Automobiles versus moose
The two were facing each other defiantly, their body language shouting the ill will that divided them. What they really wanted to be doing was screaming at each other, using all the vocabulary and decibels they could muster. However that sort of thing was strictly forbidden by the rules that dictated behaviour in this place, so for the moment, all they could do was stare at one another in silent rage.
They made quite a picture the two of them. If this confrontation had been taking place in the colonial period, or back in the Mother Country, they would each have been sporting those pure-white powdered wigs that create such a dramatic aura of authority around the head. The wigs contrast so wonderfully well with the long, flowing, black robes punctuated by those two sweet little white tabs down the front providing just the accent to pull the ensemble together.
But this isn’t the Mother Country and arguably this is no longer a colony, so no wigs were being worn. Still, what was sitting atop the shoulders and protruding from the neck opening of the flowing black robes worn by each of our protagonists was every bit as dramatic as a wig.
Out of the robe on the left poked a shiny well-polished grille, bordered by four brilliantly illuminated headlights, two either side. The character on the right had a long neck supporting a longer face on a massive head. Small hooded eyes, big ears, and a wide mouth, with a goatee beard quivering below it, all of this topped off by a magnificent set of antlers, with points too numerous to count.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the long awaited battle of two giants of jurisprudence was about to begin: the Automobile versus the Moose.
Tel e v i sion crews from a dozen countries were set up outside court. Transport trucks and mobile studios overflowed the parking lot and were parked along both sides of the road, stretching as far as the eye could see in either direction. A temporary landing pad had been set up in the school parking lot opposite the court house and helicopters were taking off and setting down every few minutes, some hovering overhead to film the large and growing crowds.
Among the crowd there was a forest of homemade placards, a sampling of which read: “ Save the Moose,” “Animals before Cars,” “ Stop Hunting Now,” “Protect our Endangered Cars,” “Cull Moose Now!” and “Hi Mom!”
In the courthouse lobby TV reporters were adjusting their hair and makeup in the reflection of the glass doors while they waited for the court chamber to open and the proceedings to get underway.
An announcement crackled out over the public address system: “ Ladies and Gentlemen, please excuse the delay while we wait for the translators to set up their equipment. They have just arrived by helicopter after a delay for a Wreckhouse wind warning and rain, drizzle and fog over the Avalon Peninsula. As you know we had to scour the world to find a team of translators who were fluent in both Moose and Toyota. Now they are here and we will shortly be able to open the doors. Thank you for your patience.”
The late afternoon sun illuminated the eager face of Charlene Pink, reporter for CBNL-TV, as she breathlessly spoke to the camera. Habitual viewers likely noted that Charlene’s hair was a different colour than yesterday, possibly for this history-making trial. Gesturing over her shoulder she gasped, “Inside this courtroom today, history was made. Speaking for the moose, counsel made the case that it was the god-given aboriginal right for moose to roam freely anywhere on the Trans-Canada Highway at all hours of the day and night.
“ Counsel for the automobile refuted the moose claim, stating that the aboriginal rights for moose applied only to Labrador where moose are indigenous, that this case was about moose on the island. At this point automobile counsel’s voice rose an octave, it’s headlights brightened and a hint of Ferrari slipped into the broad Toyota accent.”
“ You’re an immigrant! You’re a C.F.A. Mr. Moose!”
There was an audible gasp in the courtroom.
“Maybe so, but I’ve been here longer than you have auto-boy!”
“ Wrong again Mooseeee! You only got here in 1904. The first car in Newfoundland was the Rolls Royce belonging to Mr. Robert Gillespie Reid of the Reid Newfoundland Railway. He brought his car here in 1903. We cars have more right than you to go wherever we want. I rest my case.”
“ The judge, brow wrinkled, adjourned for the day. For CBNL TV this is Charlene Pink.”
The case continues...