Warning: the following column contains material that some people might find offensive, especially those who feel a certain Newfoundland politician has taken more than enough flak, that nothing further needs to be said about his double muck bath in the patronage trough, and that he should be given slack now that he’s been victimized by one of those dastardly moose who patrol the province’s highways in search of unsuspecting drivers.
First of all, someone needs to come to the defence of Sammy the Salmonier Moose who
fortuitously hopped in front of Fabian Manning’s car one night last week, ultimately providing the MP-defeated-candidate-senator-defeated-candidate-senator with not only a tremendous amount of invaluable public sympathy, but a timely distraction from his identification as a poster boy for electoral shenanigans, and worse still, his unenviable standing near the top of the list of the most pronounced political embarrassments in recent Newfoundland history.
You have to admit that the script for “Manning and his moose” could only have been cobbled together in an imaginary public relations paradise, a magical place where the most desperate of troubled politicians could seek help.
It also didn’t hurt the senator that the night before his serendipitous rendezvous with Mr. Moose, CBC’s “Here and Now” provided syrupy video of a warm and cuddly Manning, a regular “Mr. C.” of “Happy Days,” constructing a trampoline for his daughter, a task placed on the backburner while the brave father/warrior had been away to the Harper Crusades for several weeks.
“Sure, he can’t be all that bad,” thousands of viewers had no choice but to exclaim.
But getting back to “Manning and his moose.”
Before our once-respected politician now turned Harper Harpy was carried off to hospital in St. John’s after his bloody encounter with Mr. Moose, is it possible, do you think, that he may have had an opportunity to have a few words with Salmonier Sammy before wildlife officers turned him (the moose, not Fabian) into sausage for a few undernourished families on the dole?
Crawling from his smashed car, a bit woozy, blood trickling down the side of his head, did Manning have the presence of mind to offer his profound gratitude to the dying moose?
“I’ve been tarred and feathered all week long from here to B.C., a political stink bomb, my credibility that of a piece of fish offal,” he could have whispered to Sammy.
“And God knows I deserve it, even though I can’t admit it publicly.
“But now I’ve found some relief, thanks to you.”
Informed sources have told me there was actually a funeral for Sammy, organized by a little known evangelical crowd obsessed with the souls of four-legged creatures.
A dignified and blessed affair it was (although the dignity was tarnished slightly by the sight of Sammy’s four quarters, hanging from butcher’s hooks above an altar of alders).
And guess who delivered the eulogy? Yessiree. It was Brother Fabian himself.
And one of my numerous sources, Harbour Deep Throat, managed to tape the proceedings:
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The Senator: “Brothers and sisters, I stand before you tonight a sinner!”
The Congregation: “Amen, Brother Fabian. Amen.”
The Senator: “I have been given my 30 pieces of Tory silver, and even some of my most loyal disciples have held their heads in shame.”
The Congregation: “Shame! Shame!”
The Senator: “If only those ungrateful and stunned arses in Avalon hadn’t … well, I wouldn’t be in this fix, would I?”
The Congregation: “Pity the stunned ones, Brother Fabian.”
The Senator: “Who’d have thought? It was just a wink here, a nod there between me and Brother Steve. But I can’t deny it. I’ve sinned.”
The Congregation: “Yes you have, Brother Fabian.”
The Senator: “I also want to apologize, brothers and sisters, to my colleague Peter who, unlike me, went to Ottawa in an honourable way, but whose feat was overshadowed by my trek down the low road.”
The Congregation: “Praise be to Minister Peter! May he continue to hold his nose!”
The Senator: “But we are here tonight, brothers and sisters, to remember Sammy the Moose who has trotted off to that great marsh in the sky, a sacrifice that has given me rest from the torment of my unrelenting accusers.”
The Congregation: “Hallelujah, Sammy! Praise be to Sam!”
Senator Manning: “And I am deeply grateful.”
The Congregation: “And so you should be, Brother Fabian. And so you should be.”
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Bob Wakeham has spent more than 30 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.