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Marion Barry is used to running a city that gets excoriated for not paying its bills on time. But last Friday, D.C.’s lame-duck mayor got to play the role of debt-collecting tough guy on a different sort of account payable: a hockey bet.

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Posing in a Washington Capitals T-shirt, the mayor explained that he’d wagered a bushel of Maryland crabs on the outcome of the team’s recent playoff series against the Ottawa Senators. The Caps won the series, and Barry said, “I’m still waiting on Jim Watson from Ottawa to send me my prize!”

Watson’s press secretary, Krista Pawley, flatly denies that her boss is a north-of-the-border scofflaw. “The Capitals are on such a great run that we wouldn’t want to jinx it,” she says, sounding quite a bit like a Canadian version of Barry himself. Pawley says the D.C. mayor will get his prize—a doughnutlike regional specialty bearing the ominous name of beaver tail—before the teams’ first matchup next season.

And what if that game takes place after Barry leaves office? If he can’t collect now, the mayor will have to go a long way to get himself a supply of beaver tails. According to Pawley, this particular Canadian delicacy is much scarcer south of the border than, say, Canadian bacon, beaver pelts, or Michael J. Fox. The only place in the lower 48 to find them is at the Canadian pavilion at EPCOT Center.

Now that the Caps have advanced to the NHL finals, D.C. Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is getting into the act. She has wagered a bushel of crabs against the sampling of Michigan agricultural gems put up by three Detroit-area representatives. Memo to Reps. Conyers, Kilpatrick, and Levin: Get ready to pay up. We know where you live. And you don’t have any Mounties to protect you.CP