“You money no good here Mistah Tu-Do,” Fai-Ling said, his cheeks stretching back in an inhuman smile. “Dats ok, Mistah Tu-do, we take care you. On the house, no probrem.”

Justin recoiled and dropped his jaw slightly, holding his limp and sterile Canadian dollars. He had it planned out so that he could live in exile incognito; he slicked his hair back and tight to the skull and dyed it pitch black, an homage to Marlon Brando’s portrayal of the Godfather. He paired it with his black Zhongshan suit as a tip of the hat to the new leadership of Hongkouver Island. He even put bronzer on his face and hands for color. But he knew his eyes would give him away. Always teetering on the edge of green and blue, along with his height and chin, he knew he would be recognized. He felt a frisson at the recognition. He told Katie Telford he needed the brown eye contacts, but his exile was too rushed. It had been his third time visiting Peaceful Restaurant, mainly because he preferred soy-glazed pork knuckle or Peking duck poutine over Mediterranean shawarma poutine, his main options here in Nanaimo.

“Shia Shia,” he told Fa-ling with a slight but not too obsequious bow (he wasn’t as naïve as Barack).

“Don’t worry, I keepa secret!” Fai-ling brayed loudly.

DeSantis blockaded Havana. Justin always played up the Fidel angle just on the off chance he could use Cuba as a bolt hole, but one look at Justin’s chameleon eyes proved that dirty Spaniard wasn’t his father. Still, the pang of regret struck him that in his hour of need, he could not take refuge in that Caribbean retreat but instead had to settle on this cold and rainy rock in the North Pacific. They couldn’t even make a Cuban Breeze here.

Sophie and the kids were in Hongkouver proper, but to keep them safe from the truckers, he remained solo in Nanaimo, a mid-sized city on Hongkouver Island, a precinct of Chinese Columbia.

Canada, HIS Canada, was completely in shambles. After the tactical retreat, the truckers would sporadically clog up major highways, and as they were arrested and their bank accounts frozen, some weird events began to occur. It turns out the men running the banks actually had names and addresses, and the truckers, some of which had nothing left to lose, began to retaliate. Also funny was that other countries had truckers too. When a garbage truck disintegrated Klaus Schwab walking to his car in Schaffhausen, the only statement the perpetrator would make was “Allahu Honk Honk Akbar.” When the U-Haul blew up Alex Soros in his North Berkeley home, the VIN number on the engine had been etched over with a “HONK HONK.” Then Fauci was found with his head in a bag filled with sand flies. It was around this time that Trudeau began searching out “institutional support from the world community” and found that the world community peered back. In his best performance to date, Justin sported a bushy mustache and swept-back hairstyle similar to a passionate Georgian of yesteryear. Pounding the table, he screamed in a high-pitched voice that “The Truckers and Ezra Levant and his lying Jewish mouth will be silenced, and Canada will show them how propaganda can really work with a government behind it.”

It was then the troubles began. The Quebecois and eastern provinces began offering protection and dropped all restrictions on masks and vaccines and exploited natural resentments between the Francophone and Anglophone worlds. Revisionist histories on the French and Indian war were re-enacted and broadcast on Téléquébec. Valero-Halliburton bought the naming rights to the confederation of Truckistani spanning from Kamloops to Winnipeg. China agreed to service the debt to Ontario and act as a backstop, but at a price.

“You make joke call Vancouver, Hongkouver, now we make joke real. Hongkouver are buy, you are buy.” Chairman Xi issued a 100-year lease on the city and the island of Vancouver, a real twist of the knife to the Anglophone world. By mid-May, hundreds of shipping tankers were dispatched to every port on Hongkouver island, and out walked hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals with handbills saying “You Are Buy” on them. They inspected every house on the island and offered each one 20 percent above market value. Every Chinese citizen was drilled in English on what was deemed “The Four Questions,” namely: “How much square footage? Where is good school? What is price for square foot? Do you have lifetime warranty?”

The government of British, uh, Chinese Columbia was completely flat-footed. Most of the citizens politely listened and more than a few took the money and ran, but found options on the island dwindling precipitously. Vancouver largely capitulated long ago, but Victoria became a flashpoint, as many holdovers headquartered in several downtown bookstores began the great Canuck putsch. After months of fighting, a peace treaty was negotiated with the Valero-Halliburton Confederation of Truckistani and prisoners were exchanged. Ontario limped along; Toronto became New New Delhi.

Justin returned to his two-bedroom Nanaimo flat and prepared his plate for the soy-glazed pork knuckle poutine. He preferred to dine with a proper plate. Too much star anise, as usual. So much had slipped through his fingers. He had done right, hadn’t he? He played the part he was given; isn’t that all one could ask for? He embodied multiculturalism, he wore it, absorbed it, reflected it back to his audience. He WAS the new Canada. Why couldn’t the truckers embrace that? When new Canada politely asks for REASONABLE health provisions, it fully expects its subjects to follow them. They all grew up thinking Bret Hart was real, but Bret Hart couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag. If they don’t like getting vaxxed or following rules, well, the Chinese-Canadians were more than happy to follow them. Fai-Ling regaled him heartily about taking the “boostah shot.”

