While the country has been consumed with the tragedies and controversies of a global pandemic, it appeared that Puddlegulch might be spared. Many credit Mayor Townsend’s strict action to keep the citizens of Puddlegulch safe. He ordered the Knit Kickers Knitting Club and all hobby groups to disband, the Bowlarama to shut down, The Whispering Possum to limit their business to delivery and curbside food service, and the Civil War Reenactment group to cancel their annual bake sale and vintage mustache competition.
There have been no known cases of COVID 19, until this week.
Jenny Hingenbotham, Puddlegulch’s maiden librarian, shares her story.
“Every evening, I sit in my backyard garden for a quiet moment of herbal tea and solitaire. I have a possum friend who often joins me. He crawls along my garden fence and pauses for a moment to take a sideways glance at me before continuing his hunt for ticks. Sweet creature. Never made a sound until last Friday night.
“At first, I thought maybe he was laughing. I was wearing a t-shirt which says, ‘The library is a mess. We should be ashamed of our shelves.’ But as he continued, I could tell that he was coughing. I didn’t even know a possum could cough.
“I called Jerry at the animal control depot and he was able to make it in time to trap the poor thing.”
Jerry Lindbocker took the possum over to Puddlegulch’s veterinarian, Peter Toperzer, to have it examined.
“Well, it was a’coughin and a’wheezing,” said Toperzer. “I knew something must be wrong. I heard about the pet tiger over in Cantwell getting sick with the coronavirus and decided to test the possum.”
Toperzer drove the test to the lab in nearby Laizure City himself. The Puddlegulch Health Department has now reported the results. The possum has tested positive for the virus. Mayor Townsend swiftly issued an executive order temporarily banning the consumption of possum meat.
Many agree that it was a necessary step, but some believe the mayor had a more sinister motive.
“Townsend has had it in for me for years, ” said Floyd Feltcher, owner of Feltcher’s Butcher Shop. “The executive order has nothing to do with the virus. He knows possum roast is my number one product. And who’s going to suffer? The people of Puddlegulch who depend on me for their sixpies.” (Puddle Possum Pot Pie with savory persimmon pudding).
The ban will last until the possum tests negative twice.
“I will miss my little friend,” said Hingenbotham. “He made my game of solitaire a little less solitary.”