Songs of the North West
A Series of North American Drabbles
Dark Lady Devinity
Notes in this chapter are numbered to correspond with the numbers in the drabble.
Some of these are based on the reviews I've gotten. And I've gotten so many reviews at that! Thank you everyone so much!
Fifty Ways of Living
Arthur frowned as he found Sarah's bed empty and his old pirate outfit missing. He knew the girl would be out exploring the sea on ships with dangerous men. He should have never introduced the colony to that Easton fellow.
Matthew stormed down the stairs of his house in an angry rage. Sarah took one look at her brother and said, "You're crooked this morning."
Matthew stared at her for a long time. Finally, he asked, "What?"
"I'm a thief?"
3. War Time Persona
When the world wars occurred, Alfred would be Captain America while Matthew was James Bond.
4. Shock Rock
Alfred loves to watch scary movies; he thinks it makes him more heroic. If it's frightening, he's at the forefront of it. So it's no wonder that America is the birth place of shock rock and its father, the frightening yet amazingly talented Alice Cooper.
For some reason unknown to Alfred, Matthew and Sarah, Maria loves to take candy and stick in into homemade chili powder.
6. Cheech & Chong
Maria and Matthew are watching television at Alfred's house with said nation sat in-between them. There's an old comedy show on and half way through, Alfred seems to realize something.
"I'm surrounded by druggies!" He leaps away from Maria and Matthew, forming a cross with his fingers like he was trying to repel vampires. "Stay away from me, you high hippies!"
"Huh?" Maria asks. She hadn't been paying attention until then.
Matthew sighs. "We're watching Cheech and Chong."
"Why am I considered the goody-goody peaceful part of North America?" Matthew asks one day. "I can be tough!"
Maria and Alfred snort and Sarah sighs. The province decides to take pity on her brother and says, "It's because of our national anthem."
"What's wrong with my national anthem?" Matthew demands.
"It's not violent enough!" Alfred says and Maria nods in agreement. Matthew sighs and Sarah shares the sentiment.
8. Boarder Hopping
Maria wishes with all her heart that she could provide everything her people needed. They shouldn't have to illegally enter another country to meet their needs. Yet she does like to hop the border into America sometimes; it's funny to annoy Alfred.
"Superman is the all-American hero!" Alfred proclaims one day.
Matthew smirks. "Superman is Canadian."
10. AU! Little Brother
"Bonjour! Je m'appelle Quebec!" the little boy that looks strangely like Alfred claims.
Sarah looks down at the little province that has just become a nation. She wonders where he came from. Then Matthew walks into the room and he's completely bald.
Alfred is busy trying to keep British red coats from getting farther into his capitol. He doesn't see Matthew sneak over to the White House until it's too late. Maybe Alfred should realize that he's pushed his twin too far but there isn't time; he has to put out the fire threatening to devour the presidential home.
12. Due South
Matthew and Alfred are, for once, actually working together on a project that Matthew gets a lot of say in. Picking out actors is fun and discussing the scripts is fun. Matthew knows that Benton Fraser is a walking stereotype but he can't help but smile brightly when Alfred admits that Mounties are sexy.
Sarah decides that she hates the world when she goes out onto the ice and finds Alfred clutching a baby seal and standing in the way of the hunt.
"I won't let you hurt any baby seals!" Alfred says and he sets the white coated seal free in the cold Atlantic waters.
Sarah doesn't know what to tell her misinformed brother first; that it's illegal to club baby seals or that they can't swim.
"What I like aboot-" Matthew said as he looked at the most recent budget, but Sarah interrupted him.
"When did we start talking about boots?" Sarah asked. Matthew sighed.
15. George Street
For some reason, family reunions in Newfoundland always ended up on George Street. Sarah, Matthew and Francis never understood why- Arthur couldn't hold his liquor and Alfred was used to beer that was much less alcoholic than what Matthew and Sarah drank. Sarah always ended up having to keep the two drunks from doing something stupid while Matthew had to keep Francis from groping one of them while their defenses were down.
