Oh bloody hell. What now, I groaned. I went out into the ops room and the CBC wanks were up on the monitor, breaking the latest fake news from around the world, or around the corner.
The CBC bubble headed bleached blonde did her thing - narrating over scenes of an otherwise peaceful neighbourhood... except for the cops running around with submachine guns and shotguns... and then the cameras cut to another scene. A prim and severe police spokeswoman tried to maintain her composure, surrounded by an unruly gaggle of media slobs, all shouting out questions and demanding details. She was a pro, I thought, she pointedly ignored them and waited patiently until they came to order. The warm summer breeze threatened her hair. "This morning, at approximately 10:00 am, we made a preliminary arrest in connection with the assassination of our late prime minister," the lady intoned, obvously reading from a prepared statement. She went on to describe the large number of firearms and quantities of ammunition that had also been siezed. She firmly cautioned the reporters about jumping to conclusions and assured them that they would be informed of future developments. In the meantime, the perp was to be considered a "person of interest" only.
But,in the background, a soft thudding and squeaking noise could be distinctly heard, even over the din. Again... the shouting reporters slowly settled into astonished silence as the source of the noise became apparent: in the squad car containing the perp, behind the policewoman, a bald man thudded his face against the window and started sucking on it... moving his head up and down as he did so. Thud. Sqeeeeeeeeeeeeek… thud... squeeeeeeeeeeak.. thud….the man leered comically as he capered for the cameras. "Officer Hoyle! Miss Hoyle!!! Is that the perp in the squad car behind you? In your opinion, is he psyhotic??? What kind of mental illness is that??? Miss Hoyle...!!!"
The police woman's composure cracked as she gawped and tried to find words. Someone had left the car window cracked as it was a hot summer day, and the perp struggled awkwardly to get his mouth up to it - with both arms cuffed behind him. "It's okay to be white!!!" he shouted. "The CBC sucks!!! CBC SUCKS!!! FAKE NEWS" the man crowed. "Make America great again!" he yodelled. By then a couple officers were in the back seat, stifling him and trying to restrain his thrashing and struggles. The reporters exploded into hysteria again. "Miss Hoyle!!! Is the suspect a white supremist??? Has he hurt any people of colour? What are the RCMP doing to fight the resurgence of neo-fascism in Alberta...!?!? Has your department any leads on accomplices - How long has the department had this information? Were there any red flags or warning signs that the suspect might be violent -!!!" The bubble headed bleached blonde came back on and assured her listeners that they'd be kept informed of the latest developments in the effort to capture the perpetrator of Canada's first prime ministerial assassination. Stay tuned!
Cindy muted the TV. Most of us were as shocked as the RCMP spokeswoman was. Al recovered first."Well, y'all know what they say about the RCMP -" I tried to be responsible, but I was just as juvenile and immature as the rest of my team. In perfect unison, we all shouted the punchline together back at Al. "THE RCMP ALWAYS GET THEIR MAN!!!!" You could tell... we'd done this before. Applause and laughter rippled through the ops room. Kids will be kids. Even with the mother of all migraines coming on...it did feel good to see that all my people, at least, were the best of the best. They could see this shit storm coming as clearly as I. Chit. I better get busy. "Cindy - can I see you in my office real quick? It'll only take a sec..."
"What's your take, Cindy?" I asked. She shrugged, and said the obvious. "He's not our guy. He has a blog - mostly pooh jokes and some off colour race and sex jokes. He has guns - but he has fishing rods and tents too. He's a member of several rod and gun clubs and is in good standing with them. No prior history of violent or criminal conduct. He's just another alienated westerner that hates Ottawa and liberals."
I nodded, but that wasn't what I was asking. "Figures. But - what I'm asking you is this: what will The Swamp do?" That stopped her cold. The friggin Yanks whine and cry about their swamp creatures in gov't in America. Jeez Louise - ours could teach theirs lessons! Americans get ripped right off when their politicos step out of line. Fuggin Canadians just shrug and go back to watching the hockey game. Except the fricken Albertans, Saskatchewan stubble jumpers and kadiddlehoppers, and half of Manitoba and BC. They all wanted to bust the country up, burn it down and go it alone. There are days when I don't blame them. But... Cindy, it seemed, had vapour locked.
"Well?" I prompted. She just seemed to deflate. Looking at the floor, she started to speak.
