After well over three months of stories by dogs, dead historical figures and the late, great Pac-Man himself, I suppose you’ve finally clued in to my real identity. Yes, who could be the source of all this profound strangeness but Yann Martel himself? While I’ve been working on several projects of late – sending books to Stephen Harper every two weeks to encourage some reflection in his soul – I’ve also felt it important to explore the borders between truth, falsehoods and fiction.
Welcome to today’s short-short story…
The Street Light Laments
Dull grey plasters the horizon. High above, white trim and two patches of blue give the proof to a morning sky. Walking briskly through the cold, Stephen Harper glances up at the misshapen street light. Over the course of the two years that he has served as the Prime Minister of Canada, this street light has slowly turned its neck so that the light now shines up. The Prime Minister looks down at his feet that bang out a simple drum beat on the sidewalk. One by one, his thoughts strike the itinerary points of the day. Any mild sense of disconcertion he might have is hammered out over busy thoughts of the day. If he weren’t such a busy man, he’d have time to marvel at the strangeness of metal in motion. Why has this seemingly ordinary street light in Ottawa turned itself around? Is it in love with the radiance of the sun? Is it bemoaning the uselessness of light in the world? Is it writhing in pain for some personal reason we can’t translate into human terms? There are questions afoot but the Prime Minister – the sole witness of this strange phenomenon – ponders, for four seconds, more cuts to the arts. Then he thinks about dinner. Then: roses for Laureen on the eve of their anniversary. Then: what if Obama? This is how the Prime Minister walks, pounding his thoughts out on the sidewalk.