When Mayor Jim Watson attends a public meeting, now and then someone gives him a travel hint.
“Go to hell” is the most popular … particularly among Ottawa’s francophone community.
After being told this so many times, His Worship for once took his constituents’ advice.
“You know, I’ve been to China a couple of times, greeted former U.S. president Barack Obama at the airport and even went to Richmond once, but now my people have contacted the Devil’s people and Lucifer himself invited me to the bowels of evil. I think I’ll be quite comfortable there.”
Watson said now he’s met both Prince William and the Prince of Darkness. “Why I’m a kind of royalty myself.” he sniffed.
“This is an opportunity for opening new doors for Ottawa business. Why it’s as hot as a Plasco furnace down there. I hope to do for Ottawa business in Hell what I did for Plasco in China. Even better.
“There are some real opportunities for the Ottawa heating and cooling industry. We’re looking at Hell as source of radiant energy and a good market for air conditioning.”
Watson had planned to give Satan the key to the city of Ottawa. The Prince of Darkness declined however, saying he didn’t need a key to get into the nation’s capital what with all the politicians, lawyers and consultants in the community. “I’m intimately familiar with Ottawa,” Lucifer said. “A key is unnecessary.”
A miffed Watson, insulted by the refusal, whispered to one of his entourage: “He’s no Sandra Oh anyway.”
Instead the mayor and his councillors will hold a hockey game in Hell against Satan and his followers. No word on who will make the ice.
Watson was also angry about the inability to tweet from Hell. Apparently no provider is available there and the miles of rock between the earth’s surface and Hell limits Wi-Fi considerably.
“What kind of joint is this anyway?” Watson complained. “My thumbs are aching for a work out,” he said after gulping a couple of Red Bulls in preparation for a good tweet.
“That said, I found all of my fake Twitter followers here,” Watson said. “They had to be someplace. You see … The Bulldog was wrong.”
Watson said he missed a number of things in Hell that he had in Ottawa. For example, officialdom in Hell is much more ethical than in the nation’s capital. “Why in Ottawa you can get city staff to write anything, do anything or say anything,” Watson said. “In Hell, these sunken-eyed staffers just wince and slowly stir a boiling cauldron. I think they have ethics. Imagine.”
As well Watson missed sod, one-million trees, compliant councillors and brownies which, he said, just melted in his hand in Hell. “Can’t hold a decent bake sale here. What a Hell-hole.”
“I don’t miss Chiarelli though,” Watson said. “You’d think they’d have a cell ready for him down here.”
Instead Lucifer remarked that there was no cell for the councillor “but we’ve named a whole wing of Hell after you, Your Worship.” In a grand ceremony, the mayor cut the ribbon for the Watson Memorial Hell Housing Wing. In it is a recording loop of Councillor Diane Deans demanding an audit of the light-rail project over and over again. “Now that’s hell,” Watson sighed.
“It’s like music to my ears,” Lucifer said of the loop. “It will grow on you after a century or two.”
There are other cells for councillors. David Chernushenko and his little cycling friends get on their stationary bicycles and just pedal and pedal, getting absolutely nowhere. “Once in a while we let them out to pedal on O’Connor and Laurier,” Lucifer said. “That’s hell.”
Across the hallway, Councillor Tobi Nussbaum just mumbles all day. “I coulda been the mayor. I coulda been a contendah.” Meanwhile Councillor Catherine McKenney just keeps raising good ideas and Watson just keeps shooting them down. Riley Brockington has a real playground to live in until eternity and a bus that comes through to run him over repeatedly (driven by the mayor). Keith Egli just handles bad news. Mathieu Fleury drives the mayor’s limo and washes his windows. Jan Harder stands up for zoning regulations, community design plans, democracy and condo height limits. In another cauldron, Scott Moffatt runs around as a smurf in a shrill voice crying, “I’m pleased as punch to be operating the city hall elevator and representing the constituents of Rideau-Goulbourn ward.”
In a room deep in the bowels of the Devil’s complex is a large cell with the names of Michael Qaqish, Jean Cloutier and George Darouze. But the room is empty. “Where the hell are those guys anyway?” Lucifer exclaimed. “Nobody can find them.”
Allan Hubley can’t locate Kanata on a map in Hell and that’s why light rail will never get to his ward. Mark Taylor is busy saying, “Yes, Your Worship. Yes, Your Worship. Yes, Your Worship …” Sometimes Mathieu Fleury joins in. In fact on occasion all of council sings the chorus.
There are other problems in Hell. The food is abominable, His Worship said. “Everything is fried … fried steak, fried chicken and some fried items with no apparent description. I was shocked when I found one of Larry O’Brien’s old Ottawa medallions in the soup.”
Watson said the part he liked best about the boiling cauldron of Hell was that it lacked snowmobiles. “Snowmobiles are their own Hell,” Watson said. He wondered however if there were opportunities for Ottawa firms to sell these snow sleds to businesses in Hell. “I’ll get Innovation Ottawa on it immediately. Someone said the idea has a snowball’s chance in Hell. I think they’re right.”
People who visit Hell quite often return, the Devil said. “Live a long life, Your Worship. Live long as you want, oh waddling one, but sooner or later you’ll be coming back for a much longer stay.” Watson took this as Lucifer being warm and hospitable. “The Prince of Darkness. Whadda guy.”
Meanwhile in a lonely cell in a little corner of Hell, a member of the press holding on to Watson’s pant leg noticed deceased journalist Ken Gray with the former mayor of Ottawa Larry O’Brien who may or may not have been dead. “Kinda hard to tell,” Gray said.
Into eternity it will be Gray’s job to polish O’Brien’s noggin with a shoe shami and suggest slogans the ex-mayor could write on his head. “Just like the old days,” O’Brien said, feeling right at home in Hell. “The first slogan I forced that little ninny to write was ‘Gray sucks’.”
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ….”
“You know that Larry O’Brien … always a barrel of laughs,” Gray moaned.
As the journalist walked past the odd sight in the cell, he heard Gray mutter to no one in particular: “Happy April Fool’s Day” while he buffed a nice shine on O’Brien’s skull.
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