandinavian folklore – the terrorizer of fjords and sea lanes – known in Old Norse as the Kraki. When bloated to Kraken size, Dennis was outfitted with artificial tentacles “fanning” out in every direction. But his tentacles were not his own; for Dennis was only a puffed-out toad made to look like a Kraken, with the insignia of a three-letter agency tattooed on his caboose.

In this guise Dennis “the Kraken” was akin to a baited hook. The nefarious scheme of the swamp went something like this: Important fish would be lured to swallow this toad (along with his monstrous false likeness). In this way they would become unwitting toad-eaters; or, as the dictionary calls them: “toadies,” “servile parasites” or “the assistants of toad-eating charlatans.” On swallowing this hideous toad, believing it to be “the Kraken,” the victims would be hooked for good. In fact, they would be reeled in by the swamp and turned into swamp creatures.

Here was an insidious plot whereby the swamp could colonize what remained of a Healthful Land – turning it into a den of vipers, a habitat of crocodiles – a malarial abyss. In such an elaborate operation, Dennis “the Kraken” needed help coordinating his unwieldly tentacles. For this purpose, the masters of the swamp sent him a swamp-squirrel sorceress named Mary “Mountebank,” whose disheveled sidekick was a squirrel named Alvin (not to be confused with the famous singing chipmunk). Of all the Outlandish Duos of our time, Mary “Mountebank” and Alvin were not the patriotic moose and Squirrel of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame. These “secret squirrels” were rodents of an altogether different type; for their mission was to forestall a mighty effort to drain the swamp.

Historians will record that the swamp itself had become the great problem of the age. In fact, the swamp was engaged in a campaign of aggressive colonization, capturing whole states and cities, spreading its foulness on every side. Of course, there were those who wanted to drain the swamp and purify the land. Leading this effort was one of Gotham’s greatest superheroes, the Orange Man. As rich as Bruce Wayne, able to build tall buildings in a single financial bound, the Orange Man defeated – against all odds – one swamp creature after another. In an epochal battle, Orange Man annihilated the Wicked Witch Hillary by crushing her under an electoral house.

After the inauguration of the Orange Man, a new movement began. From orange coat-tails various characters from Gotham and elsewhere emerged: The Mayor of Gotham, General F, Ms. Lady Lawyer, Mr. Dorsal Finn and the Pillow Man (among a host of others). Little did our heroes suspect, Dennis “the Kraken” and the Outlandish Duo of Mary “Mountebank” and Alvin (not the chipmunk) were planning to “swamp” them all. Various bad eggs, hatched in the stagnant depths, bubbled to the surface. First came the evil and slimy dossier, the seven dwarfish advisors, the Fake News fairies, and the nefarious Dr. Wuhan Fauci. Through all of this the swamp coined the slogan, “Orange Man bad.” They likened him to “Agent Orange,” an environmental toxin. They said he was a stooge of Boris and Natasha, accusing him of high crimes and misdemeanors.

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