By Ting Wan | Beacon Sister City Intern
A fracas erupted at the annual Dr. Seuss Birthday Party Thursday at Bass Lake Public/Private Library during a reading of “Horton Hears a Who!”
Witnesses said the scuffle started after guest reader Bass Lake Authority Police chief Gwen “Tug” McNabb began changing the words to the charming tale in which an elephant makes first contact with an alien species inhabiting a speck of dust.
Bass Lake Elementary third-grader Jimmy Fracas said the chief starting “saying stuff that wasn’t in the book. I yelled at the fat policeman to stop ruining the story.”
“Then that old man tried to take the book away from him,” Fracas added.
The “old man,” featured speaker and Bass Lake poet-laureate Al Schwartz, then approached McNabb in an attempt to stop him reading, witnesses said.
McNabb fled on foot.
A slow-speed chase ensued with Schwartz following McNabb through the large-print section. The pursuit ended when another guest reader, Johnny Wen, deployed stop-chairs in the area of the fish tank near the check-out desk.
McNabb toppled into the tank.
A gourami and two angel fish were treated for minor scale scrapes and fin bruises and released into the lake. The tank itself was a total loss.
Schwartz said McNabb “smelled like a damn brewery.”