February 20, 2003

N8 Of The North

Helsinki, Finland: February 20, 2003 A beer guzzler's spate of robberies ended abruptly in southeast Finland after he made a getaway jump into the back of a car. Unfortunately for the thief, a police officer investigating the thefts was sitting in front. The trail of break-ins and shoplifting began Feb. 7 when a 30-something-year-old man stole a car and drove it to six different locations, filching beer and cigarettes. "He drove for four days breaking into gas stations and cafeterias," Chief Inspector Harri Pyosti, who headed the investigation, told The Associated Press Thursday. "He couldn't believe he'd jumped into an officer's car at the end of it all." The officer had been following the trail that began in the man's adopted home town of Savonlinna, 205 miles northeast of Helsinki. It ended some 60 miles away in Leppavirta, when the thief, who was later identified as the mysterious N8, fell into his lap Monday. "It was real fate. The officer was off-duty at the time and didn't know the thief was about," Pyosti said. The culprit jumped out of the car but was caught by store guards. He admitted his crimes to police and was released, Pyosti said. A day later, N8 was back on the road and broke into a pharmacy, a gas station, and a pornography store, but police caught him red-handed. Pyosti said he was in jail awaiting trial on charges of theft and damaging property, but escaped within the first 24 hours. "We will have to restart the search for this very strange and frightful man," Pyosti said. N8 is wanted in both Europe and North America for a series of bizarre crimes and actions against no one in particular. Interpol investigators label his actions as "strange" and "without any regularity."

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February 13, 2003

Icing

Calgary, Alberta, Canada: February 13, 2003 An American man who climbed naked over the glass at a Calgary Flames hockey game, then tumbled onto the ice and knocked himself out pleaded guilty Wednesday to public drunkenness. Judge Cheryl Daniels ordered Rontarian vice presidential candidate Brad to donate $1,650 to charity and perform 35 hours of community service. He also must undergo alcohol counseling. The judge criticized Brad for what she called a "pathetic spectacle of yourself splayed naked on the ice for six minutes until you were covered." Brad climbed over the glass wearing only red socks during the Flames' game against the Chicago Blackhawks on February 6, then slipped and was knocked out when he hit the ice. He was carried off on a stretcher. Brad originally was charged with interfering with public property, but that charge was withdrawn Wednesday. What exactly he was doing in Canada remains a mystery. Speculation surrounding the incident includes a search for a mysterious Banff woman somehow romantically connected to Ronatarian presidential candidate Ron. Ronatarian officials refused to comment on the matter.

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February 05, 2003

Canadian Girlfriend

Jersey City, New Jersey: February 5, 2003

Despite his insistence, bachelor presidential candidate Ron has been unable to substantiate his longstanding claim that he has a girlfriend in Canada, sources close to the famous Ronatarian reported Friday.

Ever since the summer, Ron has been telling friends and associates that he is involved in a long-distance relationship with "Veronique Grosjean," an alleged Banff, Alberta 28-year-old chamber maid. According to Ron, he and Grosjean met last July while both were working at a band camp in the Boundary Waters region of northern Minnesota near the U.S.-Canadian border. Ron taught kids how to play the recorder and filibuster a congressional chamber, while Grosjean tended to the bed pans.

"We totally fell in love with each other at camp, and when the summer ended, we decided to stay together," Ron said. "It's too bad Veronique can't come down and visit me all that often, living so far away and all."

Brad, Ron's confidant and running mate, said he has long doubted the girlfriend-having claims.

"I first wondered about it last October, when I asked Ron exactly how he met Veronique," Brad said. "He was all quiet for a while, saying he was trying to remember. Finally, after about a minute, he said, 'Oh, yeah-this guy Bennett we both happened to know introduced us. I totally forgot about that.'"

His suspicions raised, Brad continued to grill Ron on the subject.

"I asked him if he had any pictures of Veronique, since I'd never seen one and he's always bragging about how hot she is," Brad said. "He said he'd asked Veronique for one a bunch of times, but she hadn't sent one yet."

The next day, Ron produced a framed picture of a willowy, attractive young woman.

"She was pretty much like Ron described her, which freaked me out," Brad said. "Still, it was kinda weird that he got a picture in the mail the day after I asked him about it. I thought maybe it was one of those photos that comes with the frame, but when I looked at it up close, I could tell it was a real one. I was starting to think that maybe he was going out with some Canadian chick, after all."

Brad's doubts grew, however, when Ron and Grosjean failed to see each other at Christmastime.

"I was like, 'How come you're not gonna see Veronique over the holidays?'" Brad said. "Ron said he couldn't fly there because his parents wouldn't let him travel over New Year's, with the whole 'airline thing and all.' And he said Veronique couldn't come here because she didn't get any time off from work for Christmas, since they don't observe it in Canada. At least not in the French-speaking parts like Alberta."

Added Brad: "He also said Veronique's parents don't approve of her dating an American, so that makes it even tougher to see her."

Determined to discover the truth, several Ronatarian Party staff members set Ron up on a "date" with E! Television's Jules Asner, convinced that if faced with a real-life romantic prospect, his Canadian-girlfriend claims would dry up. On January 11, Ron met Asner for hot chocolate at a local mall, but the date ended when he told Asner that his relationship with Grosjean was too serious to allow him to see other girls.

"He's got to have a Canadian girlfriend. He's got to," Asner said. "How sad would it be to make up a pretend girlfriend, then refuse to see an actual girl because you're involved with a make-believe one?"

Brad said that in the hundreds of hours he's spent at Ron's house, Grosjean has never phoned. He has never seen a letter from Grosjean lying around Ron's room, either.

"I'm at the point where I'm going to call Alberta information and ask if there's a Veronique Grosjean there," Brad said. "If Ron is lying about this whole thing and living in a pathetic fantasy world, that's his own deal, I guess. But I've just gotta know. It's killing me."

When questioned by the media about his specious Canadian lover, Ron became defensive.

"Of course Veronique exists," Ron said. "She just sent me this plaid lumberjack shirt I'm wearing, see? Where the fuck else would I get a Canadian shirt like this? You're just jealous because I have an exotic foreign girlfriend, and you don't even have an American one. You're all pathetic losers!"

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