Saturday, December 15, 2012

A 24 Sussex Christmas Carol, Part Four

First, some business to see to today. The events of yesterday in Connecticut weigh heavily on many of us today. Several bloggers have already posted on it, and I suggest you check them out. Norma gave us her thoughts at her blog. Kittie has also written about the tragedy. Over at Deena's blog, she offers her perspective. At her photoblog, Virginia makes mention of it. And at his photo blog, Bob has his own thoughts on what has happened. 

I wrote a guest blog for Lyn at Sacred Ground about the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle of Fredericksburg. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Finally, I will keep things light for today, so with that said, it's time to finish this parody of A Christmas Carol off, and Norma will be posting a reply of sorts to it in her blogs in the coming days. In fact here it is now. Mr. Dickens is quite displeased with me...

 

 

The Last Of The Spirits


            The clock struck its last bell, fading to silence, and the Prime Minister turned in his study, seeing a dark shape moving through the wall, hooded and cloaked. The spirit approached in silence, stopping before him, and it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery all around it. The cloak shrouded much of the figure in darkness, though in the dim light of the study, Harper could just make out a face in the shadow. It was the very face of his Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, the most undiplomatic politician he could have posted to lead a department of diplomats.
            The Spirit neither spoke nor moved, and Harper knew it could not possibly be the cabinet minister he knew so well. After all, John Baird never shut up, and was one of his most trusted personal attack dogs in a cabinet filled with attack dogs. Harper spoke after a moment. “I assume you are the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?” The Spirit said nothing, but merely nodded. “Are you to show me shadows of things to come in the future?” Harper asked. The Spirit nodded again, and turned. Harper reached out, touched the cloak, as if understanding the need for contact between himself and the Spirit. This was, of course, astonishing, as Harper’s ability to understand anything beyond his own narrow concerns was ineffective at the best of times.


The Most Polite Federal Cabinet Minister

            They passed through the wall, and found themselves out in the city, in bright daylight, snow on the ground before them. Harper felt no sense of the physical cold, a rare thing in late December, though a dread filled him at being in the presence of this particular Spirit. He likened it to the same sort of uneasiness he would have felt being in a peace rally or among environmental activists. He quietly reminded himself to look into passing a law banning protests.
            They passed two politicians, and Harper recognized them well. They were older than he had remembered, but he still knew them, remembered how much he disliked them both, and reminded himself to find political dirt on them both to destroy them.
            “I don’t know much about it, just that he’s dead,” one said to the other.
            “I suppose what’s left of his party will demand a state funeral.”
            “Yes. Think we can keep a straight face during the proceedings?”
            “I’m not sure. I’m inclined to fall about laughing, if you ask me.”
            Harper looked to the Spirit for an explanation, but the Spirit was silent as ever, and moved on. Harper followed him. “What sort of disrespect was that, Spirit? To fall about laughing at the death of a man they disagreed with? Granted, when old Trudeau bit the dust, I threw a party. I’m glad the media never found out about that. Who is it that has passed, Spirit?”
            The Spirit said not a word, simply strode along the street. Harper frowned. “Bah, Shawinigan!” he muttered under his breath. “Next thing you’ll be telling me that none of this is actually happening, that there is a man at a computer telling a story, and that we’re all characters in his lunatic Christmas story. Well, bah Shawinigan I say to that!”
            The Spirit turned, seemed to stare at him for a long time, and conducted him on through the streets. They passed newspaper stands, where he saw brief glimpses of headlines, but the words seemed to blur, as if some bit of knowledge was being kept from him by the Spirit. He paused in midstep, and the city itself seemed to fade away, replaced by an apocalyptic scene. There before him he saw a mountain valley, once picturesque and lovely. A massive oil spill was under way, and he could see a distant fire, black smoke rising up from an oil fire. Birds were covered in tar. Fire fighters and oil workers were trying to control the catastrophe.
            “Spirit, are you trying to show me that my deregulation of environmental standards, my constant pushing of the oil sand lobby, my disregard for proper care and stewardship of nature... that it has led to this?” The Spirit nodded. Harper stared out across at the scene, the toxic black cloud rising up into the air. “Well, you know, you could look at this positively. This generates job growth for the cleanup, however many years that might take. And it’s not as if birds vote, so why should I care about them?”
            For the first time, the Spirit made a noise, a soft sigh of dismay. “Is it something I said?” Harper asked, but the Spirit would say no more. The scene before them faded as all around them went to black, and Harper spoke. “Spirit, I sense that our time together is short, so I ask... who is it that was dead?” He thought that the events the Spirit showed him were out of place, that there was no order in it. “Please tell me.”
            The darkness lifted somewhat, and they found themselves in a churchyard. The Spirit pointed to one of the gravestones. Harper stepped forward, trembling, knelt down, and stared at the stone. It was a neglected grave, the carving very simple, as if not to draw attention to it. It was marked Stephen Harper.
            The Prime Minister recoiled in horror. “This? This is my grave?” He turned to the Spirit. “I am he that is dead?” Harper shook his head. “No, I say, this is not acceptable! I do know that we are all mortal and will all die, but this is unacceptable. A neglected grave in some distant churchyard? I deserve nothing less than a grand monument to my memory! A place where my countrymen can come and pay homage to the memory of their Glorious Leader. I am, after all, their rightful Lord and Master, particularly once I pass my Removal Of Rights And Freedoms Act. This is nothing more than a shade, a dearest dream of some left wing conspirators! This will never come to pass!”
            The Spirit threw up his hands as if to implore the heavens in despair, and faded away. The graveyard itself faded from view, and Harper found himself once more in his study at 24 Sussex. He turned, saw a clock nearby, and slowly realized that no time had passed since the ghostly Preston Manning had come to pay him a visit.
            “It was naught but a dream!” he exclaimed. “Just an illusion. None of it happened! I am not doomed to be neglected and forgotten and dismissed! I will carry on, and continue my devious schemes of utter domination and reforging the image of this country to fit my world view! A ha ha ha ha ha!!!!” He walked towards the door, opening it, and proclaimed, “Bah! Shawinigan!” And with that, he left the study.
            Three spectral figures watched him depart. The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet To Come stood in the shadows, all of them shaking their heads. The Ghost of Christmas Present lit a cigarette, and inhaled deeply. “Oh, well, we tried.”
            “It’ll be hilarious watching his downfall,” The Ghost of Christmas past said.
            The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come merely shrugged, as silent as ever.

            And yet the devious plans of the Prime Minister were not to pass. His schemes and intentions to reforge the country in his image would come to naught. There would be no gigantic statues erected in his likeness. For his downfall would begin from within. His Minister of National Defence had secretly recorded his Christmas Eve dismissal of the Opposition leaders, and had released the recording to the press. Sick of political life, Peter MacKay had sabotaged his party in a spectacular way, and in the months that followed, Harper’s Decrease the Surplus Population remark became a death knell for the Prime Minister’s government. In the next election, his party was destroyed in the polls, he was sent home to Calgary in bitter disgrace, and his fury was never abated. He spent the rest of his life ranting and roaring in newspaper columns as the country moved foward without him. He became as vile a man, bitter in his defeat, as the country, indeed, the world, had ever known.

           
            One man still looked back on those days with a certain bittersweet fondness. He worked now as a used car salesman, the only job he could find when his music career fell apart and his manager stole all the money he had ever made. Back then, however, he had once met Prime Minister Harper, entirely improperly dressed for the occasion. Yes, Justin Bieber could look back on those days and remember the time not long before his career went straight to hell.
           
            And so it was always said of Stephen Harper that he knew how to keep a grudge well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. And of the ending of those dark days of Stephen Harper’s reign of terror, as Tiny Tim would say- if the author of this lunacy had decided to fit a Tiny Tim into the story- God bless us, everyone!

13 comments:

Norma Beishir said...

Given the response you got to this at the meeting today, I suspect the response here will be just as enthusiastic!

And right now, we could all use something to make us smile, if only for a few moments....

Beth said...

I am, after all, their rightful Lord and Master, particularly once I pass my Removal Of Rights And Freedoms Act.

Oh God, don't get me started...!

Great job on this Christmas Carol...definitely better than the original!! LOL

The Desert Rocks said...

Poor Justin.

Norma Beishir said...

Evie--William and I joked after he wrote this that Justin started out by selling his own car (with an unopened box of condoms in the glove box).

Cheryl said...

Justin? A...a used car salesman????

Now, William. This is a little overboard, don't you think? I doubt very seriously he could cut it!

Talli Roland said...

Oh Stephen Harper... sigh. Can't believe he's managed to hang in there for so long.

Karla Telega said...

I'm glad you didn't write in a Tiny Tim (although Justin may qualify). He was a rather annoying character in the original story. Love the story!

Old Kitty said...

Yay for Tiny Beiber! :-) Take care
x

Angelikas Photographic Sketchbook said...

Are you sure it wasn't a bad dream?!!

William Kendall said...

@Norma: we really could... and little Biebs would have had little use for that unopened package...

@Beth: thank you!

@Eve: he's a plague and a pestilence!

@Cheryl: one day, Stratford Ontario will go back to being known for its Shakespearean festival instead of being the home town of that insufferable twit...

@Talli: it boggles the mind.

@Karla: I had thought of writing in Justin Trudeau as Tiny Tim... but somehow not including the character seemed more fitting...

@Old Kitty: Is that Yay, in that Biebs got what he deserves?

@Angelika: that's what I ask every time I hear my prime minister speak... has this all been a bad dream?

Krisztina Williams said...

So you guys don't have it any easier than we do down here, huh?

Misha Gericke said...

Love your take on The Christmas Carol. :-D

William Kendall said...

@Krisztina: no, we don't...

@Misha: thank you!