Dragons' Den Part Two: With Shades of Catch 22

Normally I am not of a mind to be obsessed with unseen dangers but it doesn't hurt to be extra careful in the city these days, especially when my wife is absent. Before retiring last night I took the extra precautions of double-locking and dead-bolting both doors. I double checked all the windows and set the three burglar alarms. I locked my bedroom door behind me and propped a heavy dresser against it as added protection in case of hostile action against my well-being and financial security.

Most people know that alcohol, even in modest amounts, can disrupt sleep. Outport Raspberry Screech, however, with its peculiar blend of Newfoundland ingredients, overcomes the natural tendency to stay alert. No sooner had I assumed the prone position on my bed when my central nervous system crashed like a 2007 Toshiba computer. Instantly, sleep paralysis seized hold of every movable appendage.

The terrifying experience of sleep paralysis, otherwise known as 'the old hag', or 'hag broad' in this part of the planet, has been studied by learned scientists for generations: only the brain functions, along with the related senses of sight, hearing and smell. The limbs are rigid. Immobility is complete but awareness of one's surroundings is heightened to a razor edge. In such a state of bodily dysfunction one is subject to all manner of deadly night demons.

As I lay in a comatose state, staring into the inky darkness, my bedroom door creaked and slowly opened, seemingly of its own accord. My best efforts at increased security had been for naught. A dark figure in a ragged black robe entered. It climbed on my chest and pinched my cheek with a bony hand. The old hag had returned. I tried to scream but my vocal chords were frozen. It studied my face of a condemned hostage with its eyes of death. "I am here to warn you," it(she) said. "They are coming tonight."

She emitted a long nostalgic howl like a she-wolf on the barren-lands of Baffin. And just like that she was gone. In my comatose state I was overcome with feelings of wistful longing and sentimental affection for my suddenly vanished vixen. Already I missed the caress of her skeletal fingers, her haggard time-worn features, her sad eyes of a deceased person, her fervent odour of a swamp creature. In the words of Yossarian, I yearned for her tragically.

I had no time to dwell on my sad loss for at that very instant, Duhwite, the gormless man in the premier's office, glided into my bedroom. In his hands of a pharmaceutical fiend he held a menacing syringe. "Stick him, Premier Duhwite, get on with it," said a spiteful voice behind him

"Wait, I have to go through his pockets first, Catherine," said Premier Duhwite petulantly. "He might have some loose change."

"We got your number, buddy," she said. "You're going to pay. Big time!"

Premier Duhwite stuck his needle into my jugular vein. My body relaxed and I fell into deep repose.

When I regained consciousness I was slumped in a plush, velvet-upholstered lounge chair inside a large room with floor-to-ceiling plate-glass windows offering a majestic view of the desolate snow-bound city of St. John's in April. In front of me was a large, round, custom-made, teak hardwood conference table of a type found only in the executive offices of Nalcor.

Embedded in the ceiling were large gold-embossed photographs of former premiers that i recognized even in my semi-comatose state: Joey of the Mighty Churchill, Frankie (Linerboard) Moores, Brian (Cucumber) Peckford, Clyde (Meech Lake) Wells, Brian (Turbot) Tobin, Roger (The Dodger) Grimes, Danny (Big Oil) Williams, Cathy (Rolling Blackouts) Dunderdale, and a new addition, Duhwite (Levy) Ball. These formed a circle around other familiar faces--venerated leaders like Munroe, Cashin, Squires, and Alderdice--leaders with similar proclivities from nearly one hundred years ago.

Thirteen hardened, malevolent faces stared in my direction from around the table.

(Watch for the next chapter: In the Den. Coming soon.)

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