Virus comes to Puddlegulch!

20160418__joan-04211While 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.”


Mayor Townsend Addresses Homeless Problem in Puddlegulch

written by Gordan Geary – Editor in Chief

“Puddlegulch has struggled with a homeless problem for months,” said Mayor Townsend after a closed meeting with several council members on Thursday.  “Our homeless, Paul “Bobcat” Palmer, has been living in a tent in Nathaniel’s Field, a green space on the east end of town, since last July.  He has been a nuisance to many Puddlegulchians and we plan to do something about it.”

Townsend says that he is responding to anonymous complaints about Bobcat’s possum trapping activities.  He has been trapping possum for the Whispering Possum Inn for years, even before he became homeless.

“Bobcat has been a great resource for us,” said Denise Caldwell, proprietor of the inn. “He has a real knack for finding quality possum meat for our renowned sixpie.  Helps us with computer issues as well.”

We asked Floyd Feltcher, owner of Feltcher’s Butcher Shop how he felt about his competition.  He said, “I have nothing but respect for Bobcat.  Does fine work.  In fact, I’ve offered to hire him, but he has refused.  Says he works best alone.”

But upon further investigation, our own Burt Gently discovered that Floyd had been giving a 50% discount to the Puddlegulch Bank & Trust president, Joseph Haversmith, around the time the bank foreclosed on Bobcat’s house.

Feltcher denied any wrongdoing, but Dillius Parker, a former employee of Fletcher’s said, ” I just think it’s awfully fishy.  Bobcat, who was just known as Paul until he was kicked out and made himself a bobcat hat, has been cutting into Floyd’s business for years.  Floyds’s 2019 second quarter was his worst in 10 years and all of a sudden Bobcat’s kicked out of his house?  Lost his IT support job at the bank , too.  But the joke’s on Feltcher, Bobcat has more time than ever to hunt possum.”

Burt also reports that Feltcher was Mayor Townsend’s number one campaign contributor in the last election.

“They can beat me down,” said Bobcat, sitting in a  lawn chair outside of his tent (compliments of Dale’s Discount General), “but it’s a free country and it’s public land out here.  I keep my possum-hunting license renewed thanks to Dale, and I plan to keep-a-living out here even if my toes freeze off.”

Dale Jenkins, owner of Dale’s Discount General had this to say. “This is just the tip of the iceberg of the corruption in the mayor’s office.  Paul is a good man, and I will stand by him until he gets justice.”

Fire Talk – with Chief Brandbil: The Little Engine that Couldn’t

fire talkHey there Puddlegulchers, Fire Chief Red Brandbil here to bring you the big update from your local boys in the red helmets.

2020 is off and running, and everyone seems to be talking about what can be seen. Well, the only thing I see right now is a vision of Puddlegulch’s new fire engine!

I know there are some that might argue that we don’t need a new fire engine, but truth is that our old 1978 International just can’t quite make it up the hill anymore, and it hasn’t been the same since Greg Fiddlestone put it in the ditch along Gulch Drive when he swerved to avoid the possum family crossing the road (or so he claims). And so, I’ve been meeting with vendors to determine what we should get to replace the old girl, and I’ll tell you, it’s not as easy a decision as you might think!

For starters, a lot of the features that made our old engine so memorable and loved just aren’t available anymore. You can’t stand on the tailboard going down the road because it’s not considered “safe” anymore, so that means that you have to have a seat for everyone. But the way it’s set up, there’s no seat for our beloved possum mascot, Matches, cousin of Perry the Possum!

There are good things about the new engine, beyond its ability to start every time. It’ll be able to carry more water, which always helps, and the hoses are less likely to spring leaks. Plus, you never really get over that “new fire engine” smell.

The only real debate we’ve been having is what color it should be. Most fire brigades go with the classic red, though we’ve seen some that have been yellow, but Puddlegulch VFB has always had brown & grey engines to match our mascot.  Only that doesn’t seem to be an option anymore, and we just don’t know what we’re going to do, instead.

On a related note, we will be buying Matches a new fireproof suit.  As you know, poor Matches caught on fire at last week’s 65th annual Puddlegulch VFB BBQ fundraiser.  I personally like the smell of bbq possum, but that was more of a tragedy than a meal.  We are still looking for volunteers to be the new Matches.  In the mean time, since Greg is suspended from driving the truck, he has some time to try and jerry-rig a rumble seat for the future new engine so Matches can continue to ride along!

Local Celebrity Author Surprises Puddlegulch with New Book

3ae50f672bc9ba7c963c3af423aa96c0 (2)Chuck Hassler, author of the thrilling 1978 debut western novel  “Colt Hardcastle & The Persimmon Hill Posse,” announced yesterday that he will be publishing a long-awaited second book.

