Thursday, January 30, 2014

the apocalypse starts here

It all started when my friends E. and C. contracted rabies.

They had been exposed to rabies when a small dog they had been caring for bit them a few times. They noticed that the dog was acting really funny, and when it died, they thought it wouldn't hurt to send it out to be tested for rabies. Surely it wouldn't be rabid, right? Wrong. It was rabid.  And so they underwent a series of many, many needles.

"Nothing to worry about," they assured us, laughing nervously. "I'm sure the rabies shots will kick in and we'll be fine."

We too were sure they were going to be fine. Still, at the party, we kept a safe distance from them and watched out for signs of sudden rage or twitching.

There have been some rabies problems in town lately, mostly brought in by the rabid Arctic foxes. I don't know how such cute things can be so deadly and diseased. In a particularly gruesome turn of events earlier last spring, some of the tied-up dogs in town were found to be strangled to death on their chains. It was assumed that the rabies infection from foxes had caused the dogs to do this to themselves.

This is how is begins, my friends.

A lot of communities in Nunavut deal with problems of packs of dogs running wild through the town.  Cambridge Bay is pretty good about keeping their dogs on a leash, but it also means the poor dogs can't really defend themselves when rabid foxes start going at them.  The by-law officer has been busy trying to deal with the foxes.  The sight of him chasing foxes down the middle of the street in broad daylight, wielding a shotgun, kind of reminds me of a good Western movie.

I used to think that Cambridge Bay would be a pretty safe place to be when the zombie apocalypse breaks out.  While the zombies ravage the densely populated cities of Los Angeles and New York, it would take forever for the zombies to make it all the way up here in the North. In the wintertime, they would be completely frozen. If they thawed out in the summertime, they'd have to cross the Arctic Ocean to get to our Arctic island.  And given that we're a four-kilometre wide community on an island the size of Great Britain, it would be pretty easy to miss us.  Also, a lot of us have guns and snowmobiles that run faster than zombies.

But then I began to wonder, as the rabies stories kept coming, what if the zombie apocalypse started here in Cambridge Bay? It would spread quickly. It would take a while for anyone to realize what was happening, because we'd all think it was just another case of rabies. And even once it dawns on us, we would be very, very reluctant to shoot our relatives and neighbours. It would just be a matter of one plane, one charter plane medi-evacuating one sick Patient Zero to Yellowknife, for the crisis to spread to the rest of the world.

Have you ever read the novel Rant by Chuck Palahniuk? How are you supposed to detect whether your teenage son has rabies? So he starts becoming twitchy, moody with violent outbursts, and adverse to showering. Would anyone notice the change in behaviour?

And then there was this notice on the Cambridge Bay News page:

There was some subsequent discussion about whether the wolf was really a wolf, or a white dog...or...something else?

Now I was getting nervous. Were we going to have to fight against zombies and werewolves at the same time?

I keep the wolf from the door but he calls me up

"Did you know that there is going to be a supermoon this friday?" my friend J mentioned casually.

"What is a supermoon?" I asked her as nonchalantly as possible. DO THEY PRODUCE SUPER WEREWOLVES, I wondered silently.

A Supermoon, as I found out, has nothing to do with my childhood superhero Sailor Moon. It's when the moon is closest to the Earth, causing it to appear bigger and brighter. Which is a great thing to have happen during a possible werewolf alert.

Happy Lunar New Year, suckers.

Come to think of it, if I was a vampire, I would probably hang out in the Canadian high Arctic too. You've seen 30 Days of Darkness. The total lack of daylight would be such a strong draw, I'm kind of surprised enterprising businessmen haven't already started catering to this idea with specialty northern resorts.

I should probably point out at this time that I would be completely useless in a zombie/werewolf/vampire attack.  I've never decapitated anyone/anything before. I am totally out of silver bullets. There are no trees in the Arctic, which means finding a wooden stake is kind of hard. Also, I can run kind of long distances but not very fast.  Being a slow endurance runner is more useful if you're the predator, not the prey.

And even if I did manage to temporarily fight off the ferociously ravenous zombies, werewolves, and vampires, how would I ultimately escape from the island? By walking over the Arctic Ocean to the Northwest Territories on the mainland? In -60 degree weather?

And now, schools have been reporting that there is a wave of children contracting head lice. Or at least they're telling us it's head lice.  I think the truth is out there. Time to barricade the doors, stock up on supplies, practice target shooting on Grand Theft Auto.