Won’t meet with premiers. Won’t meet with chiefs. Stifle dissent, vilify opponents, exploit anxiety. Leave a vacuum then excoriate those filling it. Little ideas, petty moves, lists of enemy stakeholders.
Control freaks. Parliament prorogued. The destruction of science records. “Canada’s Economic Action Plan” splashed everywhere, 24 Seven on YouTube. The CBC’s death by a thousand cuts. False dichotomies: “You’re either with us or you’re with the child pornographers.” “No brainers.” An all-powerful PMO. Royal Canadian Anything. Mandatory minimums. On message, right or wrong. Paul Calendra and Dean del Mastro. A seventy-eight day election campaign, longest in 143 years. Pierre Poilievre.
(Note: This is Part 2 of a summary that began 10 days into this interminable campaign. For the original, adorned by @cartogeek's fantastic Mother Canada in the Tar Sands, click here.)
Mrs. Terplitsky brought over guacamole this time. Cally wondered how to eat guacamole when Theo had died, alone and upset. He’d been worried about some little boy who’d come in for his first session. But why? She should’ve paid more attention. Should’ve woken up. Should’ve helped him.
Mrs. Terplitsky’s poodle, Pickford, whined in the doorstep and Cally remembered. That boy had a neighbour whose Lab had keeled over in High Park. Suddenly, Cally was determined to find the boy. To understand why his story had sent her husband to his demise.
“Could I take Pickford to the park?” she asked.
“Bears attack rapidly, Mrs. W-w-webb,” said the coroner. “Your husband w-w-would've died almost immediately, p-p-peacefully even.”
“He was not peaceful!” Cally Webb yelled. She wasn’t a yeller by nature, but she found it satisfying. She’d have to tell Theo when she got home, she thought, and then realized again that he was dead. Her face crumpled.
The coroner winced. “P-p-please,” he said.
“He couldn’t have been peaceful,” Cally muttered, “his socks didn’t match.”
“What?” said the coroner, surprisingly easily.
“His socks. Didn’t match. Theo never wore socks that didn’t match. Something must've worried him that morning. And now he’s dead.”
Lugging his bags up the steps, Theo failed to notice that no boat was docked next door. Then the clatter coming from Cy and Deb’s turned into an almighty crash. Dropping everything, Theo scrambled through the brush, and banged open their door. Why was it splintered? “Cy! Deb!” The front room was trashed. He barrelled into the kitchen only to be stopped by his fleshless reflection in the picture window. Despite the noonday sun, his teeth chattered as the startled bear fell on him. Did it swim from the mainland? He thought, and then as he died, Poor, poor Bobby.
Cally Webb snuggled into the comforter, eking out her perfect dream. She was in a chalet. With Theo, who actually had taken a vacation. There was a fireplace, and Merlot, and toast, why not lots of toast, cinnamon toast with lots of butter, and she was telling Theo, “You’ve got butter on your nose,” and leaning in, laughing, to lick it off, when he clamped his hand, suddenly icy, on her shoulder. The chalet windows shuddered and broke. A cold, ashy wind blew the fire out and Cally awoke, panicked and kicking. “Theo?” she said. “Theo?”
But he wasn't there.
Theo rose early, scribbled a note to Cally, then drove north. The cottage on Fire Box Island had been in the Webb family since his grandfather bought the land from the Crown in 1922. After his meeting with the boy and his terrifying early-morning imaginings he had to come up to sort himself out. It was nearly noon when his tiny boat sputtered across the bay and glided to the dock. The distant clatter of dishes told him that Deb and Cy, his only neighbours, were preparing their lunch and he was momentarily comforted by such a pleasant, mundane thought.
Photo by Yvonne Boothroyd, YJB Images.
Consider me a patriot of the nation of Procrastination. Crastinum is Latin for tomorrow (cras) + a time-related suffix (tinus). It once was possible to call the day after a holiday, or a term, or whatever, its “crastin” or “crostino”. The national custom is to eat cranberry crostini on the crastino of Christmas. You see we are a fine little nation, where first we do no harm. We grant asylum gladly to all seekers, waiving tiresome paperwork gently, like an old breeze. Our citizenship test is easy. Every day you can pass if you just say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”