Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Day In The Life Of A Mountie


7:08 AM. Waking up at home. Didn’t sleep well. Unsettled dreams. Surrounded by millions of entertainment reporters, asking me when Metallica was going out on tour next, and no matter how many of them I throttled and incapacitated, they just kept coming.


7:30 AM. Having breakfast. Pancakes, maple syrup, and tea with maple syrup added in. Good way to get the day started.


8:05 AM. Walking into the detachment. Constable Mackenzie briefs me in on events of the overnight shift. Nothing particularly amiss, just a couple of stranded hikers out in Last Chance Gulch, but search and rescue are in the process of getting them out. I have a court hearing today in Calgary to attend to, yet another in those pre-trial hearings for that murderous lunatic. Well, okay, there hasn’t been a conviction yet, so alleged murderous lunatic.


8:48 AM. In the midst of paperwork when Constable Hudson knocks at my door. She informs me that Ed down at the general store just had an Access Hollywood crew come in, asking for directions to here. She adds that Ed gave them the wrong directions, sending them in the vicinity of Tombstone Canyon. I’ll have to thank Ed later.


8:53 AM. Taking my leave of the detachment to get back on the road for Calgary. Hopefully by now those entertainment reporters are aimlessly circling around the parking lot for the Tombstone Canyon trail, wondering if they took a wrong turn somewhere, or better yet getting chased by bears.


9:42 AM. Have arrived at the courthouse and am greeting the lead Crown attorney in the case. He and I confer on what is supposed to be a routine hearing, but which will no doubt get upstaged by the unhinged rage of the defendant. Yes, I know, it seems she holds a grudge against me.


9:55 AM. In the courtroom, sitting in the public seating area, waiting. The Crown attorney is speaking with his opponent. The defense attorney shares a common problem with me. We both share names with famous people we don’t look like but get mistaken for. In her case, she’s gone through life with the name Joni Mitchell.


10:03 AM. The accused is brought into court. As usual, she’s in restraints, even though she’s past ninety. With good reason. She stands accused of being the world’s most prolific serial killer, and at pretty much every single one of these hearings since her arrest, she’s blown up. Mostly at me.

Former mystery writer and total deranged loon Jessica Fletcher is brought to sit beside her lawyer. She looks back, sees me, and glares. If looks could kill, I’d already be dead.


10:27 AM. The Crown and Joni Mitchell have been engaged in making motions to the judge in regards to the case. Fletcher has been busy staring at me with that daggers of hate expression. I’ve simply stared back, occasionally smirking. Yes, hate me all you want, lady, but I’m outside in the free and clear, and you’re in pre-trial custody. And you and I both know that in the end, when you’re convicted, you’re never getting out.


10:38 AM. The hearing is wrapping up. Fletcher is being removed by court officers. She lunges at me, screams, “I’m going to eat your heart, Ulrich! Your heart! You’re a dead man! I’ll have your head on a pike, you Mountie bastard!”

I say nothing, smile pleasantly, and wave as the officers get control of her and remove her from court.


11:01 AM. Stepping out of court, following the Crown attorney and Mitchell. Reporters start asking questions about the Fletcher case. One of them, with a particularly demented look in his eyes, yells more than the others do. “Lars! Joni! Max Holden, Entertainment Tonight! Shouldn’t your musical careers come first? I mean, what are musicians of your caliber doing in a Canadian courthouse anyway?”

Mitchell and I take one look at each other, then look back at Holden, and we deck him at the same time.


1:32 PM. Back to the detachment. Meeting Constables Hudson and Mowat as I step inside. They tell me that Max Holden called from the hospital in Calgary, asking if Joni Mitchell is going on tour with Metallica and turning heavy metal goddess at this point in her career. I sigh. First, we are not that Lars Ulrich and Joni Mitchell. Why do entertainment reporters find that so hard to understand? Second, we’re both a lot younger than the musicians those jackasses keep confusing us with. Third, clearly we didn’t hit Max Holden hard enough. Constables, remind me to put him on a coma for six weeks if he turns up here.


2:07 PM. In my office working on a write-up report for this morning’s court appearance. Constable Mowat knocks at my door and informs me there’s a call for help from Tombstone Canyon. It’s that crew from Access Hollywood, and they’re stranded.

I roll my eyes. Do we really have to help them?


2:29 PM. Arriving at the parking lot for Tombstone Canyon. A few cars for other hikers. Asking myself for the two hundred seventy fifth time in the last twenty minutes why I’ve come out here.


3:12 PM. Coordinating with search and rescue personnel who are extracting the three crew members out of the canyon, using climbing rope. A producer’s up on the top now. Reporter and cameraman yet to come. Remaining silent as I watch things, hoping the producer’s not as stupid as the reporter must be, but hey, they work in the entertainment reporting industry, which means generally speaking they’re going to be pretty dimwitted.

