Week 694: Hopelessly Ever After

"The struggle between parent and child [is] . . . in 'Goodnight Moon'
only implicit. Indeed, there's no parent on the scene. . . . Time moves
forward, and the little bunny doesn't stand a chance. Parent and child
are, in this way, brought together, on tragic terms. You don't want to go
to sleep. I don't want to die. But we both have to."

These heartwarming reflections on the world's sweetest bedtime story were
offered up by Elizabeth Kolbert in the Dec. 4 New Yorker, and shared with
us by Awfully Eager to Share Loser Peter Metrinko. We whisper: Hush,
woman! This week: Offer up a gloomy interpretation of any ungloomy piece
of writing. Seventy-five words max but you can write much shorter as well.

Winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. First
runner-up gets the book "The Ultimate Guide to Prank University," a handy
manual for such ingeniously droll practical jokes as Super Soaker Sink,
Itchy Undies, and Filling Your Sleeping Roommate's Shoes With Foreign

Other runners-up win a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt.
Honorable Mentions (or whatever they're called that week) get one of the
lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week.
Send your entries by e-mail to losers@washpost.com or by fax to
202-334-4312. Deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 2. Put "Week 694" in the subject
line of your e-mail, or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your
name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are
judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the
property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or
content. Results will be published Jan. 21. No purchase required for
entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives,
are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified.
This week's Honorable Mentions name is by Bruce Alter of Fairfax Station.

Report From Week 690, in which we asked you to transport a comic strip character to another
time or place.

Many people had Sarge and Beetle not asking and not
telling as they ran off to Provincetown together.

4 The gang from "B.C." is moved to A.D., finally allowing the cartoonist
to explore Christian religious themes. (Mike Fransella, Arlington)

3.Lucy is busted by state medical authorities for practicing psychiatry
without a license after a patient tried to submit an insurance claim for
5 cents. (Jon Milstein, Falls Church)

2. the winner of the ceramic "smoking baby":"Zits": Jeremy Duncan and his
mom, who never wondered why Jeremy's best friend, Hector, looks exactly
like Dr. Duncan, discover that Hector is Jeremy's half brother.
Apparently the good doctor, who is also Hector's mom's dentist, filled
the wrong cavity. (Rob Kloak, Springfield)

And the Winner of the Inker


Illustration by Bob Staake For The Washington Post

(Martin Bancroft, Rochester)


"Hagar the Horrible": Hagar has been time-traveling for years, planting
old Norse relics in the Canadian Maritimes to be "discovered" by
archaeologists. So anyone who tells you the Vikings reached America
before Columbus has fallen for a wacky cartoon prank! (This message
brought to you by the Sons of Italy organization) (Brendan Beary, Great

Spider-Man turns 85 and has to wear Wrist-Depends. (Kevin Dopart,

"For Better or for Worse": Now working in the porn industry, April traces
her loss of self-esteem to the day she decided to drown Farley. (Dave
Kelsey, Fairfax)

Tragedy struck Sacramento tonight as newly elected Governor of California
Artur was attacked and killed by a man police have identified as a
childhood acquaintance, world-renowned chess grandmaster "Big" Nate.
(Bruce Alter, Fairfax Station)

1940: Mary Worth, a high school sophomore, is lecturing a student about
smoking in the girls' lavatory. One girl whispers to two others: "You two
grab her legs, and I'll stick Miss Goody Two Shoes' head in the toilet."
(Peter Metrinko, Chantilly)

An aged Snoopy chokes to death on a Red Baron frozen pizza; ironically,
he has no life insurance. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

"Blondie" time-warped, finally, into the actual 21st century: Dagwood
makes himself a plate of four-pound tapas. (Maja Keech, New Carrollton)

"He was here every day -- snow, rain, heat, gloom of night," recalled
Dagwood Bumstead, 81, who lives on Beasley's last route. "In fact, I
bumped into him just this morning. And he never spoke of any frustrations
at work." (Bob Dalton, Arlington)

Cath-sandra, Underappreciated Athenian Prophetess:

The Oracle of Delphi: "It is the will of Zeus that the sons of Troy will
be slaughtered, their bones gnawed upon by dogs -- oh, and this year's
swimwear will be French-cut."

Cath-sandra (running through streets, tunic flying and laurel wreath
askew): AAAAACK!!" (Mary Ann Henningsen, Hayward, Calif.)

"Curtis": Undercover agents Derrick and Onion arrest Gunther for running
a bookmaking operation from his barbershop. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

"Dennis the Menace," 2036: Under hypnosis, an aging Courtney Love
reveals: "That dumb ol' Dennis would never have tea with me. Too prissy,
huh? Yeah, what the @#$ does he think now?" (Mary Ann Henningsen)

Still extremely short and no less annoying, a middle-aged Dennis the
Menace earns the stinging wrath of his home town when he buys the local
football team and runs it straight into the ground. (Tom Galgano, Bowie)

Russian Military Lab:

Dilbert: How do I get rid of this leftover polonium?

Walski: I throw mine into the fish tank at that sushi restaurant. (Martin

"The Family Circus": With an irrational fear that dead relatives are
always watching her, 29-year-old Dolly Keane remains a virgin. (Kevin

"For Better or for Worse": Through five panels, Mom patiently gets the
kids dressed for playing in the snow, struggling with snowsuits, boots,
hats, mittens -- and of course one has to go to the bathroom, so she has
to dress them all over again. Then in the last panel, they stand on the
porch before the freshly fallen snow and stare at the mushroom cloud
forming over the nearby city. (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

Baghdad, circa 820:

Frank: I hear that Al-Khwarizmi the mathematician is using zeros!

Ernest: Yes, aught-ism runs in his family! (Peter Metrinko)

Garfield grows so fat that he takes up the whole panel, not allowing any
other characters or even dialogue to appear. This is generally seen as an
improvement. (Art Grinath)

"Peanuts": The Washington Nationals hire Charlie Brown, 65, as general
manager, stating: "He's worked with teams composed of nothing more than a
bunch of no-talent kids, a dog and a whining girl -- which makes him
perfect for us." (Drew Bennett, Alexandria)

Zippy moves to 1950s France to become a playwright but is lambasted by
critics as "too accessible . . . a simplistic sellout to the masses." He
tries to atone by writing a two-person "Oresteia" for Jerry Lewis and a
rhinoceros, but by then his reputation is in tatters, and all is lost. In
a final kiss-off protest, he bathes. (Brendan Beary)

Next Week: Haven't Got a Clue, or Just Try to Cross Us