If only they thought more like muskrats
Mizkat, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, had been preoccupied for awhile. Nalcor, the pet muskrat she had brought from Labrador to stay with her in her St. John’s home, had been upset at first as her behaviour became distant.
“Maybe she doesn’t care about me anymore,” Nalcor thought, furrowing his already furry brow.
But true to his roots, Nalcor was prepared to adapt. That is the strength of muskrats. When things change we find ways to change with them. So that is what he did. It started with learning to use the computer, which he only did when Mizkat was out of the house. She had forbidden him to use it. She called it “playing,” but to Nalcor it was not a toy, but a tool for learning. There was so much to learn. He had learned of Shawnadithit, the last of the Beothuks. She too had been brought south to live in a house. But Shawnadithit wasn’t a muskrat. She couldn’t adapt and sadly, she died, the last of her people.
As Nalcor learned more, he realized that Mizkat knew an awful lot of things, but not everything, and maybe she couldn’t adapt any better than Shawnadithit. For example, as far as he could tell Mizkat was unaware of the muskrat’s role in saving the world after the Second Great Flood.
It would have been better if she knew more about muskrats because Mizkat and the man with the white hair were planning the Fourth Great Flood. His name was Ed. Ed with the White Head used such strange words when being interviewed on television that Nalcor had trouble understanding. Why did he keep saying “going forward” all the time. Mizkat used the same expression. We expect everything will become clear “going forward.” It was as if by repeating the words “going forward” constantly they were trying to reassure themselves that they weren’t going backward.
Neither Mizkat nor Ed with the White Head wanted to go backward. Specially not backward to the time of the Third Great Flood. That had occurred in bygone years at a Falls on the river named for the English Prime Minister with the Big Cigar. Those falls were upstream on the same river that Nalcor had lived on before Mizkat brought him south to live with her.
While watching television Nalcor had learned of the Third Great Flood at Big Cigar Falls and what a terrible event it was in the history of Mizkat’s people.
Normally there wasn’t much worth seeing on television, but when Mizkat was away it was something to do. He had happened on the programme when doing what Mizkat called channel surfing. Nalcor didn’t like channel surfing because he was afraid his claws would scratch the remote. Then Mizkat would see the scratches. She’d realize he was watching television and she might guess that he was also using the internet, which she had strictly forbidden.
She was a nice lady and very kind to him, but Nalcor had seen how quickly she could change when people did things she didn’t like.
She got very angry whenever she spoke of the Third Great Flood at Big Cigar Falls. Her people had been betrayed and even after all these years, they were still angry.
That anger had been one of the main reasons that the scheme for the Fourth Big Flood, this time at Muskrat Falls had been hatched in the first place. The Angry Man who Talked Too Fast had thought it up. He had occupied Mizkat’s job as Boss of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Rich and Poor province, before he quit in a big hurry one day, no one was sure why.
The Angry Man’s idea was that Muskrat Falls show the people responsible for the betrayal at Big Cigar Falls who was in charge. The Angry Man would show them. They’d be sorry they messed with The Angry Man who Talked Too Fast.
But then he quit and was gone, playing hockey in a big building in the capital, and building another faceless suburb in order to get richer still.
When Mizkat inherited his job she also took over responsibility for the Fourth Great Flood at Muskrat Falls. Nalcor could tell she was nervous about it. It wasn’t just that she couldn’t stop saying “going forward” with a tremor in her voice, it was how she blew her stack whenever anyone suggested there might be even the tiniest need to take it slowly, be just a trifle careful before committing to such a huge project.
Nalcor was happy that Mizkat, Ed with the White Head and the Angry Man who Talked Too Fast all referred to his home as Muskrat Falls. It was an honour really, to have the place you lived named after you.
He only wished they would behave more like muskrats as they prepared for the Fourth Big Flood.
Nalcor saw it this way: If a muskrat who was swimming in a certain river, got caught in a trap and wound up nearly getting skinned as a result, he would be very cautious where he put his feet if he was ever swimming in that river again.
… to be continued