Another person is helped to the top by rescue personnel. From the deer caught in the headlights expression he’s got in his eyes, this must be the reporter. He looks around, as if in a daze, and sees me. Then he walks right towards me. “Lars! Lars, buddy! Andy Mackinnon, Access Hollywood! Great to finally meet you! Wow! I didn’t know you were into search and rescue as well as all that heavy metal drumming!”

I inform him that I am not that Lars Ulrich.

He stares and stares, not understanding. “Are you sure?”


3:38 PM. Watching as Andy Mackinnon, laid out on a stretcher and newly recovered for the second time today from Tombstone Canyon, is loaded onto an ambulance after I knocked him back into the canyon. He’s babbling to himself, something about seeing the elephant. I might have jolted whatever passes for his brain.


6:18 PM. At home on my own after my shift. Grilling a steak on the barbecue. Adding a bit of maple syrup for extra flavor. You can never go wrong with maple syrup, after all.


10:23 PM. A call from the Crown attorney in Calgary interrupts my evening reverie. He informs me that Fletcher has been spending the last ten hours screaming in her cell about me being a dead man, about feasting on my bone marrow, and going all scorched earth on me.

That’s nice. I’d like to see her try.

Monday, September 17, 2018

A Night In The Life Of A Cat

And so it is time to conclude this set of dog and cat perspectives with the fourth. Of course the cat must have the last word.


4:32 PM. Still out on the deck. Keeping an eye on those dark clouds to the west. Waiting on the staff to get home. Thoroughly displeased. I swear, staff, if it starts pouring and I get drenched, I will be quite annoyed with you for leaving me out all day. Scratch that, I’m already annoyed with you for leaving me out all day. That idiot dog wouldn’t have had a chance to splash me with water and mud if you’d just kept me indoors.


4:41 PM. Pacing back and forth, waiting, getting more irritable by the minute. She had better be bringing me catnip to make up for this ordeal of being stuck outside all day, I swear to Isis…


4:58 PM. Those dark clouds are getting closer. Calculating best possible speed to beneath the shed if the rain starts coming down.


5:03 PM. Okay, staff, you had better be on the way home right now. No stopping along the way to do this or that, because we both know you never keep track of the time when you get distracted. In fact, you had better be coming down the road right now, and about to turn into the driveway in ten, nine, eight…


5:04 PM. Okay, so maybe she’s just turning onto the road right about…. Now.


5:18 PM. The staff’s car finally pulls into the driveway. She gets out and sees me. I start meowing my outrage. It’s about time, staff, what took you? I’ve been waiting here for hours, and those clouds look like they could start a downpour at any second. Not to mention that there’s lightning happening. So let’s snap to it and get us both inside where I can yell at you some more.


5:19 PM. In the house. Pointing out to the staff in the most direct way that I do not approve of being locked out all day. You’re just lucky it hasn’t started raining, but might I point out to you that I was annoyed, splashed, and otherwise inconvenienced by that stupid dog from down the road this morning? 


5:22 PM. Lightning flashing outside. No rain yet, but that could start anytime. Staff? In case the power goes out, you might want to consider getting dinner started. At the very least open a new can of cat food, because I know you used the last one this morning, and you don’t have a manual can opener, so if the power goes out, I’m slightly screwed for a back-up dinner.


5:26 PM. Now it begins. Dry one minute, now it’s pouring dogs and cats. Or cats and dogs. However that expression goes. Not that it makes much sense. Dogs and cats do not pour out of the sky, rain pours out of the sky. And even if dogs or cats were pouring out of the sky, cats would have the good sense not to pour out of the sky beside dogs.


5:31 PM. Serious rain out there. Lightning flashing. It’s a safe bet that when the thunder booms, that idiotic mutt down the road will bolt for the deepest hidey-hole he can find in his house. He might be a big dog, but to use a phrase from Hagrid, he’s also a bloody coward.


5:39 PM. Lightning flashing again, followed by the first of the thunder to make itself known. Fortunately, I am of a calm disposition and can handle thunder. 


5:50 PM. Supervising the staff while she’s starting up dinner. A sound idea, staff. Now hopefully we don’t get a power outage before things are cooked.


6:12 PM. The human is having dinner. She’s made an omelette for herself. She’s been thoughtful enough to cut up a plate of sausage for me. Very good, staff, very good. Not that this makes up for you leaving me outside all day, mind you.


6:28 PM. A temporary lull in the storm outside. I’m more interested in the ice cream the staff has given me. Vanilla, of course, but hey, they say chocolate isn’t any good for a cat, and my staff’s taste in ice cream tends to lean towards vanilla anyway. What’s that expression? Every once in awhile someone comes in who wants butter pecan.


6:35 PM. The staff is doing the dishes. I’ll leave it to you, staff. I’d help, but first, my paws can’t really handle picking up dishes, and second, I don’t like getting my paws wet in anything, but certainly not soapy water. Wouldn’t it be easier to just lick the dishes clean?


