BY GORDON STUECK
March 21, 2038
Little Joey; “Grandpa, what did you do during the pandemic war of 2020?”
Grandpa; “Well Joey that was a real interesting time. Before the war I was just an ordinary citizen working for a company manufacturing tkoches for the Chinese market. Things like Donald Trump bobbleheads. He was the President of the United States of America before being sent to a prison for destroying the fabric of the nation by ignoring the consequences of the war. While in prison he was hospitalized in 2021 with COVID-19 and housed with Paul Rand, a former Senator who also denied the pandemic. Ah, well I’m getting side-tracked.
“I was pressed into service by the Canadian military as a tail-gunner on a Purex Toilet Tissue truck. I didn’t mind at first. It was during training that I realized the precarious situation I was in. The Major filled us in on the panic that had depleted the country of toilet paper. Apparently, after the pandemic was declared, hordes descended on stores, cleaning out shelves and whole warehouses of toilet paper. Apparently some cities experienced rioting and wholesale societal breakdown when toilet paper became impossible to find. Even though Prime Minister Trudeau assured them more was on the way and advised them to use grass in the meantime, the people were not in a mood to accept platitudes, or advice from a Liberal either.
“Thinking back on my drive to the base that day, it dawned on me that some were following Trudeau’s advice. When I drove past the dog park, I saw owners and their dogs dragging their butts across the grass. That explained the long brown strips in the grass … and the smell! It made a pig barn smell like a flower shop.
“Anyways, the Major said we had to be prepared to hurt people. Our shipment of toilet paper HAD to get through to the House of Commons. Apparently the Members of Parliament weren’t just sitting if you get my drift.
“I was instructed on how to strip down, assemble, load and fire a 50 Calibre machine gun. Instead of bullets some mandarin in the upper reaches of government-dictated we use Preparation H suppositories instead of bullets. We weren’t supposed to kill, just incapacitate. Fine if you aren’t on the frontlines.
“After about 10 minutes of instruction we were shown our hauler. I couldn’t believe it. They were going to send us out in an ordinary 18 wheeler. Oh, they had made some modifications. A bush bumper on the front, reinforced glass, run flat tires, things of that nature. But my gun pit was technically an office chair tied onto the back of the trailer. I wasn’t going to have any protection from sticks and stones! Just my Preparation H Suppository 50 Calibre! No gown or gloves! For a mask, they gave me a rubber mask likeness of Jean Chretien! I realized, then and there, this wasn’t going to a picnic but a real shit show.
“Go get yourself a pop Joey, the story is just starting.
“Good boy. Well we pulled out of the compound with me tied on the back like apple on a tree. We didn’t make it two miles before we passed an over 50 seniors complex. You know the kind. Gated community, no children allowed, where everybody with money congregate when they don’t want to live with riff-raff like us. Them seniors came rushing out of their houses on crutches, wheelchairs and them motorized scooters like the house was on fire. They surrounded us at a stop sign and screamed obscenities at us like enraged devils. A fat lady threw herself on the hood of the truck. The driver said later her mouth was open so wide with her screaming he could see she had an earlier tonsillectomy and that she had painted her toenails a pretty shade of blue. I was really getting nervous and cocked my 50 Calibre and made threatening motions for the crowd to get back. One lady darted forward and I let her have it with a 50 Calibre Preparation H slug. She took it right in the teeth. The skin around her mouth tightened up so much she would have had to eat her meals through a straw. The others drew back when they saw her trying to scream but all that came out was a “”Coo Coo”” sound kind of like a dove makes.
“I thought we were goners till suddenly a flying wedge of Kiwanis in their clown outfits on little tricycles and cars drove into the crown, scattering people like bowling pins. The driver slammed the truck into gear and swerved as we drove away, dumping the fat lady off the hood. She slid under the trailer tires, damn near tipping it over as we barreled down the street.
“Our relief was short-lived. About a mile further down the road we entered a three-way intersection where a standoff between a crowd and the police was underway. On one side of the intersection was a massive crowd, all spaced six feet apart. On the other side was a phalanx of police officers, twenty wide and thirty deep, all spaced six feet apart. There was dead silence as it sunk into the crowd what a gold mine had literally stumbled into their orbit. Eerily, without a sound, they started to slowly shuffle forward, something like in them zombie movies that were all the rage in the teens. The police surrounded us and fired warning shots into the air. The crowd hesitated only for a moment and began coming forward again. You can bet I had the 50 ready! I was prepared to make them all sound like a flock of pigeons. The police had one of them water cannons and opened up on the crowd. Damned if the front of the crowd didn’t turn around and moon us! Apparently they thought it was a mobile bidet!
“While those in front were enjoying their moment of luxury, those in back started pressing forward. I fired my 50 and hit a guy in the front row right in the ass! He turned around and THANKED ME! The commanding officer had an idea. He took a case of toilet paper off our load and attached it to a drone. Sending the drone to the back of the crowd, he dropped that case right into a knot of church ladies. Pandemonium! It was hard to tell who was doing the most swearing, the church ladies or the crowd. While their attention was diverted we got the hell out of there.
“We eventually made it to Parliament Hill after making numerous detours down back alleys and avoiding the main thoroughfares. We were late and the House of Commons was full of it by that time. But WE MADE IT!
“After the war, the real effects on us veterans started to show up. My driver suffers from PTSD and still has nightmares of fat ladies screaming at him. Just the colour blue revives the terror for him. I understand he is undergoing immersion therapy. One of the docs discovered immersing him in a tub of toilet tissue for hours at a time calms him and allows him to function somewhat normally.
“Me, well I never had PSTD although I still can’t stand the taste of Preparation H suppositories. The Government finally got around to awarding us medals for our contributions during the war. See this bronze one I got? The one in the shape of a small roll of toilet paper. It’s for bravery under fire. When I go into any store wearing this medal, I get all the free toilet paper I can carry.
“That’s why that 80 foot by 200 foot shed with 24-foot walls in the backyard is filled with toilet paper. Next time I’m going to make a profit of the war. The hell with some stinking medal.”
Joey; “It has been a number of years now since Grandpa passed away. Sure miss him and his stories.
“He died in 41 when a bunch of end of the world disaster preppers launched an armed assault on his toilet paper warehouse. Using frozen ‘road apples’ from horses they manage to gain a foothold in one corner of the warehouse. Grandpa was crushed when a stack of toilet paper cases toppled onto him during one of their banzai attacks. They picked the place clean, leaving Grandpa’s body lying in a pool of road apples.
“In 2044, the Governor of the Western Territories posthumously awarded Grandpa with the Great Humanitarian Award for meritorious service during the pandemic war of 20. Recent video from a door cam surfaced showing Grandpa’s compassion for a fellow human being. Grandpa can be seen in the video tossing a roll of toilet paper to a man who was walking very erratically – like he had filled his drawers and didn’t want it to touch his leg. The Governor stated evidence of such great compassion should be recognized publicly as a demonstration of our native instinct to help our fellow man when in dire circumstances. May we all be so kind and caring of our fellow man.
“God Bless the people of the Western Territories.”