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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 10/20/2008

The Morning Line: Readers, Time to Write Your Own Plotline

By Michael Cavna

Judging by the ol' sundial on the wall, "Judge Parker's" dilettante sleuth Sam Driver has now been hanging in an exotic dancer's home -- under the pretense of helping on a murder case -- since, oh, 2005. Or so it seems.

The plot slackens. (NAS) Enlarge Comic

Yes, what eons ago began with a bang -- the fatal fire of a sniper -- has been whimpering like dancer Dixie Julep's pooch for many weeks now. We would call the plot glacial, but that would besmirch upstanding ice-masses everywhere.

So as a reader service, if only to give you hope that this storyline will someday end, we offer a possible future development for the coming months -- to the best of our imagination. To wit:

DEC. 20 -- Day 122, and Sam has returned to Dixie Julep's house, hoping to flirt through the romance language that is ballistics (oh, the innuendo). House hound Snowflake shuffles up to Sam, however, and drops a note at his loafered feet. Detective Heidi, it seems, has taken Dixie into custody and driven straight for the Mexican border as music from the "Thelma and Louise" soundtrack blared on the car radio. Thwarted and repressed, Sam will spend the next 82 days of plotline in the house, mulling both his choices and Dixie's open bar.

What do YOU predict will happen (or -- yawn -- not happen) in the months ahead in the pedestrian story that is "Judge Parker"? All wildly creative suggestions
welcomed and hailed.

The riddle, and middle, of the Sphinx. (Dan Piraro)Enlarge Comic

Our other reader recommendation o' the day:

FAVE BLOGGERY: As I like to say: You can't swing a suction-cup Garfield over your head these days without hitting a cartoonist who blogs.
(Not that there's anything wrong with that, haha.) Fortunately, some of these cartoonists share swell behind-the-lines insights. Our favorite recent blogpost: "Bizarro" cartoonist Dan Piraro explains how Friday's "Sphinx sphincters" cat cartoon came to be at HIS SITE.

By Michael Cavna  | October 20, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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At first I thought they'd find the murderer was Butters, from South Park, had something to do with it but he seems to aim low.

Now I think it might be Snowflake, egged innocently on by the master of unintended consequences, Poncho. Snowflake knows Sam is key, so she's playing up to him. The only flaw is, that would make Dixie a red herring. Bucky, Garfield, and Mooch would've been fighting over the herring and she'd be gone by now.

I bet, instead of taking a year for Sam to solve this one, Mark Trail could've done it in, oh, eleven months.

Posted by: f2 | October 20, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

After the police finally leave, Sam will return to the house and find something that everyone overlooked. He will share this discovery with Heidi, and they will go off on some innuendo-filled trip and discover the missing rifle killed Mr. Cheatum. At which point I expect to die of old age.

But come on, do Spiderman plots move any faster?

Posted by: Ollabelle | October 20, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

See, this is exactly why I don't read serials. I feel like I have to have started reading them at least three years ago to understand what's going on.

Posted by: Julia | October 20, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Julia, 2 step plan to get up to speed:

1 - read the above panel.

2 - insert your own snarky sub text; sexual innuendo goes a long way here.

That's pretty much it. You're up to speed.

By the way, can we get a hand check on Sam Driver in panel 1?

(There you go Julia, see how easy it is? Now you try...)

Posted by: JkR | October 20, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

What I fully expect to happen in JP is that we'll suddenly shift back to a story at Spencer Farms, where Abby is involved in some kind of wacky hijinx. Or maybe Neddy is going to come home from Paris for a visit, see Mark and fall in love all over again. Whatever is in store for them all, it won't play out till after the first of the year.

Posted by: Anonamoos | October 20, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

cheez youre RIGHT JkR....what IS going on with sam driver's hidden hand action there???!....(a little "dna testing"?)

Posted by: "What Is He Looking For?" | October 20, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Hot Lady Detective In The Leather Pants must be wondering why, if prime suspect Sam Driver did in fact just meet Dixie Julep for the first time this afternoon, Dixie's tiny hound from Hell treats him like an old friend. Clearly Sam and Dixie have been carrying on an affair, and all their attempts to make Hot Lady Detective think that Duggan is the killer is just a frame. Cheatham in fact became furious on the fairway when his friend Duggan called him to alert him that his new golfing opponent, Sam "the big club" Driver, was the real reason that Dewey hadn't been sinking any putts lately. Sam overhears that phone call, and he realizes that this golf match must end with Dewey's being six under. Hot Lady Detective soon (in JP time, that's 7 months or so) figures this out, and she prepares to barge into the strip club where Sam is watching Dixie perform, ready to make a big bust. Sadly, we don't get to see that happen, since she is interrupted by a phone call from Mary Worth, who bores her to death with a stern lecture on the heartbreak of psoriasis that can be brought on by the wearing of leather pants.

Posted by: Seismic-2 | October 21, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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