16. Zimmerman Telegram
Ludwig must think that she was insane or something. He was actually asking her to support Germany in an attack against America. Maria frowned. Ludwig didn't have live next to Alfred. So it really wasn't hard to turn Ludwig down.
17. Star Wars
When Alfred heard about Ronald Regan's Star Wars plan, the nation thought that he was going to be sent into outer space to fight Darth Vader. He instantly began to made burgers to take on the flight.
Times were hard. Sarah found herself having to decide whether or not she could continue as an independent nation. Some of her people wanted to remain independent, some wanted to join America and others wanted to join Canada. So she put it to a vote and let the people tell her what they needed… she wondered what it would be like to be Canadian.
Matthew was ecstatic that he had won her and not Alfred. Watching Sarah sign the papers of union was heartwarming; with her, he was never invisible.
When Maria was little and still under Spanish rule, she found Antonio sat by the ocean and looking very sad. So she decided to cheer him up by giving him a tomato. She did not realize until much too late that she had just started Antonio in on his creepy tomato fetish.
Long before they were Maria, Matthew, Alfred and Sarah, long before they had any sort of nation, four small children would run wild through familiar lands. And sometimes, when they came to the edge of their world and another's, they would see another little child. But it was a rare thing.
22. Bat Ladder
"Alfred, why is everything Batman owns labeled?"
"Cause its awesome!"
23. Rick Mercer
"Sarah, I hate you and I hate your comedians!" Matthew yelled. "Now Alfred thinks I have a national igloo."
Sometimes, Maria and Matthew get together and talk about tying Alfred up and gagging him just to get some peace and quiet.
25. Date Night
Canada and America have a very close relationship and are each other's most important trade partners. So Matthew and Alfred often get together for a "date night" (Sarah's term) and have a night on the town. But it would go so much better if Matthew wasn't invisible to the server when they stand in line at McDonald's.
It's a cruel joke. There's blood running down Alfred's face and he's reaching for the phone to call 911. The date is September 11th. 911. Numbers that are supposed to stand for aid and emergency rescue- a number that leads to hope- is now a number that stands for fear and violence.
A day after Sarah delivers the chicken soup, she finds out that there's someone in her province with Swine Flu. She's also run out of chicken broth. Sarah is always jinxing herself like that.
28. Pam Anderson
"Keep her, please." Matthew begged Alfred. "I'm afraid all that silicon will pollute the air."
29. Day of the Dead
Maria smiled at the ghostly whispers that passed by her ears as she made the pan de muerto. There was something soothing about the thought that lost loved ones were never truly lost.
30. Dairy Queen
Alfred is in Hell. Alfred is eating a DQ blizzard in Hell while sitting in a Dairy Queen restaurant. And that is totally awesome!
31. Ugly Stick
When most people say that they're going to beat you with an ugly stick, it's just an expression. When Sarah says it, it's literal. And she just so happens to have an ugly stick in her closet.
Matthew, Sarah and Alfred are all used to snow. But for Maria, it is always a new experience, a new adventure. There is something enlightening about visiting other countries.
33. Free Health Care
Matthew had been deep in a conversation with another nation about the current issues in Canadian politics when Alfred interrupted in a loud, horrified shriek, "Oh my God, you're a commie!"
"What are you on about?" Matthew asked.
"You're a commie! A red! You have free health care!"
"Yeah, so? It's actually kinda cool."
34. Jean Chretien
There are a lot of brilliant comedians in Canada but Matthew finds that they're all second rate to another.
"I do not know this [pepper stray]. For me, pepper, I put it on my plate."
Matthew smirked. Jean Chretien was much more amusing anyway.
