An Iowahawk exclusive:
WALCOTT, IOWA - Clad in civilian Reeboks and Gem sweaters, clutching pink gift bags filled with hot Maid Rites and souvenir Herky the Hawkeye Beanie Babies, over three dozen smiling British Royal Marines waved for cameras and boarded a London-bound RAF bus this morning in the parking lot of Walcott's sprawling Iowa 80 Truck Stop.
The surprise morning release of the 38 sailors and marines ended a tense three-day standoff between the British government and a breakaway Lutheran militia group that controls large swaths of the notorious "Manure Triangle" region spanning Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Ian Rumpsworthy, the diminutive baby-faced former captive who won the hearts of millions as Britain's "Littlest Marine," embraced Pastor Duane Gunderson around the waist and emotionally thanked the insurgent Lutheran strongman for approving his release.
"I only hope I wasn't too much trouble for you sir," said Rumpsworthy, choking back tears. "If you are ever in Phlegmfordshire, I insist you do pop by for tea and scones."
As he skipped and cartwheeled off to the waiting double-decker, a beaming Rumpsworthy turned to BBC cameras and shouted, "Look mum! Weeee! I'm a hero!"
The unxepected release spurred speculation in some quarters of a backroom 'quid pro quo' deal, which British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett angrily denied.
"Her Majesty's Government has a strict policy never to negotiate with Midwestern extremists," she said. "We were as surprised as anyone by this turn of events, and the fact that Kum & Go has a new $1.99 12 pack weekend special on Bass is purely coincidental."
What a harrowing experience. Read the whole thing. And beware of Lutherans bearing gifts.