“Potholes have begun their annual spring appearance on the streets of Cranbrook and are sure to become a hot topic of discussion for residents.” City of Cranbrook press release.
“Remember way back in 2015?” I asked my hunting companion, as we waited in our blind just off 11th Avenue. “Back when we expected someone else to deal with these potholes?
“I do,” he said. “Back when the City announced it was pothole season, they expected us to just report potholes.”
“Ha ha,” I said. “And now it’s a real East Kootenay general open season.”
My hunting companion glassed 11th Avenue with his binoculars. “I got one,” he said. “It’s about 50 metres north. Hand me the rifle.” He drew a bead, and after a long second of concentration, fired.
“Missed,” he said. “D– my eyes, but these things are low to the ground.”
“They’re wily in this part of the world,” I said. “Let’s move down to 4th Street. They’re thick on the ground there. Get out your compass.”
We started moving through the silent pre-dawn streets of town, off towards 4th Street. It was pothole season, a time that quickened the pulse of every red-blooded East Kootenay outsdoorsman.
My companion and I were talking about the ongoing argument between resident hunters and guide outfitters over pothole allotment as we moved into the shadow of the pothole patcher, a gargantuan machine the size of a big ship, now broken down and rusting by the Amy Woodlands schoolyard.
“I was there when they fired that thing up,” my hunting companion said. “That’s a day no one will ever forget. No one factored in the significant over-design.”
“They say you can see the track it left from space,” I said, gazing up to the top of the machine, leaning askew from what common lore referred to as “the patching accident.”
“We’re getting close to 4th Street,” my hunting companion said. “Look at all the pothole sign.”
We hunkered down at 4th Street and 8th Avenue and waited. My companion glassed the pavement again. “Pothole at 3 o’clock,” he murmured. “It’s close — real close.”
“My turn,” I said, and raised the rifle. I pulled the trigger …
“Oh man, you shot right overtop of it!” my companion exclaimed. I examined the gun.
“I think the sights need adjusting,” I said. “Let’s go down to 2nd Street. That’s always good.”
“Can’t believe this luck we’re having,” my hunting companion said as we wandered north. “As in zero.”
He continued: “Still, it’s better than that pothole ‘wrangling’ season they announced. Remember when they did that? When citizens were to go out and wrangle potholes? Some kind of way of engaging the community!”
“Dude!” I said, rolling up my trouser legs and shirt sleeves, and showing him the scar tissue from the pavement burns. “I took part in that season — twice!”
On the way to 2nd Street my companion and I got separated for several hours by a herd of urban deer, so large it took all that time to amble aimlessly by. He sat on one side, I sat on the other, sucking at my canteen, getting sunburnt. Finally they passed, and my companion and I rejoined each other.
“Lucky you, hanging out in Rotary Park,” I said.
“You look like a lobster,” he said. “Forgot your hat, eh?”
“C’mon, let’s get something,” I said. “I couldn’t handle another wasted outing,” like all those days last year!”
We reached 2nd Street. “Perfect,” I said. “Look at how it rises up. Give me those glasses!”
“Got one,” I said, after scanning 2nd Street. “Right in the middle, 75 metres!”
“Steady … steady,” my companion muttered, as he raised the gun to his shoulder — “One … two …”
“Wait!” I shouted. “It’s got a radio tag!”
“Oh man!” My companion groaned as he lowered the gun. “Why do they do that!”
“It was part of the big translocation experiment,” I said. “Don’t you remember that?
“I was out of town, working on the Keystone Pipeline.”
“They radio-tagged them to see where they reappeared after they fixed them,” I said.
“And where would they re-appear?”
“In the same place as before.”
The sun was setting. “Let’s get out of here,” my companion said. Another wasted day in pothole season.
On the way home I stumbled over a crack in the sidewalk. “I’d better report that to the City,” I said to myself.
Editor’s note: The author in no way
condones the discharge of firearms within City limits, even if it’s potholes