35. AU! End of the World
The waters of the ocean are boiling and the sky is red with dying ember. Nations and their people are trapped on whatever land mass they had been occupying when the end happened. Sarah, Maria, Alfred and Matthew are separated from their elder siblings by the boiling ocean. And so they cling together, the dying songs of North America.
Alfred was angry. Everyone he knew was laughing at him to his face and even Matthew, sweet, kind, never rude Matthew, was having difficulty keeping his laughter to himself.
"Goddamn sparkly vampires." Alfred muttered, wishing that he had never heard of the Twilight books.
37. Name Change
"It's official!" Sarah proclaims cheerfully to the room. "Everyone has to call me Newfoundland and Labrador now. No more ignoring the other half of me!"
Blood was pouring from Matthew's nose but he ignored it in order to knock some poor sap from the other team into the side of the ice rink. Then he started a huge fight that involved six guys and took the ref ten minutes to break up.
"Your brother turns into a completely different guy on the ice." Maria took Sarah.
Sarah shrugged. "Well, it is hockey."
They've all watched blood be shed in the name of freedom; blood from civil wars and international conflicts, blood on ice and earth in attempts to make a living so they could survive in time for freedom to come. They've all shed blood in the line of duty; their commitment to the mortal souls that trust and love them.
Maria knows this lovely place on her lands that has few buildings and wide expanses of sky. The other nations are nowhere near her but she knows they've found their spots of quiet serenity and that they have joined her in star gazing.
For it is the sky that truly connects the world.
41. Play Time
As it's an older time, Sarah is in the kitchen doing the dishes while Matthew and Alfred run wild outdoors. She's the girl and cleaning is a girl's job- it is an older time- but she would have done it anyway, because Sarah is hard working. But that doesn't mean that she doesn't have her fun.
When she catches sight of two blond heads running towards the kitchen window she prepares herself. And just as the boys are about to run past her, she dumps soapy water out through the window and onto their heads.
"Oops, I didn't see you there."
The boys race into the house and chase their sister around and out of doors until the three of them collapse in an exhausted pile on the cool grass, laughing.
42. The New World
Antonio, Arthur and Francis get together sometimes, when they're not fighting, to discuss the little charges they've taken in. Even quiet Matthew has such a streak in him that it shocks the three adults.
"Well, it is the New World. It's going to be a little wild and untamed." Antonio says.
"Yes, but did Alfred have to challenge Maria and Sarah to a tree climbing battle royal? They look positively wild now and I do not even want to contemplate how you and I are going to get the branches out of the girls' hair." Arthur says.
"At least you did not find them surrounded by ten gigantic, hungry polar bears." Francis says. "I found Mathieu trying to make civil conversation with them."
The three men all sighed deeply.
43. Special Dish
Be a Hero in all things is Alfred's motto. So he refuses to eat anything but Maria's most spicy foods when visiting the nation in her country. So Maria created the most taste bud destroying dish she could think of. Alfred goes after that dish in much the same way that he does at horror movies, as if eating such a dish makes one a hero, and he'll eat it every time he sees it; even though the first time he ate it, it put him in the hospital.
Matthew loves his Tim Horton's coffee to the point that his friends and family think that the recipe must call for crack cocaine.
Sarah is with the men that day as one of the few female soldiers. She's fighting for Arthur but she's dying for the people who love and need her most; her mortal souls. And she's at Beaumont Hamel and she's being shot down by German soldiers. So many men will die but she cannot.
But the scar from the wound will always be there.
"I can't believe that he actually asked you to help him hurt me!" Alfred is livid and has a copy of the Zimmerman Telegram clenched in his hand.
Maria isn't totally surprised. America may be neutral but the nation has been selling weapons to both sides and making a profit. Germany might see him as a threat.
But he's too angry to listen to reason and Maria feels no need to excuse Ludwig and his government. She would be angry if someone went to Alfred to get him to help attack her.
Alfred managed shaky smile although he was still angry. "Thanks for not going along with him."