6:52 PM. The staff has the Weather Network on. That deranged forecaster is back on. That’s the same guy who had a panic attack last winter and recommended cannibalism as the only means of survival. Has it occurred to anyone that letting this guy back on the air was a bad idea?

This time he’s going on about the storms passing through this area over the next few hours and making the suggestion that we sacrifice to Zeus.


6:54 PM. The deranged forecaster continues his on-air rant about a Zeuspocalypse and sacrificing your neighbours. Okay, pal, whatever. Someone needs to give you some sedatives. For the next fifty years. In the meantime, why aren’t the producers stopping this guy?


6:58 PM. The deranged forecaster is pulled off air by a producer. It’s about time. The anchor apologizes for his colleague’s remarks and promises it won’t happen again.


7:10 PM. Another boom of thunder. So much for the lull. We’re definitely in for more.


8:12 PM. The storm continues. The staff is reading a book on the couch. I am busy sitting looking out at the lightning. You know, staff, this may not happen. I mean, sure, the power might go off, but it might stay on through all of this. I’m just saying that just in case, it might not be that bad an idea for you to have a flashlight beside you. Because if it does go off, you’re going to go wandering through the dark for one, and I can’t guarantee I won’t be in a position to trip you.


10:34 PM. More thunder rolling outside. I’m taking it all in stride. The staff asks when it’s all going to end. If I knew that, staff, I might be inclined to tell you. Of course I would say it in meows. I would never lower myself to speak English.


11:25 PM. The staff bids good night to me. I meow a farewell. Sleep as well as you can, staff. As for myself, I can only say that while thunder doesn’t particularly bother me, it is still noisy enough for me to not really fall asleep to. But that’s okay. It just means I’ll catch up on my sleep in the morning.


12:04 AM. The house is dark. Aside from regular flashes of lightning outside. Followed by the roar of thunder. I wonder if that deranged forecaster is presently locked up somewhere with padded walls.


1:55 AM. The storm seems to be slackening off. Not as much thunder and lightning. That might just mean we’re in for a lull before the next round, or maybe that’s it for the night. Only time will tell.


2:35 AM. Okay, so there hasn’t been any thunder for the better part of a half hour now. Maybe it’s done. Just in case, I’ll make a point of staying awake a little while longer. There’s nothing quite as annoying as being woken up out of a sound sleep, whether the cause of that awakening is the roar of thunder or the presence of a demented idiot mutt.


3:48 AM. I have decided that enough is enough, that the storm is indeed done and over with and that it is therefore time for bed. Now then, I may have problems waking up in the morning for breakfast, but… wait a minute, that’s just silly.

I never have problems waking up for breakfast.

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Night In The Life Of A Dog

Picking up where I left off in the last post, it is time for the third part of these posts, again from the point of view of the hound...


4:30 PM. The human is having tea. I am busy employing my standard mooching strategies- the sad eyes, the soft whining- to convince her to give me a cookie. Oatmeal! So much the better! Yum yum yum!


4:36 PM. Lying on my back in the living room, trying to sort out this curious feeling. Is there yet more for me to get done this day? Why do I feel this bizarre sensation that I’ve left things unresolved? Is to be continued something more than an entertainment device used by writers to get people to come back for the next installment of a series? What does it all mean?


4:59 PM. Getting awfully dark out there. I guess that rain they forecast for today is finally going to be showing itself in these parts. Say, human? Have you thought about making dinner early, you know… just in case the power goes out? Not to say that it will, or that I’m hungry. Well, I am hungry, but I’m a dog. I can just have polished off a full meal and still want to have something else.


5:17 PM. Even darker outside. Lightning flashing on the horizon. Oh, I don’t like lightning. It’s bad enough when it flashes like that, but it’s followed by that awful sound of thunder. And I don’t like thunder. It’s too loud and too scary and too… Come on, Loki, snap out of it, you’re supposed to be a heroic guard dog. And a good dog. I’m a very good dog. No matter what that cranky cat or the vet or the mailman or the town mayor might say, because between you and me, they’re all out to get me.


5:26 PM. And so the downpour begins outside. The human is busy closing windows, since it’s quite windy out there. I’m still seeing lightning, but not hearing the thunder yet…


5:39 PM. Running for my life down into the basement as the first of the thunder rolls right over the house as loud as any sound I’ve ever heard. Human! We’re more safe down here where the thunder can’t get at us!


5:42 PM. Cowering in the basement underneath the billiards table. Hearing the boom boom roar of the thunder. What happens if there’s a tornado? What happens if the human’s pink flamingo disappears off the lawn? Well, that might not be a bad thing, because that pink flamingo is seriously tacky.


