General McNeil entered the war room, a dry-aired concrete bunker under Parliament Hill. He hadn’t expected to be here today since it was Canada Day. He thought the Americans would halt their month-long attack on the border. It was only polite. But a reprieve did not occur and the General was called in to deal with a sudden situation. He was still tucking in his shirt when he walked in and said, “Status report.”
The war wasn’t going well but the energy in the room was pure panic. Lights were flashing. Alarms were ringing. People were screaming into phones, demanding more information. The room was half decorated with red and white streamers for a party that never occurred. A single square of a white slab Maple Leaf cake had been cut but not eaten.
“They just hit us,” said Lieutenant Fotopoulos.
McNeil knew this was it. This was the big push. They picked Canada Day on purpose. Through sheer grit, he had held back the Americans for four weeks but Canada could not hold against a full-on attack.
“The Americans have been bold,” continued Fotopoulos. “They’re hitting us at every major fortification. That includes Fort West Edmonton Mall, Fort CN Tower Spinning Restaurant, and Fort Anne of Green Gable’s Historical Recreation.”
“Is the actor who plays Anne still alive?”
“No. Her two years of tap and one year of sword play could only do so much.”
“So who is our best case scenario right now?”
“There are a few areas that are holding. The Vancouver Needle Exchange is doing well. Every time the Americans get close to the building we pelt them with used needles.”
“Tell them to keep it up as long as they can.”
“Luckily there were a few junkies in there when the attack began. As long as they have needles, they can keep using them.”
“Excellent. Resupply them by air if need be. What else?”
“The Toronto Zoo.”
“Didn’t we abandon it yesterday?”
“We did but the Americans keep stopping to look at the pandas. We’ve got snipers in the trees picking them off.”
“They don’t notice the huge pile of dead bodies by the panda cage?”
“They do. But those pandas…they’re so cute.”
“True. Anything else.”
“All of Winnipeg?”
“It’s our Russia. You don’t fight a land war in Winnipeg.”
“But it’s July 1st.”
“It’s still -25 in Winnipeg. If all Canada wanted to be was the city limits of Winnipeg, I think we could hold it indefinitely.”
McNeil looked at the map. He was outgunned and outnumbered. It was time to say some Hail Marys and throw a Hail Mary.
“This is our last chance. We’re going to concentrate our efforts here.”
“But Winnipeg is holding, sir. It doesn’t need our help.”
“We’re going to Winnipeg and we’re going to conscript the most aggressive fighting force this country has ever seen.”
“Sir, you don’t mean…”
“Liquored up hockey dads. And then we’re going to march west through Brandon and Moose Jaw and Lethbridge. And east through Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie. We’re going to collect all the liquored up hockey dads in those towns, we’re going to give them all the liquor they can drink, and we’re going to retake this country.”
The red phone rang and the Lieutenant picked it up. He was quiet for a moment and then said to McNeil, “Sir, Tie Domi is on the phone. Remember that guy who played for the Leafs, like, ten years ago. He set a franchise record for penalty minutes and now he does for commercials for Comwave telephones. He wants to know if there is anything he can do.”
McNeil smiled. “He can lead them.”