Justin was ruminating on this when he received a call from Ottawa. It was Jagmeet Singh.

Justin answered on the third ring; you don’t want to seem too eager. “Jagmeet, old chap, it’s such a pleasure to hear from you.”

“Likewise, Prime Minister, likewise. Listen, Justin, we know this national crisis has impacted you deeply. This attack on our democracy and our values shall not stand,” replied the leader of the New Democratic Party.

“I agree wholeheartedly, Jagmeet. We must restore our Canadian values of democracy and not allow this convoy and the provisional government of Truckistani to continue to threaten our record of human rights.”

“In hindsight, the emergency powers simply were too little too late, Prime Minister. In order to uphold the Canadian values of human rights and democracy, it was necessary to deprive certain unruly citizens the right to organize and arm themselves. Clearly this was a lack of foresight on our part.”

“One I do not plan to make again, I assure you.”

“Justin, we are all pulling for you here in Ottawa to restore democracy to Canada, and to that effect, Vice President Kamala Harris has arranged a very special guest to discuss our future/ Here, I’ll patch him through.”

Justin paused for a moment. “President Biden?”

“Hey, Pierre, call me Joe.”

“President Biden, Pierre was my father’s name. I’m Justin.”

“The rose changes its name, but it still smells good, Jack. Listen, Pierre, I know you like acting. I studied a bit back in school. You know, Shakespeare.”

“Yes, President Biden.”

“It’s not easy to be the head wearing the crown, Jack. Remember, some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some just fail, Pierre. It’s not always your fault. I see a dagger handle in my hand, Jack. Perchance. Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep—to sleep—perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub! For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, perchance, Jack!”

“President Biden,” Justin interjected, “forgive the interjection, but I am not in a state to discuss Shakespeare, as much as I admire his life’s work. President Biden, my country is fractured, and I fear it may be beyond repair. The provinces are breaking away, being bought off. I need support, I need military assistance. We need to eject Truckistani from SWIFT, for starters.”

“You’re furious, I get it. But I don’t understand a word you’re saying Jack. Perchance,” said Biden. “Listen, we know what we are, Jack, but we don’t know what our future ‘we’ are. You know the thing, what we may be. Take Kamala here. With me, she says she’s seen enough of my dog. Dog’s named Major. But then, ‘out, out, cursed spot’ she tells me. Perchance. Now why would she say ‘out, out, cursed spot’ like that, I ask you. Think about it, Pierre, the dagger handle, perchance, perchance. Remember the dagger handle. All the world’s a stage, and I’m saying you are a player. I’m a player, we’re all players. [whispers] Don’t hate the player, hate the game, Pierre. Check out the exits and entrances, Pierre; and one man in his time plays many parts. Perchance. Gotta go, Pierre, as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with sleep, perchance, perchance.”

President Biden hung up, leaving Justin perplexed. The message was cryptic and vague, jumbled allusions to Shakespeare, but to what end? Was old Joe trying to warn Justin? Was he concerned about himself? Did Kamala kill Major? The phrase “one man in his time plays many parts” resonated with Justin. Exile on this wretched rock gave Justin new perspective. The part he must play, now, as the resurrector of the country of Canada. Justin called Jagmeet back.

“Jagmeet, Justin again, I need to talk with Macron. We need to get on the same page with the Quebecois and put Truckistani in a pinch from both sides.

“Certainly, Prime Minister, I can arrange a call. We will have to run it by Beijing first.” After a quick call to Sophie and the kids, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada in exile, meditated on the prospect of a reunited Canada and his grand vision. The problem with Hongkouver was not immigration per se, it was merely too many of one type of specific immigrant, collected in one place. The chauvinism of the Quebecois and their loyalty to the French was another challenge altogether. What was needed was MORE immigration, from more parts of the world. Massive numbers, but equally distributed among Africans, Asians, and South Americans. Balinese dancers. Kenyan drummers. Khoisan archers. Mongolian yurts dotting the Northwest Territories. 200 million Canadians embracing a new empire. A familiar tingle became evident in Justin’s nipples.

The next morning, Jagmeet called back. “Prime minister, President Macron agreed to receive your call. I’ll patch you through.”

Justin beamed with relief. “President Macron mon ami.”

«Ah monsieur, mon frere q’est-ce c’est. Desole pour les problemes des camionneur, mon ami.»

“Oui, merci bien Manu. You know as well as I do, we have many parts to play in this lifetime, and I think it is time for me to make a grand return to the Canadian stage. As you know, there has been considerable resistance among the Quebecois and the eastern provinces have been playing both sides, giving lip service to leaders in democracy. I need a rousing return to order, President Macron. Picture this, me, dressed in Napoleonic garb, but in a subtle way, landing in Nova Scotia, clean shaven with fiery locks flowing behind me in a majestic blue peacoat before masses of managerial upper-class faculty and public school superintendents. It will be a glorious tour of conquest through New Brunswick and Newfoundland before a final march to Montreal. At each stop, the crowd gets larger and larger and their rousing fervor generates so much enthusiasm, that we, en masse, take back our democracy from these accursed Cammioneurs! As leader, I will throw open the gates and allow the entire world to amass within our illustrious borders. Levantine belly dancers, Kyrgyzstani yak milkers, Balinesian gamelan players.