"Think nothing of it." Maria said, for she truly did not want the enemy that Ludwig had just made.
Matthew, Sarah and Alfred all scurry pass Arthur and into the arms of their just-arrived aunt and uncles. Twins Ilane and Magnus, along with brothers James and Padrig, smile and laugh at the chibi sized children that cling to them. Arthur smiles at the sight of all his siblings being together, happy, and spoiling the children.
For it takes a village to raise a child.
48. Big Balls
"My balls are bigger." Matthew said.
Alfred spits out his drink in shocked horror and crosses his legs defensively. "What?"
Matthew blinks. "Ah, the footballs. They're bigger in Canada. Um, are you okay?"
Sometimes political conferences last a couple of days and the nations have to host sleepovers. It is easy to tell who the host is.
At Matthew's house, meals always involve enough maple syrup to cause diabetes. At Alfred's house, they have to spend the whole night watching scary movies. At Maria's house, they watch stars on beautiful beaches before rushing to the hospital as Alfred insists on eating Maria's super special spicy dish that destroys taste buds.
It's all very typical.
50. Songs of the North West
Their differences made them beautiful. And to showcase that, Matthew (with Sarah's help), Maria and Alfred would gather up the music of artists from all over their countries and listen to it. Together, united in music, the true spirit of the northwestern world was revealed.
1. Peter Easton is likely the most successful pirate ever. He worked for the crown as a privateer and attacked the Spanish. He was also supposed to protect the English fishing fleet in Newfoundland. When his privateer status was taken away, he went into piracy. He operated along the Newfoundland coastline from 1611 to 1614 with his headquarters on the island (as a pirate). No fleet ever took him down.
2. In Newfoundland, "crooked" means grumpy, in a bad mood, sulky, etc. On mainland Canada, it means dishonest, etc.
3. Captain America is a superhero from Marvel comics that fought in WWII. He was created during the second world war by Marvel to boost American patriotism. James Bond is a British creation but it is believed that the spy part of him is based on William Stephenson, a Canadian intelligence officer during both world wars who went by the codename "Intrepid."
"James Bond is a highly romanticized version of a true spy. The real thing is...William Stephenson." –Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond.
5. My friend, Andrea, is Mexican. She would bring candy to school (like push pops, etc.) and stick it in the most disgusting concoction ever. It was some sort of chili with salt or sugar in it, I can't remember, but you can't buy that sort of chili powder in Newfoundland. She made it. And she claimed that it was something they did in Mexico.
6. Cheech and Chong is a comedy duo with lots of references to drugs. Cheech is actually American but he's Mexican decent. Chong is Canadian. So Alfred is mistaking Cheech and Chong's drugged out hippie-ness as being representative of Mexico and Canada.
7. Mexico's national anthem had lots of war reference, America's has references to war, and Canada's has reference to the north. No mention of war.
9. Superman comes across as being the all-American man to me. But he was actually created by Joe Shuster, a Canadian artist from Toronto.
11. War of 1812. Canadians, with British aide, fight America and burn down the White House.
12. Due South is a joint Canadian-American television show about a Mountie that goes into the States to find the killer of his dad. Benton Fraser is super polite to the point that it is a problem and annoys his Italian-American cop friend a lot. But every woman Fraser meets think he's an Adonis.
13. It is illegal to club baby seals in Newfoundland so if anyone ever tells you that we do club them here THEY ARE LYING. Also, white coats can't swim. So if you believe killing seals is wrong, never try to save them by putting them into the water. They will drown. Only the adults swim. By the way, I support the seal hunt. I support anyone that does not believe in killing animals but please- if you cannot support the seal hunt- a hunt where the animals are wild and free and are not treated cruelly- them please do not support slaughter houses where the animals are kept in cages. We do not have the right to choose to only kill animals we think are ugly and let the cute ones live.
