She was a thoroughly miserable old crone. Everything about her screamed nasty.
She hadn’t been serviced since her last dog died. The locals, well aware of her penchant for ‘animal husbandry’, forced the town’s council to pass an ordinance forbidding her from ever owning another dog.
“If she ever ants to get laid again,” my buddy Vinny laughed, “she’s gonna have to wait for rutting season and take her chances with the cariboo,
or maybe a bear.”
“We already have a winter festival,” screeched the hag. “It’s called Christmas.”
I was new in town, so I resisted the powerful temptation I had to turn to her and start barking, panting and thrashing around like a dog in heat. I waited to see if there was to be anything more from her wretchedness. There wasn’t, so I carried on.
Dawson City is a picturesque little village a couple hundred clicks south of the Arctic Circle in the Yukon.
If you want to erect a building in Dawson City it has to look as it would if it had been built in 1898, when the Klondike gold rush turned the hamlet into the second biggest city in all of North America west of Winnipeg.
In the summer, it’s a tourist magnet. In the winter, it’s a dead zone. I, naturally, had a bright idea that would change that unfortunate reality. I had an idea that would fill the town’s hotels, restaurants, bars and whorehouses for at least ten days. That ain’t no easy peasy in a place that only gets a few hours of murky daylight on the winter solstice, when the temperature can drop to 50 below zero and stay there indefinitely.
I’d bee in the Yukon for four months before I hit Dawson City, or Dodge, as Yukoners call it. I had been assured that Dodge was a lot different from Whitehorse, the territorial capital. All my life I’d bought into the Yukon mystique. It was the place to go when you were well and truly sick of the rat race. A frozen slice of fuck-it-all ,
where normaloids are rarely seen and never welcomed.
Whitehorse did not live up to those expectations,
and that’s understating the case.
The Yukon is bigger than California, with a population of 30,000. Twenty-two thousand Yukoners live in Whitehorse. Every one of them works for the government.
Wannabe bureaucrats (yes, such creature do exist) leave their suburban Hellholes in southern Canada and head to the Yukon in the hope of landing a job with the government and gaining the experience they need to get a job back in Trawna, Victoria or even Winnipeg.
They were building condos in Whitehorse when I got there.
Bigger than California. Thirty thousand people. Condos?
Bureaucrats! They’d brought their suburban Hells with them.
When it dawned on me that the Yukon was not the last place in North America where you can fly your freak flag loud and proud (and drunk), without having a bunch of sexually-repressed suburban normaloids, who couldn’t spell fun if you spotted them the F and the N, wagging their fingers, mumbling something about Jesus, lighting their hair on fire, shrieking “What will the children think?” and demanding that new laws be passed (Shut up! People like you shouldn’t be allowed to breed), I confronted Big Ben Mahony, who had assured me the Yukon was some kind of freakhalla.
“This is the Yukon, Ben. It’s supposed to be full of lunatics and alcoholic polar bears. I thought this was the last place on the continent where I wouldn’t run into bland, TV-mesmerized consumer drones and Celine Dion fans with prozac-induced happy faces who should be sterilized and replaced by Korean robots.”
“Head to Dawson, Satan,” Ben replied. “I keep telling you, go to Dodge. That’s the Yukon you’re looking for.”
So I did. And I went packing a million dollar idea. A can’t miss, million dollar idea.
‘What the Hell does this place need?’ I wondered when I started thinking about taking a shot at it in the Yukon. Economic development, clearly. More tourism, especially between Labour Day and the summer solstice. But what does it have to offer. Darkness. What is darkness good for? The Aurora Borealis
But that’s been going on forever and still ain’t no one coming here in the winter.
What else? What else is darkness good for?
It would take something truly weird and wild to draw people to Dawson City in the dead of winter. A vampire hunt. On the darkest day of the year, December 21. Get them there for the vampire hunt and keep them all the way through the New Year with a full-on winter carnival.
I was just starting to explain the idea to a packed town hall meeting when the hag screeched, “We already have a winter festival. It’s called Christmas.”