Forwarded from Jurriaan Bendien
lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Fri Jan 19 07:34:37 MST 2001
The Globe and Mail, Monday, January 15, 2001
My Novel Is Loaded and Ready to Fire
by David Macfarlane
It transpires that in Ontario, a 16-year-old boy can be held in detention
for writing a work of fiction for an English assignment that describes
blowing up his school. As a result, I'm a little worried about the novel
I'm working on. Particularly the part where my protagonist boils the entire
Ontario government in oil.
Not that he doesn't have his reasons, I hasten to say. In my novel, my hero
receives his $200 provincial-tax rebate in the mail on the same day that he
gets a bill for $83,000 for sending his three children to private school --
now that the province has so completely mucked up the public-school system.
No wonder he heats up the vats of Mazola.
Of course, I don't go into gruesome detail. I don't dwell on the anguished
screams and the sizzling last gasps of the Common Sense Revolution. The
Conservative MPPs are second-rate minds one minute, tempura the next.
I've cut the section in the book where a deep-fried caucus is served up to
Toronto's tax-burdened millionaires by out-of-work actors at a
$1,000-a-plate Tory fundraiser. But I'm not sure that's going to cut me
much slack with the OPP. Apparently, just wishing that Mike Harris would
take a long walk off a short pier -- a thought that passes through the mind
of my protagonist every time he turns on a water tap, steps over a homeless
person, or breathes a lungful of Toronto air -- is enough to send me, the
author, to the slammer for quite a spell.
On the face of it, the protagonist does bear a passing resemblance to me.
He's a writer with a Monday column in a national newspaper. He's 5 feet 11
inches tall, 177 pounds, with greying brown hair, blue eyes, a weak
backhand, high arches, $327.64 in his saving account, a tendency to overuse
commas and an irrationally intense dislike of Celine Dion. On whom, in one
of the novel's many intricately linked subplots, he takes out a contract.
In my work of fiction, Earl (the Seamstress) LeDuq successfully poses as an
internationally acclaimed interior designer (he has a forged reference from
Mila Mulroney) and manages to suffocate Celine and René in the mountain of
poly-satin throw pillows and stuffed animals he thinks will be the perfect
touch to the quarter-acre expanse of their candied aubergine and peach
florentine crêpe-de-chine canopied bed.
The novel opens with my fictional hero standing in front of a mirror in his
grotty rented room. It's in the Annex, in downtown Toronto, and costs
$1,700 a month, plus utilities. He's just dynamited City Hall, but that's
another story. We gather that he's gone mad: we know this because he writes
a newspaper column. He has an Iroquois cut, is wearing a flak jacket and is
armed to the teeth with guns he hasn't registered because he found the form
too complicated to fill out. The middle-name part was especially tricky. In
a series of harrowing, overcomma-ed flashbacks, we learn that he has been
pushed over the edge by newspaper editors who tamper with his copy.
They keep dividing long, literary-sounding meditations into paragraphs only
one sentence long.
So he calls in an air strike.
With the newspaper office reduced to rubble, he sends in a tank division
and a few flame throwers to make doubly sure there's nothing left of
Accounts Payable -- since they still owe him for columns written in
September. He's unmoved by the reports from his ground troops that the
collateral damage in the area is a little high. The SkyDome is gone. Serves
it right for all the loud, horrible music it plays during baseball games.
And apparently Harbourfront was vapourized by a couple of errant cruise
missiles. But he thinks this is tough nuggies, since Greg Gatenby never
invites him to read at the author's festival anyway.
Free of the demands of his weekly newspaper deadline, my demented,
echinacea-crazed fictional creation is now free to roam the streets of
Toronto on a search-and-destroy mission. Mercilessly, he hunts down men who
shave in the sauna at his tennis club and women who block intersections
with their ridiculously enormous, gas-guzzling SUVs.
Ten-digit local calls, is it? Nothing a small, tactical nuclear warhead,
lobbed through the front door of Bell Canada's headquarters can't take care
of. So, after all those insufferable ads, Air Canada thinks it can increase
fares and lay off all kinds of people two days before Christmas, does it?
That's what God created neutron bombs for. An NFL football team? Of all the
things that this city so desperately needs, you think it needs an NFL
football team? "Here," said my protagonist, the evil glint of mad revenge
visible in his vacant blue eyes, "Would you mind holding this parcel for a
minute while I run around the block? And don't worry about the ticking.
It's only a novel."
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