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Macmiller -- A Tragedy in a Single Act

Municipal politics

by Wes Porter

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Toronto City Hall--onstage as our resident gardening columnist see's it

Macmiller -- A Tragedy in a Single Act

A council chamber. In the middle, a boiling cauldron

Thunder, Lightning. Ringing Eructation. Enter the three Witches.

First Witch: Thrice the fat cats have wined

Second Witch: Thrice and once at the pig trough dined

Third Witch: Harper cries 'Tis time, 'tis time

All: Double, double, toil and trouble

Union raises reduce Toronto to rubble

First Witch: Round about the cauldron go;

In still more taxes throw,

Councillors, that under cold stone

Days and nights do plot alone

Spew'd the venom that we got,

Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

All: Double, double, toil and trouble

CUPE raises reduce Toronto to rubble

Second Witch: Thrice around the cauldron go

Throw in Howard Moscoe

Add a TTC token to

This loathsome witches' brew

Then Peter who answers to Grimes

Must also pay for his crimes;

Since he is ne'er to do

Add him now to the stew.

As commissioners they must go

Or the TTC will still run slow.

All: Double, double, toil and trouble

Distil of socialism doth bubble.

Third Witch: Computer contracts thus awarded

Along with bribes utterly sordid;

Deals with Bombardier

A stench to fill th' air

Throw them also in our pot

And let us smell them rot.

Add poison'd pellets that smoulder

With biosolids beloved of Sandra.

One hundred million dollars to make more

The cost soon to be at citizens door.

For all this a raise they did devise

Ignoring all tax payers' cries.

Broom of mayor will ne'er do

So throw it in our loathsome stew;

'Twill assure that the foul brew

Doth turn out both well and true.

All: Double, double, toil and trouble

Councillors' raises reduce Toronto to rubble

Second Witch: Cool it with a baboon's blood,

Then the charm is firm and good.

Enter BUSSIN to the other three Witches.

Bussin: Wonderful! Glad-handing gives us no pains

And every councillor shall share i' the gains;

And now about the cauldron sing,

Metro gnomes and fairies in a ring,

Enchanting all you put in.

[Music and a song: Bare Naked Ladies, &c.

[Bussin retires.

Second Witch: Here cometh one who would not bend over

Even for the likes of the beauty Glebova

Open locks

To he who knocks

Enter MACMILLER

Macmiller: How now, you secret, black, and midnight councillors!

What is't you do?

All: A deed without a name

Macmiller: Thrice do mine eyes see witches with twitches

And not a single broom 'mongst them

With which to sweep clean the curs'd candidate

Who put forth a challenge for mine rightful place

As mayor of this mighty metropolis.

I conjure you, by that which you profess,

Howe'er you come to know it, answer me:

Though you untie the unions and let them fight

Against City Hall; though the Lake's waves

Confound and swalloweth Island Airport up;

Though litter everywhere be lodged and trees blown down;

Though office towers topple on their lawyers' heads;

Though stores and hotels do slope

Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure

Of each and every taxpayer tumble altogether,

Even till destruction sicken; answer me

To what I ask you.

First Witch: Speak.

Second Witch: Demand.

Third Witch: We'll answer.

First Witch: Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths,

Or from our masters?

Macmiller: Call 'em; let me see 'em.

First Witch: Throw in free pass of TTC

Unpaid parking let us see;

Zoo cost you an' I, 'tis true

Councillors never pay a cent;

Meals, travel to exotic lands

Doth no one make a stand?

All: Come, high or low;

Thyself and office deftly show!

Thunder. Lightning. An Eructation. First Apparition: John Sewell

Macmiller: Tell me, thou unknown power, --

First Witch: He knows thy thought:

Hear his speech, but say thou naught.

First Apparition: Macmiller! Macmiller! Macmiller! Beware O dastardly David!

Crossing deep water, beware of the Ford!

[Descends

Macmiller: Deep water? Mean you the Western Gap

That separateth city from uncivil aviation?

Stay! another word with you --

First Witch: John returneth to replace a yob: here's another

More potent than the first.

Thunder. Lightning. A Cabbagetown Eructation. Second Apparition: Barbara Hall:

Second Apparition: Macmiller! Macmiller! Macmiller!

Macmiller: Had I three ears, I'd hear thee.

Second Apparition: Amelia Street, close by the crematorium

'Twas no place for my forum

Take heed, O Macmiller, for woe was me!

[Descends

Macmiller: Then back to Leaside, of seeker of mayorality what need I fear of thee?

For schemes I shall devise to gain votes of the simple citizens

'Twas ever the way that left I and fellow travellers in the hay

But yet I'll make assurance double sure,

Defeat shall ne'er know my office door.

Thunder. Lightning. A Terrible Eructation. Third Apparition: Mel Lastman:

Ah! But who is this with fretful knotted locks?

That doth weave and dissemble . . .

All: Listen, but speak not to't.

Third Apparition: Macmiller! Macmiller! Macmiller!

Be not a bad boy, Macmiller!

Take heed by me --

'Twas a piteous field I found myself in.

[Descends

Macmiller: A Ford? A Motown-made union Buick transporteth me

For dare I place not my trust in the TTC.

Again, feel I no heat

Cold water deep 'neath the Lake Nature doth defeat.

Nor ever have I strayed -- marriage vows I have obeyed.

Field, office, umbrous motel room -- never been I waylaid.

Yet my heart smelleth the ill-scent of capitalism.

It throbs to know one thing: tell me, if your art

Can tell so much: shall the Lady of Leaside ever

Reign o'er Toronto's towering towers?

All: Seek to know no more.

Macmiller: I will be satisfied: deny me this,

And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know

Why sinks that cauldron? And what noise is this? [A bassoon sounds.

First Witch: Show!

Second Witch: Show!

Third Witch: Show!

All: Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;

Come like shadows, so depart!

A show of Forty-Four Councillors, the last Rob Ford with a looking-glass in his hand; the ghastly ghost of William Lyon Mackenzie following.

Macmiller: Thou are too like the spirit of Mackenzie; down!

Mackenzie -- I know his type

A conniving capitalist dripping tripe.

Thou other decked with chain of office, is like the first.

A third is like the former. Filthy hags!

Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes!

What, will the line up stretch out to the suburbs?

Art there no bureaucrats, no organized labour 'mongst them?

Representatives of citizens all, small business and worst --

Bankers, bookkeepers and -- yeigh e'en accountants

Another yet! A fortieth! I'll see no more:

And yet that of Ward Two appears, who bears a glass

Which shows me many more; and some I see

Carry ledgers displaying balance sheets in red awash --

Horrible sight! Now, I see, 'tis true;

For the ink be-splattered Mackenzie smiles upon me,

And points at them for this. [Apparitions vanish]

What, is this so?

First Witch: Ay, sir, all this is so: but why

Stands Macmiller this amazedly?

Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,

And show the best of Toronto nights:

I'll charm from air shots to resound,

While you perform your antic round:

That this great mayor may kindly say,

Our duties did his welcome pay.

[Music. The witches dance and then vanish, with Bussin.

Wes Porter is a horticultural consultant and writer based in Toronto. He has over 40 years of experience in both temperate and tropical horticulture from three continents.