political satire


    There’s been a lot of chaotic anger over the past couple of days regarding my route from Athens to Beijing. People keep trying to extinguish me or take me on an alternate route. Then there are those who refuse to touch me as if I were a you-know-what with AIDS on it. But nobody has asked me what I think, what my opinion is on the matter. 

  I have to acknowledge the controversial nature of the Beijing Olympics and so to be fair to the world – which the Olympics are supposed to represent – I think we should have an Olympic Fire-Extinguisher which will follow five meters behind me. At specified locations, its bearers can squeeze the handle to fire off some token CO2. Thus, the gamut of opinions will be represented along my route.

  Yes, I’m a remarkable Olympic Torch. Not only can I solve problems but I have also been writing a short-short story for the past four months on this blog. I’ve written under different pen-names in order to sidestep the inevitable disbelief that some would have over an Olympic Torch writing a daily blog.

  Anywho, I hope you enjoy today’s fast fiction…



Satan Goes For A Jog



   Because he needs a break as much as the next guy. Because evil can be ubiquitous if he really sets his mind to it. Because he’s not getting any younger. Because he wants to try out his gas-powered treadmill that coughs out clouds of pollution. Because something’s up his poker-hot sleeve.

   Mike opens his front door to get the morning paper. He’s not in the mood for bad news but he needs to read the facts over his cornflakes. He needs to respect his morning ritual. He hears the rumble of engines and he looks up.

   Satan is on his gas-powered treadmill which in turn is on the back of a pickup truck. Mike feels like an idiot. Satan was at his front door a week ago collecting pledge money for his run for the environment. Dinner was ready and saying yes seemed like the easiest thing to do at the time. Mike made sure not to sign anything and just said he would give Satan some cash up front. Satan estimated that he’d run 25 miles for the environment. Mike gave him five dollars and told his wife all about the conversation over their meal of chicken and potatoes. How Satan was turning over a new leaf. 

  Now Mike feels like a shmuck. He’s paid to help pollute the environment. Great. This will someday come around to bite him in the ass. He knows it.

  Satan waves from the back of the truck. He fires up his gas-powered walkman which makes more noise than music. More exhaust fumes trail the truck as it goes up the street.

  Satan’s an asshole.

   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.

      I want you to type everything that I say. I’ve got some things for you to type.    

     Are you typing even this ? You’re a keener. Good.    

     Interesting news today about funding cuts to BC universities. A lot of people are angry but you know what I say ?  Let’s not worry about Education. What has “thought” ever done for us ? What have our brains ever done for us ? You know what I’m sick and tired of people telling me I have to educate myself. Why bother with university anyway ? I’ve been here at SFU for a year and my life hasn’t gotten any better. It’s frustrating and stupid to have to think all the time and if the BC government just let the universities fend for themselves we’d be a lot better off. The government would definitely have enough money for the Olympics !!  Why should my tax dollars go into a university? Let’s sell them. Let’s convert UBC and SFU into condos. There are many classrooms which are about the size of single rooms in the downtown eastside. Let’s move all the homeless from their dirty SRO’s and put them into the classrooms of SFU and UBC !! One classroom per person and for the homeless who are friendlier and socially well adjusted they can share a room. That’ll be putting these classrooms to good use. Two birds with one stone !! Yeah that’s a great idea. There are some great classrooms at SFU with beautiful views. Actually, people would be willing to pay a lot. Maybe they should be sold as condos. I do feel for the homeless but I don’t know if they’d appreciate the view. Can you really appreciate a view you don’t pay for? Let’s sell SFU and UBC as unique and creative condos !! There are so many wonderful little classrooms in SFU’s academic quadrangle. Right now I’m in one classroom where I’m taking a Philosophy of Education class and today we talked about the value of critical thinking. Well, who needs critical thinking right? We live in the best city in the world. That much is a no-brainer. A “no-thinker” I would add. Look at that view. I could go on and on but right now for those of you in Vancouver, I challenge you to get up right now and find a view of the mountains. Look at those mountains. Did they get to where they were with “critical thinking”? No, they became supernaturally majestic on their own. I think. There are theories about God creating them or evolution evolving them but to figure out which answer is true would involve that pesky brain of mine and you know what  nobody agrees anyway so how can I expect to find the truth? I would like to have one of the rooms at SFU. I call shot-gun on the room – don’t scream !! – I’m in a classroom right now which is on the north-west corner of the building. I would love to wake up to this view and since the whole condo-conversion idea was mine in the first place I think it’s only fair that I get one. I’m here in the classroom right now getting somebody to type all this up. Actually my class is being held at gun-point right now. I’m trying to convince them that I have a great idea for the future. I  am using things that sound like arguments I guess but with a gun in my hand I’m also using force. I hope that all this jibber-jabber gets us somewhere. We spent a half hour talking about critical thinking but the deck was stacked. We were all supposed to agree with our professor that critical thinking is valuable. That’s when I pulled out the gun. I hope that if I do have to shoot everyone and then turn this gun on myself, it won’t be in vain. I will have planted a seed of an idea that will grow into a wonderful future. People will be angry with education trying to get people to think but really just succeeding in pissing them off.  They will support my idea for a better future. It feels better when you have force on your side. It feels more exciting than having an argument that might be right or wrong. Anyway that’s my two bits. You can stop typing. 