“I was down at the Bluebird Diner drinking a cup of coffee with Joe Whistler,” said Greg Fiddlestone, diner regular, once accused of bribing the mayor with Elsie’s apple betty and possibly hitting a possum and leaving it for dead , “and local celebrity author Chuck Hassler come in easy as you please and sits down at the counter next to Danny Weedlemeyer and orders the Hardcastle Special; hashbrowns, two strips of burnt bacon, one egg fried hard, a side of pinto beans, and a blade of prairie grass to chew on when you’re done…just like old Colt. That’s when I heard him say it.  He says ‘I just sent it to the publisher.  Should be coming out in stores by summer.’  I heard it clear as day. Possum’s Honor!”

The Post later asked Mr. Hassler, what the book was about, and he said, “Well, it’s a memoir.  When you’ve lived the kind of local celebrity life I’ve lived, you come to understand some important truths.  In my book, in my thrilling 1978 debut western novel, Colt Hardcastle & The Permisson Hill Posse, old Colt once said ‘The life of a bounty hunter is a lonely life and ain’t no posse and no woman gonna tell me how to live it.'”

He assured the Post that the book had nothing to do with his wife Rose Hassler, teacher of the English and English for Math and former Puddlegulch Post copy editor.

Look for “Chuck Hassler: The Burden of Local Celebrity” at Florenstein’s Books sometime this summer.

Feltcher Brother Makes Meaty Statement

Jack Studebaker, reporter – Floyd Feltcher, proprietor of Feltcher’s Butcher Shop on Main Street, made a statement Friday in response to repeated queries concerning the dramatic presentation from his brother Bob Feltcher and his subsequent arrest last week during a Town council meeting.  Floyd Feltcher, a lifelong resident of Puddlegulch in good standing with the community at large, made the statement behind his counter while wrapping a pork loin for Edna Mersaphat, a regular customer of the shop.

“Every family’s got one,” Feltcher said in reference to his younger brother. “But I don’t want people to think the rest of the Feltcher family condones this kind of behavior.”

Feltcher posted bail in the amount of $500 in behalf of his younger sibling who was charged with drunk and disorderly conduct, indecent exposure and disturbing the peace after exposing his posterior to those assembled at last week’s town council meeting.  Bob Feltcher has kept a low profile since then.  Calls to his residence have gone unanswered and he has not been seen directing traffic as he usually does at the corner of Possum Hollow and Main.

A court date has not been determined as of this writing since clerk Sarah Mendelbright was unavailable at the courthouse due to family obligations.

Feltcher has been questioned by customers (and this reporter) repeatedly concerning his brother since the incident.  He has vehemently denied that any of it was a publicity stunt to drum up business for the butcher shop. He reluctantly announced that the statement was forthcoming early Monday morning and that it would be his last word on the subject.  The shop was full of customers (and this reporter) when he finally addressed those assembled.

Feltcher concluded his statement after weighing a pound of ground meat for Rosemary Jenkins.  “I want everyone in town to know that Feltcher’s will always provide the best cuts of meat in the county at the best price!  And in that spirit I want to announce a sale on rump roast for the rest of the week!”

Don’t leave Perry the Possum out in the cold


img_2394-2As the temperatures drop, the night air can be harmful or even deadly for our town’s beloved mascot: the possum. You may find them in your garage trying to find enough warmth to survive. We at The Puddlegulch Post encourage you not to put the poor creature out in the cold; bring them into your house to sleep in your bed.

Remember the possum is North American’s only marsupial and the creature that saved the people of Puddlegulch many years ago.

(rabies shots available for $125 at the Puddlegulch Clinic)


Self-proclaimed neighborhood watch “sheriff” arrested

Bob’s costume is available at

Gordon Geary, Editor in Chief and sometimes reporter – Bob Feltcher was arrested this week for drunk and disorderly conduct, indecent exposure, and disturbing the peace during a town council meeting.

Complaints of his unauthorized supervision of Puddlegulch residents have been brought to the council for years, but the council has dismissed the complaints with the philosophy of “what harm is he doing anyone?” as Councilman Joe Grouse had said at a July 2014 council meeting.

However, the council’s hand was forced after an incident in which Feltcher tried to extort an apple betty from Elsie Higgenbotham in exchange for “protection.”

When the issue of Bob and his unauthorized post of sheriff the (non-existent) neighborhood watch came to the floor. 

“Bob stormed into the hall stinking of roadhouse whiskey and blurting out something about the whole court being out of order,” said Elsie’s daughter Jenny Hingenbotham, the bespectacled maiden Puddlegulch librarian.

She went on to describe how he grabbed the floor mic and gave an emotional speech about how he had “given his heart and soul to a community which never gave a two sh**s about his service.” He then dropped his pants and underwear and mooned the 75 citizens gathered for the meeting.  In so doing, he passed gas violently.

