RESEEDING BOTTOM LINES

Newfoundland fishermen noted their catches were rapidly dropping, intimating massive unemployment and economic disaster for eastern provinces. The People's Republic of Canada set about studying the rumor. Ministerial appointment prefaced commissioning engraved stationery, renovation and interior redecoration of a prime plot of Ottawa real estate; committee selections, formal luncheons and dinners; leasing of official limousines, pension fund vesting; engagement of publicity firms for spin, smoke and mirrors... Before anyone thought of hiring a biologist, 95% of the Grand Banks' cod were gone. (Note added in proof: The Canukistani Official truth is now an admitted 99%.)

The Great Dank North enjoys an absence of private sector vocation for technical degree holders. Tens of thousands of PhD resumes flooded Fish Canada the morning after a two-line hiring notice was loosed in the Personals section of an Ottawa porn tabloid. First Americans, drug addicts, lesbians and homosexuals; minorities, the handicapped, the morbidly obese and bulemics; historic victims of patriarchial White Protestant European oppression of Peoples of Colour, celebrants of ethnic diversity, the Officially sad, two Quebecois, and every Green Card-wielding whining boor were retained at top salaries. Biologists, ecologists, oceanologists, and statisticians sneaked in as janitorial personnel.

If the number of fish is X, then each sex numbers about X/2. The chance of boy meeting girl is (X/2)(X/2). If their numbers drop 95% to one in 20, their meeting rate drops to one in 1600. Oops. (Note added in proof: Official truth now pegs the frequency of piscine passion reduced by a factor of 40,000. Goodbye, cod.)

Any scientist who broached the foregoing abruptly found himself pondering fry cook vacancies. (Masters degrees need not apply. There is a three year waiting list of PhDs.) Forests were reclaimed into myriad politically correct studies, articles, peer-reviewed publications, and White Papers. East Coast fishing shut down in 1994. The richest Terran fishery had died.

This was not a problem, this was an opportunity! With the Grand Banks effectively sterilized, it could be reseeded with a fish of greater political value. National priorities underwent intense scrutiny. Did Canada need more food? They had enough surplus cheese to repave the Trans-Canada highway. Eastern provinces coveted the oil profits of the west, and the profuse corruption escorting them at every level of production, commerce, and oversight. A biologically tough and exceedingly oily fish (rather than having a swim bladder for flotation) would be a renewable fuel asset. They wanted a huge abyssal monster with vicious teeth and armor-plated body that could survive anything. They wanted shut of Ministerial imbecilities.

Recombinant DNA Canada readied for feasibility studies when the red tape cleared or possibly never, whichever came first. Meanwhile, a Prince Edward Island high school student suffered her parents' separation. (The PEI dilemma tortured her family: If your brother divorces his wife, is she still your sister?) Sekulavaya Poswilly escaped her pain by burying herself in the library, submitting to her human ecology class an essay: The Coelacanth - An Oil Well with Fins. An evolutionary impropriety had been discovered on Christmas, 1938 off the Chalumna River in South Africa. Lots more appeared after the next one was captured Christmas, 1952 in the Comoro Islands. Ms. Poswilly's cogitation was discreetly leaked to 100% Canadian-content media as her school's brass band blared in the background.

The Parti Quebecois went ballistic! Coelacanths (Latimeria chalumnae) were 65 million year-old missing links known from Late Cretaceous fossils. The Comoro islands had been a French dominion. Anglophone perfidy would be exposed! It was a finny Francophone oil well that would save Canada!

The halls of Parliament echoed with thunder and outrage, equally in both languages. A determined contingent of Newfies, thickly muscled from pushing houses down dirt roads to kickstart their furnaces, heavily fueled their boats and quietly embarked upon a vacation. Veterans of French immersion before they dropped out of high school, they would seek solidarity with their Comoro Island brethren and bring back souvenirs.

Just into the 21st Century, five fishermen trying their luck near Sable Island, Nova Scotia were partially eaten by 200 lbs of angry blue something left behind by evolution. It trickled heavy scales like metal coins, bestowed quadruped foot prints, and fouled the deck with a fish oil slick. Paradise had arrived, and awaited harvest. OPEC staff fingered worry beads. Unemployment Canada primed to administer to itself.

Nylon nets soon gave way to kevlar, then dynamite, then surplus WWII depth charges. Deep sea submersibles were christened with a new technical designation, coelacanth chow. That which turned its armored back upon 65,000 millennia of natural selection was set to do some selecting of its own - feed, breed, feed, breed...

We patrol our shores day and night, each of us checking and rechecking his and his partner's fully automatic rifle and its armor-piercing incendiary (depleted uranium) ammunition. We search for an iridescent shimmer on the water, or sets of four stubby prints in the wet sand, or discarded near-ceramic pogs with growth ridges. Those who ignore history are condemned to be eaten by it.


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