Sunday, February 11, 2007

The longest undefended border in the world 11

Okay, John, detail-wise this is going to be a bit sparse but if you need one I’ll run up a full report later. I scored a nine-horse and a twelve foot aluminum boat and motored over to Goodentoff’s private castle. Whale lake was kind of rough (as usual) but I made it over in good order. I knocked at the main door which, to my surprise, opened immediately. A fairly severe looking woman stood there looking at me. “You are the one known as Humoroceros,” she said, “correct?”

“Actually, it’s Humouroceros,” I corrected her. “I use the Canadian spelling.”

“What-EVER,” she hissed. “You are expected. Follow me.”

Expected? This was unexpected. I followed her deep into the castle, finally ending up in a covered courtyard. It was a huge area and it was almost totally filled with large oak casks piled to the ceiling far above. There was a small office built off of one wall and that’s where she took me, silently motioning me through the door. I entered and unexpectedly came face to face with Boris Goodentoff himself.

He looked exhausted with large bags under his eyes and a drawn look to his face, but he still managed to smile as he said, “You are the one they call Humouroceros,” he chuckled, “with the Canadian spelling.”

“Actually,” I corrected him, “I’m the one I call Humouroceros, with the Canadian spelling.”

“Excellent. I could use your help.”

Now this was a bit much. “Well you have a funny way of asking for it,” I said.

Boris appeared puzzled. “I apologize but it was short notice that you were here and there was no time to arrange for a grander greeting.”

“No, no, not all this puffery,” I said, waving my arm around. “I mean peppering my Jeep with ice bullets! That was totally offside, mister aider and abettor or the Canadian hotbed of Islamic extremism!”

“Islamic?” he puzzled. “I am a businessman. Besides, ice bullets don’t work.

“Oh yeah? Well is sure worked just fine when it took out the headlight of my Jeep. If you people can make a poison-tipped umbrella or sand-paper toilet-paper I’m sure you could freeze up a couple of ice bullets when you need to.”

“The headlight of your Jeep? Had it occurred to you that this may have been a rock from the road that damaged your headlight?”

I thought for a moment and no, frankly I had not considered that possibility. “So, you can use my help?” I asked.

“Yes. As you may know, my company is the second largest producer of maple syrup in Canada. We own huge tracts of land in northern British Columbia covered in maple groves. The sap is harvested and transported via our maple syrup pipeline down here where it is refined and processed. It is then kegged in oak casks and shipped across the border into the United States, which is the world’s largest consumer of maple syrup. Do you follow so far?”

I nodded thoughtfully and indicated that he should continue. “My competitors in the United States produce a worthy product, but with their warmer weather their trees have a less viscous sap. The texture, the colour, it is inferior in every way. Thus, rather than compete in the open market they have instead resorted to the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security.”

“Both laudable institutions,” I pointed out.

“No doubt. But in this instance they are misused. I cannot get my product across the border as things stand now. My production is at a standstill and I am forced to store casks of maple syrup in my home.”

“Right,” I said. “So it sucks to be you. How can I help?”

“You, Humouroceros, are the perfect person to assist me. You see, you are a nonentity. In the greater, or even the lesser scheme of things, you do not matter, in fact you do not even exist. One face out of several billion is all that you are. Your import on this planet is less than insignificant and ten seconds after you die no-one will remember you had ever lived.”

“You flatter me, sir.”

“You do not matter in any what that even the most average of people should matter. Nothing you have done or ever will do is of any importance at all. People forget…”

“Okay,” I interrupted, “thanks, I get it. And with all these amazing attributes how can I help you?”

“It is simplicity itself. What I need you to do is…” Just then the ceiling burst in and what looked like a converted Correllian freighter settled to the floor. A large crash door opened and a squad of men piled out, quickly moving to cover the entire room. They were dressed in tight, red body-tards with huge, red full head helmets and all were loaded down with and astonishing variety of weaponry.

Nest thing they started blasting away and all the casks of syrup began to fly apart, raining syrup and wood fragments everywhere. I considered my options for a millisecond before hitting the ground, covering my head and hoping for the best. The firing went on for a good long while and I could feel chunks of wood, metal and the spray of syrup mist settling on me, and then it stopped. I peeled my head away from the sticky ground and looked up into the toes of some black loafers. “Well, mister Goodentoff. We finally meet,” a voice said above me.

“I’m not Goodentoff,” I pointed out, “he is.” I then noticed that Goodentoff’s office had disappeared and where it had been there was now a large, square hole gaping in the floor. “Yoicks!” I exclaimed, “You guys whacked him!”

“Not hardly,” said the voice, which belonged to an oddly dressed military type guy. “He had a molevator! What a guy. Outstanding!” He pointed at one of his red guys. “You! Potrzebie! Get down this hole and follow that ‘vator!”

“Sir, yes, sir!” answered the red guy. “And sir! My name is not Potrzebie, sir! It’s…”

“That’s something only your mommy cares about, Potrzebie! Now get moving, soldier!”

“Sir!” then the red guy jumped into the hole and we spent a full minute listening to his wailing scream as it disappeared into the distance. “Billy Bo Jangles!” I gasped horrifiedly, “that’s horrifying! How are you going to get him out of there?”

“Why would I? I’ve got lots of spares. Come on you men, this is a dry hole.” He looked at me. “Was that your small boat outside?”

“Well, I borrowed it.”

“Huh, that’s tough. We trashed it on the way in.”

“Oh,” I said. “Can you give me a ride to the shore?”

“No can do, civvy. You have to swim. Anyway, with all that syrup and stuff on you, you could use the water-time.”

“Give me a break. It’ll take my an hour to swim to shore and it’s winter out there.”

Military guy nodded thoughtfully. “Not my problem, and here’s your break. We’re going to frag this place in about fifteen minutes. You better move.” With that he hopped into his craft and they lifted off.

There’s nothing like incentive to get things moving and I was in the water and about half way to shore when I felt the castle vapourize behind me. Fortunately the auto-photo feature on the Jeep caught the action, so I’ll post those. This looks like it was a bit of a bust. I don’t know for sure who all those folks were but I figure the chances are pretty slim that any of them were Islamic extremists, Canadian or otherwise. Never-the-less, I’m still on the hunt, John, so I’ll keep you posted.

Anyway… Humouroceros

The following photographs have been computer enhanced to make them more compelling. This in no way detracts from the truthiness of the subject matter.


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