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Old 08-03-2008, 06:36 PM   #1
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My Encounters With John Baird (Canadian Minister of the Environment)

My Encounters With John Baird (Canadian Ministers of the Environment) by William Wilson

The end of my shift approaches, but I intend to stay for some time after it. Despite the dull nature of my job, it is made enjoyable by regular customers and coworkers. They bring a degree of interest and entertainment normally unavailable to a gas station. I remain at work to talk with Nathan, who hails from Sri Lanka. We discuss the weather and appropriate winter activities. He wants to learn the fine art of hockey, a desire I strongly share. As the conversation continues, two odd, overly dressed and excited men enter the store. They immediately move to the ice-cream fridge, ignoring the coldness of January. Combining to hold twelve popsicles, they turn toward the counter. I recognize them, but Nathan is unaware of their identities. Before us stand John Baird and Pierre “Little Baird” Polivere, two of the coldest men in Canadian politics. This partially explains their unusual choice of treat: fuel. I fail to grab their attention. I am young and white, placing myself outside their voter demographics. However, they naturally gravitate to Nathan. He is a young immigrant, an important target constituency for them. Assuming his disloyalty to Canada, they ask with perfect unity, “What is your nationality?” Nathan stumbles over the question: “I came from Sri Lanka, but I’m Canadian.” Polivere continues, “Oh, I have been there. It’s a very peaceful and beautiful country.” Did he mean Canada or Sri Lanka? I don’t know, and I doubt he knows. Behind him, Baird stupidly nods his head with approval. Two things escaped them tonight: reality and our votes.


The plan: John Baird enters the store, grabs something, and while he is at the cash register to pay for it, I calmly inquire, “Can I ask you a question about your ministry?” Obediently, perhaps proudly, he gives a positive response. At this point, I place a telephone on the counter and quizzically remark, “Do you need to call Mr. Harper for permission?” This is my Baird trap, the pun being intentional. Simple and precise, this elaborate scheme is meant to demonstrate the draconian character of Canada’s New Government, especially the man leading it. Patiently, I wait for Baird’s arrival. Minutes turn to hours, hours turn to days, and days turn to weeks. Eventually, he comes. I am instantly nervous, and strangely Baird seems to share my demeanour. He walks directly to the counter, to me. What does he want? Does he know about the ploy? I overvalue his insight. Exposing a lottery ticket from his wallet, he asks, “Can you check this for me?” Of all the possibilities, this one was unforeseen, even unappreciated. I am the questioner, not him. I check the ticket: “No, you’re a loser. Can I help the next customer?” The ad-lib works; I win the secret battle of wits. Besides, I doubt Harper gave his phone number to anyone. That would defy his preference for secrets.


Due to ministerial incompetence, there was recently a Cabinet shuffle. John Baird is moved from the Treasury Board to the environmental portfolio. His predecessor being relegated to a beautiful obscurity. Earlier today, he made a trivial announcement in Nova Scotia. He enters the store. The airport is near, so I assume his return was recent. Baird purchases a lotto ticket and some hotdog buns. We make small talk. Then, glancing outside, I notice something: he arrived by taxi, which waits submissively for him, emitting poison. “Is that car running?” I ask. “Fortunately, I mean, unfortunately, it is.” His reply puzzles me. He never looked at the car. He simply knew. As he spoke, I realized another thing. Someone was releasing toxic gas inside the store. I held my breath until he left.

Oh, and the correction sounded insincere.


John Baird comes into work, but I'm initially unaware of this. As I count the cigarettes, my back is turned towards the counter. He gathers several items and approaches me. Sensing a presence, I ask coldly, "Is that all?" I turn around and recognize him. Smiling, I continue, “Do you want a bag for that?” He responds, “No, thank you.” His hat rests low, attempting to conceal his face and significance. However, I am able to detect him and the blue effect he casts upon the room. Normally, the store appears vibrant red and yellow, the mighty corporate colours of Esso. Searching vainly for an insult and advantage, I remark, “Are you sure?” The candour and simplicity of his response distracts me: “No.” I was prepared for a fight, I wanted a fight. I threw him a bone, but he did not bite. Defeated, dejected, I admit to him, “That’s an excellent environmental decision.” He pays, leaves. Once outside, I notice his receipt float slowly to the ground. Mother Nature could have used it to wipe away her tears.

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Old 08-03-2008, 07:07 PM   #2
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dlihcraw, are you William? If not where is this from?

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Old 08-03-2008, 07:10 PM   #3
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he is Warchild.
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:38 AM   #4
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I'm confused
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