Note: This is the original version of Episode 1 – The Port Menace. I prefer this version because it is actually closer to my own sense of humor. The final cut missed the plot absurdity, Doc Spinolee, and reference to some local characters.
“Don’t press that button,” shouted Madi, “we’re in the wrong building!”
Too late! Rather than releasing CBRM’s confidential Port documents into public waters, Dr. StrangeJob dumped CBRM’s excess sewage into Sydney Harbor.
It was supposed to be a simple plan: Break into City Hall, find the confidential Sydney Port documents, and release the files to the public. What could go wrong?
… but then again it was the group’s inaugural mission
Their mandate: To save Cape Breton. Incompetence runs rampant in all areas of the beloved Island especially the political, educational, and business sectors. Cape Breton is in near ruins as a result of incompetence. Without action, this could be the end of Cape Breton as we know it.
The Cape Breton Liberation Army – Intelligence and Competence Squad (CBLA-InComps) formed to strike at the heart of incompetence. CBLA-InComps will become Cape Breton’s freedom revolutionaries bringing transparency, integrity, and honesty back to the good citizens of Cape Breton.
CBLA-InComps first mission focused on transparency issues raised by many CBRM residents concerning a proposed multi-billion dollar container port shrouded in secrecy, exclusivity contracts, backroom deals, non-disclosure agreements, and in camera meetings. Believing that good decisions must also be informed decisions, CBLA-InComps sought to release all secret port documents to the CBRM citizenry for public scrutiny. What Snowden was to the CIA, the CBLA-InComps would be to CBRM.
… but something went wrong. Something went very, very wrong with the mission!
Under cover of night, the CBLA-InComps team mistakenly broke into the local sewage treatment facility assuming that they were sneaking into City Hall. It was an honest mistake. Ali, an international student studying engineering and global positioning systems (GPS) at the local university, volunteered to lead the team to their assigned target. English was Ali’s second language, so he may have taken Dr. StrangeJob’s directive too literally when asked to, “get us into the big building on the waterfront where we can release all the shit we can find on the Port file.”
It wasn’t all Ali’s fault. As the leader of the group, Dr. StrangeJob should have known he was in the wrong building. Unfortunately, the Doctor doesn’t get out much and has no sense of direction. In fact, the last time he was in the actual city hall dated back to the mid-70’s when the drunk tank was housed in the basement. Also, Ziggy, the group’s techie, had warned the Doctor that if he couldn’t find hard copies of the Port files, he would need to take a dump – it did kind of smell as he was in the right place.
Madi, the group’s Chief of Intellectual Guerilla Activities (IGA) and Interim Communications Office (ICO), first realised they were in the wrong building. Madi has a tendency of putting her contact lenses in the wrong eyes. Fortunately, her poor vision had heightened her remaining senses so that the pungent smell of the sewage and the excessive noise of the machinery alerted her that they were in the wrong building, but alas, it was too late.
“Let’s get the hell out of here,” shouted Dr. StrangeJob as he, Madi, and Ali bolted from the sewage treatment plant and stumbled through the dark on their way back to the getaway car.
Con was appointed getaway driver because she happened to have a car, a valid driver’s licence, and lots of gas (the car that is, but then again, she is a 93-year-old vegan). No traffic cop in their right mind would suspect anything nefarious from a 93-year-old recently retired schoolteacher. Still, as an extra precaution, the three defenders of political transparency travelled back to CBLA-InComps headquarters stowed away in the trunk of Con’s Pinto. It was a bumpy ride.
“So, did you get the files,” asks Con, as the three bruised and battered passengers climbed from the trunk of the car.
“No, we broke into the sewage plant by mistake and released the excess sewage into the harbour”, explains Dr. StrangeJob as he fills Con in on the details.
“So, that explains the stink then,” replies Con, holding fingers to her nose.
“No, that smell has more to do with the three of us being scared shitless while stuck in thed trunk of your car,” the Doctor replies. “BTW, next time please be more careful driving over potholes and railroad tracks.”
Dr. StrangeJob then asks Madi to call the CBLA-InComps executive to an emergency debriefing meeting and rushes off to the nearest bathroom.
