Saturday, October 29, 2005

For the first time ever: A guest appearance

SHÄDY ÄCRES has received a wire transmission from our correspondent in the B1-66er Archipelago, the first to get through after the end of last week's blizzard. It just cleared the censors five minutes ago, and we are proud to bring it in its entirety:


I knew 25 Oktober was going to be a strange day when I was rousted out of bed at some ungodly hour like 10:00 by a lowly representative of the Sub-Chief Magistrate’s office. I assumed they were after me for the TV tax again (they insist I watch TV and have “transmissions” that prove it, but all I do is watch DVD’s), so I took my time and then made my way down to the government offices. I knew something was up though, by subtle little hints like all of my neighbors wearing their mole skoene.

I’m swept immediately into the office and it’s clear they are way pissed. Being bureaucrats, they only speak Høye Finnmärscker, but I’m able to pick up enough in the English words they have to use that the reason they’re peeved has everything to do with my little rant at the end of my Norway column, because apparently there’s serious talk that the Finnmärck government may grant the Archipelago imperiument and make us part of the crown. You’d think this is a good thing, right? These dorks are afraid they lose their jobs.

While I’m sitting there, they get a call from the Chief Magistrate (there’s a guy you never see). And although the end of the call is cut-off by some freak blizzard on the Finnmärscker hovedsakelig, it’s become clear not only that the Arch is going to be under the crown, but these clowns will probably get their salaries doubled “until things are straightened out.” Are you kidding me? This is the government. It’ll never get straightened out.

A national holiday and general bedlam ensue, but not before they convene a quick counsel to declare one thing: The fjörf is now the National Animal. The fjörf, for the love of Benito. I hate those damn things. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a fjörf, and now they’re protected. “We want to be thought of as the Green Finnmärck,” the dopes said. Yeah, well if that’s what you want, here’s an idea – find a place without permafrost and plant some grass. Oh, and while you’re at it, maybe you might want to tow these 150 islands south about 20 degrees in latitude, so our version of “green” doesn’t look suspiciously like a polar ice cap.

They went down to the old whale brakken, got out that statue of Frid Tøysen that we used to play on when we were kids, and hauled it up in the main square for the occasion. Everyone just laughed, but hey, what’re you going to do? It’s not like we have the option of going to “Statues ‘R’ Us” and getting something better.

From there it was just non-stop party. Lots of food, grog, and that disgusting cask brødet (whale blubber on American Rye Toast – you can always tell the countries that’ve had famine by what they consider to be a delicacy, eh?). Toward the end things got a little strange. The last whaling fleet came in, saw the statue of Tøysen in the square, thought it was Lenin, assumed that the (P)Russians had taken over again (“one bald guy looks like another” I heard one say later), tore the statue down and immediately went back to sea to sink the first Russian trawler they could find. This, almost certainly, will cause the first official apology from the FinnmArch government.

The day ended with every firework that could be found on the Archipelago being shot (amazingly with no destruction), and judging from the noises around town, you can bet you’ll see a small population explosion about nine months from now.

You know, we’re probably the only little scrap of a place that actually didn’t want independence. But we’ve always felt vulnerable, and if any of the big boys ever decided to step on us, it’s not clear anyone would care, or even know – I mean, when was the last time you saw anyone lose sleep over the injustices in Burkina Faso, for example. Fishing is on the way down and it’s not like whaling is the “industry of the future.” Finnmaercium deposits won’t last forever.

Finnmärck gives us hope, a place of belonging and a solid foot on a continent. And Oktober 25 will be a day off for me for the rest of my life, so what’s not to like?

Rumours of the moment:

- The Arch may not have to pay Finnmärscker VAT, because it may mean that the income would be high enough to show up in the CIA World Factbook and that would mean spies. (Hey man, I don’t say I believe these things, I just report them.)

- The American military wants to use the Niesgeluid Islands as a staging ground for their bases on Greenland. (Bring it on. We’d just tax the bejesus out of them, and they’ve have to hire a ton of locals. And I can’t wait to see what happens when they hear the fjörf is protected.)

- Starbucks has approached the crown asking to call the Arch “Starbucklund.” (Like what? We’re a football stadium?)

- The Uiteinde Koude Islands may not be included as part of the imperiument. Better yet, say why? There’s no Finnmaercium deposits there, of any isotopic form. Just a few hundred fjörfs.

- This is just weird, so I’ll bet it’s true: We may no longer be able to be counted under the grace of Japan’s whaling fleet.We’ve been skating on the thinnest of ice there for far too long.

- The Chief Magistrate may have to give up his house in the Seychelles and move back to the Arch. (Yeah, right.)




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