Nalcor heads for home … again
When last we saw Little Nalcor, Mizkat’s pet muskrat, he was looking at a set of plans showing how to bring natural gas from the Grand Banks to Holyrood in Conception Bay and turn it into electricity. According to the plan, the electricity would be very much cheaper than the Muskrat Falls project, would cause no ecological damage and would produce power until the Upper Churchill hydro at Big Cigar Falls became available once more.
Mizkat, Nalcor’s nickname for Kathy Dunderdale, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s Rich and Poor province was beginning to lose faith in the Muskrat Falls project. At least she was in private, when she spoke to Nalcor the Muskrat. She spilled her innermost thoughts and revealed all her fears because she was sure Nalcor couldn’t understand a word she was saying.
Nalcor was puzzled. If Mizkat was saying all these things that she was sure he couldn’t understand, she must believe they are true. It’s like thinking out loud. You don’t lie to yourself in your thoughts, do you? A muskrat certainly wouldn’t. So, if Grand Banks gas is a better way than Muskrat Falls, what was the problem? Why not just abandon Muskrat and go with the gas?
“Even a muskrat knows you don’t follow a path when you know it’s not the best way,” thought Nalcor.
Humans were puzzling. They did things that didn’t pass the test of muskrat logic. For example, only a couple of weeks ago, Nalcor had watched television in amazement as one of Muskrat Falls’ biggest boosters, seemed to change his mind in front of halfa-million viewers.
This was Jerome the Giraffe, who had served in the administration of Mizkat’s predecessor as premier, the Angry Man who Talks Too Fast. The two of them had collaborated closely with the boss man of Nalcor, Ed with the White Head, in establishing and promoting Muskrat Falls as the only viable route to energy security for the province. The three of them also agreed on the additional benefit of out manoeuvring the province just to the west of Muskrat Falls where they spoke a language that not one of the Giraffe, Angry Man or Ed with the White Head understood. The very same province that citizens of Canada’s Rich and Poor province held the biggest kind of grudge against for taking them to the cleaners at Big Cigar Falls.
All three men were 100 per cent behind the project, then suddenly The Giraffe blurts out on the telly that he’s not wedded to Muskrat, that if something better turns up he’d be prepared to go for it.
Nalcor imagined how much angrier the Angry Man must have been after that, and how much faster he was talking now. As for Ed, if his head hadn’t already been white, it certainly would have turned it overnight.
It is said that giraffes, because of their long necks, can see great distances. Some say even far into the future. Maybe that was the case with Jerome. Maybe he saw the same truth about Muskrat Falls as Mizkat, who was beginning to suspect that Grand Banks natural gas was a better way to go.
The difference was that Jerome the Giraffe wasn’t afraid to say so in public. Maybe, maybe not. Or maybe what the Giraffe was saying was just a trick, to fool the public into thinking that other options were truly being considered. With humans, who could tell?
Nalcor felt a headache coming on. He went into the washroom, climbed onto the toilet seat and reached to open the medicine cabinet behind the mirror, scaring himself when he saw a muskrat reaching for him, until he realized it was his own reflection.
Man, I’ve got to get out of here, he thought. I’m losing it.
Nalcor twisted open one of the bottles in the cabinet, tipped two pills into his paw, twisted the bottle shut, put it back on the shelf, closed the mirror and climbed down off the toilet. He lifted the seat and leaning into the bowl took a good long drink to wash the pills down. He put the seat back down again, something Mizkat insisted on, then headed for the back yard.
There, he chewed a length of stalk off one of Mizkat’s shrubs, nibbled the branches off and went back inside. In Mizkat’s bedroom he opened the drawer where she kept her scarves. He chose an old scarf he knew she never wore any more. Taking the few possessions he cared to bring, he wrapped them inside the scarf and knotted the loose ends of the bundle he’d made around the end of the stick he’d cut. He opened the front door, stepped outside, closed the door, put the stick over his shoulder, and started down the driveway.
He murmured, “Good-bye Mizkat, thank you and good luck.”
… To be continued.
Peter Pickersgill is an artist and writer in Salvage, Bonavista Bay. He can be reached by email at the following: firstname.lastname@example.org