Promising love and understanding, members of the Rainbow Gathering have recently descended upon the wilderness just east of Heber City. But it hasn’t been all peace signs and tasty lentil dishes. In a daring daytime caper, members of the group’s militant faction hijacked and is now holding hostage a historic steam engine train.
“In all my years of public service I have never seen such a brazen action as this one,” said Todd Bonner, sheriff of Wasatch County during a press conference this morning. “The accused group commandeered the Heber Creeper this morning. They are currently in possession of the train and are holding a dozen or so hostages.”
The Heber Creeper is a local tourist attraction, with daily roundtrips from Midway to Vivian Park in Provo Canyon. For many riders the highlight of the journey is a mock train robbery, where actors dressed as cowboys ride up on horses and take over the train.
“We were just about to round the corner where our usual robbery was supposed to happen,” said Lester Burnside, conductor of the Heber Creeper. “But instead of cowboys on horseback it was damn hippies in a VW bus. They jumped on the train, demanded that I surrender my conductor hat, and told us we were hostages of the Rainbow Jihad.”
Burnside was able to escape unharmed and has provided valuable information to local law enforcement as they plan their response. “We know that the hippies are busy converting the train to run on hemp,” said Bonner. “Their plan is to transform the Creeper into some kind of Ken Kesey-esque freakout-mobile.”
Bonner said members of the Wasatch Sheriff’s office have ordered five copies of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, hoping that the book will provide some insight on how to stop the Rainbow Jihad.
Meanwhile, Rain Shower Moon Blossom, spokeshippy for the Rainbow Gathering has condemned the actions of the militants. “This is not what The Gathering is all about, man,” said Blossom from his command tent in the Uinta National Forrest. “Our message is one of peace. Sure, there is going to be the occasional stabbing, some aggressive panhandling, and perhaps some petty shoplifting. But hijacking a steam train? It’s just not how we do things.”