Attack of the Giant Tick
It is not the purpose of this website to unduly alarm the populace. Fomenting panic across the state would serve no useful purpose, and could result in riots, looting, and violence not seen since Occupy Augusta’s recent visit to the Blaine House.
Nevertheless, it is our responsibility as ethical journalists (could somebody please shut off the oxymoron alarm) to calmly and rationally explain threats to the public safety in a manner designed to aid everyone in dealing with the situation in an orderly fashion. It is with this code of conduct in mind that we present the following news bulletin:
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! WE’RE ALL ABOUT TO BE KILLED IN AN UNSPEAKABLY GROSS FASHION!
OK, we admit that’s a little over the top. Our impending doom may be gross, but it’s scarcely unspeakable or else we wouldn’t have anything else to say to fill up the rest of this posting. There’d just be a bunch of half-formed phrases – “What th’-,” “Holy sh-,” “Arrrg-“ – assorted expletives and faint death rattles. And we’re not even sure how to spell the sound of death rattles.
We’re also not clear on why we’re writing this in the first person plural, since there’s only one of us here. Maybe because it makes it easier to bear disaster if you have the illusion of some friends along to help with the rioting, looting and violence.
Anyway, back to the problem, which is this. According to the Lewiston Sun Journal, people who go into the woods this time of year looking for antlers shed by moose, deer and jackalopes have discovered some startling and dismaying information:
Occupy Maine protesters are all over the place.
Also, there are a lot of dead moose, and they didn’t die of hunger or disease or boredom while trying to decipher the arcane system of governance used by Occupy folks. They died from ticks.
According to reputable scientists that we did not bother to contact (hey, plural pronouns aside, there’s only one of us, and somebody has to do the thinking and writing and joke stealing, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for contacting), there are only three ways a miniscule tick could bring down a mighty moose.
One is if the tick is a carrier of Legionnaires’ disease. This ailment is a lot like pneumonia, except you get it from members of the French Foreign Legion. Or maybe the Legion of Super Heroes. We forget. In any case, there have been a bunch of cases in Maine lately, and while nobody has ever said a word about it being caused by ticks, nobody has explicitly said that they couldn’t be the cause. And if ticks can do that to people, it stands to reason they can do it to moose. Or maybe it doesn’t. We have no idea.
The second way ticks could get the best of a moose is if there were lots of ticks and only one moose. Observers of dead moose say that’s exactly what they’ve seen: moose corpses covered with so many ticks that even a coyote wouldn’t eat them. They say the wet weather and warm temperatures have allowed the tick population to swell to record proportions, thereby threatening the moose herd. Once they’re finished with the moose, they’ll be coming for the deer, and after the deer, it’ll be the Occupy protesters, and pretty soon they’ll be sucking the blood of normal people.
This is the least interesting of our three explanations, so it’s probably somewhat true.
But the third choice is more compelling in every way. What if the moose aren’t being felled by diseased ticks or swarms of ticks, but by a single tick of enormous proportions.
Tick-zilla. Tick-enstein. Tick-atron.
Wait, didn’t that last one used to sell concert tickets?
What could have caused a tick, a barely visible dot of bug entrails, to swell into a massive creature capable of draining a moose of bodily fluids in seven seconds or less? We have no idea, so we will do what we usually do in that situation. We will make something up.
We suspect the tick in question had an encounter with an exotic animal of some sort. A chinchilla. A ferret. A parrot. The combination of this unusual blood, plus nuclear-powered rays beamed by government agents intent on monitoring possible links between the native tick population and al Qaeda operatives had the unexpected effect of causing the tick to grow to the size of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ budget deficit.
Thus, we have Tick Kong.
Hey, it’s no sillier a name than Newt Gingrich.
This all seems perfectly plausible, except for one small point. How would an ordinary tick come in contact with exotic animals? The answer: a van crash on a snowy highway in Brunswick. When police arrive, they find the vehicle holds dozens of creatures not normally found in the Maine tick’s food chain. They all appear uninjured, but what cop is going to check them for tick bites? By the time someone thinks to do that, it’s too late.
Chin-zilla is loose. Doing whatever chinchillas do, except in a much bigger way. Eating pellets. Pooping pellets. Using an exercise wheel. Shedding.
By the time that crisis has been resolved (“It wasn’t the airplanes that killed Chin-zilla. It was booty that killed the beast. We found his body down by that nude dancing place in Portland”), the now-gigantic tick had slipped away to feast on unsuspecting moose.
One final note on this matter: The driver of the van was headed for Massachusetts. Although it wasn’t confirmed in the news story, we strongly suspect he was a Bay State native. Which would ordinarily mean we’d haul out some lame joke about Massachusetts drivers.
But not this week. A new national survey by carinsurancecomparison.com (motto: All The Good Web Addresses Were Taken) says Mass. motorists rank third in the U.S. in being good drivers.
Maine ranks seventh.
That really ticks us off.
Al Diamon wishes to note that contrary to an email he received this week complaining about the “excessive number of references to drunkenness and drinking” in his writing, this entire piece contains not a single mention of alcoholic beverages. In celebration, he’s off to join the protest movement Occupy A Barstool. If you have other concerns about his work, email him at email@example.com.