Deputy Barnes, who was standing guard, tackled Feltcher and arrested him on the spot.

Bob was released on $500 bail by his brother Floyd Feltcher of Feltcher’s Butcher Shop.

Bob will stand trial next month and has been banned from patrolling the neighborhoods of Puddlegulch for life.

Mysterious stranger spotted again!

Gordan Geary, Editor in Chief – At 11:55 pm last night, a local teen was fooling around with the filters on her telephone camera and snapped this image in the alley behind the Bowlarama.  [Note from writer: My pencil broke before I was about to speak to her, but I believe I understand millennials well enough to remember it just as it was relayed to me.]

“I was like looking at my phone as I walked or whatever,” said 16-year-old Chloe Crumbpacker, granddaughter of local property mogal Horace P. Crumbpacker, “getting ready to test the black and white filter of my telephone for my new, old-looking picture on Instant gram, and when I looked up to take the shot, he was like right there.  I thought he might say something to make me feel uncomfortable or unsafe, but he didn’t say anything.  He just kept smoking his boomer Jewel cigarette thingy. I took the shot and ran back to my antique bicycle before he could #meetoo me.  I was so scared.  I didn’t post the picture until I was like 2 blocks away.”

There is some speculation that this could be the same man in this security cam photo captured outside of Dale’s Discount General, but it cannot be confirmed.


When asked why she was in the alley so late, Chloe said, “Puddlegulch is becoming a really unsafe place and I wanted to give the boomers some proof.”

Any tips leading to the discovery of this man’s identify or purpose for being in Puddlegulch will be rewarded with a full set of phillips head screwdrivers from Dale’s Discount General, because those things have a way of disappearing leaving only a box full of flat heads; at least in this reporter’s house.  (and The Puddlegulch Post will throw in a pair of cow-hide work gloves to anyone who can explain why a 16-year-old would rather ride a bike in 37 degree weather at night than get their driver’s license.  I was in line at the DMV before it even opened on my 16th birthday)

Full Wolf Moon Eclipse Tonight in the Puddlegulch Sky

Priestess Willow Wolfclaw, guest contributor – Merry meet! The first Full Moon of the year is named after howling wolves. In some cultures, it was known as Old Moon, Ice Moon, Snow Moon, and the Moon after Yule.

Many Native tribes called January’s full moon the Wolf Moon because of the greater hunger of the mighty wolves in the deep cold of winter.  Their howling is both chilling and greatly beneficial to one’s spiritual health.  It is also known to locals as the Possum Moon for all of the possums eaten by the wolves under its gentle light.

Tonight is special, though, because the Sun, Earth, and the Moon shall be aligned creating a penumbral lunar eclipse.

This is an ideal time for moon magic.  The Circle of the Blood Moon will be meeting at midnight on Little Hill to view the eclipse and perform a communal spell to grant Puddlegulch’s greatest wish:  to exceed one THOUSAND residents.

We do not know what the moon will bring.  Fertility? Newcomers? The saving of a life?

What we do know is that we will be bundled with the warmest long john underwear provided by Dales’ Discount General.

Blessed Be!

Priestess Willow Wolfclaw

Rival Rings Out the Old

b427d19dd6238628dc7fa8acc2c212d3Chip Chitwood, Sports Editor – The Fighting Possums’ hopes for a historic basketball season were dashed when their star center, Rowdy Wilson, was declared ineligible for competition. Cross-county rival, Barnwood High, sparked an investigation by the State Secondary School Athletic Association earlier in the season. At issue is the interpretation of the age limit rule, which says that any student who is 21 is ineligible for competition. Larry Tannehill, Puddlegulch AD, argued that the age limit should be understood to be the student’s age at the time of the beginning of the season. Landry Leftwich, Barnwood AD, argued that the rule pertains to the student’s age at any time during the season. Wilson turned 21 on January 1. In a stunning reversal of precedent, the SSSAA sided with Barnwood. Tannehill is considering legal action, citing the familial relationship between SSSAA executive director Rance Leftwich and the Barnwood coach. They are brothers.

Led by Wilson and his 11 points and 2 rebounds per game average, the 3-11 Fighting Possums were on track to set a record for most wins in a season. As it stands, the junior center is the career scoring leader for the locals. He is widely regarded as a man among boys on the court. Coach Chitwood will call on Danny Morris to step into the starting lineup. Morris, though untested, shows promise. At 6’ 7”, the 150-pound youngster has exceptional ball-handling skills. He credits lots of practice and a sixth finger on his right hand for his prowess with the ball. Morris and his teammates will face their first test when they tip off next Tuesday against the Pleasant Valley Pioneers.