6:25 PM. The rumbling seems to have passed. The human is calling me upstairs for dinner. I’m a bit torn. On the one hand, I’m nice and safe down here from the thunder if it comes back. On the other… dinner is waiting upstairs.


6:27 PM. After much internal debate, my stomach won out, and I carefully emerge from the basement and come into the kitchen. Human, I believe you mentioned dinner.


6:32 PM. Having dinner. The human has made bacon pancakes. Which I love, by the way. She’s cut up a plate of nice bite sized pieces for me, which of course is very thoughtful of her. They’re just the sort of comfort food one needs after listening to a bout of terrible boom boom roar thunder. Of course, I may come to regret it if the thunder comes back and I’m vomiting up bacon pancakes out of sheer panic.


6:40 PM. Examining the outside from the front windows. More dark clouds off to the west. Lightning flashing. Human? I thought when they actually forecast heavy rain and thunderstorms for today that by the time they’d actually show up, they’d be next to nothing. I mean, you say it yourself so often, weather forecasts don’t count for much in this crazy world. 


6:43 PM. Checking out through another window. Sure enough, the pink flamingo the human has out there is gone from its spot and is currently residing in the oak tree out by the barn. 


6:52 PM. The human is washing dishes. She’s set the Weather Channel on, and I’m watching. That paranoid lunatic forecaster that they’ve had to hospitalize occasionally for his panic attacks is on. He’s talking about the storms in our areas and is frantically suggesting we make sacrifices to Zeus to appease him.

I don’t get it. There’s a Chihuahua down the road named Zeus. Who would want to appease him?


6:58 PM. The lunatic forecaster is yanked off the air by producers after warning that this storm is a sign of the Zeuspocalypse. Whatever drugs they have him medicated on, they really need to up it by a factor of ten.


7:10 PM. The lightning has been getting closer, and now the thunder returns with a monstrous boom that sounds directly overhead. I bolt for the basement staircase. Screw women and children first, it’s dogs first!


7:33 PM. Cowering beneath the billiards table, listening to the nearly constant rumble of thunder. I swear to whoever’s listening that if I survive this night, I’m going to do everything in my power to be a better behaved good dog. Not that I’m not a well behaved good dog, because I am, but let’s face it, there’s always room for improvement. So I promise that I’m going to be nicer to that cranky cat down the road who has no sense of humour. I promise I’ll be nice to the vet. I promise I’ll stop barking at the mailman every day. And if I break this promise, may lightning strike…. the mailman.


8:28 PM. Still hiding as the thunder continues. The human comes downstairs to check on me. No, human, I have not thrown up out of panic. Yet. Yes, I’m hiding down here from the big bad scary noises that…. Mother of Lassie! Did you hear that boom? Say, how about you crawl in under the billiards table here with me? It’s nice and safe and away from the terrible thunder. 


8:29 PM. The human tells me that the thunder is just something that happens and there’s no need for me to be scared of it. I’m not scared. Just because I’m planting myself right here and refusing to move doesn’t mean I’m scared. It means I’m smart. I’m getting as low down away from that thunder as I can. It’s called a survival instinct


8:32 PM. The human gives up trying to coax me to come out and heads back upstairs. Don’t blame me if the thunder comes through the front door and kidnaps you and throws you ten kilometres away!


9:41 PM. The storm still hasn’t let up. It’s been over two hours since we had the last lull without thunder. What is this, are we stuck in a hurricane that someone didn’t notice until it was too late? I’ll tell you this much, even if it ends right now, my nerves are going to be way too shot to sleep well tonight. Please end right now, please end right now…


10:29 PM. Remaining in position, hiding under the pool table while the end of the world happens outside the house. The thunder just keeps coming. This is truly the Mother Of All Storms. Well, if any good comes out of it, it might just be that it prevents whatever world domination scheme the squirrels have in mind.


11:35 PM. The human calls downstairs telling me she’s off to bed. The storm continues. You go on, human. I’m staying right where I am until the world ends or that storm ends, whichever comes first, and between you and me, I think it’ll be the world ending. 


1:02 AM. More thunder. More rage. I haven’t gone up out of the basement. To be honest, I haven’t moved from under this table in nearly six hours. How can the human stand it? Up two stories above me hearing the storm howling and screaming all night long? 


2:20 AM. Listening and waiting. It’s been about twenty minutes now since I’ve heard any rumbles at all. Does that mean the storm is over? Or is it just waiting outside for me to let my guard down, come upstairs, and start howling all over again?


3:19 AM. Hedging my bets. Should I go upstairs or not?


4:15 AM. Gingerly coming up onto the ground floor in the darkness. Looking about. No signs of lightning outside. No sounds of rain falling anymore. I think it’s over.

Settling on the couch. Feeling beyond exhausted. Frayed at the edges.

Well, at least I didn’t vomit while panicking.

I was considerate enough to swallow it as it was coming up.