"The morons are going to run with it. The RCMP are hopelessly pozzed and compromised. Most are so incompetent they will believe this guy is the perp. A few - the ones that count - will go along with it because of their connection with the swamp. They don't care who actually did it at this point, all they want to do is hang somebody for it and sweep it under the rug. Our boy was done the second he let his mouth run away with him about that MAGA crap..."
Inwardly I gloated to myself. My team was the best there was. But, were they good enough?
"What else? Say it, Cindy," I said gently.
"You won't go along with it. You'll run your mouth the same way that goober in the squad car did - and the swamp will try to get rid of you. Again. They will probably succeed. I don't think you will survive it, but the current leaders need to purge law enforcement of wrong thinkers... and you have been bothering the wrong people for an awfully, awfully long time. This one will be the final nail in your coffin if you want to get stupid about it, Top."
She was now looking at me defiantly - and it almost choked me up. Good girl!!! I loved these kids more than anything in the world... but it was time. We both knew it.
"Very good, Cindy. Well done!" I chortled. "But you're off on a few small things..."
20 years ago I brought down Jean Poutine Cretin and his gaggle of Librano liars, thieves and cheats. Oh sure, it all LOOKED like a politician retiring to enjoy more time with the family; it was supposed to. But in point of fact, I had dossiers and files on that french bastard a mile long. A nasty internal turf war broke out behind the scenes, away from the cameras, and by the time I was done I not only knocked off Cretin - I'd gotten a few of his sycophants too. Kinsella, Rock... gawd it was nice to see them 'announcing their retirements'. They should have hung. As should any number of others, but they got away. Swamps like these are very big places. That was my magnus opus. Over the years I got a few more scalps, and the right people were scared shitless of me. But time moves on, I got older and less sharp, and age began to take its toll. I wasn't that young hotshot anymore, and never would be again.
"In point of fact, Cindy, the prime minister's office will probably demand my resignation in the next two hours - and they will get it too! After they get me... they will go after you guys. None of you are to be heroes, you hear? Anything they find to bitch about - is my fault. Blame it on me no matter what it is. None of you are to fuck up your futures trying to be ethical and moral with that crowd. They'll eat you alive - but you know that. They are going to go through this place with a fine tooth comb, looking for anything they can use against us. If they can't find it, they will manufacture the dirt they need. Chances are good that before this is over, you and the boys will be out too. As soon as you can, round up half a dozen burner phones. We'll all stay in contact, we'll take these swine on as a team... and God willing, we might win this little turf war. Above all - keep after the REAL perp. This guy is a pro and he's making us look like pikers too..."
Cindy went back to work, and I struggled to get my poop in a group. I wrote up my letter of resignation, cleaned off my desk, and filled a box with my few meager personal personal effects. 39 years with the Company. Holy shit - where does the time go? Soon I was lost somewhere down memory lane, remembering times and faces long gone. My mind had stalled. It did that a lot lately.
I was stirred from my memories by the buzzing cell phone. A text informed me to clear my schedule and make myself available for a meeting at my office at 4:30. Hmpffff. They decided to wait until the end of the day? Probably as a means of giving me one last middle finger on the way out, maybe?
I smirked. Nah. I should at least show some class...be professional. But.... I reached for the cell and responded to the text - and deleted it and started all over again, with everything in caps. That annoyed the hell out of some people...so why not?
SORRY. I WILL BE LEAVING THE OFFICE EARLY TODAY TO ATTEND SOME PERSONAL MATTERS AND WON'T BE AVAILABLE UNTIL 8:00 AM TOMORROW MORN. AFTER THAT, I WILL BE PLEASED TO MEET WITH YOU AT YOUR CONVENIENCE. CHEERS.
Dammitandblast! They had these smiley faces that kids put on all their text messages. There was even one with a coil of turd on it but I didn't know how to do that. Probably just as well. This is just one more aspect of my growing obsolescence, really.
I told Cindy I was leaving the office early, and gave a rude wink to Al and Cal, who both looked rather unhappy. "Get back to work, you pooch screwers!". In response, a crumpled up wad of paper flew at me.
"Have a great day you guys," I said - and flounced out. When I got to the car, I instinctively reached for my mickey of pepto. I had the lid off and was going to take a big gulp... and realized that my guts weren't on fire. No hint of a migraine either! In bewilderment, I capped and replaced the bottle of pepto in the cup holder.
I'll be damned.