The Last Chapter

"Nothing in his (political) life became him like the leaving of it"

                                                                                                                         William ShakespeareMacbeth, 1.4 (revised)



As nightmares go, this one was more terrifying than usual. The old hag crept stealthily into my bedroom and without even waking spouse, beckoned me with a bony claw to follow her through the dark shadows of Nod. In the out of body experience that came next, I saw below me the snow-covered hills of the Gaff-Topsails. The lights of Deer Lake shone brightly in the distance. We traveled in cold silence.

As we descended, I saw a clearing with a bough-whiffen, a rough structure built from the juniper trees surrounding it. Outside the structure, more ghostly hags danced around an enormous iron cauldron hung over open flames--a bark-pot of the type used by fishermen in olden days to dye their nets.

In the gloomy interior of the makeshift shelter, alone and oblivious to his surroundings, the trance-like figure of Dear Leader Duh-wite swayed to the rhythm of a chant coming from the sinister hags outside. Their faces were familiar although altered by the decay of centuries as they had transitioned from human beings to forsaken souls.

There was no mistaking Gerry Bryne with his lean and hungry look of a self-righteous pretender, nor Steve Crocker, Minister of Pork. John Hagee waved his scalpel as he capered behind the almost invisible environment minister, Derrick Bragg. Tom Osborne shuffled with leaden feet and a solemn face as he contemplated a future as finance minister without money.

A Liberal cabinet meeting, I suddenly realized. My hag nodded.

Several other hags peeked from the underbrush. I recognized the shock of white hair atop the head of Big Eddie (Joyce) and the bewhiskered look of an earnest rodent on the face of Dr. Dale (Kirby).

The cabinet hags circle-danced around the fire, tossing magic ingredients into the boiling brew as they cast their witches' spell:


Double double toil and trouble

Fire burn and bark-pot bubble

Fillet of a silver hake

In the bark-pot boil and bake

Cocks n'hens and sea-lice tails

Warm seal guts and turr's entrails

Eye of ratfish, roe of scrod

Slime of turbot, tongue of cod

For a charm of powerful trouble

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble

Cool it with some Trudeau calls

And bring a cure for Muskrat Falls


On and on they gamboled and crooned into the waning night, tossing ever more ingredients into their witches brew: rotten salmon slurry from Fortune Bay, baloney, salt-beef bones and Mary Brown's fried chicken. Then they fixed me with an evil eye and grabbed my arms with their bony clutches of hatred. My riveting scream rent the frosty night air of the serene Land of Nod and echoed through the reality of dawn.

Spouse woke me with the commanding shout of a woman accustomed to dealing with the horrors of hags. They instantly retreated into the void and I landed safely in the realm of the living.

As soon as I had shaken the clutter from a brain that had endured ten solid hours of steering my aged body through the demon-filled Land of Nod, I knew that something extraordinary was 'afoot.' Had the entire nightmare been an omen? I knew enough about the spirit world to realize that portentous dreams foreshadow significant events.

Spouse had already gone downstairs and the clutter of pots and pans along with the uproar of CBC radio wafted up to the bedroom.


She habitually wandered through dreamland until mid morning when the smell of stale Tim's coffee killed her sleeping instinct. "I made you a very special brew this morning," she said as I entered the kitchen. "A Tim's with a (L)iberal dose of Raspberry Screech."

"It's not my birthday," I grumbled. "And you know I don't drink until 11:27 a.m., unless it's a unique occasion."

"Oh, it's unique, all right," she said. "Just listen to this newscast."

"Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, has resigned," said the announcer. "He has been the leader of this province for the past five years."

Segue to Dwight announcing that he is stepping down for family reasons. I was astounded.

"Those damn hags have done us a good deed," I said.

I downed my coffee in one gulp and immediately became entangled in the cobwebs of nostalgia--a premature pining for the good old days when, regularly, a ready-made story came my way on the airways or via my snitches in the dark recesses of the Liberal government.

RS from MP, where are you when I need you?

Once upon a time, I thought, I would have to spend hours inventing a plot and weaving a story around it: instead Duh-wite and his forsaken posse handed me ready-made stories every week, most of those affected all of us personally.

We endured him for one thousand three hundred eighty-eight days, seven hours, twenty-eight minutes and forty-three seconds. Approximately.

And now, it's all come to an end.

Gone forever are those halcyon days of bullying Big Eddie raging through the corridors of power challenging members of the opposition as well as his own colleagues to fist fights on the lawn of the Confederation Building.

Gone too, is Dr. Dale, Minister of Education, no less, whose first inspiration was to shut down rural public libraries--but Ernst Young (EY Consultants), donors to the Liberal Party, saved the day by examining the issue for a paltry $250,000 and told Mr. Kirby it wasn't a smart thing to do. It also wasn't clever to take a toke with Pam amid a Liberal convention in Gander.

Gone are my days and nights of practicing the black arts in a desperate attempt to unseat Dear Leader Duh-wite. But then again maybe those curses I placed on the Liberal Party worked, after all.

My rose-tinted glasses were consigned to the rubbish heap years ago as was my forlorn hope that some higher power would invoke the laws of Leviticus and bring a radical course correction to the whole damn mess.

The shock-wave of unbearable taxation that ushered in Duh-wite's tenure is still an open wound that festered into a shambles of bad leadership. The citizens of these pine-clad hills are exhausted by the excesses of Muskrat Falls; the scandalous behavior of ministers of the crown; the outlandish flow of taxpayer dollars to multinationals like aquaculture giant, Mowi; and the blatant cronyism of a premier who had sacrificed all credibility.

But all is not lost. In the words of Big Eddie, of all people, "The premier's resignation is a bright shining light."

Break out the Raspberry Screech and the Fifty Shades of Bay.




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