Remember way back in 2015?

On the scene, building the Great Wall across the Canada/U.S. border.

When finished

When finished

Barry Coulter

“Remember way back in 2015?” I said to my colleague, as we maneuvered the giant concrete block into position. “Before all this talk of building a wall?”

Me, my colleague, and thousands of others were toiling like ants, building the Great Wall along the length of the Canadian/American border. Forty feet high, and when it would be done, it would be almost 9,000 kilometres long, including Alaska, and visible from space.

“Seems weird, there used to be just nothing here,” my colleague said. “Just trees and stuff. Remember, every now and then the trees would catch on fire?”

“Don’t have to worry about that now,” I said. “Not with the Great Wall!”

“There was talk of it even before President-For-Life Trump (may he live forever) was elected, way back in 2016,” my colleague said. “He was originally talking about a wall along the U.S./Mexican border, but since the border with Canada is so much longer, he went for Canada instead.”

“But wouldn’t that make the wall infinitely more expensive to build?”

“Doesn’t matter to President-For-Life Trump (may he live forever). He got Mexico to pay for it.”

Using our special wall-building machines, we got the giant block into its place along the Great Wall. Like the Canadian Pacific Railroad of yore, the Great Wall was being built in sections. We were looking forward to linking up with the Lower Mainland wall-building gang one of these years. Building the Great Wall through the mountains was a job of work, all right, compared to, say, the prairie wall-building gangs. But it could have been worse. We could have been on the Alaska wall-building gang.

My colleague and I stepped back to admire our work. On the giant block next to the one we had just installed was a giant advertisement for President-For-Life Trump’s chain of mega-malls.

“Hey Canada,” it read. “Once you’ve come through the armed checkpoints in the Great Wall and into our Land O’ Freedom, make sure to check out the Trump Pinch-a-Penny Centre and Casino in lovely Boise, Idaho. We’re offering 20 U.S. Cents on the Canadian Dollar. Bargains, Bargains, Bargains!”

I stretched my shoulder muscles, made as powerful as a mule’s by years of wall-building.

“You know, a chap could get used to this wall-building work,” I said. “Once we’re done here, in 2030, maybe there will be another wall-building job — in China or somewhere.”

“I hear Prime-Minister-For-Life Harper (may he live forever) is having a giant pyramid made, as a symbol of his vastness,” my colleague responded.

“I’m confused,” I said. “When are we actually supposed to say (may he live forever)? After we say ‘President-For-Life Trump (may he live forever), or Prime-Minister-for-Life Harper (may he live forever)? It gets me so mixed up.”

“You and everybody else. We all just err on the side of caution. We don’t to make a protocol mistake — the government will press gang you into the wall-building squads.”

We both had a good laugh over that.

“What were you, before you ended up on the Wall?” my colleague asked.

“Small town newspaperman. Media were the first to taken up for the Wall. How about you?”

“I was a scientist,” my colleage said. “We were actually the first to go to the Wall. You guys just didn’t report it.”

The train huffed into view, carrying another massive load of concrete blocks. But it was late afternoon, and off in the distance the quitting-time whistle blew.

“Say, it’s payday,” I shouted. “Let’s go find the straw boss!”

We stood in line to collect our week’s wages. Because President-For-Life Trump had got Mexico to pay for the Great Wall across the Canada/U.S. Border, we were paid in pesos.

“So much is this actually worth?” I asked my colleague, jingling the coins in my hand.

“I don’t know yet,” he said. “I’ve been saving mine for a trip to the Trump Pinch-A-Penny Centre and Casino.”

I looked back at the Great Wall, stretching off into the distance, still years from completion. Then I shrugged and turned away for the night. “It’s a living,” I said to myself.

Barry Coulter is Editor of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman