The overwhelming stench of economic decay, like rotten McDonalds' burgers, flows relentlessly through the lower levels of the city and sticks like bad farts to every restaurant, bar, and storefront downtown. The rancid flood has crested for the moment at Dannyville, on the outskirts, but it is predicted to send snake-like tributaries into every nook and cranny of Newfoundland and Labrador.
On the plus side, traffic congestion at Tim Hortons just down Thorburn Road, has eased considerably since the budget, as people try to save their coffee money for the rainy days ahead. Only two shoppers were spotted at the Avalon Mall food court all of Tuesday--a new low. I have since discovered that the Health Care Corporation was piloting their 'nouveau cuisine' on that day and people flocked to St. Clare's Mercy Hospital to get that 'going out for fish and chips' experience that will soon be a thing of the past in St. John's. Goodbye Raymonds. But I have noticed that people are more irritable lately. Just yesterday, a lady raised her middle finger as I cut in front of her during rush hour on Kenmount Road.
My wife has had enough of the foul odour emanating from the center of government on the hill. As in Sonny's Dream, she has left me here, all alone. She has abandoned the city in favour of more serene surroundings at our other home on Long Island in Notre Dame Bay, one of those places that people should leave according to one of Premier Duh-wyte's policy wonks. The reasoning: "they choose to live there, so they shouldn't expect services from the rest of us."
So here I am, desperately trying to cope, in a modest apartment, in a demoralized city. I constantly rage at Duh-wite, a gormless being in the premier's office, Catherine, the Minister of McDonalds in the finance portfolio, and my MHA, Dr. Dale, an opportunist NDPer turned right wing Liberal who spouts Duckspeak whenever he opens his mouth. I seethe with unbridled fury during my waking hours--a condition which alarms my friends next door and has set the whole neighbourhood on edge. Just last night my other neighbours, who were enjoying a rare late night barbecue celebration after the latest blizzard, retreated indoors after they were subjected to the nightmarish screams coming from my open bedroom window at one in the morning.
My terrifying dreams have subsided somewhat as a result of my 'Two Minute Hate' exercises--which I have now 'transitioned' into "The Five Minute Hate' for copyright reasons. I now follow this therapeutic regime religiously as soon as Jonathan, Debbie, and Ryan have finished their nightly newscast on CBC. First I clear the small living room of fragile objects, I assemble the necessary props ie two and one half slices of stale bread (or one McDonalds' bun), a Stronger Tomorrow video...Unfortunately last night the curtains were open. As I glanced out my large living room window in the middle of my 'Five Minute Hate' routine, I noticed that a large crowd had gathered on the street to observe my erratic behaviour. Shortly after, Her Majesty's Royal Newfoundland Constabulary knocked on my door and rudely interrupted my nocturnal endeavours with a threat to cart me off to the psychiatric unit at the Health Sciences. "I hear they serve gourmet meals down there now," said the young officer.
As it turned out, this was a positive turn of events because at 7.05 p.m. my agent phoned in a state of subdued excitement. He cautioned me not to divulge further particulars of 'The Five Minute Hate'. "The shetchy details in your last blog has sent the whole thing viral," he said. "People love hate. Everybody loves hate. Every household in Newfoundland and Labrador will buy the kit. Every home in Canada...every family in the US of A will buy the kit. Then we're taking it to Brasil and Argentina. We're going world-wide! I have just taken the liberty of filing a patent in our name with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. We'll be rich. We won't ever have to worry about taxes again. We'll be able to pay for Muskrat Falls ourselves."
I didn't like the 'we' part.
"We have to get you on Dragons' Den. Jim will throw millions at you. Kevin...no, Kevin's gone...Michele will love you...I wish Arlene was still there," he said. "I'll be over in the morning to work on the details."
These were sobering thoughts so I celebrated with several bottles of Outport Raspberry Screech that I had picked up last summer during a visit to the Auk Island Winery in Twillingate. (Newsflash: This is all hush, hush, but I have learned from a reliable source in Premier Duh-wyte's office that the government wants to rip up the causeway to Twillingate Island and resettle the 2000 odd people to the vacant office space on Water Street here in the city. "Hundreds of millions will be saved," whispered the snitch.)
At midnight I looked out my living room window. The cul-de-sac was quiet and dark. Every second street light had been turned off as a cost saving measure by city council. A crackie barked in the distance. Two nocturnal ravens were dragging a bag of garbage down the pavement. Directly across from my apartment a menacing black limo pulled up and parked. No one got out. I thought I saw several faces inside but in my condition I couldn't be sure.
As the night wore on, the strong drink made me maudlin. My eyes started leaking as I thought of all the riches coming my way over the coming months. Hard times, hard times, come again no more, I crooned tunelessly, in my rich baritone voice. I might even cozy up to those multi-millionaires in government, I thought. My late night radio was turned down low. The DJ cued up John Prine. Some humans ain't human, some humans ain't kind, he sang. Across the street the black limo still squatted mysteriously in the parking space. I called it a night.
Further developments coming...