«Lutteurs sénégalais!» interjected Macron.

“Madagascar vanilla farmers!” replied Justin

«Sculpteurs de koteka de Nouvelle-Guinée!» Macron yelled in a fervor.

“We will grow our population to 200 million, with Africans, Asians, South Americans, and even Europeans all welcome at our borders. Imagine the construction projects President Macron, the entire Canadian corridor bulging at the seams with Pygmies side by side with Tutsis, Filipinos, and Kuwaitis in Winnipeg.”

«Mon poteau est fort comme le fer mon frère!»

Justin’s forehead was sweating. “That seals it! Macron, I need a teleprompter with speeches pre-loaded. I need a peacoat, and makeup, and a tailored trifold hat (but not too obvious, tu comprends). I want to allude to great Bonapartian ambitions, but tailored to a new, an irreversibly visible minority FUTURE!”

«Tu a le feu au cul, mon frère! Je vais préparer ton vestements immédiatement!»

Justin feverishly envisioned mask tailors from Timor-Leste, biracial Thai acrobats and native Greenlander shepherds eagerly shoveling snow side by side in a joyous revelry. Massive cities rivaling Kinshasa or Lahore in scope, like Tokyo but with every race and sub-categories of race EQUALLY REPRESENTED. Airbus A380s flying in Muslim north Indians, Peruvian alpaca shearers, and Tibetan monks by the hundreds of thousands, random filing in, bringing their papers, or to heck with it, GIVEN passports en masse.

Justin paced feverishly for a week as his trunk was being delivered. Justin had texted Macron all of his measurements for a fresh bespoke fit. He imagined what it would be like to have one aboriginal outfit from every culture a day; a Basotho blanket one day, a Mapuche pancho the next. Justin rubbed his fists close to his heart when at last the buzzer rang. The doorman announced that a package from Paris had been delivered.

Outside, a rather old and short man, swarthy with a well-groomed black mustache was standing beside a Moynat wardrobe trunk. «Bonjour, monsieur Trudeau», he said.

“Ah please do come in, uh, Mr…”

“Khosrow,” Justin extended his hand and found the old man had quite a bit of power.

“Ah, thank you, Mr. Khosrow, and thank you for bringing the wardrobe. I expect that travel arrangements for Nova Scotia have been made?”

“Of course, of course, Mr. Prime Minister, but first, President Macron has expressed his desires in a letter, which I have here.” Khosrow pulled a gold embroidered envelope out of his vest pocket. “President Macron requests that you read it right away.”

Justin smiled warmly. “All right, then.” The envelope had a wax seal with the imprint of a large foot; funny Macron should have chosen that. After removing the seal and performatively opening the letter, Justin began to read.

[Editor’s note: for brevity the note is translated from French.]

Dearest Justin, my brother and friend. Your rousing speech ignited a flame deep within my heart for global democracy and the international order. I’m reminded of the line from Richard II, in which the hero states,

As in a theatre, the eyes of men,

After a well-grac’d actor leaves the stage

Are idly bent on him that enters next,

Thinking his prattle to be tedious.

Now that these disgraceful barbarians have forced you out, their prattling is more tedious than ever. I have been thinking long and hard on the words you said, my brother, namely that of the roles we must play in life. The role of the resplendent emperor making a grand entrance is one we all dream of, and inspires me to no end: the Saturnalian world emperor. But may I suggest there is an even greater role: the ascendence of a man to an idea, to become that idea! Think of it, brother Justin: your name and image on the lips and minds of every future Canadian for eternity, après toi le deluge, Justin! I am asking you to consider the role of the martyr! With undying love,

Yours,

President Emmanuel Macron

Justin’s mouth dropped as he looked up from the letter.

Khosrow Ali Vaziri ducked low and lunged in for a double leg takedown. In one fell swoop, Justin was on his back. He was pawing meekly; all of his training was designed to look tough, but not actually hit his opponent.

“Es tu, Khosrow?” was all Justin could say before the geriatric maniac was on top of Justin, grounding and pounding blows onto his beautiful visage.

“YOU DIRTY BASTAHD, I BREAKA YOU BACK, I MAKE-A YOU HUMBLE!” Khosrow was relentless, just as he was as the Canadian tag team champion in the 70’s. He had immigrated and assimilated, a term Justin was loathe to use. Justin writhed to turn onto his belly, to try to scramble up, but the elderly assassin wrapped his vise-like grip onto Justin’s neck. As the lights were going out, Justin could see the massive Moynart trunk was empty. As it would be his final resting place, Justin thought:

Alas, poor Justin, I knew him, Horatio.

***

This is an excerpt from the new anthology Ending Bigly, Eh? The Many Fates of Justin Trudeau, edited by Bill Marchant. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.