14. Do mainland Canadians really say "aboot" instead of "about"? I've never heard it.
15. George Street in downtown Newfoundland has more bars per square mile than anywhere else in North America. It's a tourist attraction! And Canadian beer has higher alcohol content than American beer.
16. The Zimmerman Telegram was sent to Mexico in WWI by Germany. It asked Mexico to support Germany in war against the US and in return, Germany would give Mexico money and return Mexico's former territory in the US. But Mexico would not be able to use the money to buy weapons because the US made the weapons. They did not want to go to war with the US and war with the US would strain Mexico's relations with Argentina, Chile and Brazil.
17. Star Wars: the Sci-Fi movies. Also, the nickname of The Strategic Defense Initiative, as a proposal by President Ronald Reagan, to use ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles.
18-19. Newfoundland joined Canada on March 31, 1949. Some folks wanted to join the US… I could have been an American! But mostly it was talk of staying a nation or being Canadian so the vote was to stay a nation or join Canada and Canada won with, like, 52% of the votes.
20. Tomatoes hail from Mexico and were used by the Aztecs. The Spanish found these tomatoes and distributed them to all Spanish colonies.
22. 60's Batman with Adam West; everything is labeled. Watch the movie; at the end of the ladder there's a sign that says "Bat Ladder." My friend is amazed by it… but not in a good way, I think.
23. Rick Mercer would go down to America and tell them ridiculous things about Canada to see if they knew better. They didn't. He did it for the show "This Hour Has 22 Minutes." Rick is a famous Newfoundlander.
26. September 11th is the date of the terrorist attack on the World Trade towers in New York, which is abbreviated as 911 (nine eleven). 911 (nine-one-one) is the number that one dials to call the police or ambulance in an emergency. I always thought it was ironic and I thought that maybe that's why the terrorists chose that particular date.
27. A day after I wrote the drabble about the swine flu, the first case of it was discovered in central Newfoundland. Apparently I jinxed my province. But it's a very mild case, which is good.
28. Pam Anderson is Canadian and is planning to return to Canada when she retires. I think the US can keep her.
29. Pan de muerto is egg bread baked for the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead. The holiday is a celebration in which it is believed that the spirits of the dead return to visit the living. At least, that's the rough description.
30. There is a Dairy Queen in Hell (Michigan). I love that. Thanks for the info, Michigander, yah.
31. An ugly stick is a musical instrument in Newfoundland and Labrador named for the fact that's it so strange looking. It's a big stick, like a broom stick, with bottle caps and bells and things like that attached. You beat it with another stick. Yes world, this is my heritage. It is strange.
34. Jean Chretien was prime minister of Canada from 1993-2003. Once, in a conference, he was asked for his opinion on protesting and the use of mace on protestors. Well, he didn't know what mace was and when it was clarified as pepper spray, he said that it must be a new technique and that he put pepper on his plate. Chretien is a funny man but not on purpose. His face is partially paralyzed and he didn't learn English until age 30 so he's hard to understand. That's when amusement happens.
37. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador was not always called that. The name of the province was officially just Newfoundland despite Labrador being part of the province. In 2001, the name was officially changed to Newfoundland and Labrador.
45. The Newfoundland Regiment was wiped out at Beaumont Hamel during WWI at the battle of the Somme; only 10% of the men were at roll call the next day. This battle would earn the regiment the new title "Royal Newfoundland Regiment." It's actually been stated once that much of Newfoundland's economic difficulties following the First World War was due to the fact that there was such a dramatic loss of men.
46. The Zimmerman Telegram is one of the things that really convinced the States to join in during WWI.
47. Ilane= North Ireland, Magnus= Ireland, James= Scotland, Padrig= Wales. These countries played a big part in settling North America. I don't think there're too many Welsh in Newfoundland but my own personal heritage is Scottish and Irish on Dad's half and English with some French on Mom's.
48. Canadian footballs are bigger than American footballs. I think the football fields in Canada are also bigger than their American counterparts.