       I said stop. 

     We are a conservative think-tank based out of Vancouver, British Columbia and we’re currently buying up blogs from around the world in order to disseminate pertinent information about the 2010 Winter Olympics. The previous writer of this blog was writing under a daily change of pseudonyms and identities which many people failed to find amusing. In short, the market rejected the writer so we’re here to pick up the pieces and construct an environment conducive to individual happiness within a free market. The Fraser Institute is here to be number one. 
   So please enjoy the following story which we feel best exemplifies the spirit of free trade, sporting events and solving problems in a hurry.

                                Soaring above Homelessness for 2010

   The lapel mic keeps cutting out into static. This news comes through a high-pitched panicky voice from Jordan’s walkie-talkie. He takes off his gortex gloves and leans into the Mayor. 
    “Excuse me, we’re having some technical difficulties,” Jordan says as he feels for the firmness of the connection between the mic’s chord and the transmitter at the Mayer’s waist. Jordan unzips the Mayer’s jacket and elbows the technician working on the connection between the skis and the firm shell that cradles the Mayor’s frail lower half. 
    “Watch it will you ?” she barks.
    “Gotta get this connection working.”
    “And this connection isn’t important ?” she says looking up at him with a stare colder than the snow around them.
    Snow falls slowly on the backs of everyone else in the scrum surrounding the Mayor in these all important preparations. Hands reach out all around the Mayor whose eyes are slammed firmly shut as he visualizes himself soaring down the ski-hill. In the quietus of his mind, he sees himself flying off the ramp. Silence. Birds don’t need legs, he muses in the quiet core of himself
    In seconds he’ll be seen by billions of people around the world. The triumph of capital will trump the naysayers. The thoughts of the Mayor take on a powerfully husky voice.   
    “It’s now or never,” he says opening his eyes. “Let’s do this.” 
    Various handles protest his call to action but the Mayor insists. The world is watching. The world is waiting. The world will have to go pee in a couple minutes and thus miss this momentous occasion if they delay history any longer.
    “Okay it’s a go,” one of the men surrounding the Mayor says. He wears a black-baseball cap beneath the hood of his jacket. He looks like a Hollywood director. He repeats these words into his walkie-talkie, “It’s a go.”
    The Mayor slides away from the group on his skis and music booms out from both sides of the run, music that seems to melt the snow with its frenzied passion. The Mayor smiles into the cold of the wind as he prepares to open his lips to his lines that will come as he hits the ramp. 
    “I used to have problems until I opened my heart to the wealth of the world. Until I embraced the 2010 Winter Olympics,” the paraplegic Mayor exclaims as his body soars off the ramp and above a manmade hill of hundreds of homeless people bundled up warm against each other’s bodies. From the helicopter shots above their bodies cling together to make the shape of the Canadian flag. They’ve been practicing for this moment for years, for their place in the sun and the snow. 
    “We used to have problems,” they sing in muffled unison but those at the bottom moan more than sing.