Into the Wilderness

( The favela developing around Gibbet Hill since the Liberal budget)


Eddie Joyce, Minister of Outports, woke me from my woozy state. He was doing an interview on The Morning Show. "The Liberal government has decided to adopt the term 'favela' to describe the sorry slums springing up like weeds around the base of Gibbet Hill, Mt. Scio, and Shea Heights," said Big Eddie. The word 'favela' has a special musical quality that we all like. We borrowed it from Brasil. The word 'slum' smells too much of poverty. It has a distinct outport smell.

"And what action does Premier Duh-wyte propose taking to discourage the growth of favelas in the city?' asked the genial host.

"We will build a wall across the Avalon," said Big Eddie. "It will keep the baymen out...and we'll make them pay for it."

"But what about workers coming into town to seek employment at McDonalds? asked the host.

"We have that all figured out," said Big Eddie. "We are implementing TOWP--the Temporary Outport Worker Program. Nobody else will be allowed in."

Calvin, a caller from Come-by-Chance interrupted. "Sure, my son, we can jump over that wall, you numbnuts."

"The wall just got ten feet higher," responded Big Eddie.

The invigorating discussion inspired me to raise my much maligned body from the bed. My mouth felt wooly--the side effects of Premier Duh-wyte's injection and the Outport Raspberry Screech from the night before. I removed the heavy dresser propped against my bedroom door, donned my thermal running outfit, and headed out for my morning constitutional on the Long Pond Trail. Fearful of being followed, I decided to pursue a circuitous route to Long pond in order to confuse any possible pursuers.

As I flashed fluidly down Kenmount Road, the great baseball player, Satchel Paige, came to mind. "Don't look back," he once said, "something might be gaining on you." I had no sooner mulled over his words when out of the corner of my eye, I saw two runners emerge from the nearby McDonalds and fall in behind me. They were of portly demeanor with polo shirts emblazoned with the logo of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. I ducked into the Avalon Mall and ditched them.

When I finally reached the trail around Long Pond I noticed the absence of waterfowl which were always in great abundance in the waters at this time of year. It then occurred to me that other bird life was absent as well. No robins. No ravens. No grackles. No grosbeaks. Nothing. Could it be Rachel Carson's Silent Spring all over again, I wondered. Then on the other side of the pond came loud reports of shotguns. Curious, I thought, someone must be harvesting the birds for their hungry children.

As I followed the trail around Long Pond and up Mt. Scio, I came upon large numbers of the newly destitute destroying the native flora and erecting wretched shacks. Some were roasting local ducks on open fires. This must be one of Big Eddie's flowering favelas, I suddenly realized.

By the time I returned to my dwelling, the brisk jog had cleared the cobwebs and my strategy for exiting the metropolitan area was complete. In the dead of night, after the city was asleep, I would dress as Premier Duh-wyte in drag. Thus disguised, I would vault into my vehicle and speed west on the Trans-Canada Highway out of town.

At three in the morning I was ready for the break-out. Two of my neighbours over on Lobelia Street were quarreling fiercely over a dead raven. Other people on the block joined in and a riot ensued in no time flat. Sirens sounded and soon the Constabulary arrived. This was the distraction I had been hoping for.

I jumped in my Toyota Camry and sped towards the Outer Ring Road. The rich odours of the Health Care Corporation's gourmet kitchens hung heavily on the night air. My thin lips glistened with frosted lipstick, my silver grey wig was in place, and my silky chiffon dress clung to my shapely form like ClingWrap. Chloe Kardashian would have been envious.

I exited onto the TCH at the recommended speed and headed west past the floundering industrial area. A large neon sign at Dannyville touted luxury living. "For premiers, ex-premiers, executives of Nalcor and McDonalds. The posh and the pretty. A gated community to meet your every need," read the sign. Sounds like a place I might have aspired to, I thought bitterly, had I not been recently fleeced by political flunkies.

Shortly, I encountered a long convoy of earth moving equipment slowly moving westwards towards Whitbourne. My iPhone vibrated in my sock. Fortunately, I had hands free connectivity. "This is RS from MP," said the heavily disguised voice. "They're building a wall across the Avalon to keep out the baymen."

"Yes," I said. "I heard Big Eddie on the radio this morning."

"They're starting in Dildo, pushing east towards Spread Eagle, and then thrusting southwest across the TCH to Long Harbour. A lot of people are going to get the shaft on this one," said RS from MP.

"That's quite the wall," I said. "I wonder if Danny's friend, Donald Trump, is involved."

"I have to go, be careful," he said. "If I don't hear from you, I'll know you've been vaporized."

I encountered a police roadblock at Whitbourne. The pieces of heavy equipment were being shunted onto the secondary highway to Heart's Delight. A young constabulary officer shone his flashlight on my face. "Oh, good morning Mr. Premier, nice outfit," he said, as his light lingered on my leg. "And may I inquire where you are off to in the wee hours?"

"I am joining the MV Veteran at Sunnyside..for sea trials. We're touring all the way to Conception Bay," I mumbled.

"They call that one the love boat, now," he said. "I hear they've turned the passenger lounge into a Mary Antoinette boudoir--mirrors on the ceiling, the whole bit."

"I think that's just a dirty rumour," I said impatiently. "And I'm in a big hurry."

The officer looked disappointed that we could not continue the conversation. He waved me through. "Be careful, Premier," he said, "there's some lunatic on the loose from St. John's."

1 comment

  • Ruth Tucker
    Ruth Tucker
    Eric you are just too funny!!

    Eric you are just too funny!!

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