To maintain secrecy and avoid suspicion, the CBLA-InComps hold their clandestine meetings at various coffee shops throughout the area. The George Street TimBits, for example, is so noisy that the group is relatively safe from any form of eavesdropping. The CBLA-InComps executive members huddle inconspicuously in a corner booth, meticulously camouflaged as a group of 12 steppers holding an after-meeting group discussion. Just another bunch of anonymous caffeine addicts gobbling sugar treats.
In attendance are Dr. StrangeJob, Ali, Madi, Ziggy, Con, and Doc Spinolee (retired professor and intellect of the group).
“Let’s open our meeting with a moment of silence followed by the Competency Prayer,” whispers Dr. StrangeJob, as those around the table silently nibble on timbits.
The executive quietly mumbles in unison, “The Competency Prayer: Grant me the patience to deal with the incompetent that cannot or will not change, the courage to challenge those that can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
“Well, at least we can say we raised a bit of stink on our first mission,” jokes Dr. Strangejob, “but seriously, we could find ourselves in a pile of crap if they pin this on us.”
“Maybe we should just wait for the whole thing to blow over,” suggests Ali.
“No, we need to be proactive and make sure this doesn’t stick to us,” says Con.
“I’ve got an idea,” says Doc Spinolee. “Has anyone seen the story in the Spectacle about cruise ships dumping sewage waste outside of the ports they are visiting?”
“Is the Spectacle that online blog everyone down at City Hall talks about?” asks Ali.
“No, the Spectacle is not a blog! The Spectacle and the LocalXpose are the only real journalists left in this place.” exclaims Madi.
“Ok folks, let’s stay focused,” says Dr. Strangejob and asks Doc Spinolee to continue.
“Well, I was walking along the harbour last evening and noticed that the cruise ship docked in town was owned by a company fined for dumping waste,” explains Spinolee, “and perhaps we can use that to our advantage.”
“That might work,” suggests Madi, “especially if we use social media to get the word out that the cruise ship caused the stink.”
“Good plan. Let’s use Twitter and Facebook to draw attention to both the Spectacle story, and the fact there is a cruise ship in town owned by a company charged with dumping waste,” suggests Ali.
“Right, then anyone who complains about the stink would infer that it was because the cruise ship dumped their waste in the harbour,” agrees Zippy.
Doc Spinolee, obviously upset over the current proposal declares, “No! it would not be ethical for us to misinform the public. We are not the Mayor’s office.”
“I agree with Spinolee on this one,” states Dr. StrangeJob, “but maybe we can still use the idea somehow.”
“Wait, I think I have it!” exclaims StrangeJob. “Let’s do the Twitter and Facebook thing, but only target sites we know are monitored by City Hall. If City Hall gets wind that citizens are raising further stink over the port file, then they will sick their “If not the Port then what else” team on it. That should keep them distracted until the stink blows over.
“That might just work,” suggests Madi, “but to be safe, let’s expand our communication team and bring in extra help on the social media side. Does anyone know Sir Joe Spamsalot?
… two days later
The plan worked. City Hall’s Secretary of Disinformation took the bait and announced plans to investigate the source of odours emanating from the local garbage dump. As reported in the local rag, The Caper Post-Truth, an excess of compost and unseasonably warm temperatures caused the odour. When contacted at a speaking engagement in China, the Mayor emphasised that the odours were not Port related and mumbled something about not taking anymore crap from the cheap seats.
It looks like the CBLA-InComp are off the hook on this one. Or are they?
… news flash
Snoopy, an intrepid investigative reporter from the Spectacle, contacted Dr. StrangeJob. City Hall’s Secretary of Disinformation, Ms. Lied-Toomey, inadvertently added Snoopy to a private email list that circulated a security camera photo of a sewage caper suspect. Although not a member of the CBLA-InComps, Snoopy is familiar with the group and tracked the original photo to Dr. StrangeJob’s Facebook page. Smelling a scoop, she challenges Dr. StrangeJob to confirm or deny his involvement.
… to be continued (?)
Competence is our final frontier. Join the farce and support the journey of the CBLA-InComps. Their mission: to expel incompetence, to seek out the competent, and to boldly go where Caper heroes have gone before. We are legion. We know who you are. We are going to the legion.