by Douglas Siddoway

"This isn't just a national story, it's an international story."

-- Spokane City Councilman BOB APPLE, June 3, 2005

Washington, D.C. -- The Chief Cartographer of the Department of the Interior said today the agency would redraw the official map of the United States so that Spokane would not be the largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis unless embattled mayor Jim West resigned from office.

"We take these matters seriously," said the cartographer's spokesman. "If the mayor doesn't step down, Spokane will be just a bump in the road between Ritzville and St. Regis."

Vatican City -- In what many observers agreed was an unusual departure from traditional papal concerns, Pope Benedict XVI today asked for the resignation of Spokane, Wash., Mayor James West and a definitive statement as to who, exactly, would replace departing Gonzaga University basketball star Ronny Turiaf in next year's lineup.

"We live in times of great uncertainty," said the pontiff, "and the situation in Spokane is particularly vexing. I shall pray for a good zone defense."

Local business leaders hailed the pope's request as proof that the "strategic communications recovery plan" adopted in the aftermath of the West revelations has been a success.

Tampa, Fla. -- Leaders of Shriners of North America today said they were ordering the El Katif Shrine in Spokane, Wash., to stop work on preparations for next year's Armed Forces Lilac Day Parade pending a decision by embattled Mayor Jim West as to whether he would remain in office.

"Last year, we had 16 entrants in the parade, not including the oompah band," said local Shriner spokesman Fez "Buddy" Martin. "We were at least hoping to outnumber the fly boys from Fairchild next year, but we're sure as hell not going to spend the off-season tuning up a dozen tiny go-karts if Jim West is in office."

Colorado Springs, Colo. -- Decrying the "moral relativism of its city fathers," leaders in the New Jerusalem Family Research and Storm Door Council said today its planning committee was "rethinking" its commitment to hold its 2026 annual conference in Spokane, Wash.

"If we had any say in the matter, Jim West and his Rolodex would be tossed out of City Hall faster than you can say Hillary Clinton," a spokesman said.

In a companion statement, the organization also announced it was vetoing other possible convention sites for similar "moral" reasons, including Salt Lake City, all of California, Massachusetts and New York, the lower eastern seaboard, and "cities lying west of the 100th meridian that have public libraries or an NPR affiliate."

Washington, D.C. -- The Pentagon announced today that Fairchild Air Force Base would be shut down and not reopened until Spokane Mayor Jim West resigns from office. Questioned about the loss of the air tanker refueling wing and its effect on the war on terror, a Pentagon official speaking on condition of anonymity said only, "For the time being, we're giving our tactical fighter and bomber pilots credit cards and diverting them to a renovated Esso station on the Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah. Even though it's too small a town to host a parade, our efforts in the defense of freedom will not be compromised."

Spokane, Wash. -- Spokane Diocese bankruptcy attorney and self-proclaimed Republican spokesman Shaun Cross sharply blasted Mayor Jim West today, calling him a "tsunami of hypocrisy" and asking for his "immediate" resignation. Denying rumors that he is receiving media training from Paris Hilton, Cross also announced to reporters at a hastily convened press conference that he was "making himself available" to run for "any elective position, on any ballot, in any locale in the country that has a television studio."

Florence, Italy -- In a tersely worded statement issued through their lawyers, heirs to the Medici family -- whose 15th- and early 16th-century patronage of the arts and sciences is credited with bringing Western civilization out of the Dark Ages -- announced today that they would take legal action to enjoin Spokane, Wash., from using the word "renaissance" in connection with any downtown promotional campaign so long as embattled Mayor Jim West remains in office. Apprised of the statement, Spokane business leaders said it was further evidence their strategic communications recovery plan was "on track and working."

Publication date: 06/16/05

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