Eric Colbourne

The Great Pumpkin

 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018: 9 AM

Spouse and I sat around our old chrome table in the morning, sipping on a second-hand Tim's, munching our stoner pumpkin bread, and sharing our dreams from the night before.

"It's that time of year again," said spouse. "I dreamed about the Great Pumpkin. Maybe it was because of that weird news report about the Goblin planet last night on NTV's The Carter File (Stuff About Stuff)."

"Maybe the Great Pumpkin is coming to these pine-clad hills to disappear Muskrat Falls," I said sarcastically.

"And every politician from Cape Spear to Cape Chidley," said spouse.

"You are becoming too cynical," I said. "But speaking of that magical being, only once did I really believe in the Great Pumpkin."

"Do tell." 

"I am speaking," I said, "about Danny (He-Who-Is-Without-Sin) Williams. The scene at the St. John's International Airport at 7.03 pm, Saturday, January 29, 2005, is forever etched on my brain. My hopes at that precise moment had reached as high as the highest peak in the Annieopsquotch Mountains.

"I developed a belief in the Great Pumpkin when I was a child in the 1950s and Joey Smallwood saved us from a fate worse than death. "Two Jobs for every man" (women didn't work back then). It all went south pretty fast as Joey, the savior, turned into just another rotten gourd from Gambo. But many still believed.

"Along came Moores. You probably don't remember him, nor do I. And Peckford in 1979, who tried to be the Great Pumpkin and turned into the Great Cucumber instead. It wasn't the same.

"Brian Tobin became the Great Turbot in 1996. Slimy.

"After that, I gave up on the Great Pumpkin--maybe old age and doubt were creeping up on me.

"Then the Great Pumpkin delivered. Big time. Captured live on TV. On the People's Network. He stood in all his goblin glory at the top of the stairs leading down to the airport lobby where hundreds of believers had gathered.

"He waved a slip of paper triumphantly. "We've got it," he shouted. Wild cheers. Flags waved. "He's our savior," said one. "Premier forever," said another, and, "yay, the Great Pumpkin!"

"We got 2 billion in cash, that's what we got," said the Great Pumpkin. "Prosperity forever. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. F.U. Ottawa."

He had pinned Paul 'Steamship' Martin to the mat with a figure-four arm lock. I was proud to live in the land of the Great Pumpkin.

Spouse noted the tinge of nostalgia in my voice. I yearned for those days, few as they were.

Fast forward to October 2018:

For some time now, Spouse and I have been following with bated breath the meanderings of the Muskrat Falls Inquiry. As with all epic dramas, we hope in the end that the villains are laid low and the innocent taxpayers are freed from the shackles of levies and political trickery. Reality? You may well ask. Doubt should immediately cloud your brain like a toke of good weed.

We only think this way of course when we are enjoying the soothing stimulus of our favorite after-dinner libations. A Raspberry Screech for me, a sip of 50 Shades of Bay for her as we soak up the spectacle playing out on the screen in front of us. Being vulnerable seniors, by 9 pm we are off to the Land of Nod where our brains can flush the excrement of the day into the sewers of dreamland.

In my dream, all the characters are like professional wrestlers on TV. The steady stream of rogues and heroes play their choreographed roles in front of the referee, Commissioner Richard LeBlanc. They bob in and out of the arena of my nightmares.

"I see them clearly," I say to spouse: "the tag team of He-Who-Is-Without-Sin and his little bro, Tommy Williams, both dressed in Galway green; Wade Locke, the university economist in cap and gown, he who endorsed, then denied Muskrat, the rat; Andy Wells, general shit-disturber; naysayers, Ron Penney and David Vardy; and a host of others both great and small--all backed up by their cheering sections and corner attendants from the legal establishment in the city.

"We should all be proud of Muskrat Falls," says He-Who-Is-Without-Sin as he body-slams the naysayers from atop the turnbuckles, and shakes his fist at Quebec. "People have to take the long-term view--50--75--100 years"

 

Then he trash-talks his opponents and questions their right to wrestle him. The commissioner intervenes and separates them. Then Danny tries a flying tackle on Vardy and calls him a carton of spoiled milk--beyond the best-before date. Fightin words. His headlock on the commissioner fails miserably.

Penney and Vardy (Concerned Citizens tag team) trash-talk the Muskrat in return. Andy Wells sneaks into the arena and throws sucker punches at He-Who-Is-Without-Sin and Bro Tommy. They both hit the canvas but recover and chase Andy from the ring.

Wade Locke, professional economist in cap and gown, enters the arena flashing his credentials, tangles with Bro Williams and some other no-name lawyer. Wishes he hadn't entered the arena at all. Doesn't like to fight.

"Anyway, now everybody wants to fight me--SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO MY WIFE," he says, throwing in the towel.

"Coward," shout the baying fans.

Sioban (I'm Irish) Coady, Minister of the Mighty Muskrat, shouts from the sidelines, "taxpayers will have to'supplement' the ratepayers when Muskrat comes online."

Nobody understands what she is saying except He-Who-Is-Without-Sin. "She means we'll take all our oil money and pay for Muskrat Falls," he says.

It still makes no sense.

"I was in a cold sweat all night," I said to spouse. "I couldn't shake the nightmare and I only woke up when Duh-wite told me not to worry about paying the cost of Muskrat Falls." Chilling.

"Yes," said spouse impatiently, "now, about the Goblin planet that I dreamed about. Glen Carter(The Carter File-Stuff About Stuff) on NTV said it was smaller than earth but it takes 3600 of our years to orbit the sun which means that if we lived there, each year would have 43,200 months or nearly 1,320,000 days. Our monthly bill for Muskrat Falls for each and every one of us in this fair land would be only 7.2 cents. But who cares about paying power bills when you can live that long in just one year.

As I said, Spouse has a very mathematical mind. I'm not sure I got it. But then...

"Maybe that's what Danny was thinking about when he said we should take the long-term view of Muskrat Falls," I said. "and maybe, just maybe, he's from the Goblin planet."

"Crazy." said spouse. "Give me another slice of that stoner bread. We should go over and listen in on the inquiry. It's in that big building off Wishingwell Road."

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