I’m not joking when I say that everyone in the Yukon works for the government. If Ottawa ever decides to stop flying over the territory and dropping millions and millions of monies every month
99% of Yukoners will freeze and starve to death.
Yukoners are in denial about this fact. But they understand that Ottawa continues to rain millions and millions of monies down on them every month because the investment will, one day, pay off. A land mass larger than California is going to be filled with all sorts of treasures. Sooner or later, those treasures will be discovered and exploited. In the mean time, it’s worth Canada’s while to have people up there waving the flag and keeping the Yanks across the border in Alaska.
Knowing all this, Yukoners have developed an incredible sense of entitlement. Some of them felt they were so entitled that they deserved to get a fatter slice of the Ottawa pie, even if it meant breaking the law and fucking their friends and neighbours.
Thus, the entire town council of Dawson City had been sacked by the territorial government not many months before my arrival.
An administrator had been appointed (at a thousand bucks a day) to run the town while the investigation into improprieties was conducted. The administrator was placed under the watchful eyes of a citizen’s committee, presumably comprised of the most upstanding residents of the burg.
I decided to make my opening pitch to the locals at a town hall meeting where the administrator was reporting to the oversight committee, and anyone else who was interested enough to crawl out of the bar and forego drinking for a couple hours (I was disappointed to discover that attendees were not allowed to imbibe at the meeting. It was, in fact, a betrayal of everything I had been told about Dawson, and I should have seen it for the harbinger it was).
I figured that someone must actually want to earn some money, instead of sucking it from the plentiful tit of Our-Mother-the-State.
My hope was to draw a thousand people. If they spent 10 days, they would have to drop a couple thousand a piece, minimum. Any idea that could result in an infusion of several million dollars into an otherwise dead town had to be worthy of consideration, or so I figured.
Surely business owners would want to make some shekels badly enough that they’d interrupt their six-month-long ladyboy winter vacations in Thailand for a couple weeks. I overestimated the entrepreneurial drive of the northern bourgeoisie.
Dawson City is a long way from nowhere.
In the summer, you can fly into it, but the airport’s gravel runway cannot accommodate a plane that holds more than 15 passengers. In the dead of winter only the insane would attempt to fly into Dodge.
Anyone flying into the Yukon for a Christmas season vacation in Dawson City would have to endure an eight hour drive after landing in Whitehorse.
You would have to do something extraordinarily weird to draw tourists. Doing something extraordinarily weird would also be necessary to attract the kind of media attention, traditional and online, required to market the event. As Hunter S Thompson so cleverly put it, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro,” (yeah, yeah, I know that quote don’t quite fit, but it’s close enough for rock ‘n’ roll, so if you don’t like it get back to watching bestiality porn, you fucking freak).
I have learned, the hard way, that people who lack imagination genuinely distrust and even fear creativity. I’ve cast hundreds of pearls before tens of thousands of swine in my days. I’d already hurled a dozen or so beauties at the feet of unimpressed mouth-breathers since arriving in the Yukon in early June of 2004. Even the weirdos I’d met and gotten along with weren’t so sure that my bright would shine in the dark October of a town that was in the midst of a scandal that would surely result in the banishment of a few kleptomaniacs who had been brothers and sisters.
I’d pitched the idea with the town’s appointed administrator, who was not a local, at a private meeting. As you’ll soon see, it’s a clever idea. It’s a fun idea. The fucker didn’t smile once in the hour we sat across from each other. He quizzed me hard to find a flaw. He admitted it was good. But he wouldn’t tell me what he thought about my chances of dazzling the town’s 800 or so winter residents. He wouldn’t even smile when ! laughed, “That bad, huh?”
Dawsonites can be divided into three categories:
- the artsy fartsies fancy themselves Bohemians. they are not. they are second or third rate artists who are willing to hide away at the top of the world, secure in the knowledge that the Canadian government sees fit to reward their mediocrity with ‘arts’ grants. they are CBC, through and through. I sought them out when I arrived. I did not like them, and they should have been my closest allies and supporters for this sprinkled-in-pixie-dust scheme of mine
- the Boss Hoggs and their lickspittles run the town. a cabal of greasy hustlers who grew tired of bankruptcy courts and used car lots and were overjoyed to find a place where the big sharks can’t be bothered to hunt. the king of these sleazebags was the Premier of the Yukon, who, I shit you not, was a convicted heroin dealer. they are surrounded by the most heinous bunch of asskissers imaginable. how any of them manage to walk upright during daylight hours is beyond me. I’d met these douches in Whitehorse and steered clear of them when I got to Dodge
- real Yukoners. the ones who want nothing to do with the bullshit world they’ve walked away from, usually after trying a thousand different things before screaming “IT’s ALL FUCKED!” they love to drink and can be found doing so constantly at the kind of bar that Bukowski would feel right at home in – The Pit. a friend, who had spent a year in Dawson, described The Pit as the only bar in the world where you can fall off your barstool, dead drunk, shit yourself while passed out on the floor, and have people buy you a couple rounds when you wake up. some of them were whip smart, some of them were braindead. but they were genuine, they were genuinely amusing, and I mostly liked them
All three tribes were in attendance at the town haller. They did have matters of import to deal with, but, judging by the grins on the faces of the real Yukoners, I knew that I was the entertainment.
The new kid in town – who had already garnered a territory-wide reputation as a certified, and certifiable, bizarro – was going to stand before them and pitch an economic development idea premised on the insane notion that tourists would flock to town, in the dead of winter, to hunt vampires?
Fuckin’ eh I was.